Ahem… Award-Winning Coconut Cake? 12


Rose Levy Beranbaum's Coconut Cake  |  Featured on prettyhungryblog.com

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So… I rarely do this.

I’m posting a recipe that got mixed reviews from my family.

Ok, I’ll be honest… most of the people I made it for didn’t like it.  Which is such a bummer because (clearly) it is a gorgeous dessert.

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Making coconut cake with my mother-in-law.  She's so lovely!  |  prettyhungryblog.com

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For the record, I liked it… but sometimes I’m weird like that.  So I typically don’t rely solely on my own preferences when sharing a recipe with you.  I typically wait to post a recipe until I know it’s also a hit with my family and/or friends.

But here’s the thing.  This cake recipe is from award-winning cake baker Rose Levy Beranbaum.  From her award-winning cookbook Rose’s Heavenly Cakes.  And thus far I have made about five of the cakes from this book, and (although it pains me to say it) I have noticed the same problem with all five.  They are dry.

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Cooking Rose's Heavenly Coconut Cake on the Pretty/Hungry Blog today  |  prettyhungryblog.com

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How can this be?  This woman is world-renowned for being the cake master.  She’s the author of the cake BIBLE for cryin’ out Pete’s sake!  She has tested, tweaked, and perfected every recipe in this book.  The best answer I can come up with is that Rose and her fellow cake-experts must just have a very different opinion on what constitutes a perfect cake.  While I and most of my cohorts love suuuuuper-moist cakes, Rose apparently doesn’t.  I would normally blame my baking skills and not Rose’s taste buds for producing a dry cake, but this is the 5th cake of hers I have tried.  And it’s dry.  So I’ve decided it’s her, not me.

Anyone else ever tried a “Rose’s Heavenly” cake?  Was it your idea of Heavenly?  I’d love to hear if others have noticed what I am noticing about this cookbook.  It’s truly crushing because I had really built it up in my mind and I was psyched to start baking from it.

Anyway, dry cake or not, the pictures turned out lovely.  I have my sweet mother-in-law to thank for that.  She agreed to do all the work while I sat back and photographed my little heart out.  (I never get to capture photos of every step of a recipe because I’m always juggling ingredients, pans, camera, etc.  I definitely went a little crazy and took about 12 pictures of her cracking eggs.  “I never get a good pic of cracking eggs!” I kept repeating.  Did I mention I have problems?)

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Baking Rose's Heavenly Coconut Cake with my mother-in-law.  Such a treat!  |  prettyhungryblog.com

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I’ll post the printable recipe below and perhaps you will dare to try it and give me your review.  Am I the only crazy one who likes it??  What I like about this cake is that is has a very intense coconut flavor (thanks to ground coconut, cream of coconut, and coconut extract in the batter), and also that it is perfectly balanced thanks to a cloud of unsweetened whipped cream on top and a dusting of sweetened flaked coconut.  Just such a simple and lovely combination.  It is also very easy to make since it’s just one layer.  My only word of warning is: Don’t expect it to be moist.  You can, of course, feel free to adjust the measurements and use more liquid or more fat, or under-bake it by a few minutes.  I’d love to hear if that yields a moister cake for you.  (I haven’t made those tweaks myself because it feels sacrilege to try to “improve upon” a recipe written by the lady who wrote “The Cake Bible.”  Again I repeat, I have problems.)

One more note: Perhaps the silver lining in all this is that we were left with some extra Cream of Coconut because this cake does not use a whole can, and that was an AMAZING bonus.  Cream of Coconut became my new favorite add-in for coffee after we made this cake.  Holy COW, so good.

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So maybe just skip the whole cake and buy a can of Cream of Coconut for your coffee.  Consider that my recommendation.

But just in case, the printable recipe for the cake is below.

Lotsa Love,

Carissa

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Rose's Heavenly Coconut Seduction Cake
 
This cake has an intense coconut flavor but is not as moist as other traditional layer cakes. It is perfectly balanced by a cloud of unsweetened whipped cream topping and a dusting of sweetened flaked coconut. This cake is best served immediately after topping, so that the whipped cream does not have a chance to weep.
Author:
Serves:: 8
Ingredients:
  • Batter:
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ⅔ C. canned Cream of Coconut
  • ¾ tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp. coconut extract
  • ½ C. minus 1 T. superfine sugar (or regular sugar, pulsed in a food processor til fine)
  • ½ C. dried, unsweetened, grated coconut
  • 2 C. cake flour
  • 2¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • Topping:
  • 1½ C. cold, heavy cream
  • ¼ C. coconut cream powder (optional)
  • 1 C. sweetened, flaked coconut
Directions:
  1. Cake:
  2. Place oven rack in lower half of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line one 9 by 2-inch round cake pan with a circle of parchment paper (first coating bottom of pan with shortening so that parchment will adhere, then spraying the top of parchment and sides of pan with baking spray with flour.)
  3. The canned cream of coconut will have separated, so it first must be whipped of blended together into one consistent mixture before measuring.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites, 3 T. of the cream of coconut, the vanilla, and coconut extract just until lightly combined.
  5. In a food processor, process the sugar and dried unsweetened coconut until the coconut is powder fine.
  6. In a separate, large bowl, use electric beaters to beat the coconut mixture, flour, baking powder, and salt on low speed to combine. Add the softened butter and the remaining cream of coconut. Mix on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened, then raise the speed to medium and beat for 1½ minutes. Scrape down sides of the bowl.
  7. Add the egg white mixture in two parts, beating on medium-low speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure.
  8. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top evenly.
  9. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a wire cake tester comes out clean and cake just begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  10. Let cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then run a small metal spatula around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake. Turn cake out onto a wire rack that has been lightly coated with cooking spray. To prevent splitting, reinvert the cake so that the top side is up. Allow cake to cool completely while you make the whipped topping.
  11. Topping:
  12. In a mixing bowl, combine the heavy cream and coconut cream powder and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. Whip the mixture starting on low speed, gradually raising the speed to medium-high as it thickens, only until the cream mounds softly when dropped from a spoon.
  13. Mound the cream on top of the cake and sprinkle evenly with the sweetened, flaked coconut. Serve immediately.

 

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Salted Caramel Shortbread Bars  |  prettyhungryblog.com

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*Note: This post contains affiliate links.  See my disclosure here.


About Carissa

Pretty/Hungry is a resource for anyone who wants to make delicious, healthful, & beautiful food. Cooking is an art form, and the food is the art. Send me an e-mail at ccprettyhungry@gmail.com. Let's make beautiful food together!



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12 thoughts on “Ahem… Award-Winning Coconut Cake?

  • Lynn Deese

    I love coconut! I’m wondering… maybe you could make it sort of like a poke cake. When it’s still hot, poke holes in it and drizzle some coconut cream on top. Then, when it cools a bit more, top with the whipped cream and coconut.

    • Carissa Post author

      That is a really brilliant idea! Especially since we ended up with extra cream of coconut after this recipe. It would definitely make for a sweeter cake though… I might be tempted to cut the cream of coconut with a little milk or whipped cream before pouring it over the warm cake.

  • Sarah

    lovely photos! i am a huge fan of coconut so i’m tempted to try this recipe anyways…but i despise dry cake. haha. we’ll see…. i do like that poke cake idea too!

  • Marianne

    I think I may be able to help but am not sure this is accurate. Somewhere in my brain is stored this little piece of information that I think
    came from my mother who was a pastry chef in Denmark and then moved to the Rocky Mountains in Canada – sometimes the elevation you live at has a lot to do with how dry your cakes are. The higher the elevation, the dryer the cake. I used to live at a high elevation and now live at sea level. I have found that it does change my baking. So higher elevation means shorter baking time. (I also want to let you know that my website is not live yet. I’m working on having enough blogs in advance before I put it up for viewing. Thanks for all your blogging tips; the timing couldn’t have been more perfect for me)

  • Marianne

    Oh just because I forgot on the last post, I’m going to try your cake and let you know how it turns out. I live on the coast now so we’ll see how it does at sea level. It looks yummy

  • Karyan

    The amount flour seems really high! I checked several of my favorite recipes, they all called for around 2 cups of flour for a 9×13 pan.
    Making it a poke cake is a great idea! I think toasted coconut and caramel sauce or hot fudge would be amazing!

    • Carissa Post author

      I think the reason for that (according to Rose) is because cake flour is lighter than regular all-purpose so she calls for more. But obviously it’s still a bit much, given that the cake turned out dry.

  • Heidi

    Unfortunately, I too made a cake recipe, “White Chocolate Cake” from her book, The Cake Bible, and it was very dry. Everyone else thought so as well. I was disappointed because I thought I had the only book I’d ever need about cakes but this was not to be….. on a good note however, the lady finger recipe is GREAT, and her cheesecakes are very good too, especially the Banana.