Coconut

Triple Coconut Pound Cake with Lime Glaze

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This is just a little twist on your basic pound cake.  I came up with this because I had to use up some ingredients that I didn’t want to spoil in my fridge.  There was some coconut milk and shredded coconut (both sweetened and unsweetened) that was left over from a batch of coconut cupcakes.   So why not try to use some of that up in another cake?  And this is the end result.  Here’s what you need:

For the cake:

  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. cornstarch
  • 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 c. shredded sweetened coconut
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. coconut milk
  • 1/2 c. toasted unsweetened coconut

1.  Preheat the oven to 325.  Butter and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan and set aside
2.  Sift together the flours, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl.  Add the sweetened coconut and mix.  Also, mix together the coconut milk and vanilla into a measuring cup and set aside.
3.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy on medium speed.  Beat for about 2-3 minutes.  Gradually add the sugar and honey, beating well for another 5 minutes.
4.  Reduce speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, making sure to the mixture is well combined after each addition.  Scrape the bowl if needed.  In three additions, add the flour mixture, alternating with the coconut milk.  Mix until just combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan
5.  Bake for about an hour, until set in the middle.  Cool in the pan for 15 – 20 minutes before unmolding.  Glaze the cake while it is still warm, then allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack.

For the glaze:

  • the zest and juice from 2 limes
  • 2 1/2 c. confectioners sugar

1.  In a mixing bowl, place the zest and juice from the 2 limes.  Add the sugar and whisk until combined.  The amount of sugar that you need will probably vary somewhat.  It depends on the amount of juice in the limes, the humidity in the air, and the sugar.  Now I like the glaze to be fairly thick for this cake, but you can make it more liquid if you like.

2.  Pour the amount of desired glaze over the cake.  You will probably have some leftover which you can reserve for another application (for sugar cookies or maybe some turnovers).

Notes — Now I didn’t strain the lime juice so the glaze is a little bit chunky.  But I kinda like the look.  Also, I think that this could be nice in one of those round cake pans, like a Bundt or something like that.

Fluffy White Coconut Cupcakes

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I love coconut.  It’s actually pretty versatile if you think about it.  Typically, you put it in things like cakes, or granola, or macaroons.  But you can use it in a bunch of other things like soups, coconut shrimp, salads, coconut rice, puddings. . . well, you get the point.  Now this recipe is for something pretty standard, but still so good.  How can you go wrong with a Coconut Cupcake?  They are sweet and decadent and always seem to please a crowd, especially when paired a nice Fluffy White frosting (which is also called a Seven-Minute frosting).

For a nice short cut to get to this recipe you could:  1.  just use the yellow cake recipe that I had posted earlier but cut it in half, 2.  replace the milk with coconut milk, and 3.  add 1/2 c. shredded coconut to the dry ingredients.  But for this recipe, a little tweaking had to be made.  You have to add a little bit more flour to help stabilize the cake; the addition of the shredded coconut changes the structure of the cake.  Plus, I rounded up the amount of coconut milk to 3/4 c.  If you just use half the yellow cake recipe it would call for 5/8 c of the milk.  It just works better logistically (I don’t have an 1/8 c. measure).  Plus, with the increase in the flour, the extra liquid is still absorbed well.  It’s the same case with the sugar, but since you have to cream the sugar and the butter together, you have to increase the amount of butter in as well.  All slight tweaks, but (as you can see) there’s a reason for everything.  This makes about 24 cupcakes.  Now here’s what you need:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 T. baking powder
  • 1/2 c. sweetened shredded coconut (plus more for the topping)
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c. unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter at room temperature
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs

1.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a standard sized muffin pan with paper liners.

2.  Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking powder) into a medium-sized bowl.  Add the shredded coconut.  Mix and set aside.  In a measuring cup, combine the vanilla extract and the coconut milk.  Set aside.

3.  In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar.  Mix for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

4.   Add the flour in three additions, alternating with the coconut mixture and starting and ending with the flour.  Mix until well blended, but don’t over mix.

5.  Fill the lined cups about 2/3 full.  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool in the pans.

6.  Pile on the frosting and top with the shredded coconut.  Cupcakes should be good for about 5 days unfrosted and 3 days with frosting.

For the frosting:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1 T. corn syrup
  • 1/2 t. cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 t. vanilla extract

1.  Mix together egg whites, sugar, water, corn syrup, cream of tartar, and salt.  Whisk for about a minute until frothy.

2.  Over a double boiler, stir the mixture with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the mixture gets to 160 degrees F.  Remove from the heat and transfer to the bowl of a mixer.  Using the whisk attachment, beat the mixture until cool and forms stiff peaks, about 5-7 minutes (hence the term Seven-minute frosting).  Add the vanilla and mix to combine.

Notes — If you can find it, use some of the large flake coconut.  It adds a nice touch and makes it a little bit more special.  You can just keep it white to keep with the color palette or toast it for a nice contrast.  One of these days, I might try this using some whole wheat flour.  Whole wheat flour adds a nice nuttiness to the flavor, but it also changes the consistency of the dough.  Probably would be good to use a combination of wheat flour and cake flour instead of the all-purpose flour.  Also, using a chocolate cake batter would be nice and tasty version.

Caribbean Upside Down Cake

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Since it’s warming up outside, I’ve been thinking about fresh fruit and baking.  One of the best ways to incorporate the two is with an upside down cake!  When most folks think about upside down cakes, pineapples and maraschino cherries come to mind.  But you can have any variety of fruits in the cake.  That’s when I came up with this recipe for the Caribbean Upside Down Cake (besides, there were a bunch of grapefruits just hanging out in the kitchen).

The name for this recipe comes from the two highlighted ingredients — grapefruit and coconut (and rum, too!).  Coconut is grown throughout the tropics (some say it is native to Asia, others say South America), and the origins of the grapefruit with which we are most familiar can be traced to Barbados or Jamaica.  But they can be further traced back to pomelo seeds brought to the Caribbean in the 1700s from Southeast Asia.  And there is your cultural nugget of knowledge for today (I need to come up with a better phrase than that!).  I am not a food historian, so if anything is incorrect, let me know and I can further research it.

Anyhoo, for the recipe.  I like the juxtaposition of the sweetness of the caramel, and the flavor of the grapefruit.  Now you can use any yellow cake recipe that you like.  Please do not make it from a box!  I’ll include the whole thing for you!  This recipe makes 3 8-inch cakes.  You could switch it up and make 2  9-inch cakes, or even make cupcakes.  Just make sure the cake is set in the middle and a tester comes out clean.  This works best with the ingredients at room temperature.

For the topping:

  • 3 grapefruits
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 3 T. dark rum
  • 1/2 t. salt

For the cake:

  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 3/4 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1 1/4 c. milk
  • 3/4 c. shredded coconut

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray the cake pans with cooking spray and line with a parchment round.  Spray the round as well.

2.  Prepare the topping.  Cream together the butter and sugar in a mixer for about 3 minutes.  Add the salt and combine.  Gradually add the rum and vanilla.  Spread equal parts of the topping into the bottom of each cake round.

3.  Peel and supreme  the grapefruits (here’s a link that shows you how with lots of pics).  Arrange the segments in an attractive way in the cake pans on top of the butter mixture; you could try concentric circles or anything that you might like.  Try different things and see what you prefer.

4.  Sift the dry ingredients together.  Set aside.

5.  In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar.  Mix well for about 5 minutes in a mixer on medium speed.  Add the vanilla and combine.  Now add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

6.  Now alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk to the butter, mixing after each addition and starting and ending with the flour.  So add 1/3 of the flour to the butter and mix to combine.  Add 1/2 of the milk and combine.  Then add 1/3 of the flour and mix, 1/2 of the milk and mix, and now the last of the flour.  Do not over mix.  Fold in the coconut with a spatula.

7.  Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans and smooth the tops.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes until the cakes are set in the middle and a tester comes out clean.  You may need to rotate the cakes halfway through to evenly bake, depending on how your oven bakes.

8.  Cool on a rack for 20 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge of the cake to release it.  Invert a serving plate on top of the cake pan.  Turn it upside down so that the cake pan is on top, turning it away from you so you don’t spill on yourself.  The cake should release easily thanks to the parchment.  Remove the parchment before serving.

I froze the other two cakes, so that I can have some cake for the next couple of months or so.  Now the caramel sauce is a little more liquid than other upside down cake recipes.  This is due to how the grapefruit is prepared.  I did find another recipe for a Grapefruit Upside-Down Cake on Martha’s website where she used the whole segments of grapefruit with the membrane intact.  Haven’t tried it, but I’m curious how the topping differs.

Coconut Pie

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Here’s a recipe that I found at Penzey’s.  It’s very simple and has some good flavor.  Here’s the ingredients:

  1. 1 stick of butter, melted
  2. 2 eggs
  3. 1 1/2 c. sugar
  4. 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  5. 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  6. 1/2 c. flour
  7. 2 c. milk
  8. 3 c. shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well.  Pour into an ungreased 9 in. pie plate.  Bake for about 35 – 45 minutes until browned.  Let cool.  Run a thin knife around the rim of the pie plate to help release before cutting

According to the recipe, this makes its own crust so do not put it in a pie crust.  When I made it, there was a crust that was formed, but it was not as pronounced as I thought it would be.  The pie did fall apart somewhat, so I’m trying to adjust the amount of flour and eggs in it.  I did add the zest of an orange which completely changed the end product.  I loved it, but it was a little intense so maybe half that amount would be enough.  You could also try mixing in some slivered almonds or something along those lines to just add a different texture, if you like that kind of thing