Monday, April 20, 2009

The One Where I Make a Coconut Cake

And, it actually seemed to turn out just fine. I know, gasp! I actually baked something that did not turn into some sort of unmitigated disaster. And, I sort of made up the recipe, too...well, cobbled it together from some other sources. Boo-yah! (Although, I did forget to take a picture...rats.)

In preparing for the annual "It's the Great Easter Brunch and Peep Head Spit, Charlie Brown," at Tessa's, we were chatting about what to bring. She is enamored of the mushroom gratin thingy and requested that, and I also mentioned that I had seen a recipe in Bon App├ętit for some Coconut Cream Cupcakes that involved reducing coconut milk. In reading the reviews of the recipe (by people who had actually made the recipe), the reduction time of the coconut milk seemed to vary wildly.

(And, have you ever noticed when you look at the recipe reviews on Bon Appetit/Epicurious, that about 90% of the people rave about how wonderful it was, but only because they changed X, Y, and Z. They never seem to actually make the recipe as it is written...which is fine and wonderful, because the recipe is really a guide and you can add your own little touches, BUT some of these people totally re-create the recipe in a different space-time continuum. I kind of agree with Paula Deen about making the recipe once by the book and then, the next time, jazz it up and make it your own. That way, you at least know how it was supposed to turn out and what you really liked or didn't like about it. But, that's just little ol' me.)

Tessa says to heck with reducing coconut milk--that's too much work. Why not use Coco Lopez instead? Coco Lopez is essentially the drink mixer version of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk only with cream of coconut. Coco Lopez is the definitive brand mixer for pina coladas...and is pretty darn tasty straight from the can. (I also like the Bacardi Pina Colada mixer in the frozen juice section. That is a serious "can licking" mixer! Plus, it seems you can add an indefinite amount of alcohol to 1 can of mixer and not taste me, I have tested that for you.) The recipes on the Coco Lopez site include an easy coconut cream cake that is pretty similar to what I cobbled together from my other "research." When I described it to Linna, she dubbed it "Duo Leches" cake, because what could be better than a dessert involving either Coco Lopez or Eagle Brand? Why a dessert that combines them, of course! And one that is easy, because it involves dressing up a boxed mix.

Duo Leches Easter Cake
(or any other time you want to make it because you have the urge for coconut cake!

1 box yellow cake mix (I used a Duncan Hines Super Moist...not sure that it matters)

1 15-oz can Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut

1 14-oz can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 cups sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 bag sweetened coconut (I used Angel Flake, because it's what my grandmother always used for German chocolate cakes)


1. Make the cake according to the package directions, whatever they may be, using a 13x9-inch rectangular pan in which to bake it.

2. While the cake is baking, whip together the Coco Lopez and the Eagle Brand and set aside.

3. When the cake comes out of the oven, poke holes in it, using a skewer or fork. Pour the Coco Lopez-Eagle Brand mixture over the warm cake, letting it soak in the holes. I did not use all of the mixture, because I didn't want the cake to become mush...I'd say use 3/4 of it.

4. Let the cake cool completely before frosting. I cooled it and then refrigerated it overnight before frosting it, but that was only because I was serving it the next day.

For the frosting:

1. Whip the 2 cups of heavy cream until stiff. Fold in the 2 cups of sour cream, and fold in the vanilla.

2. Fold in about 1/2 -3/4 of the bag of flaked coconut. Spread frosting on the cake and sprinkle with reserved coconut. Cut into squares and serve, hording the leftovers for yourself. : )

This is a very moist cake, and it won't be a pretty cake when you serve it, because you're dishing it out of the pan in which you cooked it, but that's how these cakes are meant to be dished up. You could be fancy and make it a layer cake or a Bundt cake, but I'd be worried about getting enough of the "duo mix" soaked in. Plus, I'm not sure the frosting would actually adhere to the sides of the cake. It would be a bit sad to have all the frosting slide off onto the table, and there's probably some passage in Emily Post that says you aren't allowed to lick anything off the table cloth.

I was going to be fancy and toast the coconut to give the cake a little extra "oomph." Yeah...when I had to go and get a 2nd bag of coconut, I realize why you should just buy two bags to begin will take your eyes off the coconut that has been in the oven for 11 minutes and realize that minute 13 was the indicator for "charred coconut." You could also color the coconut green and scatter jelly beans on it, and I won't ever speak to you again, but, you could do that. Jelly beans have no place as part of food...not even as garnish. Don't get me started on black jelly beans, either. Anise/licorice is the most poisonous taste I can think of...ever.

I'm still not sure what to do with the leftover "duo" mixture...somehow, putting over cereal seems a bit much, don't you think? Maybe I can use it as coffee creamer...that will really jolt my day--caffeine and sugar, lots of sugar!


LinC said...

The cake was yummy! Thanks for posting the recipe. That whipped cream frosting added a layer of decadence that was perfect.

I agree that there should be a fancier way to serve a sheet cake instead of dishing it out of a pan (my 13x9 pan is getting really ratty). But in this case I think it's required in order to keep all the gooey goodness captured inside the cake.

J said...

What to do with the leftover mixture? Umm, put a spoon in the bowl and eat. ;) You won't like yourself in the end but I bet it's good just like that!