Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pirate Birthday

This is my sons 4th birthday cake. He wanted a pirate party so this is what I came up with. I think it turned out really cute! The ship is strawberry cake and the island is banana cake with pecan and coconut frosting then the water is yellow cake with chocolate and cream cheese frosting. Then I also made chocolate cupcakes filled with chocolate mousse and strawberry cupcakes topped with chocolate mousse which I forgot to take pictures of. :( It was a great party!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Coconut cake

So this is a fresh coconut cake. I mean I used fresh coconuts for the coconut, used the coconut water, made fresh coconut milk and cream. It was kind of a lot of work, all for my husband. His grandmother would make a coconut cake that looked like this every Easter and he was wanting one so I thought I would carry on the tradition. His grandmother only used a box white cake, but always made the 7 minute frosting, I thought I would kick it up a bit and make it homemade with all fresh ingredients. He was in love with it and thought it was the best cake ever. I guess I am not a big fan of fresh coconut, I like the store bought sweetened kind myself. :) I will make something that looks like this next year, but maybe change it up a bit so we both like it.:)

The recipe was from food network and Alton Brown if your interested, here it is:
Coconut Cake with 7-Minute Frosting
1 coconut, see Cook's Note
For the cake:
Vegetable oil, for cake pan
14 1/4 ounces cake flour, plus extra for pans, approximately 3 cups
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup fresh coconut milk
1/2 cup fresh coconut cream
8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
16 ounces sugar, approximately 2 1/4 cups
1 teaspoon coconut extract
4 egg whites
1/3 cup coconut water
For the 7-Minute Frosting:
3 large egg whites
12 ounces sugar, approximately 1 3/4 cups
1/3 cup coconut water
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grated coconut from 1 coconut, approximately 8 to 10 ounces
Cook's Note: To open a coconut: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the coconut onto a folded towel set down in a large bowl. Find the 3 eyes on 1 end of the coconut and using a nail or screwdriver and hammer or meat mallet, hammer holes into 2 of the eyes. Turn the coconut upside down over a container and drain the water from the coconut. Store the water in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Place the coconut onto a 1/2 sheet pan and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. The coconut should have cracked in several places. Using an oyster knife or other dull blade, separate the hard shell from the brown husk. Using a serrated vegetable peeler, peel the brown husk from the coconut meat. Rinse the coconut meat under cool water and pat dry. Break the meat into 2 to 3-inch pieces. With the grater disk attached to a food processor, grate the coconut.
For the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil 2 (9-inch) cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Oil the parchment paper and then flour the pan. Set aside.
Place the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
Combine the coconut milk and coconut cream in small bowl and set aside.
Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, cream on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and gradually add the sugar slowly over 1 to 2 minutes. Once all of the sugar has been added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Turn the mixer back on to medium speed and continue creaming until the mixture noticeably lightens in texture and increases slightly in volume, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the coconut extract.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture to the butter and sugar in 3 batches, ending with the milk mixture. Do not over mix.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the batter, just until combined. Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bang the pans on the counter top several times to remove any air and to distribute the batter evenly in the pan. Place in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake is light golden in color and reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.
Cool the cake in the pans for 10 minutes then remove and transfer to a cooling rack. Once the cakes have cooled completely cut across the equator of each to form 4 layers. Place the 1/3 cup coconut water into a small spritz bottle and spray evenly onto the cut side of the 4 layers. If you do not have a spritz bottle you may brush the coconut water on with a silicone pastry brush. Allow to sit while preparing the frosting.
Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium to maintain a steady simmer. In the meantime, place the egg whites, sugar, coconut water, cream of tartar and salt into a medium size-mixing bowl. Place the bowl over the simmering water and immediately begin beating with an electric hand mixer set to low speed. Beat for 1 minute and then increase the speed to high and continue to beat for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and beat in the coconut and vanilla extracts for 1 minute. Allow the frosting to sit for 5 minutes before using.
Place approximately 3/4 cup of the frosting on the first layer of cake, sprinkle with 1/2 cup coconut and top with the next layer. Repeat until you reach the top layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake and sprinkle with the remaining coconut. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.