A Delectable Coconut Cream Cake Recipe
What is a coconut?
Coconuts are fibrous one-seeded drupe, also known as a dry drupes. A drupe is a fruit consisting of a tough, hard stony covering enclosing a seed. It can also be defined as a fruit, nut, and a seed.
A coconut has three layers: the exocarp (outer layer), mesocarp (middle), and endocarp (layer that surrounds the seed). The coconuts we see in the grocery are brown and hairy. They are sold in the endocarp form. The ones that grow outside our Florida home, from the coconut palm, are green in color because it contains all three layers. We often see people pick these fruits, cut them and gulp down the juice from within as a quick energy drink. It takes nearly a year for a coconut to mature. (Source: Everyday Mysteries, loc.gov)
Fulfilling A Desire
When I was a child, my father used to pry open a coconut and cut it into chunks as candy treats for us kids. I remember how the sweetness of the flesh tickled my taste buds and cooled my tongue. I haven't had pure raw coconut in ages but the memories linger. Little did I realize the health benefits I derived from this fruit. I believe my dad knew this advantage but never dared to mention it as such; further indulgence would have been rare.
My husband is fond of coconut; he will put it on just about anything. Have you ever had it on rice or beans? It is a bit far-fetched but he likes the crunch and taste of the flakes over the food. He was watching an episode on the food channel one evening and was so impressed with the cake created from a variety of coconut products. Being visually inspired (as most men are!), he resolved to bake one the next day. As a result, I am sharing this recipe with readers. I have to admit that it is the most excellent coconut cake I have ever eaten and it definitely rates five stars on my personal dessert list .
How Coconut Milk Benefits The Body
Coconut milk is just one benefit derived from this fruit. It has become quite popular in baked goods and as a health drink due to its micronutrients. It is high in manganese which is used in medicines or supplements to build bones, strengthen blood, and aid in premenstrual pain.
Other nutrients found in coconut milk are potassium, selenium, folate, zinc, phosphorus and vitamin C. It is also high in iron, a mineral that carries rich oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. Some researchers believe coconut milk may also aid in raising HDL levels in blood cholesterol.
However, nutritionists warn people that is high in calories. One single cup may contain up to 550, most of this is considered to be saturated fat. It is suggested one indulge in this drink only on occasion.
- 2 sticks unsalted softened butter, add extra for pan
- 3 cups all-pupose flour, add extra for pan
- 1 1/3 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1, 13.5 ounce can sweetened cream of coconut, stir well
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
Coconut Cream Cake (Source: Anne Thornton; Food Network)
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup canned sweetened cream of coconut, well stirred
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Fine sea salt
Beat the cream cheese in a medium bowl until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the butter and beat until smooth. Add the sugar, sweetened cream of coconut, vanilla extract and pinch of sea salt and beat until well blended, scraping down the sides as needed, for about 3 more minutes. Optional: add a splash of fresh lime juice and dash of finely grated lime zest to mix.
A Coconut Recipe You Will Enjoy
- Almond Butter Cookies with Coconut: Gluten and Cow Milk Free
Developing gluten and cow milk free recipes is interesting work, and rewarding when they turn out right. This cookie recipe turned out especially yum! They bake up light yet also store nicely.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 (9 inch diameter) cake pans with 2 inch high sides (the cake layers are higher than normal).
- Pour the flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Whisk together. In a separate bowl, beat the sugar, butter and sweetened cream of coconut until fluffy like whipped cream, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs yolks and vanilla extracts. Scrape the sides of the bowl and stir to blend ingredients. On low speed, beat in 1/2 the dry ingredients, followed by the buttermilk, and the remaining dry ingredients, scrape the sides between additions, just until blended.
- Using clean, dry beaters, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt in a large bowl until the egg whites are stiff but not to dry. In batches, fold the beaten egg whites into the batter, being careful not to deflate the whites.
- Divide the batter between the cake pans. Spread the batter with a spatula to level the batter. Bake the cakes until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool cakes on wire rack, about 15 minutes. Gently run a small knife around the pan insides to loosen cake from rim. Turn layers onto rack to cool completely.
- Using a pastry brush, gently brush crumbs from the cooled layers. If the cake domes on top, trim to evenly stack the layers. Spread 1 cup frosting over bottom layer, leaving a 1/2 inch border from cake edge.
- Sprinkle 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut mix over the frosting. Top with the second layer, flat side up. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Make peaks and swirls for a special effect.
- Sprinkle the remaining coconut mix over the cake, gently press into the sides to adhere.
So What Is Vanilla Bean Paste?
This slightly thick liquid is from the inside of a vanilla pod and has a robust and intense flavor. It is used to thicken other food product such as custards or filling. It is easy to use and only requires a small amount to bring out the flavor in mixtures. It does not work so well on white or light-colored icing as it will darken the frosting considerably.
I can't point out how much better it is for your to use natural vanilla, whether as a bean, paste or liquid, than artificial brands. It may cost more but the taste and health benefits are worth it. We bought our bottle at the local supermarket, but it may be hard to find in some places. I recommend purchasing online, in specialty stores or health food markets when not locally available. Keep in mind that if you decide to purchase online you may have to buy it in bulk.
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Toasting Coconut Flakes
Why Toast The Flakes?
Do you think the toasted flakes make this cake attractive? I love the way it adds a bit of color to this delectable dessert. Most coconut cakes are beautifully covered in frosty white but this recipe makes it stand out further with the contrast between the icing and the browned flakes.
It is quite easy to toast the flakes and takes a few minutes in the oven. The adjacent video shows you how to do this with basic kitchen tools and only a couple of ingredients.
Suggested Uses For Coconut Flakes
In steamed white rice
Toss with brown rice and pine nuts
In cookie recipes
Sprinkle over cupcakes as a garnish
Layered between a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
In trail mix
Over yogurt and berries