Thursday, 10 April 2014

Coconut Cake

If you like coconut, you'll love this cake.  This recipe maybe takes a little work because of the icing, but it is worth it.  It is a plain looking cake, but it is really good.  It has a nice soft crumb to it and it stays fresh for days.  I had a piece of this cake on Thursday after I had made it on Sunday and it was still nice and moist.  It's just a really good cake.  If you're looking for something special to make for company, but not too fussy, this is it.  



1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 3/4 cup superfine sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract or 2 to 3 drops of coconut flavour
5 large egg whites
2 3/4 cups cake flour
1 cup toasted* coconut 
1 cup milk


Preheat oven to 350 degree F.  

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, baking powder, sugar, salt, extracts until fluffy and light, at least 5 minutes.  Add the egg whites to the butter mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition.  

Stir one-third of the flour into the creamed mixture, then half the milk, another third of the flour, the remaining milk and the remaining flour.  Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally through this process.  Fold in toasted coconut.

Pour batter into two greased and floured or parchment-lined 9-inch round pans.  bake the cakes for 25 to 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Remove the cakes from the oven, let cool 10 minutes and remove from pans to continue to cool.  Remove the parchment at this point.

Silky Buttercream


1/2 cup egg whites
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract or 2 to 3 drops of coconut flavour

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Place the corn syrup, sugar and water in a medium-sized saucepan.  Stir over heat until combined and the sugar has dissolved.  Cover the pan, bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes without stirring.  Remove the cover and cook to the soft ball stage, 240 degrees F.

Meanwhile, begin to beat the egg whites on slow speed.  When they are foamy, add the cream of tartar and salt.  Gradually increase the speed of the mixer, continuing to beat until soft peaks form.  

As soon as the sugar syrup reaches the soft ball stage, remove it from the heat.  Turn the mixer off.  Very carefully pour about a quarter of the syrup down the inside of the mixing bowl.  Turn the mixer on and beat well. Add the syrup in two more additions, working as quickly as possible.  If the sugar is slightly overcooked and begins to harden, return it to the heat for a moment to re-melt it.  

Continue to bear the meringue until it cools to room temperature.  This takes about 20 minutes.  Feel the bottom of the bowl, it should feel completely cool.  If you try to add the butter before the meringue is cool, the butter will melt.  

When the meringue is cool, beat in the room-temperature butter a bit at a time.  If the frosting starts to separate, continue beating without adding any more butter until the frosting looks fluffy again.  Beat in the vegetable shortening.  Beat in your flavourings. 

Makes - 4 1/2 to 5 cups buttercream


On your serving plate, place one of your baked cakes, upside down.  Cover the top of the cake with buttercream, then top with the other layer of cake.  Frost the top and sides as desired.  I find there is plenty of buttercream for adding additional piped decorations.  

Monday, 7 April 2014

Crunchy Coconut Cookies

When my kids were little, we always had a full cookie jar.  All the kids in the neighborhood knew they would likely get a fresh homemade cookie when they came to our house to play.  Needless to say, the neighborhood kids played at our house most often.  The list was long of favorites that were made on a weekly basis, but this cookie was in the top ten for sure.  I love the combination of the chocolate, the coconut and the crunchy almonds. It was a real crowd pleaser. 


1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups flaked coconut
1 package (11-1/2 ounces) milk chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups finely chopped almonds


In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and extracts.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.  Stir in the coconut, chocolate chips and almonds.  

Drop by rounded teaspoons, 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 375 degrees F for 9 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool for 1 minute before removing from pans to wire rack.  

Makes about 4 1/2 dozen.