Modifying the Coconut Cake Recipe

My friend, Becky, is a long-time client with a headful of curls that evoke sighs of envy wherever she goes (although she would probably beg to differ, but I am her hair stylist…which puts an end to THAT discussion). What sucks is that she lives too far away for us to play together on a regular basis, but that probably isn’t such a bad thing for the peace of mind of those who know us.

Becky asked Cathy and I if we would mind modifying the recipes we post for the “culinarily challenged.” Specifically, she asked about the coconut cake recipe and we’ve been happy to help her out in a Facebook conversation. Thinking about it, I decided to share that conversation here, guessing this might be of benefit to a lot of people who are starting their culinary journey, or even for those who have been cooking or baking for a while but might have time considerations.

Shredding the coconut is the most labor-intensive part of the recipe (Cathy). If there is no time to deal with the fresh, however, you can find pre-shredded, unsweetened coconut in most grocery stores or health food stores: The best is frozen, but bagged will do in a pinch. Use as directed in the recipe for the fresh shredded coconut.

You won’t have the coconut milk from the fresh coconut for the cake; however, you can use the water called for in the cake mix directions as usual, but replace 1/3 of the water with cream of coconut. Don’t substitute milk as that can toughen the cake.

A stand-up higher end mixer is a must for buttercream, whipped cream and the like, because it cuts the work in half (Cathy). The coconut buttercream will be more difficult to make if you have to use a hand-held or one of the old-fashioned Mixmasters. I have Kitchen Aid ProLine that dates from about the mid- to late 80’s (after Hobart sold the Kitchen Aid division to Whirlpool, but before Whirlpool screwed the entire line up) and I love it. If you plan to do any kind of serious baking, I would highly recommend you invest in one, even a good refurbished model if a new one is beyond your means.

A word about using a cake mix for this recipe. I am not above using processed foods or ingredients on occasion when I think the finished product will warrant the blasphemy. For this cake, using a homemade white cake recipe results in a heavy, almost pasty product which is texturally nasty to me. Doctoring a cake mix results in a much better end result, to my mind.

As for dissecting and “zombie-fying” the Peeps? Unless Cathy chooses to share her methods, you are on your own.

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One thought on “Modifying the Coconut Cake Recipe

  1. The “ethnic” food aisles – isn't all food ethnic? – often sell coconut water as a canned drink. So long as it has no sugar added, you could use some of that as well. I would think. I've never tried it. Also, check Asian stores for the shredded coconut – generally, they have better prices.

    As to the zombies, that's a whole different blog entry. One that you will all grow weary of reading, I am certain.

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