Improved Coconut Cake #2
Two coconut cakes, both alike is dignity
In my not-so-fair kitchen where I lay out the baking ingredients.
From last year's oven fire breaks to a new attempt,
Where coconut water and coconut flour makes coconut cake anew...
First Attempt "Coconut" Cake
Coconut flakes are very flammable.
I tried to make a coconut cake last September. I
t was a tragedy.
While simply not having an oven fire would be a major accomplishment, the family agreed that the cake was much improved and actually tasted like coconut.
Here is what I learned from the most recent coconut cake adventure:
1) Coconut water, which, undiluted, tastes like laundry water, is very useful for flavoring cake and whipped cream frosting.
2) Not over-beating is VERY important in cake making. Mixing until just barely combined is key.
3) A metal mixing bowl and a big whisk are my preferred way to beat egg whites. It is very therapeutic.
4) Measuring cups come in 1/3 increments. Measuring spoons do not, but should.
5) Coconut flour is gluten-free and available at Whole Foods.
6) Making fresh fruit filling is amazingly easy and cornstarch is a secret weapon. What works for Chinese stir-fry sauces works for cake filling.
7) If your mixing pans are 1" larger than the recipe specifies, you'll get more pancake than cake (See right). Hence the half-circle cake (Pictured above) so I could get appropriate cake height.
However, all things considered, coconut cake with raspberry lime filling and coconut-flavored whipped cream worked out much better. And if I can make it unassisted, anyone can. I even brought it into work and my brutally honest co-workers and boss approved.
Just a few changes
More pancake than cake
Much Improved Coconut Cake
My own private Waimea Bay. Sigh.
Someone very dear in my Hawaii ohana is making the big jump to the "Mainland". Wishing them good luck, and sending them off with a view of one of my favorite places in the universe--summer morning at Waimea Bay. As the song goes, it's my "pocketful of paradise". I did not get to go to Hawaii this summer, and Waimea gestalt is one of the many things I really miss.
With that, a mix of Hawaii and Mainland cooking this week.SundaySteve's Grilled Lamb
. We ate it with Spinach Bolani (Afghani flatbread) and fresh grilled eggplant that we got from the Mountain View (CA) farmers market that day.
Love my Daddy's Fried Rice!
All you can eat buffet, as requested by my mother-in-law for her birthday dinner. With strawberry chiffon cake
from Whole Foods. The seasonal apple cake is also quite good.TuesdayMy Daddy's Killer Fried Rice
. For A LOT
of leftover rice.WednesdayTofu Loaf
, inspired by Green Garden Restaurant, a long-closed and very local-style restaurant in Hanapepe (Kauai). In addition to an awesome lilikoi pie, they baked up a tofu dish with onions, shiitake and mayonnaise. This version also includes tuna, carrots, celery and cream of mushroom soup. It shall be a grand experiment.
To balance out the Perhaps-Not-So-Great Green Garden experiment, I'll try a fancier Hawaii Regional Cuisine recipe. This one is Hoisin Linguine
from Russel Siu, one of the co-founders of 3660 on the Rise
. This also happens to be my mother's favorite restaurant, and by utter only-in-Hawaii coincidence, Mom used to go to water aerobics with the other founder. Very small island.
Taking the last gasp of summer with Roasted tomato pizza
.Baking ExtrasTodd's Pound Cake
. I grew up with Sara Lee Pound Cake, but I dropped her for husband-made. The 5 eggs and 1/2 pound of butter means it is should never been a weekly staple, but it's marvy as a once-in-awhile indulgence.Go Giants. Beat Cal. Hockey Come Back!
Eat Well. Be Well.
With any luck, I'll never have to buy a lemon again. My very thoughtful friend/neighbor just gave us a bunch of fresh Meyer lemons from her Mom's house in Fresno.
It's much too cold for lemonade, so Lemon Bars
are up, and baker/engineer husband's are especially popular. He is the master of "mix-dump-bake" recipes. These never last long and are oft-requested. Click here
for recipe. Use pecans or macadamias in the crust.
While we can still get berries in California in the winter, all manner of pears are in full season
and honestly, a lot more flavorful and much less expensive than what we grimly call "December raspberries".
Here again, baker/engineer husband makes a mean Pear Sour Cream Coffee Cake
. It is descended from a long-lost Better Homes and Garden recipe. This is another good cake that can be both breakfast, plain with coffee or dessert, with whipped cream and coffee. Click here
for the recipe.These are both quick and easy options for home, potlucks, or office parties.
Husband's and my office will vouch for this. Lemon Bars
make good "here-and-now" goodies and look prettiest when the powdered sugar has not soaked into the lemon filling. Be advised that Lemon Bars will last a good week, but the sugar will soak in after a few days.Pear Sour Cream Coffee Cake
reminds our household of the Hobee's blueberry coffee cake and it is fabulous when it is slightly warm, either out of the oven, or microwaved. And unlike the Hobee's version, it doesn't require the ball of butter on top. The layer of pears keeps everything from drying out. Happy Baking. Eat Well. Be Well.
For our anniversary, I thought I would surprise the husband by baking a cake. Instead, it went like this, "Happy Anniversary! Don't mind the smoke and by the way, I didn't burn the house down!
The husband and children are the designated bakers in the household. But for this occasion, I decided that I can indeed bake a cake. After all, I figured out all those lovely flavored whipped creams
and have baked batches of strawberry muffins
this summer. How hard could a 2-layer cake with a filling, frosting and toasted coconut be?
I found an simple standard white cake with a touch of almond extract that I modified only oh-so-slightly. Cakes flipped out of the pans perfectly and were cooling nicely.
Lemon pudding with coconut for the filling layer. A hybrid cream cheese/whipped cream frosting.
Things were going well.
All that was left was to toast the coconut. A short broil on the top rack of the oven and I'm done. I even set the timer so as not to overdo or worse, forget.
And suddenly, I was in an "I Love Lucy" episode. Oven and smoke detectors beeping at different intervals and different frequencies. I'm flittering around, simultaneously getting our fire extinguisher, opening all the windows to get the smoke detectors to stop, getting ready to dial 911, and above all, trying not to panic 'for real.'
Yeah, right. While I did turn off the oven and get it to stop beeping, my thoughts were a fully jumbled mess:
"Do I call 911 if it looks like the fire will be contained to the oven? Should I use fire extinguisher? Will it be overkill, especially if it trashes the oven? What about that episode of Mythbusters where they showed that an oven fire can smother itself out when the door closed and all the oxygen is used up? When can I open the oven to see if the oxygen is actually used up? Really, what is my threshold for using the fire extinguisher? If the house actually catches fire, how am I going to drive soccer carpool this afternoon?
Thankfully, the small tray of coconut flakes did indeed burn itself out in 90 of the longest seconds of my life.
Here is what I learned that:
1. 5 minutes is WAY TOO LONG to broil a small tray of coconut flakes.
2. Unsweetened coconut flakes are quite flammable. Pretty much like dry sawdust soaked in, well, coconut oil.
3. F2 on your oven indicator means there is a fire in it. In case the smoke emanating from it isn't enough of a clue. And no, I do not have a photo, although my husband did ask.
4. Oxygen deprivation is very, very effective for extinguishing a SMALL, fully-contained fire, but very, very bad for your thinking ability and health in general. Remember to breathe in crisis moments.
5. If you open the oven to see if the fire is out, oxygen will whoosh right in and revive the fire. This was my "Backdraft" moment. Use the oven light instead.
And in all seriousness, a fire extinguisher is a NECESSITY in your kitchen. If this were anything larger than a small flat pan of coconut flakes, I would have used it in a heartbeat, or gotten out of Dodge and called 911.
All things considered it turned out well. Almond Layer Cake
is in the Greenhouse
, but I won't be using the instant lemon pudding plus coconut for the filling, or the too-heavy cream cheese frosting.
And I rather like the pure, clean look of simple flaked coconut.Eat Well. Be Well.
The bakers in the household--husband and daughter, have been unusually busy lately. This is a good thing for the entire household, our neighbors and my husband's co-workers. They found a trio of "Mix, Dump and Bake" cakes that we have been enjoying.
Lemon Olive Oil Cake
I use lemons and olive oil for marinating gyros and for a good roast chicken. This just sounded so weird. Was I ever wrong.
This is a lovely lemon cake using a springform pan. Pouring the lemon glaze at the end makes an almost candy-like topping for the cake. Just don't let it sit too long in the pan. Otherwise the glaze will solidify into hard candy and you won't be able to get the cake out nicely. Click here
Super Easy Key Lime Pie
My daughter's winner, with another nod to guest blogger, The So-Called Expert
, for the sour cream topping. Key Lime juice, egg yolks, condensed milk and a pre-made graham cracker crust. Click here
Blackberry Buttermilk Cake
Adapted from a recent Bon Appetit
recipe. It also uses the springform pan. We haven't decided if it's a breakfast coffee-cake item or a powdered sugar with coffee dessert. So we've been doing both. A visiting pack of teenage boys also vouched for this one.Click here
No need for a special occasion. These are easy enough to make 'just because.' Eat Well. Be Well.
Here is Part 2 of mad-scientist week. I got a recommendation for an easy orange cake and found a quick-cooking fish.
Here's the report card, as graded by the household.Fifteen-minute fish
--Easy. Fast. Ingredients you have in your house (olive oil, butter, flour, almonds, lemon, optional parsley). As my techie friends say, "FTW"Orange Cake
--I love the spirit of this recipe
. Rather than juice an and zest the orange, the entire thing goes into the food processor with some nuts and cranberries (or raisins).
I got the recipe from a friend of mine who was trained in Europe and works part-time as a personal chef. I have a feeling that mad-substitutions may have gone too far. The flavor was good, but it was a very squishy short cake, more like banana-bread-like than cake. I'll have to her for pointers. A solid recipe, but still under development in the Greenhouse
Look for the weekly menu tomorrow. Til then,
Eat well. Be well.
Is there no end to that Costco bag of cranberries from Thanksgiving? "We" finally finished off the first bag by making cranberry coffee cake.
And giving credit where it is due: Todd found this in the Joy of Cooking, p.780. Like pineapple muffins, it was a simple 3-bowl recipe (wet, dry, streusel). But based on the pineapple-cranberry fiasco, I thought putting raw cranberries into coffee cake batter was a little iffy.
It sat a full day before I had the courage to take a piece. What an idiot! I should always implicitly trust the baker of the house. Click here
for the recipe.