Monday, August 04, 2008

Coconut Cake with 7-Minute Frosting

I've been wanting to make a coconut cake for Mike's birthday for a few years now. But in the recent past, he's asked for German chocolate and carrot cake. They both contain coconut, but that does not put them under the category of "coconut cake." Not even a little bit.

So this year, Mike said a straight-up coconut cake would do, and I knew exactly where to turn for a recipe. All I wanted was a great cake - light, moist texture; two layers; filling; and good frosting. With no designs whatsoever on reinventing the wheel, I knew I'd use a recipe I pulled out of Good Housekeeping magazine a few months ago. The issue had Paula Deen on the cover, and inside she was noshing merrily on this cake. If it was good enough for her, I figured I couldn't go wrong.

Then, the funniest thing happened. One of my regular blog reads, Cookie Madness, posted an easy coconut cake that was rated very highly by Anna, who I believe more than the things I read in Good Housekeeping (no offense to GH, but you know...). So I decided to make her recipe, which she sourced from, instead. But, before I baked, I took a quick look at the Paula Deen recipe to see how they differed. Want to guess what happened? They were exactly the same. Now I had a cake with glowing endorsements from all fronts.

This is a great cake. It's easy. I will never tell you to crack your own coconut in the interest of purity, and neither does this recipe. Simple canned coconut milk flavors the cake. A tangy filling made from sour cream, sugar and shredded coconut adds an interesting tangy note. And finally, there's the 7-minute icing. This is an old recipe. I don't know its origins, but it's the one that's kind of like marshmallow fluff, only better. There's no butter - just sugar and egg whites - so it's not as dense with fat and calories as buttercream.

I followed Anna's version of the recipe, which she cut in half to fit 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Paula's version is for 3 (9-inch) pans, and I had no interest in having that much cake in my house (plus, I only have 2 cake pans). Here is Paula's full recipe on the Food Network site, if you do want that much cake (nothing wrong with that). And here's the 7-minute frosting.

As I said, Anna baked her cake in 2 8-inch pans, and that's the ideal size. I thought I could get away with my 2 9-inch pans and just have thinner layers. Once I made the batter, however, I knew it was not enough to respectably fill both pans (and I'd already buttered and floured them, darn it!). So, I just poured all the batter in one pan, baked a little longer and cut the cake in half horizontally with a large serrated knife. I had never performed this cake operation before, but it was wonderfully easy. Just like the rest of the cake.


Peabody said...

Oh I love me a 7 minute frosting. Seriously addicting stuff!

Grace said...

i'm not sure any coconut cake could ever be bad, but this looks especially tender and soft and lovely. i like how you handled the layer issue--i'm sure it worked out wonderfully. good job, and happy birthday to mike! :)

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Somehow I've never warmed up to coconut cake, but I did make Barefoot Contessa's coconut cupcakes once, and they were a big hit with my family. One of these days, I'll have to give coconut another try.

Christie's Corner said...

It's my mom's birthday today and she loves coconut. I'm not a fan of the 7=minute frosting (all sweet, not flavour) but I just might add a bit of coconut flavoring to kick things up a notch.

Julie said...

Peabody: I know, I can't believe I've never made it before.
Grace: Trust me they can be bad. I made a leaden, misshapen coconut cake several years ago, so not repeating that event was especially important!
Lydia: I bet this recipe would beat Ina's. I think it's a traditional southern style cake, and contrary to popular opinion, that means it's not heavy with butter. Southerners are masters of texture when it comes to cakes.
Charmain: I hear ya. It's basically all sugar with some vanilla thrown in--marshmallow fluff. I was suprised how much Mike liked it, and I really did too. But, complex it isn't.

Anonymous said...

Hi Julie,
I stumbled across your recipe for Breakfast Scones on, and I have to say, you've really saved my mornings! I'm living in Germany, and most of my quick breakfast options involved heavy pastries full of chocolate or drizzled with icing...don't get me wrong, I love this stuff, but when I have to eat breakfast at 7 am, it's kind of a recipe for disaster.
I substituted dried cranberries for the dried cherries in your recipe (since I couldn't find dried cherries here to save my life, for some reason), and they are honestly the highlight of my morning. So thank you so much!
This cake looks really wonderful, as well - I am going to try to convince my husband to make it for my birthday. ;)

Berlin, Germany

Cheryl said...

I think there must be coconut in the water. Just yesterday I posted a recipe on my blog for coconut-cardamom palmiers!

Esme said...

For the 7 minute frosting did you use icing sugar or granulated sugar?

thanks-I just made a coconut cake and need to frost it.

Julie said...

Esme: It's granulated sugar. It is odd that Paula's recipe doesn't specify, but when it just reads, "sugar," that generally means granulated.

Derrick Mask said...

Will have to try. I did notice you omitted the water in the list of ingredients for the frosting.