Coconut Cake Diary, Part 2
Friday, 12:15 p.m.: The cake is completely cooled, which is key to successful icing application. In a makeshift double boiler, I heat egg whites, sugar, water and vanilla, until the mixture is 140 degrees and the sugar is dissolved. With an electric mixer, I beat the warm mixture until it transforms into a fluffy meringue, holding soft peaks. I spread a light layer of the white stuff on top of the cooled cake to create an adhesive, and then I mix in 1 cup of shredded coconut, which seems to be ineffective. I learn just a few minutes later that sprinkling the coconut on top of the finished cake has a more dramatic effect. The result is stunning, like newly fallen snow.
I cut into my creation and the color contrast -- dark choc against snowy coconut -- is just as I had envisioned. The cake is as tender as I remember in the two-layer version, and the earthy chocolate loves the fatty tropical fruit. I miss the two layers not even a bit.
p>Very Good Chocolate Cake
Adapted from The Gift of Southern Cooking by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup hot (not boiling) water
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil or applesauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Tools: 9 or 10-inch springform pan or 2 nine-inch round cake pans
Preheat oven to 325. Butter, flour and line springform pan with parchment paper.
Sift together sugar, flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl. In another bowl, pour hot water over chocolate, allowing it to melt completely. In a third bowl, whisk eggs and oil (or applesauce), then add sour cream, vanilla and chocolate mixture. Fold wet mixture into dry, by thirds, incorporating after each addition. Divide batter evenly between the cake pans.
Bake about 55 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer cake to rack and allow to rest for five minutes loosening the ring. To unmold, run a flat-edged knife between cake and sides of pan. Grab edge of parchment paper and carefully pull off bottom pan. Allow cake to completely cool before peeling off parchment and frosting.
Fluffy White Icing w/ Shredded Coconut
Adapted from "Perfect Light Desserts" by Nick Malgieri and David Joachim
2 egg whites
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup shredded coconut
Half fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Regulate heat so that water simmers gently but isn't boiling violently. Combine all icing ingredients in a heatproof bowl and whisk by hand just to mix. Place bowl over saucepan and whisk gently until egg whites are hot (140 degrees on an instant read thermometer) and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and beat the mixture with an electric mixer, on medium speed, until icing is cooled and increased in volume. It will turn into a marshamallowy fluff, almost meringue like.
With a flat knife, spread icing on top, starting from the center, working to the eges and sides. When you have sufficient coverage, sprinkle coconut all over the cake, pressing it into the sides.
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