Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Coconut Buttercream Cake

As daunting as baking sounds, it is not that difficult and once you have your perfect mixture, you can never go wrong with this. I have been experimenting for quite some time now and this is pretty much the most basic sponge cake I make. It works for me as I can use mostly any filling I want. This time I just decided on whim that I was going to bake a coconut cake.

I love the flavor of coconut. Its sweet and tender flesh is, somehow, enticingly alluring to me, and of course I am, shamelessly, admitting to it. There is nothing better and satisfying than uniting your favorite foods creating a very harmonious yet party-in-your-mouth flavor.

A good sponge is all it takes to make my disposition astonishingly calm yet the devil inside me always asks for more. Hence, Coconut plus sponge equals coconut sponge cake.

I kept this cake very simple using only desiccated coconut but if you wish, you can always use fresh coconut, dehydrate it and use it in the buttercream. My desiccated coconut was bought and I am brazenly confessing to it as it did not compromise the sweet natural flavor of the cake.

For the cake:

200gms soft butter
150gms castor sugar
250gms refined flour
4 eggs room temperature
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 heaped tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup of room temperature milk
A good pinch of salt (forego if you are using salted butter)

I use an electric handheld mixer thereby making the process easier. It is not an impossible task doing it by hand. It just takes a little extra time.

Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

Combine the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat it (using the beaters) until pale and fluffly. Start adding the eggs one by one to the mixture. Incorporate the first egg completely before adding another one. Sometimes the mixture seems to curdle, you can just add a spoon of the flour mixture. It will immediately become a smooth mix again. Crack in all the eggs and the mixture should look exquisitely light and fluffy. The color should be a creamy yellow at this stage. Start adding the flour and the milk in alternately. You have to bring the mixture to a dropping consistency.

Bake in a lined loose bottomed 8inch cake tin for 50-60 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. Start checking the doneness of the cake by inserting a tester. If it comes out clean, its done but if not then let it go on for another 5 minutes or so. Sometimes I use uncooked spaghetti strand to check the cake and I assure you it works absolutely fine.

You can also divide the mixture equally among two cake tins and sandwich them after making the icing. However, my cake is divided in thirds.

Once it’s done, leave it for 10 minutes in the tin and de mould it and let it cool down completely before icing the cake.

For the frosting:

200gms softened butter
150gms icing sugar
1-2 tsp single cream (in case needed)
2 cups desiccated coconut

Start by whipping the butter until it’s completely light, pale and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and beat for another few minutes until completely smooth. I use a little less icing sugar as I don’t want it to be overwhelmingly sugary.

In case it becomes thick, just add in a teaspoon of cream to loosen the mixture. Divide the mixture in half and set aside

Start by cutting off the dome of the cake and making a flat smooth surface. Then slice the cake into thirds. I use a thin serrated long knife. Using one half of the icing mixture, start filling in the layers one slice above the other. Use the palate knife, spread it on the slice and sprinkle a handful of coconut. Then put a layer on top and repeat the same process. At this point you should have finished one half of the frosting. Once you put the last slice on the top, use the rest of the frosting on the top and sides, trying to make it as smooth as possible. 

Don’t worry; you don’t have to be perfect as the cake will be covered with coconut.

Once it is smoothly iced, start sprinkling the coconut on the top and the sides until the cake is completely covered with the desiccated coconut. 

You can store up to 2-3 days as its desiccated coconut. However, if you are using fresh coconut, its advisable not to store it for long.

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