Thursday, April 5, 2012

Martha Stewart's Coconut Cake

This is one of Elizabeth's favorite Easter dessert recipes from everyone's favorite lifestyle guru. To make sure it was as good as our fearless leader claims, we made a mini 6-inch version and snacked on it all day in the shop today (we do these things out of love for our readers, obviously). The coconut flavor is light but present, and the whipped Seven Minute Icing is a wonderful choice for those of us who tend to eat in between piles of buttercream and leave cake-slice-shaped layers of frosting on our plates. The only change we made was to add un-toasted coconut flakes to the outside, rather than a layer of toasted coconut. 

Recipe after the jump!

Coconut Cake

from The Martha Stewart Cookbook

Makes one 1-inch layer cake.

1 cup coconut milk 
1/2 cup shredded coconut
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups sifted cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites

Seven Minute Icing

1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
3 egg whites
1 3/4 cups sugar
5 tablespoons cold water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Butter and flour two 9-inch pans. Scald the coconut milk and pour over the coconut. Strain and cool the liquid, reserving the coconut.  

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla. Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt.  Beat into the butter mixture alternately with the cooled milk.  Mix in the coconut.

Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry.  Fold gently into the cake mixture.  Divide the batter between the cake pans.  Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the cake tester comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes in the pans, turn out onto racks, and cool thoroughly before icing.

To make the icing, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and bake, shaking the pan from time to time, until the coconut is golden brown.  Set aside to cool.

Place the egg whites, sugar, water, and cream of tartar in the top of a double boiler over, but not touching, rapidly boiling water.  Beat with an electric hand mixer or whisk for 7 minutes.  Remove from heat, add the vanilla, and continue beating until fluffy and glossy.  Spread the icing between the layers and over the exterior with a spatula.  Just before the icing hardens, sprinkle the top and sides with the toasted coconut.

Topped with Gerber daisies - the quintessential spring flower, and a coral Easter egg peeking out from the side.

Sweet, crumbly goodness! 

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