Friday, November 28, 2008
Thanksgiving #11: The Greatest Cake In The World
I know I'm very late with this post, but I'm backdating it to go with the Thanksgiving series. I just couldn't manage cooking and real-time blogging. Maybe for Christmas.
Now, what's Thanksgiving without dessert? Okay, I had two desserts, but who's counting? (You have to have at least one pie and one cake.) This year's cake was a coconut cake. Done right and it is one of my favorites. How do you do it right? Get rid of that 7-minute frosting.
I spend more than $5 a slice for coconut cake from Bloomingdale's. I was determined to recreate it myself and do it better than they did. Tall order. I couldn't find one recipe that did exactly what I wanted, but I could steal bits and pieces from other recipes. The cake and pastry cream come from Cook's Illustrated. The simple syrup is from Bobby Flay and the frosting is from Rosy Levy Beranbaum. It was time consuming, expensive and worth all of it. What really worked out is that the frosting was all yolks and the cake was mostly whites, so there was no waste with the eggs.
I tackled the pastry cream the night before so that it would be fully chilled and the flavors would meld. Boy was it good. So good that I almost came up short because I kept thieving random spoonfuls until I made the cake.
Here are the humble beginnings of pastry cream:
Cook on the stove.
Refrigerate. It's not hard at all.
Let's move to the cake. I don't have any "making of" pics. I was itching to use my new Williams-Sonoma cake pans. These babies did not disappoint!
I don't have any pics of it, but I also made a coconut simple syrup. Let's assemble. We know I suck at torting cakes. I actually got it right this time!
After brushing on the simple syrup, reach for the pastry cream.
Cover this with another layer and repeat the process. Your top layer should be a bottom.
Let's get to the icing. I made a half batch of icing, which was almost enough to cover the whole cake. Because I used pastry cream between the layers, I just couldn't see wasting all that butter and eggs for a full batch of icing.Believe it or not, this was the start of the icing.
Now the application wasn't pretty, so there aren't any photos of that. Hey, I was covering it with toasted coconut anyway.
This cake was the cause of the five pounds I picked up over Thanksgiving. (Okay, well the dressing, rolls and sweet potato pie helped too.) A bite is heavenly. It was moist and full of coconut flavor. I loved how the different textures worked together. If you don't think you can deal with the temptation, it freezes beautifully.