Sunday, June 9, 2013

Toasted Coconut Custard Cake

Today is my dad's birthday but I'm not going to say how young he is because I don't want to get into trouble.    Usually for birthday's I get requests for one of my chocolate cakes.  Unfortunately, when I was 6 or 7 years old dad became allergic to chocolate.  Probably one to many chocolate peanut clusters, which were his most favorite treat.  When my grandmother found out she told him to give it a few months and then try again with some really really good chocolate.  He did as she said and low and behold found out that indeed he was allergic or at least intolerant.  He decided that chocolate didn't taste good enough to suffer from migraines.

I've always felt bad about that because some of my earliest memories involved a walk to the front of the apartment complex we were living in so that we could go to Wendy's, which was next door, for a cup of chili and a frosty.  Or after doctor's appointments, as long as it wasn't for stomach issues, we would stop at Carvel for some chocolate ice cream.  I also remember sharing the little snack sized Three Musketeer's bars with my dad.

Like I said before I usually get requests for one of my chocolate cakes but since dad can't have I decided to make something special for him.  Another thing I remember fondly was for birthday's we would get one of those yummy Pepperidge Farm Coconut Three-Layer cakes.  They were sooooo good!!  Unfortunately I can't eat them now.  So I needed to make him a great non-box cake that was chocolate free that we would all enjoy.  I've been thinking of making a coconut cake since around Easter but just haven't found an icing I've been happy with.  I'm cringe when I read most icing recipes and it calls for 3, 4, 5 cups of confectioner's sugar.  Those amounts of sugar give me cold sweats especially when I think of MJ going crazy.  We try to keep her on a low sugar diet because she's already a very active child but you mix sugar in and life is no good especially when she crashes and becomes really whiny.

A couple days ago I was going through the blogs I follow on bloglovin and found a  recipe that referenced a a really cook icing White Fluffy Marshmallow Icing recipe from the Cake Duchess.  I followed the link to the Cake Duchess recipe and was so happy with the ingredients, especially since there is only 1 cup of sugar in the frosting, and immediately thought of the coconut cake that I've been wanting to make.  I knew I had to make the cake when I opened the recent issue of Vegetarian Times on my kindle and found a whole section on whipping egg whites and making meringue.  It was like a sign from above because it was the one thing holding me back on both the cake and the icing.  I've never whipped egg whites before.  I've whipped heavy cream, coconut milk, and soy whip, but never egg whites.  I'm happy to report that it is extremely easy as long as you follow the below pieces of advice.
  1. Keep your bowl speck-free.  Dust, grease, and flecks of egg yolk can keep egg whites from whipping properly.  Make sure bowls and beaters are clean!  I always have to check the bottom of my beaters because one has a screw that will collect stuff if your not careful.
  2. Separate the eggs while they are cold.  Cold eggs straight from the fridge will have firmer yolks, which reduces the chance of yolks breaking and bleeding into the egg whites. 
  3. Bring whites to room temperature.  Cold egg whites don't incorporate air as well as warm egg whites do.  Let the whites sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before beating.
  4. Start low and slow at first.  Start beating the whites at med-low speed to breake them up and once whites are foamy, increase the speed and beat as directed.
  5. Cream of Tartar is your friend.  I use about a tsp of Cream of Tartar which is found in the spice section.  It acts as a stabilizer for the egg whites.
           Vegetarian Times, June 2013

Follow the above advice and you should find whipping egg whites is no big deal and a great tool to have in your cooking arsenal!

Coconut Cake
Makes 2 9-in rounds

2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour (only cake flour I've gotten to work right)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks Earth Balance, softened
4 large eggs, separated
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp coconut extract

1.  Preheat oven to 350*.  Grease 2 9-in round cake pans.  In a bowl add coconut milk and apple cider vinegar, stir and set aside.  Separate eggs putting egg whites in a clean speck free bowl and let come to room temperature, approximately 30 minutes.

2.  Cream the butter on high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. 

3.  Stir in sugar, beating until well combined.  Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each.

4.  Sift together the flour and baking powder.  Add to the butter mix in small batches alternating with the buttermilk mix.  Next add the coconut extract.  Do yourself the favor of spending a little more money, about a dollar or two more, and get the real coconut extract and not the imitation.  I had to go to my local health food store because all Wal-Mart had was the imitation stuff.

Before whipped egg whites are folded in.

5.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until they form stiff peaks.  Fold the whites into the batter in 3 batches until combined.

Could have been whipped a little more.

cake batter after egg whites were folded in.

6.  Divide batter between 2 pans for and cook for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  

7.  Cool pans on wire racks for 10-15 minutes then remove from the pans.  Once cool ice with fluffy marshmallow icing and toasted coconut.

First round with icing

First round with icing and toasted coconut

Second round is now on top and iced

Second round iced and topped with toasted coconut!

from The Cake Duchess 

1 cup granulated sugar
4 egg whites, room temperature
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used coconut for this recipe)

1.  In a medium saucepan, bring the water, sugar, cream of tartar to a boil.  Do not stir the sugar mixture as it will cause it to crystallize.  Boil until you have thick clear bubbles (should only take about 5 minutes and reads a temp of 245*.)  If a mistake happens and you boil the sugar too long and end up with an amber color sugar mixture add some coconut milk to it and you've got a dairy-free caramel sauce.

Wasn't able to get a picture of it bubbling because I didn't
want to cook it too long.  This is when I first started it.
2.  In a metal bowl, add all the egg whites, beat the whites until it starts to get a little thick and forms soft peaks.  Set your timer for 7 minutes.  Slowly , taking care not to burn yourself on the syrup,  add the sugar syrup only a little at a time and beat on high speed for 7 minutes.

3.  On the last minute, beat in the vanilla extract.  The frosting will be fluffy and light.

Yummy! Yummy whipped icing!

And in the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.  James 3:18

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Decadent Velvet Chocolate Cake

Make a Decadent Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake

This past week was a busy one for me.  I'm so happy and appreciative that I have a great family that helped out.  Last Wednesday was MJ's 5th birthday so I had her chocolate birthday cake and cupcakes to make for school.  We also had the Pre-K class trip to Elm's Beach to learn about the Atlantic Blue Crab, field day and her yearly checkup with her pediatrician.  I'm so happy it's the weekend because I needed a break from the long and busy week.

I think the hardest part of the week was having to face the fact that my baby is now 5 yrs old and will be starting kindergarten in the fall.  I remember bringing her home and she was so little and helpless and now she is an inch away from being 4 ft and wants to do everything on her own.  She's always telling me that she doesn't need help and it makes me happy because she is growing independent but also a little sad because it makes me feel like she doesn't need me anymore.  I know it's silly to think that way because she's 5 no 15.

Like I said Wednesday was MJ's 5th birthday and she had requested tilapia and mac and cheese for dinner and a homemade chocolate cake.  My mom and I had an unspoken deal and it was that she would make dinner as long as I took on the task of the cake.  I am pleased to say that the cake was amazing.  This was a recipe that I originally made for a Christmas party a few years before I met my hubby and way before I found about my dairy allergy.  The recipe that I had used years ago used to be available on the POM Wonderful site but isn't now.  I had to do some searching to find the correct recipe and thankfully I found it on the site Nosh with Me.

The next thing I had to do was hope that when I changed the dairy ingredients for non-dairy that it would still taste good.  I'm proud to report that the cake was delicious and MJ said that all of her classmates loved the cupcakes!  The changes that I made to the original recipe was I substituted Earth Balance sticks for the butter, whole fat coconut milk for the half an half, and for the cupcakes dark chocolate cocoa powder.  I really should have paid attention to how much cocoa powder that I had left after making her birthday cake.  This cake is amazing!!  It is so moist, and chocolaty, and rich tasting!

The best compliment that I have received about this cake recipe came from the birthday girl herself who told me "Mama, the cupcakes were the best ever in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD!"

1/2 cup POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice
2 1/4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup Earth Balance sticks, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 tbsps apple cider vinegar
1 can coconut milk (full fat)
Vanilla Frosting
Cooking spray

1.  Preheat oven to 350*.  In a mixing bowl mix together flour, cocoa powder and baking soda and then set aside.

Preheat oven to 350*. In a mixing bowl add flour, cocoa powder & baking soda & set aside.

2.  Line 2 baking pans with parchment paper on the bottom only and grease just the parchment paper not the sides.

Line both baking pans with parchment paper on the bottom only & grease just the parchment paper not the sides.

3.  In a measuring cup or bowl add one can coconut milk, pomegranate juice, and apple cider vinegar.  Stir and set aside.  I know this whole combination sounds weird but trust me you can't taste the individual ingredients.

In a measuring cup add coconut milk, pomegranate juice & apple cider vinegar. Stir & set aside.  Trust me you don't taste the coconut milk or the pom juice. Cake tastes like a rich chocolate cake!

4.  Add sugar and Earth Balance and mix on medium until fluffy approximately 3 minutes.

Add to mixer the sugar & Earth Balance & mix on med until fluffy. Approx 3 minutes.

5.  Slowly add one egg at a time mixing well after each egg.  After all 3 eggs have been mixed in add the vanilla extract.

Slowly add one egg at a time mixing well after each egg.  Next mix in vanilla extract.

6.  Slowly add 1/4 of flour mix followed by coconut milk mix.  Keep alternating ending with flour mix.

Slowly add 1/4 of flour mix followed by coconut milk mix. Keep alternating ending with flour mix.

7.  Split the batter between two baking pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  This batter is really fluffy so you will need to spoon it out and spread it to even it.

Split the batter between two baking pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  This batter is fluffy so you will need to spoon it out & spread it to even it.

8.  Once the cake is done let it sit for 5 minutes before flipping both cakes out of the pans.  Once cool ice and enjoy!

Cool, ice & add sprinkles (they will be added later by my daughter) & enjoy!