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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
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