Category Archives: Cake

Lemon Zucchini Bread

We received a garden gift.  Four GIANT zucchini.  After four loaves of zucchini bread I still have two of these monsters left.  I’m debating about what to do with it.  Zucchini tacos?  Zucchini soup?  Nah…probably just more of this bread, because it was fantastic.  This one in particular was even better because it was made with love by my daughter, Claire.  Have I mentioned that teaching that kid to cook was a great idea?

The original recipe for this had a glaze over the top.  If you want to add that, it’s simply a mixture of powdered sugar and a little milk, spooned over the cooled bread.  We left it off…now we can call this healthy, right?  In any case, this was a delicious twist on an old favorite.  (Get it?  Twist?  Lemon?  Yikes.)

Scrumptious Lemon Zucchini Bread

Scrumptious Lemon Zucchini Bread

Lemon Zucchini Bread
(adapted from NancyCreative.com)

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
Juice of one lemon
Zest of one lemon
1 cup grated zucchini (unpeeled)

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.

In medium bowl, beat 2 eggs well, then add canola oil and sugar, and blend well. Then add the buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon zest and blend everything well. Fold in zucchini and stir until evenly distributed in mixture.

Add this mixture to the dry ingredients in the large bowl and blend everything together, but don’t overmix.

Pour batter into prepared 9×5″ loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (if your oven tends to run hot, check the loaf after 40 minutes; also, if you make this in an 8×4″ loaf pan, your baking time may be a little longer…about 5 to 10 minutes more). Cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

Yum.  Is it cool enough to eat?  I think so.

Yum. Is it cool enough to eat? I think so.

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Greek Yogurt Soufflé

I have no intention of giving up dessert.  That being said, I am trying to eat healthier (most days anyway).  So I occasionally attempt a lighter dessert in my efforts to be good.  Sometimes you get pretty much what you’d expect.  Something okay.  Something less.  Less satisfying.  Less tasty.  Less what you were craving.

But sometimes you get a surprise.  A tasty, wonderful surprise.  That something “lighter” is still delicious and crave-worthy.  It stands on its own as a dessert and yells “EAT ME!”

These little beauties pass the dessert test in my book.  I love cheesecake but it’s about one of the most evil desserts on the planet.  These soufflés taste like a fluffy, delicate cheesecake cloud and are absolutely delightful.  And at about 140 calories each (vs. 500-800 calories for a slice of cheesecake), you don’t even have to feel guilty about it.

For the most impressive presentation serve immediately, as soon as they come out of the oven.  They start to fall as they cool but no worries!  Even if they do, they are mouth-watering.  You can also eat them the next day, although don’t be alarmed if they are about half their original size.

Greek Yogurt Soufflé

Greek Yogurt Soufflé

Greek Yogurt Soufflé
(from julesfood.blogspot.com)

1 cup greek yogurt (original plain)
3 eggs, separated
3 tbsp. flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
a little butter and sugar for prepping the ramekins
Berries and/or lemon zest for garnish

Preheat your oven to 375˚.  Rub the inside of each of 6 ramekins with a very light coating of butter.  Sprinkle some sugar in there and swirl it around to coat the surface.  Dump out any excess sugar.  Place prepared ramekins on a baking sheet.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together yogurt, egg yolks, flour, salt and vanilla.  Set aside.  In another bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy.  Gradually add the sugar and continue to whisk or beat until soft peaks form.

This is about what they looked like right before I mixed them together.

This is about what they looked like right before I mixed them together.

Add 1/3 of the egg white mixture to the yogurt mixture and incorporate well.  Add in another 1/3 of the mixture and carefully fold it in, then do the last of the mixture.  You don’t want to mix too much, just fold until incorporated; you want to retain as much volume as possible.

Divide among your ramekins, filling about to the line (at least on the ones I have).

I use 8 oz. ramekins and this is how full they were.  A 6 oz. ramekin would probably work fine as well.

I use 8 oz. ramekins and this is how full they were. A 6 oz. ramekin would probably work fine as well.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Do not open the door to peek!  They should be lightly browned and puffed up nicely.  Remove from oven, garnish and serve immediately for the full effect!  They will begin dropping as they cool.  No worries, they will still be delicious, but not quite as impressive after they’ve fallen.

Just out of the oven.  Serve right away!

Just out of the oven. Serve right away!

Already starting to fall a bit after about 10 minutes, but still sooo good.

Already starting to fall a bit after about 10 minutes, but still sooo good.

 

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Getting Springy with the Cupcakes

For my daughter’s 13th birthday (how did that happen??), we had a Spring theme.  Fruits, veggies, bright colors and flavors.  Pasta salad on a stick!  It was all good, but the best part was the cupcakes.  Not only were they delicious, but they were so darn fancy!

I’ll admit I used a box mix for the cake.  If you like to make cake from scratch, go ahead.  Since I was short on time, Ms. Crocker came to my rescue.  But the frosting was my own creation and let me tell you, with this frosting, cake is a complete afterthought anyway.  It’s so much better than anything you will buy in a can.  AND you can pronounce all the ingredients!

Since I was making these for two events – a sleepover and a party the next day, I made two batches of cupcakes.  Some large ones, and some mini cupcakes.  The large ones were perfect for butterflies and the mini cupcakes made beautiful bite size flowers.  So much fun and so delicious!

A little touch of Spring.  Hello Mr. Butterfly!

A little touch of Spring. Hello Mr. Butterfly!

Spring Cupcakes with Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting

24-48 cupcakes (I used a mix, but if you prefer you can use your favorite cake recipe)
2- 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2-3 tbsp. raspberry syrup (I used syrup you’d use for coffee drinks, find it by the coffee & tea in the store)

For butterflies:
Small pretzel twists
Sour gummy worms

For flowers:
m&m’s or jelly beans
sliced almonds

Make cupcakes and set aside to cool.

Red Velvet and Triple Chocolate cupcakes cooling off.

Red Velvet and Triple Chocolate cupcakes cooling off.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together until creamy.  Add whipping cream and raspberry syrup.  Beat on medium high for 4-5 minutes until thick and fluffy and creamy.  Be sure to scrape down the sides from time to time.  Add more syrup for more of a more intense raspberry flavor if desired.  Frost cupcakes.  I scored some disposable piping bags with tips at Bed, Bath & Beyond that worked beautifully, but use whatever you’ve got. This easily made enough frosting for all of my cupcakes, with a little leftover for dipping…well whatever you want.

For butterflies, I used a gummy worm (sour ones are my favorite, plus they are pastel colored) for the body, and small pretzels for the wings!

So cute!

So cute!

For tiny flowers, use an m&m or jelly bean for the center, and place sliced almond “petals” around it in a circle.

So pretty!  And soooo tasty!

So pretty! And soooo tasty!

Present to your guests and prepare yourself for many accolades.  You may also want to plan an extra few minutes on the treadmill the next day to make up for all the scrumptious cupcakes you’ll probably eat!

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Lime Pudding Cake

Sometimes when politics and pissy people get you down, there is just one solution.  Dessert.  It is impossible to eat these fluffy delights without smiling.  There may not be many subjects we can all agree on, but for most of us, a little sweetness goes a long way toward putting us in a happy mood.  And for me, puttering about in my kitchen is a way to relax as much as is enjoying the fruits of my labors.

I found these little treasures in a Tyler Florence cookbook at the library.  Single servings, simple ingredients and they looked so light and fluffy.  I just had to make them.  I was delighted with the results.  Sweet, tart, rich and creamy.  For this chocolate lover, it was a little off the beaten path, but I was happy to wander.  After all, that’s how you make the best discoveries.

I dare you to eat this without making yummy noises.

limepuddingcake3

Lime Pudding Cakes. Delicious.  Next time I think a little shower of raspberries would be a nice added touch.

Lime Pudding Cakes
(recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence)

1 tbsp. unsalted butter
Sugar (superfine if you have it)
2 eggs, separated
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp. lime zest
2 tbsp. lime juice
1/4 cup flour
2/3 cup superfine sugar (regular sugar will work too)
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 325˚.  Butter and lightly sugar four 6-ounce ramekins.  Using the paddle attachment on a kitchen stand mixer, beat yolks, buttermilk, lime zest and lime juice on medium speed until well combined.  Reduce the speed to low and slowly add flour, the 2/3 cup sugar, and the salt, until just combined.  Transfer to another large bowl.  Thoroughly wash mixing bowl with soap and hot water and dry well.  Return to stand mixer.  Using the whisk attachment beat egg whites in the clean bowl until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the yolk mixture, a little at a time.

Divide mixture evenly among ramekins.  Place ramekins in a roasting pan and fill the pan with hot water halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

All cozy in the oven.

All cozy in the oven.

Bake about 1 hour, until the top springs back when gently pressed and the cakes have a light golden color.  Remove ramekins from water; allow to cool slightly.  Carefully invert each onto a plate.  Garnish as desired or just dig in.

Cooling down just a bit before presentation time.

Cooling down just a bit before presentation time.

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Cranberry Bliss Bars

The holidays are over, my waistline is a tiny bit bigger and now that I’m watching what I eat again I thought I would wistfully post about the wonderful goodies I made for Christmas.  Luckily, there are always occasions where you need a little treat, so I’m sure these will appear sometime again before next Christmas.

I love the Cranberry Bliss Bars at Starbucks.  They are only found around this time of year so I was thrilled to spot a recipe for them on Pinterest so I can make them whenever the mood strikes.  While these are not exactly the same, I thought they were quite similar and every bit as wonderful.  Maybe a little fluffier, less dense in the bar part, but I liked it.  Crystallized ginger was an odd ingredient that I hadn’t used before.  You may find it with the dried fruits (at my store it was in the natural foods section).  I took these to two parties and they were a huge hit.

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Cranberry Bliss Bars
( from Your Home Based Mom – http://www.yourhomebasedmom.com/)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground powdered ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup minced dried cranberries
1/4 cup quality white chocolate (I used Baker’s, 1-2 squares chopped up)
1/4 cup minced candied (or crystallized) ginger

Frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp grated orange rind

1/4 cup minced dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350˚.  Grease a 9×13 casserole dish.  Beat together butter and brown sugar, then add eggs and vanilla.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add flour, powdered ginger and salt.  Beat well.  Fold in the cranberries, white chocolate, and candied ginger.  Spread batter in pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown.

Cranberry Bliss Bars - bottom layer

Cranberry Bliss Bars – bottom layer

After cake cools, mix all frosting ingredients (except cranberries) and spread over the top of cake.  Sprinkle with cranberries.  Cut into squares or triangles.

cranberryblissbars2

Cranberry Bliss Bars, all ready to slice up into fancy triangles.

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Brown Sugar Pumpkin Cheesecake

For Thanksgiving this year we went to my mom’s house for dinner.  As far as cooking goes, what this means for me is that instead of concentrating on the main courses, I got to have fun with desserts and appetizers.  I made this pumpkin cheesecake last year and it was so popular I felt bad for all the other desserts.  This year was no different, although there was some stiff competition (as always) from my cousin Angie’s 3-layer chocolate pie.  Regular pumpkin pie didn’t stand a chance.

The chocolate shortbread crust on this cheesecake is an interesting twist that I really like, but if you prefer a more traditional graham cracker crust, feel free to change it up, or just leave out the cocoa powder for a more straightforward shortbread crust.  Let’s face it, the crust is just a conveyance for the good stuff anyway!

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Cheesecake. Yum.

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Cheesecake
(from thehungrymouse.com)

Crust:
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. powdered sugar
10 tbsp. butter, diced and softened
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
5 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Filling:
24 oz. cream cheese (that’s 3 8-oz. bricks), at room temperature
1 3/4 cups dark brown sugar
4 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla (or cognac)
1 15-oz. can 100% pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Topping:
1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350˚.  Lightly grease a 9 inch springform pan and set aside.  To make crust, put powdered sugar and butter in a mixing bowl and beat until well combined. Add egg yolks and vanilla and beat until combined. Add flour, cocoa powder and salt.  Beat until incorporated.  Dough will be uniform and about the consistency of play-doh.  Press into the bottom and sides of springform pan.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  Try to get it somewhat even, going up to about 1/2 inch from the top.  Prick holes in the crust all over with a fork (prevents air bubbles from forming as it cooks).  Bake for about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool while you make the filling.

Chocolate shortbread crust, all ready for some pumpkin love.

Lower oven temperature to 325˚.  In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until blocks are broken up and it’s all creamy.  Add brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and beat well to incorporate.  Add pumpkin.  Add vanilla (or if you want to bump it up a notch, use cognac instead), add flour and pumpkin pie spice and beat gently until combined.  Pour into your cooled crust.  For best results just go up to the edge of the crust.

All ready to go in the oven.

Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes, until it looks set, but jiggles just a bit in the center if you move the pan.  Crack open the oven door a few inches and let sit for an additional 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes.  Don’t be alarmed if cracks form as it cools, it always happens with mine.  You’re going to cover them up anyway so no worries.  Put it in the fridge to cool completely for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

It may have a crack like the Grand Canyon, but it will be delicious. Trust me.

Beat whipping cream and brown sugar until soft peaks form.  Smooth over top of cheesecake.  Carefully remove the ring from the springform pan to reveal your beautiful cheesecake.  Slice and serve.  Makes one 9-inch cheesecake.

Look at that gorgeous thing. Time to eat!

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Fantabulous Chocolate Raspberry Cake

This is not a traditional birthday cake, but it’s the cake any chocolate lover would want for their birthday.  Or any other day.  Especially if that chocolate lover is also a raspberry lover, like me! This is the first time I’ve made this recipe but I know it will definitely not be the last!  This cake almost qualifies as a chocolate torte with its dense, fudgy texture and rich, dark flavor.

I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that I hid away the last piece so my kids wouldn’t eat it after school since I wanted it all for myself.  Mine!  A selfish mom moment to be sure.  But I’ll make it up to them.  It will be a good excuse to make it again soon.

Fantabulous Chocolate Raspberry Cake

Chocolate Raspberry Cake
(adapted from Cooking Pleasures magazine)

2 cups fresh raspberries
1 2/3 cups sugar, divided
10 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut up
5 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. raspberry flavoring syrup
1-2 cups fresh raspberries for garnish

Heat oven to 350˚.  Spray bottom of a 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray.  Line with parchment.  Spray paper.  Puree 2 cups raspberries in a blender or food processor.  Strain through a fine strainer and discard seeds, leaving about 1 cup of puree.  Combine puree with 2/3 cup sugar in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low, simmer 20 minutes or so until thickened and reduced to about 2/3 cup, stirring frequently.

Melt chocolate and butter.  You can do this in a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, or do it in a glass bowl in the microwave for a couple of minutes.  Stir until smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in raspberry puree.  Whisk remaining 1 cup sugar into the chocolate mixture.  Whisk in eggs one at a time.  Whisk flour and salt in a small bowl.  Fold into chocolate mixture in two additions until well-blended.  Pour into pan.

Bake 45-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack 29 minutes.  Remove sides of pan.  Cool completely.  Cake may sink a bit in the middle during cooling.

Hot out of the oven.

Meanwhile, beat whipped cream, 1 tsp. sugar, and syrup in a bowl at medium high speed until soft peaks form.  Spread whipped cream over the top of the cake and garnish with fresh raspberries.  Or you can serve the cream on the side if you prefer.  This is a good option if you’re serving the cake warm.

Chocolate Raspberry Cake. Best if you let the cake cool completely before putting the whipped cream on it, otherwise it will melt a little bit, like mine. I’m so impatient, but it was still delicious!

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Killer Cornbread

Funny how a simple side dish can turn the most humble meal into a masterpiece.  I’m not a southern girl, but I can appreciate the beauty and bliss that is really good cornbread.  Take a pot of beans and ham hocks, a bowl of chili, a pan-fried fish or a simple green salad, add a chunk of steaming, buttery cornbread and you have something very special indeed.

I was watching a cooking show once where the chef was making “spoon bread”.  It was more of a cornbread casserole, as opposed to your solid chunks of cornbread.  This recipe is somewhere in between.  It will set up and can be cut into squares and picked up with fingers – if you wait and let it cool down a bit.  Hot out of the oven, it is softer than regular cornbread, and although you can cut it into squares to serve it, you may want to eat it with a fork until it cools.  Mine never seems to make it that long.  It is soooo good!

This recipe uses a prepackaged cornbread mix, to which you’d normally just add milk and egg.  I don’t use a lot of packaged foods, but I’ve made my own cornbread before and it’s never as good.  Therefore, when I see these on sale, I buy a pile of them and fill up the back corner of my cabinet so they are around when I need a quickie side dish.

Killer Cornbread

Killer Cornbread

4 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1 pkg. Jiffy cornbread mix
1 cup cream-style corn
1/2 cup milk
1 egg

Preheat oven to 400˚.  Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat and sauté onions.  Let cool a few minutes.  In a small bowl combine onions, sour cream, 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese and salt.  Set aside.  In another bowl, combine cornbread mix, corn, milk and egg.  Pour into a greased or sprayed casserole dish (either an 8×8 square pan, or an 11×7 pan, or something equivalent).

 

Making cornbread. Most people just stop here and cook it. But where’s the fun in that?

Gently spoon onion mixture over the top of the corn mixture.  Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over the top.

 

As you can see, the placement of the sour cream mixture is not an exact science. Try to get blobs all over the surface.

Bake 30-40 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.  Let cool and slice into squares.  Try not to eat the whole pan at once.

Hot out of the oven. I like mine a bit gooey so I usually stop at 30 minutes. If you want a more solid square to pick up, go closer to 40.

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Banana Cake Supreme

This weekend marked the last in an exhausting, but tasty, stream of birthday parties during the month of April.  Also noteworthy, this was my favorite one because it was mine!  I think I tasted what seems like a dozen kinds of cake this month.  My mouth says “yum”, but my waistline is saying, “what the hell?” And while I won’t say I am totally sick of cake, for this party I was in the mood for something a little different.  I’ve been having an odd craving for banana cake (odd because usually I’m a chocolate girl).

Playing with the idea of bananas, and chocolate, and ditching the usual frosting for something a little lighter, I came up with this concoction, which I have to say, turned out spectacular!  Once again, I did not find any recipes that even closely resembled what I was thinking of, so I just made one up.  It starts with a box mix, easy peasy.  The three different textures in this cake worked great together and were really different than a regular cake.  I’ll be honest and say I think I undercooked my cake a bit.  Or maybe it was just the addition of the bananas.  It came out of the oven light and fluffy and beautiful and as it cooled it sort of shrunk until it was about half the original height.  I was a little worried about it.  But, sometimes mistakes in cooking are happy accidents.  This made for a slightly denser, brownie-like texture that I actually really liked!

Plan to make this a little early, or the day before, to allow the chocolate layer to harden.  It would be good either way, but that added texture was a nice surprise!  And the fresh whipped cream, slightly sweetened with brown sugar was, well…just icing on the cake!

Banana Cake Supreme. I would have taken a prettier picture, but people ate my photo shoot before I got the chance!

Banana Cake Supreme

1 box of white cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 cup water
3-4 ripe bananas, mashed
2 bars bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli)
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp. butter
1 pint whipping cream
2-3 tbsp. brown sugar

Make the cake mix according to the package directions.  The one I used called for 3 eggs, 1/3 cup oil, and a cup of water.  Add mashed bananas.  Beat on low speed for 2 minutes.  Pour into a casserole dish or large cake pan.  Bake at 350˚ (or whatever the box says) for 35-38 minutes.  Cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then remove from pan and put on a cookie sheet or cake plate.  In a glass bowl break up the chocolate into small pieces.  Eat one or two.  Add 1/4 cup whipping cream and butter and microwave for 1 minute.  Stir with a whisk until smooth.  If you still have chunks of unmelted chocolate, nuke it a few seconds more.  Pour chocolate over cake and spread to cover surface.  Cover with plastic and put in the fridge to harden.  I left it in there overnight but a couple of hours should do the trick if you’re short on time.  Just before serving, beat whipping cream with brown sugar until thickened and fluffy.  Pile on top of cake and spread to cover surface.  Eat!

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Claire’s Coconut Cake

Baking is not my specialty.  My skills in that area lean mostly toward chocolate chip cookies and one-bowl brownies (I can do both quite well), but anything out of the ordinary or terribly fancy is usually left to the experts.  For birthdays, I normally do cake or cupcakes made from a box mix, or even better, head down to the fabulous grocery store bakery by my house and buy one of their mouthwatering cakes.

This year I asked Claire what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday and she had three requests: coconut, chocolate, and home made.  Okaaaaay.  I can do that.  I think.

Searches through my cookbooks and the internet did not yield the recipe I was looking for.  They either wanted me to break down a real coconut – definitely a project for another day – or they were a little wedding-ish.  And there were no chocolate components in any of them.  Really?  I’m the only person who has ever thought to combine these two things in a cake?  So…I took the cake from one recipe and tweaked it a bit, got the frosting from another recipe, and found a chocolate mousse recipe somewhere else to use as the filling.  And then I covered the whole construction with shredded coconut.  I’m thrilled to say it looked impressive and tasted terrific.  Whew!

Claire's Coconut Cake

Coconut Cake

Basic Cake with a Coconut Twist
(adapted from Paula Dean’s 1-2-3-4 cake recipe)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups sifted self-rising flour
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut extract

Grease and flour 3 – 9 inch round cake pans.  Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffly.  Add sugar and continue to cream for 6-8 minutes (scrape down the sides every once in awhile).   Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour.  Add vanilla and coconut extract and beat until just mixed.  Divide batter equally among prepared pans.  Level batter in each pan but holding pan 3 or 4 inches above the counter, then dropping it flat onto the counter.  Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake (plus it’s fun).  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until done.  Cool in pans 5-10 minutes.  Invert cakes onto cooling racks.  Cool completely before building cake.

Fluffy 7-Minute Frosting
(from foodnetwork.com)

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/3 cup water
2 egg whites
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Place sugar, cream of tartar, salt, water and egg whites in the top of a double boiler (or a metal bowl that you can place over a pan of boiling water).  Beat with a handheld electric mixer for 1 minute.  Place pan over boiling water, being sure that the boiling water does not touch the bottom of the top pan.  (If this happens, it could cause your frosting to become grainy).  Beat constantly on high speed with electric mixer for 7 minutes.  Beat in vanilla.

Coconut Cake with Chocolate Mousse Filling!

Dark Chocolate Mousse
(from Bobby Flay)

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
14 ounces cold heavy whipping cream
3 large egg whites
1 ounce sugar (about 1/3 cup)

Place chocolate in a large bowl set over a pan of boiling water (or use a double boiler) at a low simmer.  Stir chocolate until melted.  Turn off the heat and let stand.  Beat the cream until it forms soft peaks.   Set aside and hold at room temperature.  With a mixer, whip egg whites to soft peaks.  Gradually add the sugar and continue whipping until firm.  Fold the egg whites into the chocolate using a whisk until almost incorporated.  Fold in the whipped cream.  Cover the mousse and refrigerate for approximately 1 hour until set.

I made the cake and mousse the night before and then built the cake in the morning.  First, cover the edges of the cake plate with wax paper so you can be messy and then pull them out before serving.  Lay the the first cake layer down.  Cover with half the chocolate mousse.  Add another layer and the rest of the chocolate mousse.  Top with the last cake layer.  Scoop all of the frosting onto the top  of the cake and spread all over the top and sides evenly.  Sprinkle and pat sweetened shredded coconut all over (I used 1-2 cups).  Pull out the pieces of wax paper and serve.  Beautiful!

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