I turned 30 yesterday. I am 30 years old. I was born in 1984, this is 2014, I am now 30.
The first thing I did to celebrate was to go skydiving. I did that, I survived, I threw up when I landed on the ground because the parachute floats like a gently rocking boat and I got extremely motion sick from it. But it was worth it, because I've been planning to skydive for my 30th birthday for at least 15 years now. (And yes, I'd do it again!)
I also have been planning for years to make Alton Brown's recipe for Coconut Cake. I saw him make it on an episode of Good Eats in 2007 and declared that I MUST HAVE IT for my birthday, but I never did. I was never around people for my birthday who would help me eat a cake made of coconut (because you have to LOVE coconut to love this cake). I never felt like I could make this cake and just eat it myself; I compromised and made other cakes that could be shared by everyone.
NOT THIS YEAR. I'm fucking 30. I can do whatever I want. SO I MADE THIS CAKE. (As it turns out, my gentleman likes coconut and my dad is visiting later this week so I don't have to eat it all alone after all - but I WOULD HAVE.)
So I start collecting the ingredients for Alton Brown's recipe and I discovered that the ingredients call for all home-made coconut products - coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut water, toasted coconut ... all coming from the initial instruction of cracking open a fresh coconut. Hell no. So I modified it! I used canned coconut milk, canned cream of coconut, and some coconut oil for greasing the cake pans. This all worked out fine. OH! And instead of the coconut water, I sprinkled the cake layers with some Malibu coconut rum. It didn't taste boozy AT ALL, but it was perfect.
The other thing is that Alton's recipe (and most of the others on the internet) call for "7-Minute Frosting," which a frosting cooked in a double-boiler and beaten with a hand-mixer. Of all the things I own in my house, I do not have a handheld mixer. I panicked and googled and eventually combined a couple of different recipes to create a buttercream frosting including coconut extract and Malibu. It was perfect. So the recipe I will include for the frosting is MINE! Wow!
So 30 is off to a good start.
Coconut Cake with Malibu Buttercream Frosting
Cake adapted from Alton Brown
For the Cake:
Coconut oil, for cake pan
3 cups cake flour, plus extra for cake pan
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut cream
8 ounces unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon coconut extract
4 egg whites
1/3 cup coconut water or about 1/4 cup Malibu coconut rum
For the Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1-3 tablespoons Malibu coconut rum (or milk)
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup shredded coconut, lightly toasted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil 2 (9-inch) cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Oil the parchment paper and then flour the pan. Set aside.
Place the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
Combine the coconut milk and coconut cream in small bowl and set aside.
Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, cream on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and gradually add the sugar slowly over 1 to 2 minutes. Once all of the sugar has been added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Turn the mixer back on to medium speed and continue creaming until the mixture noticeably lightens in texture and increases slightly in volume, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the coconut extract.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture to the butter and sugar in 3 batches, ending with the milk mixture. Do not over mix.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the batter, just until combined. Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bang the pans on the counter top several times to remove any air and to distribute the batter evenly in the pan. Place in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake is light golden in color and reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.
Cool the cake in the pans for 10 minutes then remove and transfer to a cooling rack. Once the cakes have cooled completely cut across the equator of each to form 4 layers. Sprinkle each layer with some of the rum (or coconut water) using a pastry brush or a spoon. Allow to sit while preparing the frosting.
To make the frosting, cream together the butter and cream cheese in an electric mixer. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Add the coconut extract. Add rum (or milk) as needed until frosting is at desired thickness.
Spread some of the frosting on the first layer of cake, sprinkle with 1/2 cup coconut and top with the next layer. Repeat until you reach the top layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.