Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Coconut Cake

I feel bad. It's only been a little while since I started this blog and already this week I had such little time to devote to it. I promise it'll change! Work has been crazy busy! And I love every second of it. But at this point we should probably all just live at the restaurant. It'd be way more convenient. Plus there's tons of amazing food. And really comfy booths. And lots of booze. I think it could work. Right now my days consist of going to the gym and going right to work, then coming home late and sleeping. Where does baking fit in? I'm thinking I found a solution, but it's something I can't mention yet (even though I'm really, really, really excited!).

Well, the temporary non-solution solution was having my mom bake this cake for me. Is that an ultimate blogger sin? I guess it'd be worse if I pretended like I did it myself and didn't tell you. Anyway, luckily for me she's amazing in the kitchen and is the sole reason why I decided to spend any time in there in the first place. And so the only thing I had to do on my day off was whip up some frosting and custard and assemble the cake.

You know what else that left time for? If you guessed spending time with my family, you're wrong. It's drinking.

Fine, I was drinking with my family, so I guess I'll give you half credit (that's the elementary teacher side of me coming out, which doesn't happen often because THERE ARE NO JOBS AVAILABLE. Let's change the subject before things get all political up in here). Back to the alcohol. (Oh, and don't act like your elementary school teachers didn't enjoy a drink every once in a while. Don't you dare judge me. I'm just real, people. And a recent college graduate. There needs to be a buffer period, and that time is now.)

So the other day my dear little cousin, all ten years of him, blurted out, "You were happy drunk at your graduation party." Let me explain. Okay, there's not much to explain. There was way too much to drink and I guess I felt the need to take control of the situation. At least I was the "happy drunk cousin" and not the "angry drunk cousin" or the "emotional drunk cousin" or the....I'll stop there. Anyway, we've moved forward. But as we parted the other day, my too-wise-for-his-mere-ten-years cousin left me with a piece of advice (by yelling across the parking lot):

"Amanda. Do not drink alone! That's when it gets bad."

Thank you, kind sir. I will truly keep that in mind. I hope you learn from my mistakes, dearest cousin. Though it seems you know my mistakes before I even make them.

By the way. If you enjoyed the doughnuts in the last post, check out said cousin's website: United Doughnut Kingdom. That's right, a whole internet kingdom devoted to doughnuts. I'm not sure what could be better. Oh, and don't be upset if you missed the Doughnut Meeting that he had scheduled on April 15th, I'm sure there are plenty more to come. This website craftsmanship must run in the family or something.

You want me to get on to the recipe, you say? Fair enough, we'll continue to discuss my life's mistakes and mishaps another times. And I know that last sentence didn't make sense (and yes, I know I will be teaching your children someday), I just know these types of discussions are bound to occur on many, many occasions to come.

So, coconut cake. I didn't bake this cake. I admitted that. So I'm not going to claim to revamp a recipe or give you the play-by-play. But what I will do is give you the link. Cause this cake was awesome (as is the lady who made it!), and if you need a coconut cake recipe, let it be this one.

Coconut Cake

I had leftover buttercream so I crumb-coated the cake with that, and made a Swiss meringue buttercream to frost and decorate it. The filling was a chocolate custard that was super easy to put together (and the solution to having 5 egg yolks leftover from the frosting).

Chocolate Custard
5 egg yolks
3/4 cups sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 cups milk
1 cup half and half or heavy cream
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk together egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch until fluffy and light yellow. Over medium heat, heat milk, heavy cream, chocolate and espresso powder until it begins to bubble around the edges of the pot (not boiling!). To temper the eggs, use a ladle to slowly add some of the milk mixture to the egg yolks while whisking constantly. After adding about a cup of the milk mixture to the egg yolks, strain the egg mixture back into the pot with the rest of the milk. Whisk the mixture over medium-low heat until it thickens (it should happen fairly quickly). Transfer the custard to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap pressed right on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Cool custard completely in the fridge to finish thickening before using.

The ruffle technique has been featured on many blogs, so I'm sure it's nothing new to you! This was my first attempt and I'd like to take my time next time. Even if you don't make this cake all ruffly or it's not your grandma's 80th birthday, you should make it, 'cause it's just plain delicious. Happy birthday, Grandma!

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