The star of today's ingredient

Anyone who has made it into my inner sanctum knows I have a stuffed Stitch (from Lilo and Stitch) that is voice-activated. It stays in the closet most of the time because it is the ONLY item Siddhartha has ever had a hankering to eat. When you ask the stuffed Stitch “are you hungry?” It giggles and says in a very excited tone, “Coconut cake and coffee, pleeeeeeeeeese!” It makes me giggle. What can I say?

A few weeks ago, I watched a coconut cake episode on Good Eats. Who doesn’t love Alton Brown? This episode made me laugh pretty hard and ever since, I’ve been meaning to get around to making one. I dreamed I made one, posted this as my facebook status, and a friend said she’d like one for her birthday (this weekend). Unknown to her, her husband was planning a gathering last night. So, I made the cake.

Making this cake was fun—an adventure. I played the episode, wrote down the recipe and forged ahead. The episode can be watched in two parts here and here. Highly entertaining, I tell ya.

Coconut hot from oven

It took three stops, but I finally located whole coconuts (thanks, Bee!) at SF Market on 65th & Stockton.  I don’t know why they are white. I thought coconuts were brown. Who knew? I did purchase coconut cream, coconut milk, and coconut juice (all in cans), just in case I screwed up the homemade versions or if the coconuts didn’t yield enough juice.

And then you just pry them off (huh)

After drilling two holes (through in the eyes), I drained them, saving the juice, and placed them into a 375F oven for 15 minutes…

When a coconut is heated, cracks form—perfect for assisting you in prying open the coconut with a screwdriver. The white flesh can easily be bent/pried away from the husk. I shredded the pieces using the food processor. These pictures are from the second coconut. I didn’t document the sheer butchery which was my first attempt.

The recipe called for coconut extract, coconut milk, and coconut cream. As Alton had made his own, I tried my hand… not hard at all. The extract was made by placing 1.5 oz of shredded coconut into 1/2 c. vodka. The difference between coconut milk and cream is the amount of coconut used—milk is made using 2 oz. coconut steeped in 1/2 cup of 2% milk, while coconut cream is made by steeping 4 oz. shredded coconut in 1/2 cup of 2% milk.

whip over double boilerWith the cakes in the oven, I turned my attention to 7 minute frosting which required a fairly simply set-up using a double boiler, handheld mixer, and me. There’s a song somewhere in this…

Anyway, it was wicked easy to make, and using 7-minute frosting on a cake that took nearly four hours to make from coconut to cake is really ironically funny. 7-minute frosting has the near consistency of marshmallow puff. It’s sticky, sweet, with a nice flavor provided by the coconut juice.

Coming together

After allowing the cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes, I bisected them and stacked them with a bit of frosting and fresh coconut between the layers.

coconut cake and coffee, PLEASE!And may I present, the glory of Southern diners everywhere— the coconut cake. The shredded coconut was sprinkled liberally on the top and flung onto the sides (and yes, that was fun!). I placed the decorated cake ontop a serving tray and used my new IKEA under cake sheets (thanks Katy!) for an extra bit of color.

The birthday girl wasn’t feeling well, so Beth posed with a piece of cake. Thanks, Beth! We saved Sarah a few pieces. 🙂

Beth and her piece of coconut cake

When I departed, there were three pieces out of 16 remaining. I left two behind for Sarah, brought one home. After making myself a coffee (heavy on the milk), I ate my piece. You know, it was really amazing. Delicate taste, moist, and well, really unlike anything I’ve made before.

Happy Birthday, Sarah!!