Southern Coconut Cake

 

Keiran’s mother has been wanting a coconut cake for her birthday every since I moved out to Portland and now that I can bake I made her one this year.

I found this recipe over on Bon Appetit after looking at dozen of recipes. This was what sounded most like what I grew up with in the south and I must admit it tasted pretty damn close.

 

This cake was actually a lot of fun to make, toasting the coconut was way easier than I expected. I had bought triple what I needed because toasting and I just so not get along and since this was a very anticipated birthday cake it just had to be right. Well, I got it on my first go. So take that oven!

 

ingredients

Cake:

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour plus more for pans
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut (not reduced-fat)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, warmed to melt
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Frosting and assembly:

  • 4 cups unsweetened coconut chips
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup Southern Comfort
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 cups powdered sugar

 

For cake:
Arrange racks in top and bottom thirds of oven; preheat to 350°F. Coat cake pans with nonstick spray; dust with flour. Whisk 2 3/4 cups flour and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter at medium speed, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until smooth, 3–4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions. Beat until light and fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Gradually beat in oil. Beat in dry ingredients at low speed in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Divide among four 9″ cake pans (about 2 generous cups batter per pan); smooth tops with a spatula.

Bake until a tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, 22–27 minutes. Transfer pans to wire racks; let cool in pans for 5 minutes. Invert cakes onto racks, remove pans, and let cakes cool completely.

For frosting and assembly: 
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place coconut chips in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toast until some of the chips are golden brown (some will remain white), 5–7 minutes; let cool completely. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter on high speed, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until smooth and creamy, 2–3 minutes. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons Southern Comfort and salt; beat to blend, about 1 minute longer. Add sugar; beat on low speed to blend. Increase speed to high; beat until fluffy, 5–6 minutes.

Using a long serrated knife, cut each cake in half horizontally. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on a cake stand or plate. Lightly brush with about 1/2 tablespoon of Southern Comfort. Spread 1/2 cup frosting over. Repeat with remaining 7 layers, Southern Comfort, and frosting. Chill cake for 30 minutes. Leave remaining frosting at room temperature.

Cover sides of chilled cake with frosting. Cover cake loosely with foil and chill overnight. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let cake stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Gently pat handfuls of toasted coconut chips over sides and top of cake and serve.

Deep Dish Milky Way Cookies

I’m not normally one for baking cookies, them and I just don’t really get alone. I can just never get them to come out right. They either go flat, over cook or anything else you can think of, so I just stay away. Then I came upon this recipe from Cookies and Cups  on Pinterest and just loved the idea of deep dish cookies but put off making them since I was worried about ruining them.

Lately I have been getting my baking practice in by sending everything with Keiran to work. That way I get the temptation out of the house. Unfortunately I always seem to make cupcakes and Im just so over them. Not to mention I can’t seem to get the hang of piping frosting, but thats another story.

So I decided to whip up a batch of these and oh my god was I glad I did. I don’t usually like anything that incorporates candy bars or pre-made cookies like oreos but I just can’t stop talking about these, they are just so amazingly good.

Now they take a bit of work because you have to chop up an entire bag of mini Milky Ways but trust me on this one, you will not be disappointed!

 

Now you don’t need a muffin top pan. You can make these just like normal on a cookie sheet, but really, the deep dish gives you so much more goodness in each cookie!

Chop up your Milky Way bars.

I did two of these bags for two batches of cookies.

The recipe says to use a heaping 1/4 cup but I found that they were over flowing so I used a Md cookie scoop  and rounded out the tops and they worked perfect for me.

Enjoy!

Broccoli Breakfast Muffins

Before we started this new program Farm to Fit  I was wanting to find something easy to grab for breakfast in the mornings.

Keiran and I both love broccoli so this seems perfect for us. I seem to have lost the site that these came from, I’ll update once I find it.

Broccoli Breakfast Muffins

1/2 cup onions, chopped

1/2 cup shredded cheddar

2 T olive oil

1 1/2 cups skim ricotta cheese1 Large egg

2 Large egg whites1 T dijon mustard

10 oz chopped frozen broccoli, thawed and drained/squeezed excess water

1 T parmesan cheese

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 360. Oil a 6 cup large muffin pan or 12 cup small muffin pan.

2. Saute onion in the oil. Add to a large bowl.

3. Add eggs and egg whites to onions. Mix well.

4. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well with large spoon or spatula.

5. Divide into muffin pan.

6. Bake 45-50 minutes until tops are brown and centers no longer jiggle.

7. Remove and let cool about 15 minutes before removing from pan. Use a knife around the edges to loosen.

Snickerdoodle Toffee Cookies

Kerian has been trying to get me to make him Snickerdoodles for years now but i just couldn’t understand why he would want something without chocolate in it! So I put it off and put it off but then I came across a recipe that added toffee so I said why not give it a try.

The toffee was the perfect addition to these cookies but I defiantly think I will make my own toffee next time so that I can get the bits a little bigger.

They turned out “amazing” in his words and by the rate that they disappeared .

 

I baked about 2/3 of the batch and saved the last batch to add chocolate to, I just couldn’t resist. To me it was exactly what they needed for my taste.

 

Recipe

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated white sugar, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup chopped Heath bar toffee chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. In a separate, small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup of sugar and the cinnamon; set both bowls aside.

3. In a large bowl, use electric mixer to beat butter and remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar until blended together (about 1 minute). Add eggs and vanilla extract; mix until blended (about 1 minute). Add flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Stir in toffee pieces.

4. Scoop out a heaping Tablespoonful of dough and use your hands to roll it into a ball. Roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining dough. Place cookies 3 inches apart on the cookie sheets (I baked 8 at a time and found that was perfect).

5. Bake cookies until edges are golden, centers are still golden and no longer look raw in the middle- about 16 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheet for at least 5 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

 

 

Not so merry christmas…

for my baking that is. Christmas was great! We had a wonderful night with Keiran’s family on Christmas eve with a fantastic spread of cured meats and cheese and also some very good Champagne that I had a little too much of!

I decided to bake finger foods for dessert since I knew we were just going to be stading around drinking so I baked up mini chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel centers and a salted caramel buttercream frosting. They turned out very well if I do say so myself. As for my mini sweet potato pies, well they didnt make it. I blame it on me being lazy and using canned sweet potato so no hard feeling there. My bourbon pecan pie turned out well except for the fact that you couldn’t tell there was any bourbon in it so Keiran requested I make another one for Christmas.

Photo courtesy of Bakeofbreak.com

For Christmas I tossed together a pumpkin bread with chopped pecans which turned out okay except that it got way too hard on the outside and just didn’t want to cook in the center. Luckily I had other desserts planned.

After going back and forth for multiple days on what to bake I settled on a Chocolate Raspberry Cake, all was going well until I ran out of sugar, I over cooked the cakes, and the raspberry preserves I was making wouldn’t thicken and the icing just wouldn’t act right. Oh and I forgot to put the eggs into the cake batter which had already gone into the oven! This day just wasn’t going my way. In the end everything turned out fine and everyone was very happy with the end results. Unfortunately, due to all of the stress in the kitchen I forgot to take any photos of the finished products.

Photo courtesy of ourlifeinthekitchen.com

Macaroons

Back in early November my Mother-in-Law went with me to a speciality cake store here in Portland to see if we could find anything for Christmas. While I didn’t find anything I just had to have I did find macaroon coconut. If you dont know, macaroon coconut is a much finner coconut that gives macaroons that great texture compared to shredded.

I did over bake them again not knowing what I was looking for but they were great! I left some plain, some with bitter sweet chocolate and some with sem-sweet. They are went pretty quick.

Recipe can be found here at Cookie Baker Lynn

Thanksgiving continued

I’m a bit behind on my remainder of baking I did for thanksgiving but thats okay since no one sees this yet!

So as I said in the last post I got very ambitious when it came to this years thanksgiving baking and besides my first shot at cheesecake I took a shot at an old Southern classic.

Oh for those that don’t know I’m Southern, okay thats all you need to know about that until I see the time is fit for you to know more ahahah!

So yeah anyway, a fourteen layer cake is what I decided to try my hand at. The recipe I used came from over at Bakerella . I was a bit intimidated at the aspect of cutting multiple layer cakes into smaller layers but her idea of using 14 individual cake pans works beautifully.

I was able to bake four at a time and was lucky enough to not burn a single one or have any stick to the pans.

 

The icing for the cake I would have thought would be ultra simple but I had a very hard time getting it to set up properly but it turned out even if it did stay stickier than I would have liked.

 

Next I decided to make my own pie crusts for Pecan Pies. They were pretty good but a lot of work, after all the other baking I had done already I was very tired at this point and I didn’t find it very much fun but I do plan to try it again since I have so many more pies to make this season.

I took a long time to decide on a recipe but finally settled on this all butter (yeah you heard me right!) crust at Smitten Kitchen . It turned out very flaky and very delicious.

The Cheesecake War

What is it about the holidays that makes me think “Hey lets bake for 16 people!!!” Hell if I know, but I did it anyway! On top of it all I decided to be ultra ambitious and try out two new recipes that I have never tried before along with my Aunt Alma’s pecan pie.

To start I did a Pecan and Salted Caramel Cheesecake from Bakeorbreak.com. This is my first try at cheesecake and I rent into it with false confidence hoping that the cheesecake would be fooled into being perfect the first time. No luck. It saw right through me and pointed and laughed at me when it decided to crack horribly just to show me who was boss and just to be sure I was down for the count it proceeded to let all of the melting butter from the crust out onto the bottom of my oven, I had been defeated. Non-the-less I pored my caramel, which I got right on the first try and as of this morning it looks fantastic, no cracks to be seen!

So, cheesecake, I know we have had our differences but next time I will show you more respect if you will grant me the same. Deal? Deal.

Here we go!

In the past year I have slowly began to realize that I have a thing for baking. Now, don’t ask me to “cook” a single thing because you will end up with fish that taste like chicken and most everything will come out a very nice shade of black, but, somehow I can whip up some pretty tasty sweet things.

So, I decided to make myself a little corner to post all of my baking triumphs and mishaps and have a collective place for people to get recipes.I’ll also be posting a bit of stuff about our two amazing Berners and about my little Doctor Who obsession.

Also incase people don’t catch it, “Blue Box” is both my lovely house which is the most perfect shade of TARDIS blue and because of the TARDIS of course! For those that don’t know of the show please go look it up and feel bad for yourselves for living all of this time without knowing The Doctor.