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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Happy Birthday G!

It was G's birthday yesterday, and I figured it was a perfect excuse to make this cake I've been eyeing up in Dorie Greenspan's book Baking: From My Home to Yours. Barmy Mom always used to make us devil's food cake with seven minute icing, and this looked just as good as I remember that cake. The best part is the icing, it's billowy and light like marshmallow fluff. Mmmmmm. The cake isn't too shabby either. It was slightly moist dark chocolate yum. I did change things up a little with the recipe, as I wanted something coconutty marshmallow-y chocolatey (very much like a Hostess "snowball" but much tastier and no preservatives). The end result was wonderful.

Coconut Devil's Food Cake with Billowy Marshmallow Icing (Recipe is Dorie Greenspan's Devil's Food White-Out Cake with a few changes made by myself)

For the Cake:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract (this is my addition, if you don't want coconut, leave it out)
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk, or, I used coconut milk instead
1/2 cup boiling water
4 ounces mini chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate finely chopped (really do chop it finely or use mini chips. I only had regular sized chocolate chips around and it made it very difficult to cut the layers in half)
-Preheat oven to 350f. Butter, flour and line two 8x2" cake pans with parchment paper.
-Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.
-In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, Cream the butter on medium until it is smooth. Add both sugars and beat for about 3 minutes more. Add the eggs , one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla and coconut extract, then mix in the cooled bittersweet chocolate.
-Add the sifted ingredients and the coconut milk (or buttermilk, or milk) alternating between the two. By this I mean add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients, mix until just blended, add half the coconut milk, mix until just blended, add another 1/3 of the dries, mix, add the rest of the coconut milk, mix and end with the sifted ingredients. The batter will be very thick at this point. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the boiling water. This will thin the batter.
-Fold in the chopped chocolate with a rubber spatula. Evenly divide the batter between the two cake pans and smooth the tops with the spatula.
-Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Let sit five minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the cake (I did not have to do this, my cake had pulled away from the pan enough) and turn the cake out onto a cooling rack. Once the cake is cooled, it can be frozen for a month or so, or used immediately.

The Icing:
1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 large eggs)
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
-Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer.
-Place the sugar,
water and cream of tartar in a heavy bottomed saucepan with a candy thermometer placed on the side of the pan dipping into the mixture. Bring the mixture to 235f.
-When the sugar syrup is about 10 degrees away from 235f, begin whipping the egg whites to firm shiny peaks. If the whites get to this state before the syrup is at 235, turn your mixer to low speed and just let them keep moving.
-Once the syrup
is at 235 and your egg whites are firm and pretty, Carefully (hot sugar=ouch, I know from past experience) and slowly pour the syrup into the egg whites with the mixer running on high speed. Don't worry about any spatter on the sides of the bowl, it happens and won't effect the final product. Add the vanilla extract and continue whipping the egg whites until they cool to room temperature (I also add about 1/2 tsp salt, as I like my icing a bit salty with the sweet). You will have a wonderful batch of marshmallow yum.

Toast a bit of coconut on a sheet pan at 350f for about 5-10 minutes until it is a desirable golden brown(stir it from time to time, otherwise it may scorch).


-Cut the cake layers in half lengthwise so you have 4 layers.
-Generously spread one layer with the fluffy icing, sprinkle on some toasted coconut, top with the next layer and repeat until all the layers are stacked (I only had three layers, but that was because I used the regular sized chips and one layer was more butchered than sliced and was not useable in the cake).
Ice the top layer, bringing the icing down the sides, smooth the cake. Press the toasted coconut onto the sides of the cake and sprinkle untoasted coconut onto the top of the cake. Refrigerate for about an hour before serving.

Top with candles and give the cake to your Englishman or other Birthday Human to enjoy!

Happy Birthday Sweetie!

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