Saturday, April 10, 2010

Coconut Birthday Cake: I love CakeLove

The day after I got home for spring break (alas, no trip to Cancun), I got a call from a neighbor asking if I could make her husband a birthday cake. Oh let me think. HECK YES I COULD.

  A quick pause: do we notice that this is yet another March birthday? (I'm just posting late.) Seriously, what is up?

Back to my neighbor, who was still on the phone (no, I didn't actually shout that at her). She then requested the same cake I made last time, which was when it hit me that I did in fact make his birthday cake when I was home for spring break last year.  Oh right- it came right back to me: yellow cake with coconut buttercream frosting. How could I forget that?

Last year, if I remember correctly, my neighbor had called over and asked for a cake with flavors that weren't too crazy (do I have that reputation?....) , something like vanilla. I could have done that, I suppose, but eventually we managed to get coconut on the table. I say 'we' because I don't really remember who proposed it... but kudos to whoever it was, 'cause this cake is bomb.

The recipes for the cake and frosting were both from Warren Brown's book, CakeLove: How to bake cakes from scratch. After freshman year, I became a big fan of CakeLove after discovering the recipe book in the university bookstore. When I first saw it on display there was a sign that read "Books by Alumni" hanging over the table. I instantly grabbed the book and devoured Warren's story. Inspired by the lawyer-turned-baker, I bought the book and dove right into his exploration of homemade cakes.

While the first half of the recipes in the book are for a crazy variety of pound cakes (really really awesome pound cakes), the second half are for the cakes. Like he does for all of his recipes, Warren explains why each ingredient--from heavy cream to brandy--is used in his yellow butter cake. And after making it, his reasoning proved sound yet again. Delicious, moist, and with a great depth of flavor (hello, brandy), this cake is not a run-of-the-mill yellow cake. It still had that great vanilla flavor, though. And that vanilla was about to meet a friend, coconut.

Warren describes his coconut buttercream as his creamiest, dreamiest buttercream, and I concur. A cross between a coconut-infused custard and a buttercream frosting, the results were a big hit. It has a soft, creamy and buttery texture and a pure, balanced coconut flavor. It takes on the warm, inviting color of cream, which you would have seen had I not gotten carried away with my homemade toasted sweetened coconut. Sorry. There was some extra frosting left, though... but that seems to have disappeared.

Handing it over to my neighbor, I was proud of this cake. I think it might be requested again next year, too, pending my destination for spring break...


Anonymous said...

love your blog! this is in my bookmarks of things to browse before i start studying. always looking for something entertaining to read INSTEAD of anything law school related haha.

also, i have 15 friends all born within 2 weeks of each other in march! so odd.


Matt from AEPie said...

Allie- Thanks for your letting me know I'm not alone in thinking this March birthday thing is weird. And so glad to hear AEPie helps you deal with studying, too. Good luck with school/finals/ugh!

Anonymous said...

This looks absolutely delicious and I'm quite tempted to go look up that recipe right now. (Too bad finals stands in the way) Just wanted to let you know your blog is awesome... and makes me hungry :]

- phoebe

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