Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

I have the pleasure of eating Thanksgiving dinner at my mom's house. When we go over I like to bring a dessert that is a little different than our traditional desserts. One of my grandmother's staple desserts was a coconut cake. I remember this cake as this perfectly white cake, white frosting and covered in coconut. My grandmother passed away in March so I thought baking one of her staple desserts would be a nice tribute to her love for cooking and baking. In light of her Southern cooking expertise, we have no written recipes so I tried to find a recipe that was very close to her cake. After talking to my mother, I found out that my
great-grandmother and grandmother sometimes used a raspberry filling for their coconut cake.

I thought this recipe was a good match Coconut Raspberry Cake. Here is my version of the recipe. To keep the recipe as close as possible I did not garnish with fresh raspberries and omitted the coconut in the batter.

Coconut Raspberry Cake
Cake: Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

4 egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ cup sugar
1 1/3 cup buttermilk
½ cup sweetened flaked coconut
Lightly coat two 9″ round cake pans with cooking spray, paying close attention to the bottom. Allow the egg whites to come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes. This is important to create a light and tender cake.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl. Set aside. Measure the buttermilk in a liquid measuring cup and also set aside. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla over medium speed until well combined. With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the egg whites one at a time until completely incorporated. Add the buttermilk and dry ingredients to the batter by alternating between each until the batter shinny and white. Fold the coconut into the batter. Be careful to not over mix.
Evenly divide the batter between the two cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes or until the center springs back when lightly pressed. Remove from the pans and allow to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook1
(8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ tsp. vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
With the mixer on low, cream the butter, cream cheese and vanilla until well combined. Slowly add the powdered sugar until the frosting is light and fluffy. You may need to adjust the powdered sugar ratio depending on the thickness of the frosting. It should be light, airy and completely spreadable.

Raspberry Filling:Adapted from my brain 2/3 cup raspberry preserves1 ½ tsp. water
Over a low flame, heat the preserves and water for 1 – 2 minutes until it becomes syrup. Cool slightly.

Assembly:Place the first cake layer face down in the center of a small platter. Evenly spoon the raspberry filling on top of the cake layer. Be careful to not let the filling ooze over the edge. Place the second cake layer; also face down, on top of the first. Frost the sides and top of both layers with the cream cheese frosting. Lightly pat the sides and top with up to 1 cup of sweetened coconut. Garnish with fresh raspberries on the top of the cake.

I also made my first attempt at making homemade rolls. The picture on the website was somewhat misleading in terms of my final rolls. Classic Dinner Rolls Here is my version of the recipe:

2 to 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 envelope Fleischmann's® RapidRise Yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter OR margarine Directions

COMBINE 3/4 cup flour, undissolved yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Heat milk, water and butter until very warm (120º to 130ºF). Add to flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add 1/4 cup flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. *

DIVIDE dough into 12 equal pieces; shape into balls. Place in greased 8-inch round pan. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.**
BAKE in preheated 375ºF oven for 20 minutes or until done. Remove from pan; brush with additional melted butter, if desired. Serve warm.

*For rest period, it is not necessary for the dough to double in size

**For a higher roll, I suggest allowing the rolls to rise longer than 30 minutes(maybe 45-1hr) with a pan of boiled water underneath the pan. Do allow to overrise.

1 comment:

Yakini said...

That coconut cake looks marvelous - and what a lovely way to pay tribute to your grandmother! I just know it was yummy!!! *licking lips*

I know what you mean about those authentic, down-home, southern recipes. Of course, my grandmother never followed any... so all that we learned from her was through watching/observing. Sadly, she has Alzheimer now and doesn't do any cooking.... and no one ever mastered her Hoppin' John. So that's just one recipe that we'll have to chalk up to a loss. *smh* A shame, really.

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