Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Coconut Cake with Lime Buttercream Frosting

Believe it or not, I have never really made a true cake before today. Sure, I've added oil and eggs to a box mixed and spread frosting on top, but I'm not sure that really counts as making a cake from scratch. It's not really that I imagined it to be that hard; I was just stuck in my world of cookies and bars that I've made forever.

My husband's birthday was Monday. We've were out of town on vacation for his actual birthday, but I still wanted to make him an official "birthday cake." He usually goes for the ice cream cakes that you can buy at the ice cream shops, so he surprised me a little bit this year when he asked that I make him one. I actually had to dig through my cabnets to see if I even had cake pans. The only thing was that he wouldn't request a type. The flavor was up to me. After a few days of debating, I finally settled on a cupcake recipe that I found in the May 2009 Cooking Light magazine that sounded good. It can't be too hard to adapt a cupcake recipe into a layer cake can it?

Well, having never made a cake, I can definately tell you that cake baking is a lesson in patience. My first mistake was only making 1 recipe worth of batter. The recipe I was reading only makes 12 cupcakes. There was NO WAY that batter was going to fill 2 9-inch cake pans; I really don't know what I was thinking. Thankfully, I had plenty of ingredients so mixing up another bowl of batter was not a big issue.

As you can see above, the amount of batter was not my only issue. The recipe for the cupcakes states, "Cool in pan 2 minutes; remove from pan and let cool on wire rack." I knew that it was against my better judgment to try to get a hot cake out of the pan. Oops! The picture was the result. Only after this catastrophe did I realize that the cupcakes will come out of the pan because they are in paper fillers (duh!). So, there I was back at square 1 making another recipe worth of batter... at least now knew that the cake was good =-)

The next cake came out much better, and after ample cooling, it was time to frost. The recipe calls for a lime-flavored buttercream frosting, but also gives a modification for lemon if it is preferred. I went with the lime since we had a few lemon-flavored things around here lately. I was not fooling around with the amount listed on the recipe this time. I doubled the frosting recipe from the get go - extra frosting is never a bad thing anyway right?

Well, the amount of frosting turned out to be okay after I doubled it. It was the consistency of the frosting that was the issue. I'm not for sure how this frosting would have stayed on a cupcake, but there was no way it was sticking to the sides of my cake. Luckily, I had lined the outside of the plate with waxed paper so I could dispose of my mess later. After some additional, powdered sugar and some green-tinted edging it turned out okay. You'll have to excuse my edging - all I used was the corner clipped off the edge of a ziploc bag (I've never done cakes before remember).

Anyway, after all of that, I don't think it turned out half bad. My husband was gone golfing this afternoon and was quite impressed with the results when he got home. The flavor of the cake and frosting was also very good indicating that the problems were not with the recipe but with the baker :-)
Well, from now on I know - 1) let the cakes cool before removing them from the pan, 2) check yields before beginning a recipe, and 3) make sure the frosting is thick enough to stick to things
and not run all over the plate.

Coconut Cake with Lime Buttercream Frosting
Cake (doubled for 2 9-inch cake pans):
2 c. all-purpose flour (9 oz if you have a scale)
6 Tbsp. potato starch
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1-1/2 c. sugar
4 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
2 egg whites, room temperature
1-1/3 c. fat-free milk
4 Tbsp. packed sweetened flaked coconut
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 tsp. fat-free milk
1 tsp. grated lime rind
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2-2/3 c. podered sugar (9.5 oz)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 2 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Weigh or lightly spooon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.
Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended (mixture will resemble damp sand). Add eggs and egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in coconut and vanilla.
Spread batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean and cakes spring back when touched lightly in the center. Cool completely on a wire rack; remove from the pans.
To prepare frosting, combine butter and next 3 ingredients (through juice). Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until just smooth. Use between layers of the cake and to frost the outside.

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