There was a time when I would have turned up my nose at this baked treat, simply because it is a cake. Even the chocolate wouldn't have swayed me. Until quite recently, I just wasn't a fan of cakes. Or so I thought. I have now come to realize that I had never had a good cake, or at least not enough of them.
In the last year I have actually come to love cakes.
For reasons like this. And this. And this. (Please excuse the photos for those links, most are from very early in my blogging...)
Oh, and this.
I made this coconut cake for my aunt's birthday today. I find it rather amusing that I have upwards of 40 baking books, a handful of which are dedicated to cakes, all of which are under-used, and yet I turn to the internet when looking for a recipe. Ah well, when there are things this wonderful on the internet, what can you do?
I knew I wanted a coconut cake that contained both shredded coconut and coconut milk. As soon as I happened upon this recipe from Bon Appetit, I knew I had found the one. This time, it was the chocolate that swayed me.
This cake is amazingly fluffy, making it impossibly light without nearing the texture of an angel food cake. It is tender, slightly dense, and oh so moist. The level of sweetness is perfect, especially when paired with the chunks of semisweet chocolate. The coconut on top becomes chewy with crunchy edges in the oven, and forms a sort of macaroon topping for the cake. The only thing I will change when I make it again is the amount of chocolate. It needs more. Next time, I will add an additional 3 ounces of chocolate to the batter, bringing the total amount in the cake up to 9 ounces.
Everyone in my family loved this cake, and it was devoured in record time. Many people commented that it was the best cake they had ever eaten (though they did echo my sentiment about the slight chocolate deficiency).
Coconut Cake with Chocolate Chunks and Coconut Drizzle
adapted from Bon Appetit
For the Cake:
1 3/4 cups unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped (or 9 ounces if you are a chocolate lover)
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, or 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut tossed with 1 teaspoon agave until all coconut is coated and ever so slightly damp
For the Coconut Drizzle:
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2-3 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9 inch spring-form cake pan. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a medium-sized bowl. Stir in 1 cup coconut. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with coconut milk in 2 additions, mixing until just combined with each addition. Fold 3 ounces (or 6 ounces) of the chocolate chunks into batter using a rubber spatula. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top with spatula. Sprinkle remaining 3 ounces of chocolate as evenly as you can on top of the batter, top with 1/2 cup of coconut. Bake for 60-70 minutes. Check cake at around 40 minutes. If it looks like it is browning too quickly, place a foil tent over the pan. Remove cake from oven when a tester placed in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely before cutting. (I wasn't able to wait that long, hence the slightly shaggy slices. I will say, it was rather delicious warm, as the chocolate was melty. If you don't mind shaggy slices, serve it warm by all means!)
Whisk together sugar, vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of coconut milk. Add more coconut milk as needed until mixture is pourable. I did this in a pyrex measuring cup, making drizzling very easy.