Sunday, April 24, 2011

Southern (Manhattan) Coconut Cake with Silk Meringue Buttercream

Rose's Heavenly Cake - Free Choice:  
Southern (Manhattan) Coconut Cake with Silk Meringue Buttercream

I had church fellowship gathering at my house the weekend so i thought this was great cake to make since i can taste a tiny slice and everyone else too. :D  As you know by now, i'm not really a fan of coconut-in-desserts except coconut fruit and drink itself and in curries.  

I decided to make 2 coconut cakes one using freshly squeezed coconut juice and the other using canned coconut.   The process of making the cake with freshly squeezed coconut juice is documented with photos..and here they are (so means i can write less right?)....:-

The freshly grated coconut for juicing.. the coconut milk..

Then i put them in the muslin bag (specially for this purpose)..

I told my domestic helper to squeeze the coconut milk out of the bag since i have to take photos. 

After, just follow recipe instructions in the book and it's pretty straight forward...

This first cake is made with canned coconut milk.  Notice the dome?  And notice my 2.5 year old oven still very new and clean?  Seriously, it is still very spotless and grease-free.  I'm a bit sad that I have to let go of it despite it is in good working condition...wonder if anyone would buy it from me...

This is the cake make with freshly squeezed coconut milk..less dome..

This is my coconut creme angliase and is made with fresh coconut milk. I didn't have coconut extract, so i used pandan coconut essense.. Pandan coconut essense is really good! Brings out the smell totally!  Anyway, after spending all the time making this..i was disappointed that it tasted like Kaya to me and it then dawned on me that Kaya uses the same ingredients too!  (Kaya is a local coconut jam that is very tasty on its own and with bread...but i don't like it....LOL!).  

After mix the coconut creme angliase with the buttercream..and frost..4 layers of cakes and you have a tall cake like this.  The bottom 2 layers are the ones made with canned coconut  milk and the top 2 are the ones made with fresh coconut milk. LOL! case you all are wondering why i stack them up like this....That's because i have very limited fridge space and I have another 4-5 more dishes to cook...hence vertical upwards is more space-saving compared to having 2 cakes sitting separately in my fridge.  

I like how tall my cake turned out..:D  Since i was going to cover it with fresh grated coconut, i didn't really smoothen out the buttercream.   I forgot to add the grated coconut in the frosting layers! 

Here's another bag of freshly grated coconut..this the 'cleaner or prettier' version (see above first photo) and not usually used for juicing.  I added a bit of salt to the grated coconut, as what my mom has always taught me.   I'm glad I remembered because the slightly salted grated coconut compliments very well with the overall sweetness of cake.   

Here..the final cake..sorry for the bad photograph.. i took it in a hurry.

And here's the inner cake layers taken with my phone.  

VERDICT:  The cake was a hit. Everyone liked the flavor but the general consensus is it is very sweet.  Some couldn't tell the difference between the top 2-layers and the bottom 2-layers.  Some told me that the top layer is less sweet compared the the bottom layer which i tend to think so too.  The bottom layer, ie, the cake made with canned coconut milk is much sweeter.    Overall, it tasted much better than i thought it would be. My only complain is that it is very sweet...too sweet for my liking...and i have a sweet tooth by our local standards.  If i'm ever going to remake this, i'll probably use fresh coconut milk and not the canned ones.  (A friend told me that there's fresh coconut  milk in carton in the fresh milk section of the supermarket and i didnt know that...i'll have to try that the next time..)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Devil's Food Cake with Midnight Ganache

Rose's Heavenly Cakes, page 99: Devil's Food Cake with Midnight Ganache

I'm a little late on this post, but i figured it's better late than never.  I've always wanted to bake this since everyone raved about how awesome this is.  I made the cognac cherries and ganache 8 hours ahead.  

I'm not sure if i like the ganache or if i used 70% chocolate instead of 60%, the ganache ended up quite bitter.  But i added more sugar though or could it be the cherry congac that i added that causes the bitter taste? Or the cocoa powder with water instead of cream causes the bitter taste?  I really don't like it at all. So i added white chocolate to it to mellow it down and sure tasted much better after.  :0   The ganache didn't hardened up at room temperature but only when i placed it in the fridge overnight.  

Making the cake is easy..instructions pretty straight forward.  However, what bugs me the most is that the cake shrank drastically from the sides of the pan. Ok..drastically means about 1/4" from the sides of the pan?  I noticed i have this problem with Rose's chocolate cake recipe. I don't have problems with others but only with Rose's.  Normally that doesn't bother me cos it's for my own consumption, but this time, i wanted to make a box cake with it and it shrank till it doesn't really fit my cake board.    I had the same problem when i baked white velvet cake in the non-stick souffle cups but when i rebaked using APF instead of cake flour, the shrinkage is minimal or rather, normal for what i call cake shrinkage..and not 1/4" away!       

I thought it was me using a 3" high pan instead of 2" so I FB Monica to ask her and she said she has the same problem too.   So can anyone tell me why?  Weak cake structure due to cake flour and mixing method?    I weigh ALL my ingredients and i even time the mixing time mentioned.  So only thing that is wrong is the 3" high pan...

See how far the cake shrank?  

Cognac Cherries.. taste better than i expected! 

See my cake layers...the sides are all so uneven! I never have this with other chocolate cake recipes! Uneven like this means i have to spend a LOT of time trying to get a perfect square with the ganache!   This cake was suppose to be 3 layers (i baked 2x batter)..with one layer for my own consumption. But because the cake shrank from the sides, i had to give up my layer...and make it a 4 layer cake.

So after, spending 3-4 hours ganaching my it close as perfect square i can get!  

If you are keen to find out what happened to this cake above and what it was decorated into, please check out my other blog post at  to find out what i made with this cake..:)   I post my decorated cakes in the other blog. This blog now only documents my baking experience.  

VERDICT:  I don't know..i gave up my layer so i didn't get to taste it. :((   I only know the cognac cherries tasted great on its own, the cake scrape tasted great on its own and the ganache too..     Conclusion: I HATE HATE HATE shrinking cake!  

Monday, April 4, 2011

Karmel Cake

Rose Heavenly Cakes, Page 31: Karmel Cake

Marie said Woody is going track me down with his tai-chi sword if i don't start baking, so i better move my lazy butt and start baking! LOL! Honestly i've not seen such a long large sword before..i wonder if it is allowed here in Singapore to begin with? Perhaps only if you registered it or have some sort of approval? Not sure. 

I came home after work at the recipe and seems fairly easy and something that i can get it done in an hour or so.  I got my ingredients ready and made the caramel. Ok..i think i must have mis-read the caramel making..i think i'm suppose to stir it but i didn't..i was distracted with other things..and i think i burnt my caramel because i didn't stir it because the temperature didn't register at 114c and yet  my caramel started to have black bits... looked ugly but tasted quite nice and!  I tried to cheat by eating up all the black bits but they were too i gave up.    See the bowl of caramel below..looks like satay peanut sauce to me. order to speed things up, i cooled the caramel in ice-water..just like the book said i could do...and place it directly under my aircon.. it worked cos it took less than 10mins to cool down. 

I think this recipe is quite forgiving because even with my slightly burnt caramel bits, the cake turned out great.  Again..i don't know what i was doing..i baked it in an 8" pan instead of 9".   The cake baked for another 10mins more than the stated time and registered with a slight dome, but other than that, the cake turned out pretty ok. 

VERDICT:  Yummy! Very moist and soft.  Has a distinct caramel taste..very unusual but yet interesting.  Love that i have that caramel bits so there's a slight crunch to it.  Everyone in my family said it's great. Not too sweet either.  I didn't have ice-cream or cream..but would have been a great pairing imo!   

Yay..i finally got my HCB assignment done. *phew*...  I have so many cakes i want to bake..Devil's Food Cake, Orange Chiffon... next please...  


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