I’m forever making cakes for other people, but never for ourselves

Coconut cake wasn’t something I had ever thought of making, that was until a close friend of mine requested a Pina Colada Cake for her 40th birthday.

To tell you the truth I was a little nervous trying a new recipe for such an important birthday.  I had visions of it being dry and tasteless, and there was no amount of buttercream and fondant that can cover up sins like that.  Of course I went straight to the Interwebs to look for recipes.  There weren’t really many recipes out there for Pina Colada cakes, so I broke it down further and looked for a Coconut cake recipe.  I found one that used coconut cream as it’s liquid, I thought that this would definitely give it a great coconut flavor.  I baked the cake a day earlier than I needed it, sliced each layer into further layers and drenched them all with Bacardi and Pineapple juice for a few days to give it that true Pina Colada flavor.  I wanted it to be REALLY coconuty, so I layered the cakes with lemon curd in the middle and then added more shredded coconut on top of that.  I also threw a small amount of coconut in the buttercream that I crumb-coated it with, and bingo, Pina Colada cake!!  I was pleasantly surprised, this turned out remarkably well, it was beautiful and moist and seemed to retain its moisture over days, which is something that generally only dense cakes do.  Yum.

So a few months later I was asked to make a Queen’s Jubilee Inspired cake.  I asked my friend what flavor he wanted the cake to be, he said something white, and I knew just what cake to make.  I was interested how it would perform without the drenching in juice and Bacardi.  It didn’t disappoint and turned out amazing.  Still beautiful and moist.  I guess the fondant helps keep the moisture in for these cakes.

Last weekend, I still hadn’t done any baking for the week, I felt like making a cake for ourselves, I had never made a coconut cake for us to eat, so I thought, what better time to play?   The recipe that I have mixed and matched and settled on, calls for a cup of Coconut cream, and makes quite a decent size cake.  I don’t like wasting ingredients, so I figured I’d use the whole can of coconut cream and make two cakes, one for us and one for Tim to take to work.

For the last few months I have been interested to see if making the 7 minute frosting that these cakes are normally covered with would achieve a different result.  I have never attempted the 7 minute frosting before, mainly because it doesn’t hold much more than a day, it’s not an icing/frosting to use if you want your cake to sit in a cake tin.  I knew the boys at work were going to devour the cake in a matter of hours, so I wanted to play with this elusive 7 minute frosting.  Essentially it’s an Italian Meringue that is spread on top and coated with coconut.  The idea is that it’s supposed to develop a skin on the outside of the meringue and the inside stays all gooey. So I layered the cake with lemon curd (that I had made fresh the day before) and whipped up a batch of the 7 minute frosting and spread it on the cake, but for some reason it didn’t develop the skin.  I suspect I didn’t have the sugar syrup hot enough when I tipped it into the egg whites.  Or maybe it’s because I used Donna Hay’s recipe and it wasn’t supposed to do that, her recipe differs where you beat egg whites and beat in a hot sugar syrup, authentic 7 minute frosting recipes are cooked over a double boiler or in a pot.  All in all, it still looked amazing, it tasted great and I was generally quite happy with it, who knows maybe it was better that way.   Has anyone else had an experience with 7 minute frosting?  I’d be keen to know where I went wrong.

For our cake I filled it with the lemon curd,  covered it in a coconut favored buttercream, ready for our tins.  On asking Tim which one he preferred, he liked the one I made for work better.

So there you have it, coconut cake in many variations, and finally I got to make one for ourselves.  Yum!!

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