Cake Is Beautiful (I Guess)

21 May

Listen: Life Is Beautiful (I Guess)

It seems right to start things off with a cake. Cake is delicious. I don’t care if you don’t have a sweet tooth, I will make you a savory cake. But for now, feast your eyes on this baby:

gluten-free coconut cake

This, my friends, was my Mothers’ Day gift. I called my mom to talk about festivities for the day (read: talk about food), and when we got to dessert she said that my cousin would be bringing a cheesecake and that she had an angel cake so I didn’t need to bring anything. I gently reminded her that I could eat neither of those things and would rather make a dessert that I could eat and that she would enjoy. My mom loves coconut, so this seemed perfect. I definitely got my foodie nature from my mama. She’s always been a wizard at the stove, whipping up gourmet meals fit for a princess. As an only child, I have no siblings to vouch for how awesome it was that my mom cooked a healthy, homemade meal every night for dinner. But trust me, it was great. And I didn’t appreciate it nearly enough at the time; I just kind of thought everyone’s mom was as much of a food genius as mine. As it turns out, I was wrong. I also learned once I got to college that the ability to cook is not entirely hereditary. However, I am constantly learning and am proud to say I can out-bake my mom any day (she’s a whiz at improvising, but is too…free-spirited…to pay attention to the science of baking). Nevertheless, cheers to delicious coconut cake and moms alike!

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I adapted this recipe from Karina at Gluten Free Goddess and have included my notes along with the recipe below:

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups tapioca starch
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup organic coconut flour
1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 free-range organic eggs, beaten, or egg replacer
1/2 cup light olive oil or vegetable oil (I usually use vegetable oil or another more mild tasting oil when baking, as I tend to notice the more distinct flavor of olive oil in baked goods)
1 14-oz can organic light coconut milk (I made two of these cakes, but when I was at the grocery store I forgot I was doubling the recipe, so I ended up using flax milk in the second cake which I don’t think made a difference-I tasted both)
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two 9-inch cake pans with a circle of parchment paper. (I used non-stick cake pans and skipped the parchment paper, everything came out easily and very intact)

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flours and dry ingredients.

Add in the eggs, oil, coconut milk, lime juice and vanilla. Beat until smooth. It should resemble a slightly thick and sticky cake batter.

Scoop the cake batter into the two prepared cake pans and spread evenly. Use wet hands, if necessary, to smooth out the tops.

Bake in the center of the oven, side by side for 33 minutes, or so, until firm and springy. A cake tester inserted into the center should emerge clean. Cool on a wire rack.

For the frosting:

1 cup dairy-free butter flavored organic palm shortening (This is only necessary if you’re making it vegan-I used real butter because butter is delicious)
1 teaspoon pure coconut or vanilla extract (Surprise! I actually chose almond extract for this since I thought it would be more unique than vanilla, and I didn’t have any coconut extract on hand, though I’m sure it’d be tasty)
1 pound powdered sugar
1/4 cup coconut milk (The kind from a can and not the kind you might drink from a box–it’s thicker and makes a nicer frosting)
Optional: I pureed strawberries with a little bit of powdered sugar and mixed it with frosting to put in between the two layers of the cake. It added a nice burst of flavor and was pretty to boot! I bet this would be good with blackberries too…try whatever tickles your fancy and is in season!


Topping:

Flaked sweetened coconut for topping (I used unsweetened coconut flakes, as the frosting was sweet enough for me)
Optional: I also sliced strawberries and laid them around the edge of the cake. Again, try it with other berries! 

Instructions:

In a mixing bowl, beat the shortening (or butter) and extract till combined. Add in the powdered sugar and half the coconut milk, and beat till smooth. Slowly add the remaining coconut milk, as you need it, a little at a time, until you achieve a smooth and creamy consistency.

To frost the cake:

TIP: To keep things on pretty on your plate, place a few sheets of parchment paper on the plate so they cover its edge before putting the first layer of cake down. This keeps you from frosting your plate and you can simply pull them out from under the cake when you’ve finished instead of trying to wipe frosting off afterwards.

When the cakes are cool, gently remove one from the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Trim off the domed top if you like, using a long serrated knife, to keep the cake layer even. Brush off any crumbs.

Center the first layer top side down on a cake plate. Frost the layer with roughly 3/4 cup of icing (this is where I mixed in the pureed strawberries). Remove the second cake layer from the pan and peel off the parchment. Trim the dome top, if you like (brush off any crumbs). Place the layer on top of the frosted layer.

Scoop about a cup of frosting onto the top of the cake and spread it evenly to the edges. Begin adding frosting to the sides of the cake, spreading it evenly over the sides. Clean off the frosting spatula under warm water and dry it off.

Smooth the sides by turning the plate as you hold the spatula firmly in place. Clean off the spatula with warm water again, dry it, and smooth out the top.

Sprinkle with grated, sweetened coconut, if desired (and fruit if you like!)

Allow the frosting to set, or chill briefly, before covering and storing the cake.

Yield: 1 9-inch layer cake

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Let me know what sort of modifications you might make!

Enjoy!

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3 Responses to “Cake Is Beautiful (I Guess)”

  1. Sherry May 22, 2012 at 12:20 am #

    This was a delicious treat! Thank you, dear Katie 😀

  2. Robin May 22, 2012 at 2:56 am #

    This picture of a cake made me aroused.

  3. Betsy Hawley June 7, 2012 at 2:54 am #

    Katie, this cake got rave reviews! I made it for my aunts 80th birthday. The best gfree baked good that I’ve made. And the first piece of cake I’ve had since I’ve been gfree. Thanks! Love,Betsy

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