We’ve never really been a family to celebrate holidays or milestones traditionally, it’s almost always about getting together to mash something into our faces. We still wish each other a happy or merry whatever, but we tend keep the celebrations and decorations to a minimum. Of course when we were children it was different, and now that our parents children have kids of their own, it sort of renews that innocence and fascination. Although we all live within about a 6 mile radius, we keep it homebody status on the regular, so when one of these does come around, we make an attempt to actually leave our houses. Birthdays cause a special disinclination for us grown-ups, because anything that draws attention to a single one of us is just humiliating. I hated speech class for this reason. I would get all sweaty and studdery, saying um every other word through a mouth full of cotton. But if you accidentally forget our birthday, we really won’t mind.
But alas, I may have found a loophole. Having three kids (in four years) has renewed the aforementioned desire to make someone feel special on their annual day of birth, or the day immediate preceding or following that day. Hence today’s unbirthday, birthday celebration. And because my father wishes to remain youthfully suspended in the last year of his twenties (which would now make me four years older than him), then the title of today’s celebration is almost as long as the title of the cake he requested to celebrate this unbirthday. So dad, happy twenty ninth anniversary of your twenty ninth birthday!
Now that I have thoroughly and properly confused you, a cake recipe..
I adapted this recipe from a few different sources and tweaked them for what I had on hand. There is a ton of coconut in this recipe, but it’s not as overpowering as you may be led to believe. The frosting is eggless because I only had 4 eggs and having doubled the recipe, I would be using them all for the cake. The chickens and I take turns not being able to keep up with each other’s production. The caramel can be easily adapted to suit a vegan lifestyle and could not have been easier. The buttercream, despite having an intimidating name, was also a piece of cake. Pun intended.
Coconut Milk Chocolate Cake with Eggless Coconut Pecan Frosting and Coconut Milk Fleur de Sel Caramel Cream Cheese Buttercream
(Or German chocolate cake)
Start by making the caramel
Coconut Milk Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce
Full measure of happiness
1 can light coconut milk (14 oz)
1 C packed brown sugar
1/2 t fleur de sel (or coarse salt)
1 T butter (optional for vegans)
1 t vanilla extract
This was so simple, combine first three ingredients, bring to a simmer and bubble for about 15 to 20 minutes until thickened. You’ll know when it’s ready because it will change texture and pull away from the pan. Remove from heat and let it rest a couple minutes, otherwise the addition of the last two ingredients will bubble up violently. Once rested, whisk in the rest of the stuff and jar it up. You can keep this in the fridge until you are ready to use, then microwave or bring up slowly in a hot water bath. It made a little less than a pint.
Chocolate and Coconut Milk Cake
In the little red house
2 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup boiling water
6 TBS butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup coconut milk
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Butter two 9″ cake rounds and place a parchment round in each. Butter the top of the paper as well.
Place chocolate chips and cocoa in a heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling water. Whisk continually until smooth, it doesn’t take long. Leave on the counter to cool.
In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until combined. Crack eggs into a separate bowl (in case of shell fragments) and add one at a time, while mixer is running, until pale and thick.
Now whisk together chocolate concoction and coconut milk and stream into the butter and sugar while beating at medium speed.
Lower speed and add dry ingredients in 3 additions until combined.
Pour batter into pan, and bake in middle of oven until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes.
You should always cool a cake completely before frosting, but this cake is so tender that I would recommend chilling before attempting to frost it. I didn’t need it until the next day, so I wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap after cooling and cleared a spot front and center in the fridge. I even left the parchment on it for the night.
Eggless Coconut Pecan Frosting
Itsy bitsy foodies
**you can omit this step by doubling your caramel recipe and reserving 1&1/2 cups to stir coconut and pecans into. It is a very similar process but was a total afterthought for me that could have saved me the time washing dishes. I am quite lazy.
¾ cup evaporated milk
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup butter, cut into 8 pieces
1⅓ cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
Combine the first three ingredients in a pan over medium heat. Bring it to a simmer, stirring it occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut and pecans.
Let the frosting cool before using, or refrigerate. Make sure to bring up to room temperature before spreading, or you risk tearing your cake.
Coconut Milk Fleur de Sel Caramel Cream Cheese Buttercream
This one was all me
2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
1- 8 oz block of cream cheese, room temperature
1&1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup caramel sauce
Cream together butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add caramel sauce and beat to combine, scraping down sides if the bowl as needed. Add powdered sugar to desired sweetness in increments, stopping to scrape the bowl. Once combined, use or refrigerate. Be sure to bring refrigerated frosting to room temperature and beat again to bring it all back together before use.
Assembly was essentially stack, plop, spread, repeat, using an offset spatula.
Place your first round upside down in the center of your plate. Add the coconut pecan frosting and spread flat. Place second layer right side up and add buttercream. Spread smooth with your spatula, pushing out from the center, but not allowing frosting to hang over the edge. Use your spatula or a bench scraper to straighten up the edges. I left the sides bare to show the multiple layers and Frostings, and used a Wilton 1m tip to pipe swirls. I then added chocolate sprinkles and used a squeeze bottle with a small tip to make the zig zags in the caramel sauce.
Patient little hands