Thursday, January 30, 2014

Winter Cake

Winter Cake
Coconut Layer Cake with Marshmallow Snowflakes

Winter Cake
Since December, I wanted to bake this cake and I finally did this past Sunday. February is going to be full of Valentine’s baking (heart-shaped Red Velvet Cake, mini Cheesecakes, Cookies and Pie) and I wanted to make a cake to celebrate January, because I love winter and snow.

I had Martha Stewart’s Marshmallow Snowflakes pinned to one of my baking boards on Pinterest for a long time, and wanted to make these to have with hot chocolate and to put on top of the frosting. The Marshmallows are soft and melt in your mouth. 

I love Coconut Layer Cake and this recipe is from, The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2010 (pgs. 498-99). It is the best Coconut Layer Cake I have baked to date. If you love Coconut as much as I do, you should try this recipe! It has coconut in the cake and frosting, and not just coconut flakes over frosting. The cake is dense and very rich with a really creamy coconut frosting. The frosting and cake flavors get better each day and Allen and me can attest to this since we wiped out this cake in five days.  

Marshmallow Snowflakes
From Martha Stewart Living, December 2003

Super sticky Marshmallow Mixture done
1/3 cup cold Water (twice and separated)

2 envelopes Unflavored Gelatin (I used Knox)

1 ½ cups Granulated Sugar

2/3 cup Light Corn Syrup (I used Karo)

1/8 teaspoon Table Salt

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Vegetable-oil Cooking Spray

Marshmallow Mixture spread out on baking sheet
Lightly coat a 12-17 inch rimmed baking sheet with Cooking Spray; line with Parchment Paper. Spray Parchment Paper; set aside. 

Pour 1/3 cup cold Water into the bowl of a hand-held or stand mixer with paddle attachment. Add Gelatin to let mixture soften, about 5 minutes.

Marshmallow Snowflakes
Place Sugar, Corn Syrup, Salt and Water in a medium sauce pan. Cover and bring to a boil.

Remove lid and cook swirling the pan occasionally until syrup reaches 238 degrees (soft-ball stage) on a candy thermometer, about 5-7 minutes.

With mixer on low speed, whisk Gelatin mixture, and slowly pour syrup down the side of the bowl. Be careful since it will be very hot. Gradually raise speed to high and beat until mixture is thick white, about 12 minutes. Mixture will have almost tripled in volume. Add Vanilla Extract and beat 30 seconds to combine.

Marshmallow Snowflakes in Mason Jar so we can enjoy them in hot chocolate!
Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet; smooth with an offset spatula. Let stand at room temperature, uncovered, until firm for 3-6 hours or overnight.

Coat desired snowflake-shaped cookie cutters with Cooking Spray to prevent it from sticking. Cut out as many snowflakes as you can. Coat cutters with more Cooking Spray as needed. 

Put aside Marshmallows you will use on the cake by placing on a baking sheet lined with Parchment Paper. Just remember to wipe marshmallows clean with a paper towel before you eat them. Store the rest in an airtight container at room temperature. They are good for up to 1 week.

Winter Cake close-up 
2 ¼ cups Cake Flour, plus more for the cake pans

¾ cup Cream of Coconut (I used Coco L√≥pez)

5 Extra Large Egg Whites, plus 1 Egg, room temperature

¼ cup Water

1 teaspoon Coconut Extract

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1 cup Granulated Sugar

1 tablespoon Baking Powder

3/4 teaspoon Table Salt

1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) Unsalted Butter, softened and cut into 12 pieces

Winter Cake
Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. 

Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans, line with Parchment Paper and grease and sprinkle with Cake Flour. Tap on counter and get rid of excess Cake Flour.

Whisk Cream of Coconut, Water, Egg Whites, Egg, Coconut and Vanilla Extracts together in a medium bowl.

In a hand-held or stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix Cake Flour, Granulated Sugar, Baking Powder, and Salt on low speed until combined, about 1 minute.

Increase speed to medium, beat Butter into the Flour mixture, a couple of pieces at a time, about 1 minute. Continue to beat the mixture until it resembles moist crumbs, about 1 minute.

My slice, Winter Cake
Beat in all but ½ cup of the Cream of Coconut mixture, then increase speed to medium and beat until smooth, light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add remaining Cream of Coconut mixture until batter is combined, about 1 minute.

Scrape batter into the prepared pans, smooth tops with spatula, and lightly tap the pans against the countertop two to four times to settle the batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.

Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of the cakes, then flip them carefully onto a wire rack. Peel off the Parchment Paper, flip the cakes right side up, and cool completely before frosting, about 2 hours.

Winter Cake
Coconut Frosting
2 tablespoons Heavy Cream

1 teaspoon Coconut Extract

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Pinch Table Salt

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) Unsalted Butter, cut into chunks and softened

¼ cup Cream of Coconut

3 cups Confectioners Sugar

Sweetened Shredded Coconut (however much you wish over frosting and in between the cake layers)

Winter Cake
In a small bowl, stir the Cream, Coconut and Vanilla Extracts, and Salt together.

In a hand-held or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat Butter and Cream of Coconut on medium-high speed until smooth, about 30-45 seconds.

Reduce mixer speed to medium-low and gradually beat in Confectioners Sugar, then continue to beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in the Cream mixture. Increase mixer speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.

Line edges of cake platter with strips of Parchment Paper to keep platter edges clean as you frost cake.

If you wish, you may slice off the tops of the cake layers with a serrated knife before frosting. I never do since my cakes bake pretty evenly on top.

Place one of the cake layers on the platter top side down. Spread desired frosting and Coconut Flakes over the cake, right to the edges. Place other cake layer top side down and press lightly to adhere. Frost the cake with remaining frosting.  Line the edge of the top layer with Coconut Flakes. Decorate cake by placing as many Marshmallow Snowflakes to the top of the cake. You can even add them on the sides if you wish. Add Coconut Flakes around the top edge of the cake and use more if desired.


-Sophia/Two Frys 

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