All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2018

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

the coconut-orange cake....with flowers

Seeing this cake again on FoodieView's recipe roundup for Valentine's Day treats was a huge surprise - and I thank Susan Thomas of Farmgirl Fare for making note of it. Since this was the sort of cake my stepmother loved to make, and it's her birthday, I thought I'd show it to you. We think of the people in our lives, every once in a while, who encouraged that little sparkle of interest in food and cooking - well, she was one of them in my life. She was a marvelous, self-taught cook, but I think she loved parties more than cooking. To get to the party, you had to prepare the feast. So she learned one recipe that involved a cake mix from a box, with an addition of Jello instant pudding - and made this cake happily over and over. She made delightful bouquets from my father's garden, and placed a lovely bunch right in the middle of the Bundt cake.

I use an adapted pound cake recipe using orange extract and toasted coconut - but I still make those little bouquets to place in the middle.

To make:

1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cups sugar, plus 1/4 cup for the egg whites

3 large eggs, separated

1 1/2 cups King Arthur flour

1/2 cup warm milk

zest of an orange, grated

1 1/2 cups toasted coconut, sweetened

1/2 t. vanilla

1/2 t. orange extract

pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325'.

Grease a small Bundt cake pan, and set aside. Whip egg whites til stiff, gradually adding the 1/4 cup of sugar. Scoop into a bowl and set aside ( you'll fold them into the batter at the very end - so DON'T FORGET THEM!)

Toast coconut in toaster oven til just barely toasted.

In the same mixing bowl, cream the butter and add the 1 1/4 cups of sugar gradually. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and beat til fluffy.

Alternately add the flour and warm milk, then the orange and vanilla extracts, orange zest, coconut, and salt, and mix briefly. Fold into the beaten egg whites.

Scoop batter into the Bundt pan, smoothing the top. Place in a 325 oven for one hour.

Remove pan to cooling rack. After a half hour, use a dull knife to loosen cake from center tube and edge. After another 15 minutes, turn cake upside down on rack, and knock pan all over with rolling pin. The cake should drop out.

When cool, insert a small glass vase in the center hole, and drop a small bouquet in of flowers or herbs.

Serve as is, or with a bowl of freshly whipped cream.

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