Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Maybe Coconut Isn't So Bad?!?

For the longest time I have HATED coconut...I know, hate is a strong word, but the gritty texture and overly sweet flavor have always left me gagging, which has really bummed me out because there is nothing I love more than that beachy scent of coconut flavoring.  At the slightest smell of coconut I am instantly whisked away, in my mind of course, to an island paradise with a mai tai in hand basking in the sun and working on my non-existent tan.

But times, they are a changing!  Slowly, I have been introducing coconut into my life and it all started with these little gems...Girl Scout Samoas Cookies, and according to Little Brownie Bakers that makes me brainy, complex and mysterious! hehehe

Image courtesy of Little Brownie Bakers
and Girl Scouts of America
Seriously though, these cookies are A-MAZ-ING!  I began to wonder, maybe I do like coconut!  But I will NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER like Almond Joy or Mounds EVER, EVER, EVER!! YUCK!

Now, if you have already been a long lover of coconut or even a recent convert like me, you will love this recipe by David Lebovitz, which I have adapted to include a huge short cut because let's face it, time is of the essence these days so if you need to cut a few corners to continue to enjoy homemade creations, I say do it!  I have taken a box cake mix from good to great by adding sour cream to make it moist and delicious and chocolate chips to pack a little extra chocolate punch.  You could also cut out the simple syrup step...not really necessary.  I also divided the original recipe between two 6" inch cake pans and 6 cupcakes instead of the two 9" inch cake pans because the cake is for my boss' birthday and the cupcakes are for the hubby (he would never forgive me for leaving him without his favorite dessert).

German Chocolate Cake (4 layers - 6")

German Chocolate Cake & Cupcakes!

Makes 2 – 6” cakes and 6 cupcakes or 2 – 9” cakes

For the cake:
1 box of chocolate cake mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup chocolate chips

For the filling:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 ounces butter, cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted

For the syrup: (I did use this, but I may not next time - maybe too moist)
1 cup water
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum

For the chocolate icing: (Flavor is to die for!!)
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 ½ ounces unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream

1.    Butter two 6-inch cake pans, then line the bottoms with rounds of parchment or dust with cocoa powder. Line 6 cupcake/muffin tins with cupcake liners.  (Or butter two 9-inch cake pans, then line the bottoms with rounds of parchment or dust with cocoa powder) Preheat the oven to 350°.

2.    Mix the cake baker according to the directions on the box and add in the sour cream.

3.    Divide the batter into the 2 prepared cake pans and cupcake tin, smooth the tops, and bake for:

  • About 28 minutes for 6” cakes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • About 19 minutes for the cupcakes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  •  About 45 minutes for 9” cakes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool cake layers and cupcakes completely.
While the cakes are baking and cooling, make the filling, syrup, and icing.

To make the filling:
1.    Mix the cream, sugar, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Put the 3 ounces butter, salt, toasted coconut, and pecan pieces in a large bowl.

2.    Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the spoon (an instant-read thermometer will read 170°.)

3.    Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature. (It will thicken.)

To make the syrup:
1.    In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and water until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the dark rum.

To make the icing:
1.    Place the 8 ounces of chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and 1 ½ ounces of butter.
2.    Heat the cream until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand one minute, then stir until smooth. Let sit until room temperature.

To assemble the cake:
Remove the cake layers from the pans and cut both cake layers in half horizontally, using a serrated bread knife.
Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush well with syrup. Spread some of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges. Set another cake layer on top.
Repeat, using the syrup to brush each cake layer and spreading the coconut filling over each layer, including the top.
Ice the sides with the chocolate icing, then pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top, encircling the coconut topping.

To assemble the cupcakes:
Using a paring knife remove a portion of the center of each cupcake and fill the holes with a generous amount of the coconut filling creating a mound in the center of the cupcake.  Then, pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top, encircling the coconut topping.

Please enjoy and left me know if you try this out or how you feel about coconut!

Happy Baking,
Dani