Archive for Dessert

Strawberry-Coconut Cheesecake

The other morning I woke up and decided that I needed to have cheesecake. I’d recently been to a party that had mini cheesecakes baked in cupcake wrappers but it didn’t quite do the trick for me. So I woke up and craved, needed a proper  cheesecake. I needed gobs of serious cream cheese laced with sugar. I need it to be fruity because fruity means “guilt-free” but chocolatey means “get on the treadmill.” And since I cancelled my gym membership for my impending room, treadmilling was not an option.

Is my thinking delusional? Nahh.

So with reckless abandon I forgot all the errands I had planned to run, did a quick scan of the world wide web, ran to the supermarket (because who keeps 3 blocks of cream cheese around?), ran to fetch my springform pan 20 minutes away, room temperaturized my cream cheese in record time (cheese in ziploc, ziploc in cold water, cold water in bowl), and made a cheesecake!

Run-on sentences are the bomb diggity.

 

This cheesecake was everything I wanted it to be. It was reminiscent of summer with the fresh strawberry topping and delicious coconut crust. The filling itself was not too dense, just how I love it. (Is it blasphemous not to love thick dense cheesecakes if I’m moving to NY?) All in all, a win.

Strawberry-Coconut Cheesecake
adapted from epicurious

Ingredients

For crust:

  • 6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted, divided
  • 1/2 c sweetened shredded coconut, toasted, cooled (toast on foil at 400F for 5-10 minutes until browned – be careful not to burn it!)
  • 3/4 c graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/8 c sugar

For filling:

  • 24 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 c (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 c sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 c sweetened cream of coconut (ie Coco Lopez)
  • 1/4 c coconut rum (ie Malibu)

For topping:

  • 2 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 c strawberry jam (seedless preferred)
  • 2 tbsp water

Instructions
For crust: Preheat oven to 350F. Brush springform pan with approximately 1 tbsp melted butter. If needed, line with parchment and brush parchment with extra butter. In a medium bowl, mix together remaining butter, coconut, graham cracker crumbs, and sugar until well moistened. Press into bottom of the springform pan and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned at the edges. Cool and reduce oven temperature to 300F.

For filling: Using an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, butter, cornstarch, and sugar until well combined. Add eggs in one at a time, scraping and mixing completely. Beat in cream of coconut and coconut rum. Strain mixture through a sieve and pour into cooled crust. Bake in a water bath at 300F for 1 hr 40 min (epicurious had all these instructions for covering with foil etc but I omitted and had no issues). The cake should jiggle a bit when done and be browned on the edges. Once done, turn oven off, crack oven door open, and let sit in the oven for 30 minutes before taking out to cool completely in the refrigerator (5 hours or more, preferably overnight).

For topping: Simmer jam and water in a saucepan until combined. Layer strawberries atop cheesecake and brush with glaze. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. Can be assembled 8 hours in advance.

Do you ever crave?

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Crostata

Is it possible to have too much fun? These past couple weeks have been a whirlwind of graduation events, parties, BBQs, and weddings. I think I’ve had more alcohol this past week than plain old water (which, if you know me at all, is not something I normally do). Is that bad?

Consequently, blogging has hit the backburner as I slowly make it through the flurry of goodbyes (many of my friends are leaving the area, myself included, and moving elsewhere for residency) and soaking up the last bits of free time we’ll all have in a long time. I apologize. I’ll try to post consistently but the commenting thing may not happen until I’m settled in July. Be patient.

In the meantime, this crostata was an easy dessert to prepare for my family when time was short. It tasted of summer without requiring any completely fresh fruit (is anyone else terrible at picking out the sweetest fruit from the stand?). You can substitute any jam/preserves you wish making this insanely adaptable to your pantry! Can you really go wrong with Giada?

Crostata with Raspberry Preserves
adapted from Giada at Food Network

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3-4 tbsp ice water
  • 12 oz (3/4 c) raspberry preserves
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
  • powdered sugar, optional

Instructions
In a food processor, blend flour, sugar, and lemon zest. Add in butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add salt and continue pulsing. Add water one tablespoon at a time until dough begins to form together when pressed with your fingers. I used 3 1/2 tablespoons in total. Gather dough into a ball, flatten into a round, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, approximately one hour.

Once chilled, preheat oven to 400F. Roll dough out into an 11-inch round on a piece of parchment cut to fit your baking sheet. In a small bowl mix together preserves and lemon juice. Spread over dough, leaving 2 inches all around. Fold over crust, sealing gently, to create an 8-inch round. Place parchment on baking sheet and bake 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned. When cooled, sprinkle toasted almonds and dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Bittman’s Brownies

Ni hao, friends!! I’m back from China, jet-lag free and super excited for the coming weeks filled with graduation festivities, friends, family (all coming in for my graduation party), and even more fun.

Whirlwind recap of China: Extremely tiring since every day there was something else exciting to see but definitely a lot of fun. Highlights include Shanghai (what a lovely city!), the Great Wall (picture below), a friend’s wedding, and literally spending every last penny of ours on food. It was two weeks with one of my favorite people in the world, our first trip longer than an extended weekend, and it was wonderful.

Now for the baking. Towards the end of our trip I was constantly complaining that I wanted some serious chocolate cake or brownie action. If you’ve eaten Asian food, you’ve realized that they’re not big on chocolate and their cakes are not the rich, dense versions you’ll find in any Western bakery, but rather light, fluffy sponge cakes with a barely detectable flavor. For this girl, whose refrigerator is never without butter and heavy cream and whose pantry is constantly stocked with dark chocolate, satisfaction with Eastern desserts could only last so long. So while I enjoyed my time in China I was looking forward to getting back into my own kitchen and whipping up some serious brownies.

These are serious brownies. They were not as chewy as I like my favorite brownies but they sure satisfied that gnawing in my stomach from a lack of a really good chocolate dessert.

Bittman’s Brownies
adapted from Eats Well With Others

Makes 16 or 1 8×8″ square pan.

Ingredients

  • 3 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c all-purpose flour

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 8×8″ baking pan with aluminum foil. Melt chocolate and butter together in a medium-sized bowl over gently simmering water. Once almost melted, take off heat and continue stirring until completely melted. Stir in sugar with a wooden spoon followed by the eggs one at a time, salt, and vanilla extract. With a spatula, fold in flour until it just disappears. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 25-30 minutes or until just set. Eat with a spoon as soon as they come out of the oven.

Yeahhhhh spoon!!

Pina Colada Cake

(Pardon the horrendous picture. This is actually the only decent shot I got and I am terrible at taking pictures in restaurants!)

I’m currently in China getting chubby on dumplings and hand-pulled noodles but figured I’d leave something sweet for you to munch on while I’m gone!

I made this cake as a (surprise, surprise) last-minute decision for a friend’s birthday (originally someone else volunteered but ended up not having enough time). I simplified it by baking it in a disposable cake pan, making a whipped topping rather than buttercream, and just slathering on toppings rather than slicing out layers etc. Actually, I was under some severe time constraints so we drove all the way to the restaurant with separate components and a still-too-warm cake and I threw it all together in Boy’s trunk. Thankfully, it came together perfectly and went well with the Cuban dinner we attended for the celebrant. It was a huge hit (some even said it was better than this ice cream cake). The flavors melded and the cake was a light ending to our meal. Each individual component was full of flavor and together there could be nothing more delicious.

Pina Colada Cake
adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes

Ingredients
For Brown Sugar Cake:

  • 3 3/4 c cake flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 c packed light brown sugar
  • 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 c buttermilk
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For Pineapple Topping:

  • 1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple in juice
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 vanilla bean

For Coconut Whipped Topping

  • 2 c heavy cream, chilled
  • 1/4 c confectioner’s sugar, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/2 c sweetened shredded coconut, for garnish

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F.

For filling: Combine pineapple, sugar, lemon juice, and the scraped vanilla seeds in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly while the sugar dissolves, 2-3 minutes. Then increase the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and almost jam-like. Cool completely before using.

For cake: Butter a 9×13″ cake pan (or 3 9″ round cake pans). If you use the 9×13″ pan, you will have extra batter for cupcakes or a 9″ round cake.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl attached to an electric mixer. Whisk gently to combine. Add brown sugar, butter, and 1 1/2 c buttermilk and blend on low speed. Once incorporated, beat on medium 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with remaining 1/4 buttermilk and vanilla. Add to the batter in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between, just until combined. Pour 2/3 of the cake batter (you can eyeball) into the prepared cake pan, saving the rest for cupcakes or a smaller cake. (Or divide among the 3 9″ round cake pans evenly.) Bake 35-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean (for smaller pans, adjust time accordingly). Cool completely before topping.

For whipped topping: Whip heavy cream until soft peak stage. Add confectioner’s sugar and coconut extract and continue beating until stiff peaks. Taste and add sugar/extract as needed for your coconut loving taste.

For assembly: Spread pineapple topping over cooled cake (despite not using all the cake batter in my 9×13″ cake, I still used all of the topping – it’s yummy!). Then spread shredded coconut, followed by the whipped topping. Serve and enjoy!

I wish I had more pictures but alas it was not my camera’s night.

Enjoy your week everyone!

Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake

Lessons I’ve learned thus far in my quarter of a century existence on this earth:

1. Double knotting sneakers can never be a bad thing.

2. Facial moisterizer is necessary after I wash my face or I dry up and it’s not attractive.

3. People have a funny way of surprising you (this can be good or bad but there are lots of surprises either way).

4. Coffee is not actually essential to my being though I enjoy it.

5. Ice cream cakes are best made in a pan with four tall sides for ease of transport and the least amount of messy.

Yup. That’s it. Five things. That’s one thing for every five years I’ve been alive. But the quantity isn’t what matters, it’s the quality, and friends, that’s some quality lessons learned up there. Let’s talk about the last one, shall we?

Several weeks ago we went out for a going away party for a friend (she just left for Korea for a month). While she was out of earshot, her boyfriend said that he thought she snuck a cake into their car because she’d be out of town for his birthday. He then remarked that out of all the years they’d been together she’d never gotten him the cake he truly wanted. My ears perked up. Cake? I’m in!

Turns out all he wanted was an ice cream cake. And that’s what he was going to get.

The first birthday cake I made for my group of friends was actually for Boy. He too wanted an ice cream cake but only told me this on the day of his celebration which led to a lot of scrambling around. Needless to say, the cake was improperly frozen and proceeded to melt all over me as we tried to transport it from my freezer to the restaurant. There was toilet paper involved. Don’t ask.

The second ice cream cake I made the next year was for Boy’s roommate. I discovered the joys of building the cake in a disposable pan with tall sides so that if it began to melt it wouldn’t melt on me. Much better. However, I baked the cake in a separate pan and then transferred it which meant some holes and not the prettiest slices.

This time around, I think I finally perfected my ideal cake. I baked a bottom cake layer in the pan and simply built up the cake by adding homemade ice cream on top. It was a huge hit with the birthday boy, Boy himself, and all our friends and was much simpler than my previous versions. I may switch up the flavors but this will definitely be my method!

Note: If you’re looking to plan out your time, I suggest making the ice cream bases the night before and refrigerating overnight. The cake can also be made the day before if desired or the morning of. Make sure you freeze it for at least an hour before spreading ice cream on top. I then churned my middle layer (vanilla), immediately spread atop the cake, and froze for 20 minutes while my top layer (strawberry) churned. I didn’t wash my ice cream maker in between and went straight from flavor to flavor. You can spread this part over a few days if you like. I’m just insane.

Vanilla Ice Cream
adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours

Makes ~ 1 quart.

Ingredients

  • 2 c whole milk
  • 2 c heavy cream
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Instructions
Bring milk and cream to boil in a heavy saucepan. Meanwhile whisk together yolks and sugar until slightly thickened. While whisking, drizzle 1/3 of the hot mixture into the eggs to temper. Pour the rest of the hot mixture in, whisk, and then transfer back into the pan. Heat on medium, stirring constantly, until the mixture is 170-180F or the custard coats the back of a spoon without running when you slide a finger through it. Strain into a heatproof bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract. Cover and refrigerate until ready to churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

Strawberry Ice Cream
adapted from epicurious

Makes ~5 cups.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 c heavy cream
  • 3 3×1 inch strips of lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 c sugar, divided
  • 1 lb frozen strawberries (fresh if you can find really great ones), trimmed and quartered
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions
Combine cream, zest, and salt in a saucepan and heat until just to a boil. Remove from heat and discard zest.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and 1/2 c sugar until well combined. Add a small amount of the heavy cream to the egg mixture while whisking constantly. Then add the rest in, mix, and pour back into the saucepan. Turn the heat back on medium-low and whisk constantly as you heat the mixture to 170F. Be sure you do not exceed 180F. Pour through a sieve into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or until cool.

Once cooled, puree strawberries with remaining 1/4 c sugar and lemon juice in a blender. Strain through a sieve to remove seeds. Mix into the cooled custard. Churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

Chocolate Cake
adapted from Gale Gand

Makes 1 9×13″ cake.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 1/4 c + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c + 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 eggs*
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c boiling water

*for the half egg, you can break the egg into a bowl, whisk, then measure out half of the mixture

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13″ cake pan and set aside.

Sift together sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk to combine. In a separate bowl fitted with an electric mixer, combine eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and beat on low for 5 minutes. Gradually add the hot water, still mixing at low speed until just combined. Pour batter into the pan and bake 25-30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cool and freeze at least 1 hour to firm up before assembly.

For Assembly: Ensure that the vanilla ice cream is soft before spreading by either spreading right after churning or letting the ice cream sit on the counter for 30 minutes. Spread vanilla ice cream onto the frozen chocolate cake. Freeze for 30 minutes while you churn or soften the strawberry layer. Spread strawberry ice cream and freeze at least 1 hour before serving. Decorate as desired.

I love ice cream cakes, don’t you?

Samoa Bars

In my reader, I have amassed quite a collection of blog posts and recipes that I’m dying to try. Unfortunately, that collection grows by the day and I can’t quite keep up. Also, when a stroke of inspiration strikes, there’s no guarantee that an appropriate recipe is already sitting in my files so I go off hunting the internet and alas the list of recipes never gets shorter.

This week, however, I was determined.

After much hemming and hawing, I finally settled on this recipe. Browned butter, chocolate, coconut, and the namesake of the hands-down best Girl Scouts cookie out there. What could go wrong? Nothing, I tell you, nothing. These bars are an exercise in moderation they’re so delicious. They can single-handedly bring a diet crashing down with the first bite of wonderful. The only thing I would change would be to do some kind of caramel drizzle over them to really get the quintessential samoa experience.

I’m drooling just thinking about it.

Samoa Bars
adapted from honey & jam

Makes one 8×8″ pan.

Ingredients

  • 10 tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 c dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 c flour
  • 1 1/4 c sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 c bittersweet chocolate chips

Ingredients
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8 baking dish with aluminum foil.

Brown the butter in a pan over high heat. To do this, stand very close by and wait until it begins to change color and smell nutty. Take off the flame and allow the butter to cool for a few minutes until just warm. Combine with the brown and granulated sugars in a large bowl. Add in the egg, vanilla, and salt and stir with a wooden spoon. Slowly add in the flour, coconut, and chocolate chips until the flour just disappears. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top over. Bake 25-30 minutes. The center will still be soft but avoid overbaking. Cool completely before cutting and serving.

Clearly I was too eager to wait for these babies to cool.

Have you taken childhood favorites and changed them up?

Pig Cake

I have been ridiculously MIA from blogging this past week. As we approach the end of an era (my formal education years), it’s getting quite hectic and I’m trying desperately to spend as much time with my family and friends as possible before my job (JOB! WOOHOO!) starts in June and I move away (not far away but away) and spend sleepless nights at the hospital.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Match Day, or the day all graduating medical students across the country find out where they’ll be working this coming year, was this past Thursday. It was nerve wracking, anxiety inducing, makes-you-need-to-pee-and-want-to-vomit-all-at-the-same-time, and all around torture. But we all got through it. I got my number 2 choice in New York if you’re all wondering. I’m quite happy. Boy is too (he also got his number 2, also in New York, but different institution).

To celebrate, I quickly whipped up this Pig Cake before we all went out for an evening of bad decisions. It was everything I wanted to be. Very few ingredients, meaning less time at the grocery store, whipped up in a matter of minutes, meaning more time hanging out, and tasted wonderfully. Also, it was a single layer cake, perfect for large crowds and for even less kitchen fuss. The cake itself was moist and light and just a bit tropical tasting with the addition of mandarin oranges. The topping was a pure dream. It, too, was light and fluffy with scrumptious chunks of pineapple. The whole cake was sweet but not too sweet and fit in perfectly for the joyous occasion. This will definitely be made again and again without hesitation. I don’t know why exactly it’s called Pig Cake (PW doesn’t either) but I can only surmise that it’s because it’s so incredibly delicious you can’t help but be a little piggy eating more and more!

Sorry there’s only one picture! I was too busy drinking champagne.

Pig Cake
adapted from the Pioneer Woman

Ingredients

For cake:

  • 1 box Yellow Cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 14 oz can of mandarin oranges, drained, 1/2 c juice reserved
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For topping:

  • 1 package vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 20 oz can of crushed pineapple, drained, juice reserved
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 4 oz Cool Whip
  • extra mandarin oranges for garnish, optional

Instructions
For cake: Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9×13″ baking pan.

Using an electric mixer, combine cake mix, butter, reserved juice, eggs, and vanilla on medium-high (start out slow to prevent cake mix from flying everywhere) for 4 minutes. Add oranges and beat until they are broken up into small pieces. Pour into prepared pan and bake 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and set. Cool completely.

For topping: Mix together vanilla pudding mix and reserved juice. Add powdered sugar followed by the whipped topping, mixing to combine. Stir in pineapple. Spread on cooled cake and refrigerate several hours before serving. Serve with extra mandarin oranges if desired.

What’s your reason to celebrate this week?

PB Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

This is the biggest week in my medical school career.

On Thursday, I find out where I am employed for the next four years of my life, where I will make my lifelong connections, where I will train to be the best possible physician I can be. At noon, my entire class will open our envelops containing the destination we’ve worked so hard to get to for the past four years. We’ll find out how far away we’ll be leaving one another. There will be tears of happiness and tears of sadness.

The thought of it makes me want to vomit.

Which is where this cookie cake comes in!

From the moment I saw this on Ellie’s blog, I knew I’d be making it in a time of turmoil. It looked comforting, inviting, and warm. And after all was said and done and I was eating my first slice, I knew it was exactly what I needed. The butterflies in my stomach vanished for a moment as I filled it instead with chocolate, peanut butter, and marshmallow goodness. How could I be stressed with a mouthful of what tastes like unbaked cookie dough?

Unfortunately, in my moment of need last night I polished off more of the cake than I anticipated. I’m not sure how I’m going to tide my nerves between now and Thursday now!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
adapted from Almost Bourdain

Makes 1 9″ cake.

Ingredients

  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 c smooth peanut butter
  • 1 c lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 c chocolate chips (I used 60% cacao)
  • 1 c minimarshmallows

Instructions
Preheat oven to 355F. Grease and line a 9″ circular cake pan. Set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter, peanut butter, sugar, and vanilla for 1-2 minutes or until well combined. Add in egg and beat another minute on medium speed, scraping down sides as needed. Switching to low speed, mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and marshmallows with a spatula. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 18-22 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan before running knife around edge. Then cool in pan for at least 4 hours before turning out and serving.

 

What kind of week are you having?

Olive Oil and Coconut Brownies

Let me tell you about these brownies.

They taste like olive oil.

Now, many recipes tout ingredients in their titles that don’t always play a huge role in the flavor category. This one doesn’t. These actually taste like olive oil with some surrounding chocolate and a helping of coconut. So if you don’t like any of those ingredients, I’m sorry but these are probably not the brownies for you.

However, if you do like any (or all) of the above ingredients, you’re going to love these! I happen to be one of those people who could (did? I’m not telling!) eat these in spoonfuls out of the pan, who finds the flavor combination both sublime and addicting. The only real problem for me is that they’re not super awesome washed down with a glass of cold milk. Milk and olive oil? Not the best duo. But olive oil and chocolate and coconut with a few grains of salt? Oh baby, come to mama!

This Week I Ate..

  • Eats Well With Others’ Chicken Enchiladas with Mashed Plantains. After a slightly panicked text message, I was reassured in replacing the red chiles with 3 chipotle peppers (with accompanying adobo sauce) and Boy and I could not love this dish any more. It was the perfect amount of spicy and the queso fresco on top completely won us over. (I used an entire 12 oz block). I wish I still had leftovers.

Olive Oil and Coconut Brownies
adapted from NY Times

Makes 16-25 brownies, depending on how you cut them.

Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 1/2 heaping tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c + 1 tbsp water, boiling
  • 1 oz unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate (I used 72%), finely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 c + 6 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 heaping tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used 60%), coarsely chopped
  • 1 c shredded sweetened coconut
  • extra kosher salt or fleur de sel for sprinkling

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8″ baking pan with foil and grease lightly with extra olive oil. Set aside.

Whisk together cocoa powder with boiling water until smooth. Add 1 oz unsweetened/bittersweet chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Whisk in olive oil. Whisk in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add in sugar and whisk until completely incorporated. Switch to a spatula and fold in flour and salt until just mixed. Fold in coarsely chopped chocolate.

Pour half of the batter into the pan and smooth over. Sprinkle half the coconut over the batter. Then, in big spoonfuls, plop the rest of the batter over top the coconut and smooth over (it’s okay if it’s not perfect). Sprinkle with the remaining coconut and a good dose of sprinkling salt. Bake 25-30 minutes or until just set. Disregard the tester in this case because it won’t come out clean. Allow to cool completely on a rack.

This has been submitted to Sweets for a Saturday!

Coconut Half-Pound Cake

In all my “carpe diem”-ing, I took a small trip down to Philadelphia this past weekend to visit a friend from school who recently moved there. And, as per my usual, I decided the morning of to bake something. Anything, so long as it was good.

I took a quick survey of my kitchen and found leftover shredded coconut and not much else. After a quick Google search, this cake was it. And I’m so glad it was because it was a definite hit among my two girlfriend and myself as we polished off half of it that afternoon. Luckily, we have large enough stomachs that it didn’t spoil our dinner. I threw in a touch of almond extract at the last minute and was told that the addition made the cake. A tender crumb, moist coconut, and the delicious idea of sprinkling some vanilla sugar over top all made the perfect afternoon snack.

Unfortunately, in all the rush, I neglected to take pictures of the cake slices. Trust me that it was delicious. Also, had I taken pictures of the inside, you’d have seen little flecks of vanilla bean because the original recipe called for it. The end result, however, didn’t exactly showcase the vanilla so I omitted that in the recipe below. If you opt out of the almond extract you may find the vanilla bean flavor present but I love the almond and coconut combination.

Note: I call this a half-pound cake because the eggs and butter are only half a pound and not the classic pound. I also think it’s a cuter title this way.

Coconut Half-Pound Cake
adapted from the Naptime Chef

Makes 1 9×5″ loaf.

Ingredients

  • 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • heaping 1 c sweetened shredded coconut, divided
  • vanilla sugar

Instructions
Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 9×5″ loaf and set aside.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs approximately one egg at a time, beating until thoroughly mixed after each addition. Add extracts and combine. On low speed, slowly add in the flour until just incorporated. Fold in 3/4 c coconut with a spatula. Pour into prepared pan and bake 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, sprinkle remaining coconut and a good helping of vanilla sugar over loaf and continue baking another 15 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Cool completely. Eat, eat, eat!

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