This week I celebrate my birthday. Ordinarily, I take myself to lunch every year to this elegant Italian restaurant. They serve the most spectacular Veal Parmigiana paired with an Italian Wine recommended by the Chef. For dessert, always my favorite, coconut cake.
Unfortunately, this year I won’t be in town to take myself to lunch. That’s okay because for the first time in 30 years, I made this cake. I happened to be hosting a food photography event for a few lady photographers. Cake would be the subject and being this is the winter holiday season, I suggested Coconut and they all agreed.
First, I must confess…I cheated. I used a box mix instead of making from scratch. I make one cake a year for my husband’s birthday. I’m not confident in making from scratch. Past attempts produced bricks or bitterness. I don’t know the science behind leavening’s, etc. to understand what went wrong.
I always know how this cake mix turns out. The flour, sugar and leavening is measured out but I still have to add the water, egg and oil. So there’s that. To tell the truth, I’m not ashamed. So, to the purist’s…, frown away. I’m also not a food stylist but I did try to clean up a little when I sliced through the cake.
In the end, the photographers had a great time. They enjoyed eating the “prop”. There was much laughter and this time together was a great way to jump-start the winter holiday season.
Recipe, if you will:
One box Pillsbury Yellow Cake Mix…pudding in the mix.
1/3 cup oil, I use Canola
1 cup water
Preheat oven to 350°
Follow directions from the box but with an added tip or two here:
Eggs should be at room temperature and add one egg at a time.
Alternate mix and liquids and eggs. Be certain each is incorporated well before adding more.
After all is completed, beat on high for two minutes. Essential for light and airy cake.
If using round cake pans or sheet pan, be sure to cover the pan with spray, shortening or butter and flour after. Then, take parchment paper, cut out the size of the bottom of the pan. This helps tremendously when removing the cake from the pan.
I have also learned to set your timer for a few minutes less than recipe guidelines and do the toothpick check. Ovens are all different.
I used a box mix for this also. Betty White Home Style Frosting. Just add boiled water.
I once tried to make this frosting from scratch but scalded the sugar.
Coconut: I used Baker’s Angel Flake because Martha Stewart said to.
Option: Between the cake layer’s I added Vanilla Pudding. I used skim milk in place of whole. This can be made ahead.
After all is said and done. Place the cake in the refrigerator to cool the icing down. Then,serve as the dessert after the holiday meal.
P.S. This was the set up for the photographer’s. Window with blinds closed on right and white boards for reflection on left. Always use a tripod and it is great if you tether to your computer using software capabilities because you can make changes as you go.