Finally, the most beautiful time of the year is here..well almost!Merry Christmas to all of you!! When the jingling bells sound all the more merry against the chilly wind, when the decorations augment the beauty of snow laden drive down the street and when the gifts of Santa always leave you craving for more.I just love all of it.Though for us Christmas is not a main festival but the fervour around us is so contagious that we could not keep ourselves away from it for long.We bought our share of the gifts,chocolates,candies christmas wreaths,decorations, I baked lot of cookies in past two weeks and here I m with my Christmas cake in this post.I can spend whole day in shops now a days just checking out the aisles and I can live on cakes & chocolates for some 2-3 days or so.No wonder December is DELIGHTFUL!
Now, getting on to the fact that why I baked such a (non)traditional cake for my Christmas.Alright, to cut the long story short, I m married to a sweet guy who wants the most untraditional things at times when old-fashioned ways should be the spotlight.Like he wants to eat a chocolate mousse as a Diwali dessert when Indian sweets are popular choice to grace the table,he will order a salad over a soup for a chilly, cold Sunday supper and on Christmas when I wanted to bake a traditional fruit cake and had already started my preparations,rum-soaking the fruits about a week ago etc,he had a request..a cake with LOTS of butter and LOTS of coconut. Coconut part was noted.However,Lots of butter did sound deadly.He has a very straightforward logic as per which a dessert should taste like dessert-rich, sweet, gooey & sinful.Well, okay!
But, I m not complaining, mainly coz being married to this guy, I get to experiment a lot,I have to find ways to incorporate the best of our tastes in a single dish and most of all I enjoy it a lot..its quite interesting and challenging to satiate our individual cravings for ingredients in food!Its fun and learning at times to play with flavors that we often think might not mingle…for example when I found the coconut cake recipe[mentioned below] with rum, I was thrilled! Since childhood, I am conditioned to eating a rum laden, plum-cake on Christmas which deck up all little bakeries in Delhi as christmas neared, and though my mom hardly baked one, she never forgot to buy it on Christmas eve!
A week back ,I soaked dry fruits, nuts and some candied fruits in a rum & orange juice.So somehow I had to find a way to give the coconut cake a touch of those soaked fruits…I was sure to that! Though I was lured to,but did not add any spices to it at that time, it turned out to be a wise move otherwise they would have interfered with sweet & mild taste of coconut…Oh Thank Heaven! One way was to mix it in the cake batter, but I wanted a neat looking cake interior so dropped it.Finally I layered the fruit and nut mix inside the cakes…sweet & simple.There are few firsts to be acknowledged before going on to the recipe.This is my First layered cake ever.It is also one of the first cakes I baked for christmas…else all the holidays were spent in a vacation each year.Below goes the recipe.Dont forget to see the notes at the end!!
Verdict on this labour Intensive Cake [are mandatory]: It was a very soft cake. The first thing you taste is light spirit of rum and then coconut takes over and remains there for a while, the fruit bits provide a bite till the end!I still feel like going back to the leftovers in the fridge while I write this.I kept the fruit and nuts coarsely chopped for that bite I m talking about.I had a little leftover frosting which can be served as a dollop on side.Afterall, who doesnt like that binge on extra frosting! I bet you cant say no!
Adapted from here [Tyler Florence Recipe]
For the Cake :
Makes 2 nos 9″ cakes
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup fine coconut flakes, sweetened
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 extra-large eggs whites
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 3 tbsp dark rum
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
Cake Filling :
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup cold heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup coconut powder
- 1 cup Fruit and nut mix [recipe below]
Cake Frosting :
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tbsp coconut milk [if required,adjust as per requirement]
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- 2.5 cups sweetened coconut flakes
- Preheat oven to 325 F. Line two 9″ baking pans with parchment paper and brush some butter on it.
- In a bowl,sift the flour, cornstarch and salt.Set aside.
- Beat the egg whites untill stiff peaks are formed.
- Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the sugar all at once and beat until incorporated.You will need to scrape down the sides.
- Mix in the coconut milk, rum and extract.
- To the milk mix, slowing add the flour mix and keep on beating on a low-speed until well combined.
- Fold in the beaten egg whites and coconut flakes gently.
- Pour batter evenly among the prepared pans. Smooth the tops with a spatula.
- Bake the pans on the center rack of the oven for 26-32 minutes. Mine took 32 minutes.Test the centre with a skewer if it comes out clean.
- Remove the pans from the oven and cool in the pans for 15 minutes.
- Invert the cakes onto cooling rack. Remove the parchment paper and cool completely. I left the cakes overnight for cooling.
Preparing the Filling: [on the assembling day]
- Using a hand mixer, beat the whipped cream on medium speed untill stiff peaks are formed, adding sugar gradually.
- Once beaten, fold in the coconut powder.
- Refrigerate until ready to assemble the cake.
Preparing the Frosting:[on the assembling day]
- Cream the butter and cream cheese using a mixer.
- Slowly add the confectioners sugar and beat on low-speed until soft to stiff peaks start forming.You should be able to spread the frosting.If not add a tablespoon of coconut milk, if required.
- 4 tbsp chopped dried dates
- 2 tbsp chopped dried apricots
- 4 tbsp black currants
- 3 tbsp chopped almonds
- 3 tbsp candied cherries[ I used both green & red colored]
- 2 tbsp candied pineapple
- 3 tbsp fresh orange peel, julians
- 2 tbsp lime juice +1/2 cup orange juice + 4 tbsp dark rum [for soaking]
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
Finely chop all the dry fruits, nuts and candied fruits.Stuff into an air tight container.Mix the salt and sugar with the orange juice mix.Pour over the dry fruit mix and let soak for at least 5 days.Do not forget to shake the container twice a day! When you need to use it, drain the juices and discard or use in baking elsewhere.
Assembling the cake:
- Tranfer one of the cooled cake to the serving board or the cake platter.Push some tissues or parchment paper pieces all around the cake bottom such that they cover all of the exposed serving platter.
- Using a spatula, spread the filling on the cake top leaving at least 2 ” boundary from all sides.Follow by a layer of drained fruit and nut mix. Sprinkle more of coconut powder if you want.
- Put the second cake on top such that both the cakes are concentric edge to edge.
- Evenly spread the frosting on the top and sides of the cake.Use the 2 cups of coconut flakes to cover the top and sides of the cake, gently pressing to stick. Follow by some decorations or candies if you wish to.
- Once covered in coconut, remove all of the tissue papers from the sides.’
- Caution : This is a labour intensive cake so do not plan it on a lazy day
- I recommend not making the frosting and filling in advance.If refrigerated and used later,its hard to work with.Make it on the day you want to assemble and serve the cake.
- The coconut milk in the cake recipe can be replaced by whole milk.
- If you are using a glass pan for baking the cake,set your oven to 350F and adjust the baking time.
- I did not use the egg yolks in the batter because I wanted a white look.If you wish to, just add them while beating the sugar in the wet ingredients.
- My frosting was slightly tough to spread, so I added milk to smoothen it out.You might not need it.
Merry Christmas Everyone and Happy New Year!!!
Sending This to 12 days of Bloggie Mass @ A Moderate Life