My sister has been sick with the stomach flu, but she’s almost well now, thank the Lord. BUT…she whined this morning that she didn’t want to go to school, so Dad let her stay home…again. So I’m cooped up at home for the third day in a roll. It’s starting to get to me. A person needs fresh air. I even woke up with a headache and a foot ache this morning. A foot ache! From walking to no where! How is that even possible? I’m convinced that all I need is some time outside in the sun and less in front of this computer. Right after this post of course.
Lightly scented cake with a sweet and tart filling, all topped with velvety chocolate. Coconut layer cake with chocolate ganache. Let’s talk about the cake. It is simple to make, simple to handle, and simple in taste. It has a tight and moist crumb with balanced flavors of vanilla and coconut. It’s partially lifted by beaten egg whites, so it has an airy interior. About those egg whites…I had to beat them by hand with a fork because I’d forgotten to pack my hand-held mixer with me when I moved back home for the summer. Didn’t think something like that would come in handy, I figured I would just work the elbow grease. Uh, kind of wrong. Well, it was that bad this time, since it’s only two egg whites, and only to soft peak stage, but I guess there would be no angel food cakes in the near future.
Now, the filling is simply delectable. It’s made with sour cream and coconut milk, as well as a healthy dose of shredded coconut. All together they create a myriad of flavors and textures: sweet and tart, silky and chewy. I used the leftovers to smear on pieces of trimmed-off cake.
The chocolate ganache is not like your usual ganache. This one is made with coconut milk instead of heavy cream. And since I scaled the recipe down to a 6 inch cake, I didn’t want to heat the coconut milk and chocolate in a bowl over simmering water, as I would usually do. So I cheated, and heated the milk in the microwave and stirred the chocolate chips in until they melted. For the most part. If you looked really carefully you’d see tiny little shards of unmelted chocolate in the otherwise luscious ganache. But only if you looked carefully. I’m sure you could do a better job than me and not cheat like I did.
Have you ever seen the animated movie Ratatouille? It’s the one where they make rats look adorable. 😀 There is one scene where Remy, the main charater (and rat) tries to tell his brother how each ingredient has its own unique flavour, but together they create something so much more. The movie then shows fireworks and colorful explosions all over the screen. You get the idea. This cake reminds me of that scene. Coconut is something that can be paired with lots of flavours, and chocolate is no exception. It harmonizes with the bitter sweetness and together, the two flavors create a symphony in your mouth, or fireworks if you prefer. 😉 When you take a bite, you first hit the bitterness of the topping, then the light and spongy cake soothes your tongue, and finally the coconut filling provides the tang and brings out the coconut flavor of the cake. Lovely. Now go make cake. 🙂
Coconut Layer Cake with Chocolate Ganache
(makes one 9-inch layer cake)
Note: I halved the recipe and got one 6-inch cake sliced in half.
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, separated
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. coconut milk
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup chocolate chips or 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
For the cake, line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper or grease and flour the pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, then cream in egg yolks and vanilla until the mixture is lemony in colour. Add flour mixture and coconut milk alternately, in 3 or 4 additions, beginning and ending with flour. Beat egg whites to soft peak stage and fold one third into the cake batter to aerate it, this makes the rest easier to incorporate. Fold the rest of the egg whites into the batter, taking care not to over stir. Pour into prepared pans and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of cake comes out clean.
Let cool for 10 minutes in pans, then invert out of pans and cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
For the ganache, heat the coconut milk in a bowl over a simmering pot of water until steaming. Turn off the heat and pour in chocolate chips. Let the chocolate chips softened for 30 seconds, then stir until the mixture is shiny and smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
To assemble the cake, trim the layers as necessary and sandwich together with the filling. Spread the ganache over the top of the cake, let it dribble all over the sides. Garnish the top as desired (I used a strawberry fan!) or simply leave it smooth and shiny. Nothing wrong with unadulterated chocolate!