Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Rachel!

Coconut Cake - top

Sunday was Rachel's birthday. She's a woman who knows what she wants, and what she wants is to not make a big deal out of her birthday. But I couldn't help making a small-to-middling deal. After all, as a friend, she's a big deal to me.

The back story: a month or so ago, our mutual friend Stephen threw a party. One of the desserts featured there was a coconut cake he made from a Cooks Illustrated recipe. It was heavenly. Rachel raved about it, exchanged messages with me and Stephen about how to locate the recipe and the ingredients (creme of coconut can be a bit tricky to find), and even mentioned her love of it on the internet (I believe she said, "I dream of this cake" on Facebook). I thought it might make a good birthday present.

Coconut Cake - side

I spent early Sunday afternoon baking, toasting coconut, and creating the frosting, as well as putting everything together and cat-proofing the finished product. The cake was made of 2 round cakes cut in half horizontally, so it was a 4-layer cake with coconut buttercream frosting in between and on top. There were coconut creme and extract in the cake and the frosting, as well as toasted coconut throughout the icing, so I would call this triply coconut.

I'll make this admission: when I was making it, the buttercream frosting seemed to curdle, so that texture was a bit off, especially to the eye, but it still tasted delicious -- light and filled with coconut.

Rachel's cake - slice

Other than the buttercream fumble, this cake was spectacular on every level. I rarely use cake flour, but the recipe called for it and the result was a silky-smooth texture very pleasing in the mouth. It was perhaps not unlike eating an angel.

Rachel deserved no less a cake.

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