Sunday, 18 November 2012

John's Coconut and Chocolate Cake and Leftover Bow Cupcakes




Well, you may be thinking that pink is a funny colour for John's cake. You would think so even more if you met John the builder. John the Builder's favourite cake is coconut cake and this cake was made as a thank you when he (eventually...) finished some work he was doing in our garden for us. I asked my four year old what colour he thought John would like for his cake and his reply was "black", I wasn't doing black on this particular day, so I asked him to chose another colour and he decided that John would like pink. There may also have been an incident involving my car and a certain builder's van ... that contributed to the pinkness.



This is a little 3 tier 6 " cake, made using a four egg recipe. My eggs were so large, I could have got away with using three, as it was, I used four and used the leftover batter for the bow cupcakes below. The traditional way to flavour a coconut cake is to add about 25g or 1 oz of desiccated coconut per egg. I didn't want the cake to be too crunchy, so I added about 10 g 1/2 oz coconut per egg and a teaspoon of coconut flavouring.

Recipe

Ingredients
4 eggs (Ideally these will weigh about 200g or 8 oz) Weigh these in their shells, then weigh out the same weight of
Butter or margarine
Caster Sugar
Self raising flour
40g / 2 oz desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon coconut flavouring (optional)

Prepare your tins and switch the over on to 350 F, 180 C or 165 C fan. You will get away with making this cake by tipping it all into your mixer and mixing until just mixed. If you prefer, make it the traditional way:

1. Cream the butter and sugar until pale in colour and fluffy looking.
2. Add the coconut flavouring if using
3. Add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of flour and beat until well mixed
4. Add the flour, mixing until just incorporated and then fold in the desiccated coconut

Divide the mixture between your tins. You only want the tins to be about half full, any leftover batter can be spooned into cupcake cases. Bake the cake for about 20 to 25 minutes, about 15 for the cupcakes. The cake is cooked when it springs back when pressed light on the top.

There is a lot of debate about what makes a cupcake have a flat top or a domed top and there are lots of factors that can make a difference. The main one is how much mixture you put in the case. I filled these cases barely half full as I wanted them to be flat and have room to poor some chocolate fudge icing on the top.


The Chocolate Fudge Icing
I used a half quantity of the chocolate fudge icing used to make my Dark Chocolate Rose Cake using milk rather than dark chocolate.


John's cake is filled with the chocolate fudge icing and I used it to pipe the shell border as a hint as to what was inside.

If you are making leftover cupcakes as well, you will need to spoon the chocolate icing into the cupcake cases whilst it is still runny.


Coconut Buttercream

I wasn't in the mood for making a 7 minute or marshmallow style icing as would traditionally be prepared to ice a coconut take, so I cheated by adding some marshmallow fluff to some regular buttercream. This is in no way similar to a marshmallow icing, but it does give the buttercream a little something extra. I started with equal quantities of butter and icing sugar and when they were well mixed, mixed in about half a jar of marshmallow fluff. Add a teaspoon of coconut flavouring as well, if you have it.

Ingredients
250g / 8oz softened unsalted butter
250g / 80z icing / confectioners sugar
Half a jar of marshmallow fluff
1 teaspoon coconut flavouring (Beau)
Gel past colour a little violet and pink (Claret) (Sugarflair)

Beat the butter till really soft. I like to add my colouring at this stage. Pale pink is a difficult colour to achieve when your butter is yellow, so you need to cancel out the yellow in the butter. You can do this by adding a little violet food colour. When the butter turns an unpleasant shade of sludge you are ready to add the pink a little at a time until you achieve the colour you want. Add the teaspoon of coconut flavouring and then add the icing sugar one third at a time, beating well after each addition. Level and assemble the cakes and brush away any crumbs before smoothing on the icing with a palette knife. I never bother with a crumb coat unless the cake is for a very special occasion.

I sprinkled the top with a little desiccated coconut to give a hint as to what was inside the cake Pipe the shell borders with a Wilton 32 nozzle.















Cupcake Decoration

These little ribbons are made with a ribbon cutter from the JEM small ribbon set. I used a size 2 and dusted them with a little lustre dust to give them that ribbony shine. Leave them to dry and harden a bit before adding to the cupcakes once the chocolate dude icing has set.



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