New cakes pans are always so exciting, and I bought the cutest little 4-inch pans, as well as some 2-inch ones, which really are too small to use for much of anything, but adorable nonetheless. The 4-inch pans, though, were begging to be used with my 6-inch pans for a two-tier cake, that looks much bigger in these photos than it really was.
So just to try out my new pans, I baked a light and fluffy coconut cake, which I frosted with snowy coconut buttercream.
Rich chocolate ganache, dripping from both tiers, added so much drama, and I garnished the cake with natural, unsweetened shaved coconut and bits of sugary crystallized ginger. The unexpected heat and sharpness of the ginger contrasted beautifully with the sweet buttercream and creamy chocolate.
You may wonder what I do with all this cake when I bake just for fun and practice, and the truth is, I give most of it away. Many cakes come to work with me or my husband, but this one I ended up gifting to the neighbors.
I still have stacks of small take-home boxes left from our wedding last fall, so minutes after I photographed this pretty cake, I cut it all into pieces and divided it up between boxes to give to the neighbors and invite them to our house-warming party.
It seemed a shame to cut it all up, but after all, I bake treats to be enjoyed and not just looked at. But this lovely vintage glass cake stand which a friend gave to me - I could look at that all day.
Coconut Cake with Ganache, Coconut and Candied Ginger
- 1 box white cake mix
- 3 eggs
- 1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened, full fat coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1/2 cup shaved natural coconut
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon meringue powder
- 2 teaspoons coconut extract
- 3 tablespoons cream or whole milk
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 5 ounces heavy whipping cream
- shaved natural coconut
- crystallized/candied ginger, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease three 6-inch pans and two 4-inch pans to make the cake pictured above (alternatively, you can make this recipe in three 8-inch pans for a standard sized 1-tier cake).
Whisk all the ingredients for the cake until well blended. Divide the batter between the pans and bake for about 15-17 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on wire racks; cover the pans loosely with clean kitchen towels while cooling.
Beat the butter in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment for 1-2 minutes until smooth. With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar and meringue powder until combined. Add the coconut extract and cream, then whip on medium high speed until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Fill, stack and frost the cakes with the buttercream, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Warm the cream over low heat, just until it simmers around the edges, then pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let sit for 3 minutes, then stir with a spatula until smooth and shiny.
Spoon the ganache onto the the bottom tier, working around the cake, letting it run over the sides, then pour ganache on top.
Garnish the cake with the coconut and ginger, before the ganache sets.
Yields about 15-20 servings
Recipe and Design from Curly Girl Kitchen