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Posts Tagged ‘coconut’

Pound cake is one of my favorite no-fuss desserts. It’s simple, easy and versatile. Pound cake also reminds me of my grandmother, who taught me that it’s a perfectly acceptable breakfast treat. :P

I was flipping through the March issue of Southern Living and came across this recipe for Lemon Coconut Pound Cake. I just happened to have all of the ingredients on hand in my kitchen so 10 minutes later I found myself baking. I had the cake in the oven in less than 15 minutes and it smelled wonderful while it was baking.

I was extremely pleased with both the texture and flavor of this cake. Sometimes pound cakes can be a bit dry but this one was soft and moist. I attribute the great texture to the use of yogurt in the batter. The lemon coconut flavor provided the perfect Spring twist on pound cake.

We ate this plain and it was delicious but it would also be nice with a glaze or with berries and fresh whipped cream. Make this cake a must on your Spring dessert rotation!

Lemon Coconut Pound Cake
(Recipe heavily adapted from Southern Living)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, plus extra for topping cake

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Stir together flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, beat butter at medium speed until creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add sugar, beating until fluffy and lightened in color. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Alternate adding flour mixture and yogurt to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice and 1/2 cup coconut. Pour batter into a greased and floured 9- x 5-inch loaf pan.

Bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. (Mine took closer to an hour and 15.) Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes and then remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).

Yield: 8 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 48

I hope you didn’t think I’d disappeared. My sore throat ended up morphing into laryngitis and a bad upper respiratory infection and we were out of town. I’m just now starting to feel normal again. To give you any indication of how bad I’ve been feeling, I haven’t worked out since Friday morning. Whatever was going on in my chest was not good and I needed to rest.

In slightly more interesting news, we did a five-course chef’s tasting dinner at Woodfire Grill on Friday night. For those of you who aren’t familiar, it’s Top Chef contestant Kevin Gillespie’s restaurant in Atlanta. I’m going to post a recap of that dinner tomorrow night and my experience meeting Kevin!

And now onto the food you see pictured above. I found this recipe for Chicken Hawaii while I was searching for older recipes to make for the 68 Days of Gourmet project. The recipe was originally published in 1953 and featured some of our favorite ingredients – coconut, curry, pineapple, chicken – it was a must try.

I was so excited about serving the coconut curry braised chicken with all of the fun toppings – lime wedges, pineapple, toasted coconut and chopped macadamia nuts. It smelled amazing while it was cooking but then kind of fell flat in the flavor department. I was so disappointed. There just wasn’t enough curry flavor and it was kind of bland. I was explaining the lackluster dish to my dad and he made a good point, the whole can of full fat coconut milk that I added to the curry mixture probably just washed out the flavor. And he made another funny point that in the 1950s people were really just starting to experiment with bold flavors and served a lot of bland dishes. Maybe this was pretty cutting edge in 1953!

So while I won’t be making this again, I still enjoyed cooking it and liked the idea of serving the dish with toppings so it can be customized to each diner’s taste.

One Year Ago: Lady Strawberry Cake (a show stopper!)

Chicken Hawaii
(Recipe source Gourmet, January 2006 – originally published in 1953)

Ingredients:

1 (3- to 3 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
3 tablespoons peeled fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
1 tablespoon curry powder (preferably Madras)
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
1 (13 1/2- to 15-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk (not low-fat)

Optional accompaniments for serving: rice, toasted coconut, fresh pineapple cubes, lime wedges, mango chutney,  chopped salted roasted cashews, macadamia nuts or peanuts, chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Directions:

Rinse, pat chicken dry and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Heat oil in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat. Brown chicken, turning occasionally, 8-10 minutes. You will probably need to do this in 2 batches. Transfer to plate and reserve fat in pot.

Add onion, ginger, garlic, cinnamon sticks and bay leaf to fat in pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is browned, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder and flour and cook over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring  constantly. Stir in sugar, coconut milk and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring and scraping up brown bits from bottom of pot. Return chicken and any accumulated  juices to pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through. This should take around 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165 degrees. Discard cinnamon sticks and bay leaf. Season with salt to taste.

Serve chicken over rice with sauce from pot and toppings.

Yield: 4 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 36

This vegetarian goodness was warmly welcomed after a weekend of splurging for Charlotte Restaurant Week. Friday night we went to BLT Steak and Saturday night we went to Sullivan’s. Both meals were delicious but very indulgent!

I taught BodyPump on Saturday morning and was very excited to have a great crowd! Love seeing people up and knocking out their workouts on Saturdays. Later that morning Brandon and I headed over to Y2 Yoga for a power 1 class. Saturday was Yoga Day USA so I couldn’t miss out on practicing! I headed over to Y2 again today for hot yoga. I’m happy to report that I practiced 6 out of 7 days this week!

After yoga I was famished. This dinner was so easy to put together and a nice change from all the steakhouse dinners we enjoyed this weekend. Honestly, it wasn’t my favorite curry that I’ve ever made but was still very good. My favorite vegetarian curry is still this Butternut Squash Curry which also happens to be from Gourmet!

Heading to bed early tonight…teaching BodyPump at 6 a.m. tomorrow.

Coconut Red Lentil Curry
(Recipe source Gourmet, December 2006)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 fresh jalapeño or serrano chile, finely diced, including seeds
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups dried red lentils (about 10 ounces)
1 (13- to 14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (I used lite)
1 pound zucchini (about 2 medium), diced
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro sprigs (omitted, cilantro is Brandon’s least favorite herb!)

Steamed brown or white rice, for serving

Directions:

Heat oil in a 3-4 quart heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until edges are golden, about 6 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt and chili pepper and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Stir in water or broth, lentils and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and then cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in zucchini and simmer, covered, until lentils and zucchini are tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and serve over rice with cilantro sprigs scattered on top.

Yield: 6 servings

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angelbars

Behold, Dream Bars (also known as Angel Bars apparently). So according to Joy of Cooking (my favorite cookbook ever) they have sold many copies of their cookbook over the years “on the strength of this recipe.” How could I resist trying these when they tell me that? I was intrigued, especially once I read the ingredient list.

I think the best way I can describe these is pecan pie-esque with coconut and a lemon glaze. I know that sounds strange but somehow it works. First you make a shortbread-type crust and bake it. Next you spread the pecan/coconut mixture over the crust and bake again. And finally you top it with the lemon icing. It’s quite an addictive combination.

I don’t think these will go into the regular baking rotation in my kitchen but I will make them again. If you’re a nut and coconut fan you will definitely like these!

Dream Bars (Angel Bars)
(Recipe source Joy of Cooking)

Ingredients:

FOR THE CRUST
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

FOR THE FILLING
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
2 large eggs
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

FOR THE ICING
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Have all ingredients at room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 11 x 17 pan with aluminum foil, leaving about a 2 inch overhang on the narrow sides. Spray with cooking spray.

Beat together butter, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla until fluffy and well blended. Stir in flour and knead until blended and smooth.

Firmly press dough into pan into a smooth and even layer. Bake for 10 minutes, set aside to cool.

Place the nuts and coconut on a baking sheet in a thin layer. Bake for about 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the coconut is very lightly browned.

Beat together the eggs, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla on medium speed until well combined. Stir in the nut and coconut mixture. Spread evenly over the crust and bake for about 20-25 minutes. The top should be firm and golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out slightly wet.

Stir together the icing ingredients (adding a tablespoon of water or two if necessary to make spreadable) and spread evenly over bars while they are still warm.

Let the bars stand until they are completely cool. Lift the foil out of the baking dish and carefully peel from sides. Cut bars into squares.

Yield: about 12 bars

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coconutlimecake

My mother in law’s birthday was last week and of course I volunteered to bring the birthday cake to our dinner party.  I love making cakes but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to make a whole cake for just Brandon and me.

I wanted to make a summery flavored cake. We have coconut and key lime lovers in the family so I decided that a coconut cake with a lime curd filling would be just the thing.

I used a Paula Deen recipe for the cake and frosting and adapted a lemon curd recipe from my blog for the lime filling. I must say that I was especially impressed by the Seven Minute Frosting for this cake. I had never made this type of frosting before and it was a nice change to my usual buttercream or cream cheese frosting. Brandon and I both thought it was reminiscent to marshmallow fluff, in a good way!

I was pleased with the way this cake turned out and it got good reviews at the party. I think my mother in law was also thrilled to be the guest of honor instead of the party planner.

Coconut Cake with Lime Curd Filling
(Recipe sources: cake and frosting – Paula Deen, lime curd filling – adapted from this lemon curd on my blog)

Ingredients:

FOR THE CAKE
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
3 cups self rising flour, sifted
1 cup coconut milk, stirred (not lite)
1 teaspoon vanilla

FOR THE LIME CURD
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (juice of about 2 limes)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime peel

FOR THE FROSTING
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3  cup water
2 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Directions:

FOR THE CAKE

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 (8-inch) cake pans. (I used the butter wrappers from the cake to grease the pans)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter on medium speed until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to cream for 6 to 8 minutes, until mixture is fluffy and lightened in color. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Add flour and coconut milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and beat until just mixed.

Divide batter equally among prepared pans (about 2 cups per pan). Level batter in each pan by holding pan a few inches above counter, then dropping it flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and create a more level cake.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. Start checking cakes at around 22 minutes. Cool in pans for 5 to 10 minutes before inverting cakes onto cooling racks to cool completely.

FOR THE LIME CURD
Whisk eggs, sugar and lime juice in heavy small saucepan. Add butter and lime peel. Stir over medium-low heat until curd thickens to pudding consistency, about 8 minutes. DO NOT LET MIXTURE BOIL – it will curdle (trust me, I had to throw a batch out!) Transfer to small bowl. Press plastic wrap onto surface of curd and chill at least 2 hours.

FOR THE FROSTING
Place sugar, cream of tartar, salt, water and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Using a hand held mixer, beat mixture for about a minute on high speed. Place pan over boiling water and make sure that the boiling water does not touch the bottom of the top pan. Beat constantly on high speed with for 7 minutes. Beat in vanilla at the end and combine well.

TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
Place the bottom layer on a plate or cake stand. Spread top with half of the lime curd, leaving about a 1/2 inch border around the edges. Place second layer on top of the first and spread the remaining lime curd over the top. Place third layer on top of second and frost top and sides with frosting. Press coconut into the top and sides of frosting.

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I saw pina colada cupcakes last year and have been waiting for the perfect occasion to make them (yeah, maybe that’s a little sad but I get excited about things and add them to my “to make” book)! I thought the presentation was so cute! Well, the perfect occasion finally presented itself with my co-worker Courtney’s Stock the Bar shower. Everyone loved these cupcakes (taste and presentation) and they complimented the shower theme perfectly!

Now, I will admit that the first batch of cupcakes I made was a complete failure. And by complete failure I mean had no hope of being salvaged. I abandoned my original recipe (source will not be disclosed) and tried this one from Beantown Baker. They turned out great. In fact…I think I’ll enjoy the very last cupcake after I finish this post!

Pina Colada Cupcakes
(Recipe adapted from Beantown Baker, originally from Annie’s Eats)

Ingredients:

FOR THE CUPCAKES
2 cups sifted cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature (I used whole milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
4 egg whites
2/3 cup shredded coconut

FOR THE FROSTING
2/3 cup fresh pineapple chunks or canned crushed pineapple
8 ounces cream cheese (one block), at room temperature
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

GARNISH
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
Maraschino cherries with stems, drained and dried
Straws, cut down to a shorter size

Directions:

FOR THE CUPCAKES
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pan with liners (the recipe makes about 18 cupcakes).

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat  butter on high speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. Gradually add the granulated sugar and continue beating, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl, until lightened in color and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.

Reduce mixer speed to low and fold in the flour mixture in three additions. Alternate the flour and milk, beginning and ending with flour. Mix until just blended. Still on low speed, add in the vanilla, coconut extract and shredded coconut. Transfer batter to a large mixing bowl and set aside. Wash and mixer bowl (alternatively, if you have a hand mixer you can use this and skip transferring the batter).

In the mixer bowl fitted with whisk attachment (or using a hand mixer on high speed), beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold ½ cup of the egg whites into the batter until smooth. Carefully fold in the remaining egg whites until smooth and blended (do not  over mix). Fill cupcakes pans about 2/3 of the way full with the batter.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and let cool on the rack to room temperature.

FOR THE FROSTING
If you are using fresh pineapple you’ll want to puree the chunks in a food processor a bit. If you’re using crushed pineapple, this step is not possible. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter on high speed until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Mix in powdered sugar and beat until well combined. Mix in pineapple and beat on low speed to combine.

TO ASSEMBLE CUPCAKES
Spread a thick layer of frosting over the top of each cupcake. Sprinkle with a generous layer of shredded coconut and top with a cherry. Insert straws. Enjoy :)

pinacoladacupcakesgroup

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This carrot cake popped up in my Google reader a few months ago. I starred it and have been waiting patiently for the perfect opportunity to make it. Easter dinner seemed like just the occasion. This cake was as wonderful as I hoped it would be and received great reviews from everyone around the table – even our one-year old niece! It was so moist and flavorful. I will definitely be making this cake again. Be forewarned though – it is huge! Make sure you have a crowd to feed for this one.

Tropical Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
(Recipe heavily adapted from Dinner and Dessert)

Ingredients:

FOR THE CAKE
1 cup macadamia nuts, toasted and roughly chopped (I used pecans)
3 cups all purpose flour
3 cups sugar
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1-1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
4 large eggs
2 tbsp vanilla
1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups shredded peeled carrots
1-1/2 cups diced fresh pineapple or drained crush canned pineapple (one 20 oz. can)
1/2 cup sweetened cream of coconut, such as Coco Lopez

FOR THE FROSTING:
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperate
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup heaving whipping cream
1/4 cup sweetened cream of coconut, such as Coco Lopez
1/2 tsp salt

FOR THE TOPPING
1 cup coconut, toasted (optional for decoration)

Directions:

FOR THE CAKE
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place one oven rack one-third from the bottom of the oven and the second two-thirds from the bottom. Toast nuts on a baking sheet in the oven for about 7-9 minutes, stirring halfway through or in a saute pan on the stove top over medium heat, stirring frequently. When they begin to darken in color and smell aromatic they are ready. Set aside to cool.

Line the bottom of three 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper rounds, grease with butter, and dust with flour (or spray with Baker’s Joy).

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together oil and sugar on medium speed. Add eggs in one at a time, incorporating well after each addition. On a low speed, add in vanilla, cream of coconut, pineapple, carrots and cream of coconut. Slowly mix in flour mixture and beat on low speed until fully combined.

Evenly distribute the batter between the prepared cake pans. Stagger the pans on the oven racks so that no layer is directly over another (if you have a double oven, I recommend using both for baking the cakes and not using the stagger method). Bake for 30-35 minutes, checking the cakes after about 27 minutes. They are done when they turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on racks for 5 minutes, then invert them onto the racks and cool completely, about 30 minutes.

FOR THE FROSTING
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar on medium-high speed for about 1-2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the whipping cream, cream of coconut, and salt; beat until combined.

FOR THE TOPPING
You can top your cake with toasted coconut for decoration. If you’d like to do this, spread the coconut in a thin layer in a baking sheet. Toast in the oven at 350 degrees, stirring frequently, for about 5-7 minutes. Check on it frequently – it will burn quickly (trust me, I know!). The coconut is ready when it is golden brown.

TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
Place one cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Spread a thick layer of frosting on top, leaving about 1/2 inch around the edges.  Add the second layer and repeat. Top with the third layer and cover the top and sides of cake with an even layer of frosting.

Yield: 14-16 servings

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