Can I tell you a secret? But you must promise not to keep it to yourself. I've recently joined the Secret Recipe Club, a blogging concept initiated by Amanda of Amanda's Cookin'. The idea is that each participant is assigned another participant's blog out of which they are to choose a recipe, cook it, write about it and keep mum (quiet, zip-lipped, shush) about it until the actual date of posting. Sounds like fun, yes? Well you already know that I've never been one to shy away from a bit of fun :-).
So my first Secret Recipe partner is Jane from The Heritage Cook. Wow, did I feel like I hit the jackpot because Jane's site is full of delicious recipes and she even dedicates her Monday posts to that sacred ingredient, chocolate! Looking through her blog, I could tell she's a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen. Jane has posted a comprehensive range of dishes that it's hard to believe her site is only a year old.
For her blogoversary post last May, Jane made a stunning four-layered classic coconut cake. And since Foodiva's Kitchen also turned one just last week, I thought, heck, why not continue the celebration and make this lovely cake for myself? Okay, maybe not just for myself. I decided to make 12 small cakes (or cakelets) so I wouldn't feel so bad about having to part with my little piece of cake... :-).
I halved the original cake recipe but made the same amount of frosting to account for the increased surface area caused by splitting the batter into 12 cakelets. Clever, or so I thought, because at the end there was still enough frosting left to cover a small 8-inch cake! Hmmm, I never did quite like to work with egg whites as they often depart from my expectations and being the alpha-cook, I like my ingredients to heel, obey. So what I'm saying to you is, halve the frosting recipe below if you wish to avoid wastage. Unless you have an extra cake or in my case, the tips of children's noses to frost...
I added my own tropical touch to the already tropical coconut cake by making a mango curd to serve as a filling. It gave that extra, refreshing flavor when you bite into a cakelet. I also topped the cakelets with julienned slices of ripe mangoes to provide color and juiciness... just didn't think I could bear to eat something that's all white like that, delicious though it might be.
Just to note here that I cut down the sugar by more than half and that made the cakelets taste just right. I think my spleen and kidneys actually made it a point to say thank you for doing that.
Scroll right down to the bottom of this post to check out the other participants' Secret Recipe contributions. There are almost 100 food bloggers participating this month, so it should be one good blog-hop read!
Adapted from The Heritage Cook
Makes: 12 muffin-sized cakes
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup milk (or unsweetened coconut milk)
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
½ cup sugar
(Makes approximately 1 ¼ cup)
3 large egg yolks
1¼ cup mango juice
¼ cup granulated sugar
2½ tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
¼ cup water
2 egg whites
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup unsweetened desiccated or shredded coconut
Half a mango, to decorate
1. To make the Cake: Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease and flour a 12-muffin tray. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together well. Set aside. In a measuring cup, stir the vanilla into the milk.
2. In a large bowl, beat the softened butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the sugar and continue beating, scraping down the sides and bottom of bowl twice, until the mixture is light and evenly combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition, until the mixture is thick and smooth.
3. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until completely incorporated. Add 1/2 the milk/vanilla, beating well. Beat in another 1/2 of the flour mixture, then the remaining milk, and finally the remaining flour, beating well each time until the batter is very thick and smooth.
4. Quickly spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pans, dividing it evenly, and place them in the oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cakelets are golden brown, spring back when touched lightly in the center, and begin to pull away from the sides of the pans.
5. Turn the cakelets out onto wire racks and cool completely. Once cool slice across sideways for filling and frosting.
6. To make the Mango Curd: Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
(Note: The mixture may seem like it’s not thickening as you whisk over heat, but don’t stop – it thickens very quickly right at the end. For a smoother curd, push through a fine mesh strainer before storing. Press plastic wrap against the top of the curd to prevent a film from forming in the fridge).
7. To make the Frosting: Bring about 3 inches of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Combine everything except the vanilla and coconut in a heat-proof bowl that fits snugly on top of the simmering pan. Beat with a mixer at low speed for 1 minute, until the mixture is pale yellow and very foamy.
8. Place the bowl over the simmering water and beat at high speed for 7 to 10 minutes, until the frosting becomes white, thick, and shiny, and triples in volume. Continue beating until the frosting forms firm peaks and loses some of its shine. Remove the bowl from the heat, add the vanilla, and continue beating for 2 minutes more.
Assembly: Slice a cakelet sideways into 2 layers. Spoon or pipe cooled mango curd on one slice of the cake, top it generously with frosting and sprinkle with some of the coconut. Place the second layer on top of the first, top-side up. First frost the sides to help keep the cake steady, and then spread frosting generously over the top, completely covering the cakelet.
Once the top is covered, gently sprinkle coconut on top. To decorate, peel and slice half a ripe mango into very thin strips and arrange on top of cakelets.