Sunday, February 21, 2010

HCB The Coconut Contenders

Meet our two contenders:

Diner Desserts Blue Ribbon Coconut Cake
Rose's Manhattan Coconut Cake
Diner Desserts Blue Ribbon Coconut

In this corner weighing in with 19 different recipes tried
10 fantastic successes
7 very good desserts
2 flops
The directions to this cake are easy to follow and very basic. Whisk your dry ingredients and whisk your wet, then add together. You follow this by making some soft peaks of your eggs and fold that in.

The cakes came out of the pans perfectly and pulled away from the sides when they were done.

More egg whites!!! I have never separated so many eggs in my life as I have since becoming a Heavenly Cake Baker. I was always taught to do it with your hands but after a few dozen--I am considering an egg tool!

The frosting proved to be a challenge for me. In fact, I believe I have acquired a slight fear of anything that says "heat to such and such degrees". You will see why with the other cake too! This frosting beats and cooks at the same time. It never got the temperature so I was impatient and stopped. Bad mistake-grainy icing!

My first success with a four layer cake not looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Even though the icing was grainy it was really a perfect texture and color.

Being inspired by HCB Jill, I I rolled some raspberries in some homemade lime sugar and decorated (and pretended) like I was a pastry chef!

The cake was easy, not time consuming, wonderful crumb, and coconutty.

Reviews of the Blue Ribbon Coconut Cake
Joel- "This is wonderful and I don't even like cake! Definitely in my top three favorites with Earthquake cake and that orange thing."
Toni- "The cake part is so yummy. Tasty tasty! I made that!!"
Rene- "It tastes just like one of those zinger things."
Toni- "It is exactly like a Hostess Raspberry Zinger! I love those things!"

Rose's Manhattan Coconut Cake with Silk Meringue Buttercream
In this corner weighing in with 9 different recipes tried
1 favorite cake- Chocolate Tweed
3 Beautiful but dry cakes
2 very good desserts
3 flops
Now, keeping in mind that I have only truly had what I consider 1 "successful" cake so far- I have been very careful about reading, rereading and am following this time to a tee. I start by getting my butter to the perfect temperature.

I measure and separate my eggs, by hand of course. Noticing upon rereading that I only need 5 of the egg yolks and not all 6.

While the cakes bake in their protective cake strips, I made the silk meringue buttercream. Which has three parts: creme anglaise, Italian meringue and the final buttercream.

I mix in the vanilla and coconut extract and cooled as directed. The hardest part was getting it to the correct temperature without it boiling.

I did forget my cake strips! So the edges were a tad dark but the crumb looks wonderful.

I mix my egg whites and get my sugar syrup ready to pour in.

Oh, it is looking so beautiful!! I immediately transfer to the glass measuring cup-as directed.

But to my horror-it starts to harden while I am pouring it in my egg whites!!! But wait, she says I can soften it to a pouring consistency in the micro for a few seconds. This creates a layer of sugar cement on my glass measuring cup! That's okay, I will try again! It is only water and sugar, right?

Well, this was the second attempt and it didn't work either! Definitely not pouring consistency!
So, my meringue buttercream will be without the sugar syrup part!

Now, as I am mixing I want to start shedding tears! Curdled! But says "if curdled instead of smooth, it is too cold". So I get out my temp gadget and see that it is too cold. The problem is that it is winter and the whole apartment is cold! It is at room temp..and still too cold.
So, I suspend it over warm water for what seemed like forever because I didn't want to ruin it and get it too hot.

The buttercream was beautiful and tasty-even if it caused me to have 3 new grey hairs!

I think this a beautiful cake..dry (but not crumbly like the others) and lovely.

Reviews of the Manhattan Coconut Cake:
Elizabeth- "The frosting was indescribably good! Good is such an understatement. It was indescribable!"
Charlie- "Frosting is truly silky smooth. The best ever. Perfect balance of coconut flavor."
Joel- "This frosting is not for the faint of stomach! WOW!"
Toni- " Enjoy because I am never making it again! Except maybe the frosting, I have never had such amazing frosting!"


Monica said...

Ok, everyone is kicking my butt this week. Why is everyone making 2 cakes? Did I read the requirements wrong?

Regarless of my lack of following directions, your cakes look soo good and this from super-dupper fan of coconut cakes (another signature cake of mine) I been wanting to try one of the one's in the book and I'm to chicken to do it.

I do love your cake, and let me tell you, you will give Jill a run for her money, since they both look beautifully decorated!

Nancy B said...

Mmmmm...coconut cakes! I love 'em, but haven't made one myself. Luckily my older brother makes a luscious Southern-style one for Thanksgiving most years. I'm not sure if I even want to tackle Rose's, especially as your experience with these multi-stage buttercreams parallels mine. :)

Vicki said...

A coconut cake smackdown! Your cake looks beautiful and sounds delicious. No better endorsement than being compared to a Zinger! Did the Snowmen referee?

Mary said...

Both cakes are killer! They truly look delicious. Have a great day. Mary

Jenn said...

Beautiful cakes! And what a great way to compare by making it sounds like hm.. boxing or wrestling? LOL. So who won between the two? I don't think you mention it at all in your post.

Hanaâ said...

Your cakes look great. I never had coconut cake before (and probably never will due to allergies) but I love side-by-side comparisons.

Mendy said...


Looks Yummy.

I also learned the hard way with the hardening sugar. Now I just pour it straight from the pot. For you it should be even easier since your pot has a spout!

Lois B said...

Two beautiful cakes; I'm very impressed!

faithy, the baker said...

Awesome post to post the 2 cakes side by side! I like coconut but i don't really like coconut in cakes though, i don't know why either. But both your cakes made me think of trying it out! :)

Virginia Taylors said...

Wow! So many comments...I love it. I preferred the Diner Desserts cake. It was tasty but also less intensive-with three kids this is a bonus.
The snowman was unavailable to referee, he was swimming at the time.
Thank you, thank you for the compliments, I thought this would be a very fun post. I LOVE food comparing (and alliteration!)

Sandra said...

Holy Cow Toni your so talented!!! I'm impressed with the cakes and pictures. I'm gaining weight just looking at them he he. Trying my hardest not to lick my computer screen ha ha.

Nicola said...

Love the coconut cake bout!

Was it a tie on points?

Those sugar syrup frostings scare me silly every time I make them! Good on you for hanging in there and wrestling it back to greatness!

evil cake lady said...

Great coconut competition! I have had the crunching and crackling of the hardened sugar syrup. My apartment is cold like yours is cold; waiting for butter to come to room temperature can take months. :)

BTW, are you measuring or weighing? Weighing might make a difference in the dry factor.