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Monday, March 20, 2017

Greek Coconut Cake


     It's cake time, it's cake time, everyone it's cake time!  I don't think I have ever baked (or eaten) as many cakes in my life as I have these past few months.  You'd think we never eat anything else, but somehow we manage to get in our three square meals a day despite all of the cake!  Of course the twentieth of the month always calls for cake.  This month's choices for the Cake Slice Bakers all looked like winners.  There was the Ten Layer Coffee Chocolate cake, which totally has my name written all over it actually.  I was really tempted, but with so much going on I wasn't sure I could devote the time to it and I thought maybe it would be good to show a little restraint.  The Banana Loaf actually looked really good too, but I already have quite a few banana baked goods posted and I like to try something new and exciting. The Mandarin, Polenta and Macadamia Cake sounded really interesting as well.  In fact, I'd love to give that a try one of these days too.  But the 4th and final choice ended up being a shoe in when all of the chips fell.



     If there ever was a cake that seemed destined to be made, this one was it.  I was already leaning the direction of this Greek Coconut Cake when looking at this month's choices.  Then MiMi mentioned that she was planning to make a Greek inspired dish for family dinner. Hmmm, Greek inspired dinner followed by Greek inspired cake sounded like something that should happen.  Then one of my dearest blog friends, Debbie, who happens to live the in Greek islands said that her son requested a coconut cake for his birthday.  I couldn't help but wonder if they were at all similar.  Is it, Debbie? I am really dying to know! It seemed like all of the signs were pointing toward making this cake.

A beautiful shot Deb took on one of her walks!
    Now a quick little aside about Debbie.  She blogs over at Deb's Random Writings.  A lot of her posts are photographs she takes on her walks around the island.  One look and you will be dying to visit.  The landscapes and scenery are nothing like I have here in the midwest, so it is fun to be transported through her pictures.  I suggest you go take a look to get in the mood for this cake!  Don't worry, I'll wait for you to come back.

    Back to the cake.  I did do a few adjustments to the recipe that Roger wrote in World Class Cakes.  I stuck with the intent of the recipe, but made a few very minor tweaks to accomodate ingredients that are easier to find or that I always have on hand.  The exception being the flaked coconut.  I really liked the look of it on the top of his cake.  I know I have seen unsweetened flake coconut around, but it still took me two stores and a lot of scouring to find it.  I found dehydrated chunks, which wouldn't work, and of course there was plenty of shredded coconut.  I ended up finding it in the health market section of the store.  It was on the pricier side, so I decided to use it for the topping and regular shredded for in the cake. I also tweaked the method a bit to make it a way that felt a bit more natural to me.  But in the end, the cake is pretty darn close to what he published.



     I can't wait for you to read the ingredients and see if you have the same thoughts I did.  9 eggs in a one layer 9 inch cake? Only 2 cups of flour and 7 whole cups of coconut? Gee whiz!  Roger said he made his in a 9" cake pan and turned it out when it was done.  Tried as I might, I just couldn't imagine turning it out with all of that coconut topping on top and have it turn out ok.  So, I opted for a springform.  All in all, I think that was a good choice.  Next time I will certainly go with a bigger one though!  The only issue I had with the springform itself was losing some of the syrup out the bottom.  In the end I probably lost about a third of the syrup to the counter, the floor and the bottom of the oven.  It turned out I had plenty for the cake, but did find myself in a stick mess.  Of course that sticky mess led to a smoky mess when the cake was finished and I turned on the oven's self cleaning cycle.  Oh well, at least the cake turned out!  When I took the finished cake out of the oven and saw all of the gooey topping everywhere, I thought for sure it would stick to the springform and I'd end up with a broken cake.  So I took a couple of pictures of the cake in the pan just in case that was the last time it looked good.  Then when the prescribed 10 minutes was up, I ran a plastic knife between the cake and the pan and popped it open.  Like magic, it released! I held my breath one last time transferring it off the bottom and onto the plate, but somehow it all worked out!

    I have to say this cake was definitely a winner.  The coconut flavor is so good and the eggy cake is just right.  All of that syrup makes the cake so moist and amazing, even a few days later.  And of course a caramelized coconut topping never hurt a thing.  I would definitely think of making this cake again, but next time I am using a bigger pan and putting it on a sheet pan for safety sake!  I also think it would be fun to try a honey version of the syrup.  Wouldn't that be fun?!  So many options and so many things to think about.  All of this thinking is making me want another slice of cake.  Excuse me while I go grab some!

   Greek Coconut Cake
makes 1 9" cake

Ingredients:

Cake:
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
9 eggs at room temperature
4 cups shredded coconut
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder

Syrup:
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups water
2 T lemon juice

Topping:
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups flaked coconut

  1. Preheat oven to 300 F and grease a 9" pan.  (I used a springform because I was terrified to turn this finished cake out, but Roger says to use a 9" pan and turns his out.)
  2. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until fully incorporated then adding the next.  Be sure the scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go to avoid any curdling of the batter.
  4. Quickly stir together the flour, salt and baking soda and add to the egg and butter mixture stirring until just incorporated.
  5. Stir in the coconut and then pour into prepared pan.
  6. Bake for about 1 hour and 45 minutes or until it tests done.
  7. Allow to cool for at least a half hour.
  8. While the cake is cooling, it is time to make the syrup.  Put all of the ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. There is really no need to stir during this step, just keep an eye on it. Boil for a minute to ensure all of the sugar is dissolved.  Allow to cool while cake is cooling.  After 30 minutes, prick small holes in the top of the cake and spoon a bit of the syrup at a time over the cake allowing it to soak in before adding the next spoonful. 
  9. For the topping, put the brown sugar and cream in a pan and bring to a low boil over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut.  While it is still war, spread over the top of the syrup soaked cake.
  10. Return to the oven, this time at 375 F and bake until the topping is golden, about 5 minutes.
  11. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.



30 comments:

  1. Ahhhh cake with such substance!! Looks heavenly and wish I was resting it right now!!! Your pictures always are so good, like it could jump right off the screen and into my mouth, LOL. If only! Happy Monday sweets!

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    1. Ha! I wish it worked that way, I'd happily share a piece with you! Thanks, Andrea!

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  2. This is a sweet and moist list of ingredients. Nine eggs for a 9" cake. I have to make this just to see what happens. Great recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    Wishes for tasty dishes,
    Linda

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    1. Isn't it a crazy list of ingredients? I doubted that it was going to work multiple times along the way, but somehow it all came together despite my fears! I can't wait to see how it goes for you.

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  3. It defintely makes a wonderful cake. I admit I was also a little alarmed at the thought of using 9 eggs... but it works!

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  4. Oh I feel the pain of the smoky messy oven! So happy I wasn't the only one. I agree wholeheartedly that the turning out of the pan was ridiculous and nearly impossible. I wish I would have thought of the springform. If it makes you feel better I had too use 18 eggs total :D Oops! Loved seeing your take on the bake!

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    1. uff! 18 eggs is sure a lot, but I do think the cake was worth it in the end. I would definitely do it just a bit differently next time though (like definitely using a catch tray!)

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  5. This was a superb cake! It was one of my choices but my life dictates nothing but easy right now.. so it's on my summer to back list!! Hopefully it'll bring some good luck Greek weather with it! Hazel x

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    1. I would definitely say it is worth making! Your banana bars look delicious!

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  6. I can see why you decided to use a springform pan - I hate turning cakes out to find that the topping ends up everywhere but on the cake. Sorry about the sticky mess. I'm going to have to give this recipe a try.

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    1. I just couldn't wrap my mind around making it work! I think this one is definitely worth a bake.

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  7. This sounds both interesting and delicious - 9 eggs and the coconut must really up the nutritional value - will definitely be trying it :)

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    1. It makes it health food, I'm sure! ;-) If nothing else, it makes it delicious!

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  8. Oh, my! That Greek cake looks so moist (is that a bad word? lol). You ladies are awesome and I'm gaining weight just by looking at them, ha!

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    1. It's totally ok as long as it is referring to cake! ;-) Don't all of the cakes look great?

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  9. I love coconut cake!! This is really different from the ones that I had. Looks wonderful!

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    1. It was a new one to me too. I still want to make a southern style coconut cake sometime soon, but this Greek one was definitely fun!

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  10. I'm going to have to try this one for Mother-in-Law. She's a big fan of Coconut cake, and this one looks like a delicious twist.

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  11. Carlee I love Debbie's blog. She and I are practically neighbors. And her photography is awesome! I just showed this recipe to my girl the in training pastry chef and she gave me a thumbs up. I guess we'll have a coconut cake at our table soon.

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    1. How fun! I just love seeing a little bit of where you guys live, it is so different than our landscape here! I hope you love the cake!

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  12. Hi Carlee, thank you so much for the mention, I am very flattered.Your cake does look delicious! This is totally different than the coconut cake I make, which with five eggs I thought was a lot!

    My son absolutely loves coconut cake, so I will be trying this one out too, to be honest even if he didn't like coconut cake I would still make this. The syrup and coconut topping make it sound like another cake to die for! I don't think we've eaten so many cakes since I started reading your blog!

    xx

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    1. I am so glad you allowed me to use your beautiful picture, I hope people enjoy your view! Isn't 9 eggs crazy? But it really worked. The cakes are hard to get away from, aren't they?

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  13. Oooh...I can almost smell the aroma of the coconut! Your cake looks fabulous! I love coconut cakes. This one goes to my list of to make!

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    1. It is definitely a fun one! Thank you!

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  14. Excellent choice, Carlee! Love that first picture showing off the tender cake crumb, just delicious! I love coconut cakes but decided to bake something else.

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    1. It is fun to see the variety each month!

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  15. Your Greek Coconut Cake looks awesome! Hope you have a fantastic weekend and thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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