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!|
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
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
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups water
2 T lemon juice
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups flaked coconut
- 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.)
- Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- 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.
- Quickly stir together the flour, salt and baking soda and add to the egg and butter mixture stirring until just incorporated.
- Stir in the coconut and then pour into prepared pan.
- Bake for about 1 hour and 45 minutes or until it tests done.
- Allow to cool for at least a half hour.
- 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.
- 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.
- Return to the oven, this time at 375 F and bake until the topping is golden, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.