Sunday, January 20, 2013

Coconut Mist Cake

Hello gorgeous!
Oh, lovely Coconut Mist Cake, how did I miss you? Tucked away in a tiny recipe booklet dating to 1985 and extravagantly titled "Collection of Riches: An Indulgence of Recipes for Chocolate and Coconut Lovers," I've somehow overlooked Coconut Mist for far too long. The booklet, produced by the fine folks at Baker’s (of the German Chocolate and Coconut fame), does indeed provide an embarrassment of culinary riches within its frail pages. And first up is this gorgeous winner.

My mom single-parented my brother and I, and one of our favorite excursions was to the local grocery on a Friday night. Exhausted after a week working one of her three jobs, Mom let us choose our own adventure for dinner, with the results usually including the (then new) Tim’s Cascade Potato Chips and the (sadly, now defunct) San Francisco Seltzer, raspberry flavor. And on a really glorious, throw-caution-to-the-wind night, Mom led us over to the frozen-foods aisle and let us chose a dessert.
Creamed butter with wet and dry ingredients.

For those not familiar with the desserts that reside in the frozen-foods aisle, we will now observe a moment of silence. In the ‘80s, Pepperidge Farm dominated the aisle with jelly rolls, cinnamon rolls, and, my personal favorite: The coconut cake. When it was my turn to chose a sweet frozen treat, I went for it every time (even over its chocolate sibling). A small but sophisticated white cake covered in white frosting and sprinkled generously with coconut, this was my childhood version of heaven.

Hot out of the oven: A golden brown beauty.
The idea of any frozen cake is, of course, that you will take the time to defrost the treat in a manner keeping with the genteel nature of your upcoming gathering. Please. There is almost nothing better than a Pepperidge Farm coconut cake eaten straight out of the box, only semi-defrosted. Is anyone who buys frozen desserts really thinking ahead? If you’re thinking ahead, you have time to make homemade. No, I think the frozen-dessert aisle exists for midnight bingers and breakups, which, in my book, doesn’t make the goodies found there any less delicious.

Split the cake into two layers with a serrated knife.
I was pleased to see the Pepperidge Farm version still on offer today at my local store. But with the discovery of this Coconut Mist Cake, I also know I’ll not soon need to purchase it. This homemade lovely is studded with coconut at every turn – in the simple batter, in the luscious jam filling and finally, atop the fluffy Cool Whip frosting. It’s the kind of cake you can easily conjure up on a moment’s notice, not needing to fall back on a run to the frozen-foods aisle. Unless it’s midnight and you have a broken heart. In which case, Godspeed my dear reader. Godspeed.

Yes, this filling is good enough to eat with a spoon.
Coconut Mist Cake

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp. Calumet baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup butter or margarine, at room temperature
½ cup milk
½ tsp. vanilla
1 egg
2-2/3 cups (about ) Baker’s Angel Flake coconut
2/3 cup raspberry jam or preserves
3-1/2 cups thawed Cool Whip whipped topping

With original recipe in background.
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cream butter to soften. Add flour mixture, milk and vanilla. Mix until all flour is moistened, then beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add egg; beat 1 minute longer. Stir in 2/3 cup of the coconut. Pour into 8x8x2-inch pan which has been greased and floured. Bake at 350-degrees for about 40 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 30 minutes; remove from pan and finish cooling on rack.

Split cake into 2 layers. Reserve 1 tablespoon jam for garnish; mix remaining jam with 2/3 cup of the coconut and spread between layers. Cover top and sides of cake with whipped topping and remaining coconut. Garnish with reserved jam.

Beautiful inside and out!
·      Like my heart garnish? Yeah, me too. Perfect for Valentine’s Day! Just fill a cookie cutter with jam, let set for a minute and remove.
·      I’d recently been gifted a jar of homemade blackberry jam, which was just destined to be used in the filling. I think the called-for raspberry jam would be divine, as would cherry or apricot jam, or lemon curd or even orange marmalade.
·      I used a serrated knife to cut through the cake layers. Make sure the cake is completely cool.
·      Once frosted, I threw the whole thing in the refrigerator for a few hours. There is almost nothing better in my book than a good, dense, cold piece of cake. Plus, chilling it allowed the Cool Whip to really sink into the cake.

Delicious, and no heartache required.
Why Don’t You …
·      Try this with real whipped cream frosting?
·      Make a several-layer version for a larger gathering?
·      Take a pass through the frozen-foods aisle next time you need a quickie dessert or a full-fledged binge? No thawing necessary!

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