It's a free choice week, when we can work on catching up with cakes yet unbaked. I went with the Heavenly Seduction Coconut Cake--there's yet another coconut cake still to go, and I didn't want to have 2 scheduled too close together. I've been thinking of this one as the "5 forms of coconut cake"--of which I only managed 4. Dessicated unsweetened coconut, canned cream of coconut, coconut flavoring (I couldn't find a natural extract), and the conventional flaked sweetened coconut. Ignore that yellow box labelled 'coconut cream' which I'd hoped was the specialty coconut cream powder--it turned out to be the "coconut cream" that is specifically not to be used instead of canned cream of coconut. I made this one in a 6" (half-recipe) size for the same underlying reason as not baking 2 coconut items close together: neither my brother nor sister-in-law like coconut. The kids and I do, but still taking 1/3 of the family out of the tasting group makes the smaller cake the way to go. The cake, as is the other coconut one we haven't baked yet, is a white cake. Wonder why...trying to keep the color palate white to match the flaked coconut toppings?
This recipe unavoidably uses both food processor and mixer (well, if you want to use electric appliances at all, that is.) I did manage to think ahead and not do things in recipe order, so as to not have to wash the food processor in the middle. First grind the desiccated coconut with the sugar. Remove to the mixer bowl. [Note to self: solid layer of coconut oil on the top of the can will geyser the liquid underneath it when it gives way.] Open canned cream of coconut, place in food processor (what didn't splash on your shirt, that is), and homogenize. Measure out what is needed to mix with egg whites and flavorings.
That little logistical snare avoided, the rest was easy: it's the usual butter cake mixing method. Flour, baking powder, and salt joined the ground coconut in the mixer bowl. Add the softened butter and some of the egg mixture and beat. Add the rest of the egg mixture in 2 parts, and the batter is done. My half-cake took just about 30 minutes to bake to where it started to pull away from the sides of the pan and a tester was clean, and as Rose warned, the top dipped slightly as it cooled. All the better to hold whipped cream, as it turns out.
The topping, if you don't have the coconut cream powder, is unsweetened whipped cream (I tried my hand at the gelatin-stabilized form) topped with sweetened flaked coconut. I actually added a little of my boxed "coconut cream' to my mixture figuring it might add some additional coconut flavor, but either that or the gelatin mixture gave my whipped cream a slightly lumpish appearance, though the lumps weren't really apparent in the eating. I love the simplicity of the topping idea: whip cream, pile on top of cake, add coconut. I'll be wishing for this when we do the "Southern (Manhattan) coconut cake with silk meringue buttercream" which takes 3 pages of recipe for the frosting. The whipped cream may limit the life of the frosted cake and requires refrigeration, but it certainly is easy.
Tasting results: I took Rose's comment on serving this cake to heart: it was baked a couple of hours before dinner, and topped with the whipped cream and flaked coconut within minutes of eating. I had a very limited sampling this time, as older niece declined a piece for lack of appetite and brother and sister-in-law, as I said, dislike coconut. Nephew liked it, but wasn't wowed by it. Younger niece felt the unsweetened whipped cream wasn't compensated for by the sweetened coconut,and suggested a little addition of sugar would have helped. I think I agree with her, though I still enjoyed my piece very much. If I were to repeat the cake (unlikely, given the limited appeal around here) I might try toasting the flaked coconut to give some crunch and a different flavor.