coconut tea cake

 each week, i bake a cake to take to the new group of students attending the master gardener’s classes.  this week, i had to do a bit of foraging in the cupboards-i hadn’t gone to the grocery store and my options were few.  for some reason, which i cannot explain, i found 5 cans of coconut milk in the closet.  then, while searching for some shredded coconut, i came across a package of fresh-frozen coconut from birdseye.  it is finely shredded and barely sweetened but most importantly, it tastes pretty close to fresh coconut and it doesn’t involve the hassle of opening a coconut and removing the flesh.

since there are at least 50 students in the class, i made a big 10″ (12 cup) tube shaped cake.

after the cake cooled, i dressed it up with a simple glaze and sprinkled some toasted coconut over the top.

coconut tea cake
1 (12) cup cake serving 16-20
7 ounces unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
4 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup finely grated fresh coconut (or the frozen shredded, thawed)
1 can coconut milk, whisked smooth if lumpy
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons of half and half (or coconut milk if you have some extra)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted (or not if you prefer)
preheat the oven to 350.  grease and flour a large tube or bundt cake pan and set aside.  place the butter, sugar, salt and 2 teaspoons of the vanilla into the bowl of a food processor.  pulse to combine.  with the machine running, add the eggs, one at a time and allow to mix in.  scrape the mixture into a large mixing bowl since the rest of the ingredients will be folded in by hand.  place a mesh strainer or a sifter into a bowl.  place the flour and baking powder into the strainer/sifter and set aside.  stir the shredded coconut into the mixture-make sure there aren’t any hard lumps of coconut in the batter by breaking them up with your fingers.  sift the dry ingredients over the batter.  fold the mixture a few times and then pour the coconut milk over the batter.  carefully fold together until no streaks remain.  scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a pick comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes.  remove the cake from the pan and allow it to cool on a rack.
when the cake is completely cool, whisk the powdered sugar with 3 tablespoons of half and half and the vanilla.  add additional half and half as needed until you have a thick glaze.  using a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake.  decorate with a little toasted coconut.

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