Coconut Rum Dark Devil’s Food Layer Cake

Cake Slice

 

Cake

A couple of months ago our Gourmet Cooking Club was Caribbean themed and I made these AMAZING Jerk Salmon Tostadas with Grilled Pineapple Peach Coconut Salsa along with a little layer cake.  Ok, it wasn’t a little cake…it was freaking huge!  Kind of on accident.  I wanted to make a four-layer cake so I just thought, oh I’ll double this cake recipe and have four layers!  Well, this is a GREAT idea if you want a cake the size of Mt. Vesuvius.  Seriously, I had two layers of this cake stacked and  was getting worried.  It was big.  Too big.  I then remembered that in the past when I wanted a four layer cake, I just made two cakes and SPLIT THEM IN HALF.  Oh, right.  Needless to say I pressed on and managed to get all four layers stacked, filled and frosted without any major mishaps.  But enough about that, you just want to know how it tasted right?  Of course you do!

Cake Close

I wanted to incorporate Caribbean flavors into the cake so coconut and rum seemed like a no brainer but I wanted to have a little twist so I thought chocolate cake would be perfect.  This devil’s food cake is probably one of the best cakes I’ve ever had.  The original recipe is from Sally’s Baking Addiciton.  I just swapped in some dark cocoa for the light and upped the amount of vanilla a little.  The coconut filling reminded me of a Mounds bar and the coconut frosting was perfect.  My only complaint is that my rum simple syrup really got lost and didn’t come through like I wanted it to.  I thought I had really put enough rum in the syrup (and by enough I mean A LOT more than the recipe called for) and I brushed it pretty generously over each layer, but I couldn’t taste it that well which was a total bummer!  However, I still LOVED this cake and would definitely make it again, especially the devil’s food cake part.  Divine.

Cake Cherries

Enjoy!

Coconut Rum Dark Devil's Food Layer Cake
 
Ingredients
For the Cake*
  • 3½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 3½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • ¾ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ¾ c. Special Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 2 t. Baking Powder
  • 4 t. Baking Soda
  • 2 t. Salt
  • 2 c. Buttermilk
  • 1 c. Vegetable Oil
  • 4 Large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. Freshly Brewed Strong Hot Coffee
  • *Note: The ingredient amounts listed are because I doubled the original recipe to get 4, 9-inch cakes. It made a HUGE layered cake. It may be more manageable to halve the recipe for 2, 9-inch cakes and then split those in half horizontally in order to make four layers.
For the Rum Simple Syrup
  • ¼ c., plus 2 T. Sugar
  • ¼ c., plus 2 T. Water
  • ½ c., plus 2 T. Spiced Rum
For the Coconut Filling
  • 21 oz. Sweetened, Shredded Coconut (1½, 14 oz. Bags)
  • 21 oz. Sweetened Condensed Milk (1½, 14 oz. Cans)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
For the Coconut Buttercream
  • 4½ Sticks Unsalted Butter, slightly softened
  • ⅓ c., plus 3 T. Cream of Coconut (in the can by the drink mixers in the liquor section)
  • ½ c., plus 1 T. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 7½ c. Powdered Sugar
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 T. Coconut Extract
Other
  • 2 c. Toasted Coconut (for garnish, if desired)
Instructions
For the Dark Devil's Food Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease, flour and line with parchment paper four, 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powders, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set aside
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla on medium speed until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low. Add the coffee. The batter will be VERY thin. This is ok.
  4. Pour the batter in to prepared baking pans and bake for 23-27 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. My cakes took about 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely before assembling cake. Or if you are making the cake in stages, allow the layers to cool for about 10 minutes, flip out of pans and remove parchment paper and wrap in foil. Store in freezer until ready to thaw and use. This will yield a SUPER moist cake.
For the Rum Simple Syrup
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar with the water and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, just until the sugar is completely dissolved. This will only take a couple of minutes. Let cool completely, then stir in the rum.
For the Coconut Filling
  1. In a large bowl, combine coconut, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the Coconut Buttercream
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, salt, cream of coconut and heavy whipping cream on medium-high speed. Turn to low and gradually beat in powdered sugar. Beat in vanilla and coconut extracts.
To Assembly Cake
  1. Place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Brush with ⅓ of the rum simple syrup. Spoon on ⅓ of the coconut filling and spread evenly. Repeat with second and third layers. Place fourth cake layer on top and spread a thin layer of crumb coat icing over entire cake. Place in the refrigerator until firm. Remove and finish frosting entire cake with the buttercream. Garnish with toasted coconut. Optional: I dipped maraschino cherries in white chocolate and toasted coconut and used them to decorate the top of the cake.
Notes
Serves 12-16.

 

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Hummingbird Cake

My resolution to bake classic cakes has so far been a success, starting with this Coconut Cake and now the Hummingbird Cake.  If you’ve never heard of the Hummingbird Cake before, it goes all the way back to, well, it’s hard to tell where or when exactly it came on the scene.  The first published recipe for the cake showed up in the February 1978 issue of Southern Living magazine and was submitted by a woman named Mrs. L.H. Wiggins but it’s roots trace from the deep south aaaaaallll the way to Jamaica!  How crazy is that?  You can read more of the history and details here.

I used a recipe from myrecipes.com that was a little of a modernized version of the cake with the addition of white chocolate to the cake and the frosting and a touch of almond extract.  I was tempted at first to leave the white chocolate out of the cake but I’m so glad I didn’t–I LOVED getting little bits of white chocolate in every other bite.  This cake is very, VERY dense, almost like banana bread and the flavors of the almond extract, cinnamon and banana are incredibly delicious.  I can’t believe I waited so long to make this cake!

Hummingbird Cake
 
Ingredients
Cake
  • 3 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1 t. Salt
  • 2 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 t. Ground Cinnamon
  • 3 Large Eggs, beaten
  • 1 c. Vegetable Oil
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 t. Almond Extract
  • 1, 8 oz. Can Crushed Pineapple, undrained
  • 1 c. Chopped, Toasted Pecans, divided
  • 2 c. Chopped Bananas (about 3 medium-large bananas)
  • 4 oz. White Chocolate, finely chopped
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1½ c. White Chocolate Chips, melted and cooled
  • 1½ (8 oz.) Packages Cream Cheese, softened
  • 6 T. Butter, softened
  • 4 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla
  • ½ c. Chopped Toasted Pecans (for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3, 9-inch round pans and then line with parchment paper (optional).
For the Cake
  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened (do not overbeat). Stir in vanilla and almond extract, pineapple, pecans, bananas and white chocolate.
  2. Divide batter evenly among the three pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.
For the White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Combine cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until creamy. Add melted chocolate and vanilla, beating well. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Beat at medium speed until mixture reaches desired spreading consistency (do not overbeat).
To Assemble the Cake
  1. Spread cream cheese frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake; sprinkle ½ cup of chopped pecans on top. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Notes
Serves 16.

 

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2012 Baking Resolutions

Photo courtesy of We Take the Cake.

I decided it would be a good idea to come up with some baking resolutions for 2012.  Just like with any other resolutions, I wanted to write them down and make specific goals.  Here’s what I came up with.

1.  More International Desserts.  Since my blog is titled Desserted Planet, I decided it would be fun to incorporate more desserts from around the globe.  My goal is to do one per month and I can’t wait to start with one that I’ve been meaning to make for a couple of years now, Brazo de Mercedes.  It’s a Pilipino treat that was introduced to me by my brother-in-law and his family (who are from the Philippines).  It’s a type of rolled cake (sometimes referred to as jelly roll) made from a sheet of soft meringue with custard filling, sometimes flavored with lemon.  It was love at first bite for me.  I can’t wait to try my hand at it.

2. More Classic Desserts.  I often get asked if I have great recipes for classic desserts such as Coconut Cake (see pic above), Pumpkin Pie, Carrot Cake, etc and I’m ashamed to say that I’ve not made a good deal of classic, tried and true dessert recipes.  That’s going to change!  I’ll be incorporating one per month from here on out.

3. More Challenging Desserts.  In other words, I can’t just throw it in a pan, shove it in the oven and BAM!  It’s done.  Now I do love those kind of recipes (and there are many good ones), but I want to stretch myself just a bit and try things that require a little more patience and methodology.  I’m thinking more French pastries, baklava, soufflé, etc.  Again, one each month.

4. More Healthy Desserts/Baked Items.  I LOVE healthy baking.  I know, shocker.  But I used to do a lot of healthy baking and love the challenge of finding suitable, all-natural substitutes for uber sugar-laden and fat-heavy sweets.   I’ve already got one under my belt, my Healthy Banana Bread, and plan to do lots more, think desserts, breads, muffins, etc…one recipe each week!  I’m very excited about this.

Did you have any New Year’s resolutions??  Baking or otherwise?  I’d love to hear them!

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Lola’s Pastries and Eatery

Jeremy and I recently had the chance to visit a restaurant, Lola’s Pastries and Eatery, in Nixa that I’ve been meaning to try out for awhile. I had heard that they have delicious, made-from-scratch desserts and that the food is quite good too so I was curious. On our way back from Branson a couple of weekends ago, we finally stopped in to see if the desserts lived up to expectations.

Lola’s is actually a former house that was converted into a restaurant and has a nice tea room feel to it. They have a pretty good breakfast and lunch menu and of course lots of desserts to choose from. We hadn’t had hardly anything to eat that day so we decided to split a BLT sandwich in hopes of curbing the inevitable sugar rush. The sandwich wasn’t bad but it was shockingly void of key BLT players…one half of the sandwich had ZERO bacon and the other had maybe 1 1/2 pieces. Like they forgot to put it on! It came with chips and we added a side salad which was small but tasty. We probably should have said something about the sandwich since it wasn’t cheap (about $7) but didn’t want to mess with it. I will say that the other sandwiches everyone else had looked quite “meaty” and tasty so I’m not sure what happened with ours. Anyway, enough of that, on to the main event–dessert!

There were alot of choices…strawberry cake, chocolate cake, coconut cream cake, key lime pie, carrot cake, Oreo cheesecake, no-bake cookies, monster cookies, cupcakes and more! It all looked mouth-watering but I knew for sure I wanted to try the strawberry cake since that’s kind of what they’re known for. Jeremy chose the carrot cake and we also got a piece of the Oreo cheesecake.

The Oreo cheesecake was really good, very smooth and creamy and not an overly sweet cheesecake at all. I didn’t think the Oreos were that noticeable though. The graham cracker crust was probably my favorite part, it was a little on the thicker side and had the perfect amount of saltiness to it to contrast with the cheesecake.

The strawberry cake was also very good and definitely made from scratch–no nasty strawberry Jell-O in this cake, just real strawberries! It was three (yes, three!) layers high with strawberry buttercream sandwiched between each layer and all over the top and sides. It was indeed delicious, just as people said. However, the strawberry buttercream was a tad too sweet for our taste. I think we prefer cream cheese frosting on our strawberry cake. But still a seriously delicious strawberry cake!

Jeremy’s choice, the carrot cake, ended up being our favorite. It was a massive three layer cake with vanilla cream cheese frosting between each layer and on the top and sides. The cake was super moist and very straightforward, no pineapple pieces or chunks of pecans or walnuts in the batter, just a moist, dense, perfectly spiced carrot cake. It did have chopped walnuts sprinkled on top which I thought were a nice touch. We loved it and will definitely be going back for more.

If you are in or around Nixa, check this place out!  The desserts do not disappoint!

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Sugar Leaf Bakery

There is a cute little bakery in Branson, MO that I have been DYING to try for a few years, called Sugar Leaf Bakery.   This past weekend I was finally able to stop in!  I had heard from both family and friends that they had great baked goods and fabulous wedding cakes.  The day that Jeremy and I went they had German Chocolate Cake, Key Lime Pie, Coconut Cake, Carrot Cake, Turtle Cheesecake and an assortment of delicious looking cookies.  So hard to choose!

For me, it was a toss up between the Key Lime Pie and the Coconut Cake but because I had heard they had amazing Coconut Cake, I went with that.  And oh my, was it good.  The cake was moist and dense and the coconut filling was super gooey.  It was all covered in a light whipped cream frosting and toasted coconut.  It had a great balance of flavors and wasn’t sickening sweet so that was nice.  I also got a jumbo snickerdoodle cookie that was chewy, cinnamony and delicious.

As for Jeremy, he apparently was filling the whole caramel/chocolate thing because he got a massive slice of Turtle Cheesecake and a Turtle cookie.  And I have to admit, he chose well.  The cheesecake was a dream.  Seriously.  First, you had a thick layer of chocolate cookie crust which was filled with the creamiest, smoothest vanilla cheesecake filling I think I have ever had.  The cheesecake filling had shavings of dark chocolate all through it and finally the whole thing was topped with a layer of caramel and drizzled with chocolate.  After the first bite I wanted to yank the plate away from him and scarf the whole thing down.  But I refrained.  I have to say, it was probably the best cheesecake I’ve ever had.   And I always thought I made fairly good cheesecake but this one definitely inspired me to improve on my own recipe.  The Turtle cookie was great also…a nice thick chewy chocolate cookie with a pool of caramel in the middle, sprinkled with chopped pecans.  Mmmmmmm!

They also had great looking salads, soup, paninis and other sandwiches.  We are already planning to go back and try lunch sometime and I fully intend to have a slice of that Key Lime Pie!  Do NOT miss this place if you’re in the Branson area–you are definitely in for a treat!

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