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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Festive Holiday Punch Recipes

Here are some great punch recipes that would be appropriate for either Christmas OR New Year’s.  Any of these would be a nice change from the same old mug of cider or glass of champagne you’d normally serve.  The coffee punch is soooo good…I will never forget the first time I had it at a bridal shower and thought “what IS this?!”  I immediately obtained the recipe (as I’m sure everyone else at the shower did) and occasionally get the urge to make it for myself.  Yes, just for me, no special occasion or party or whatever.  But I haven’t done that…yet.

Hope you find one you love!

Ultimate Eggnog Punch

Coffee Punch

Christmas Cinnamon Punch

Peppermint Eggnog Punch

Milk Punch

Citrus Champagne Punch

Mocha Nog Punch

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Drinks to Warm You

The nights are getting cooler which means it’s time to break out the hot cocoa and apple cider.  I thought it would be fun to share some recipes for hot drinks, both classic and new.  Oh and for those who prefer a bit of booze in your holiday drink, I’ve got a couple of those too.

Enjoy!

Hot Wassail

Crockpot Chai Tea

Peppermint Patty

Delicious Hot Chocolate

Roasted-Pineapple Hot Buttered Rum

Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate

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Side by Side Dessert Lounge

Jeremy and I had a little date night this past Friday night in downtown Springfield, MO.  We started out by getting dinner at Grad School (AWESOME wings and burgers) and then went directly across the street to grab dessert before seeing Another Earth at The Moxie.  For dessert, we went to a new place called Side by Side Dessert Lounge.  It’s actually connected to a restaurant called Blu Sesame and I think the idea is you eat dinner there and then go immediately next door and get dessert.

The place was small and had a fairly modern design.  The desserts were displayed beautifully in a bakery case, everything from eclairs to cheesecake, creme brulee and black and white cookies.  They even had hand-dipped ice cream.  We stood there for a looooong time trying to decide what to get before choosing a whoopie pie, tiramisu, a strawberry macaron and a cupcake.  Everything was reasonably priced and we ended up spending only $13 for all our goodies.

Our least favorite item was the Tiramisu.  It was not at all traditional tiramisu; instead of ladyfingers it was layered with cake that had been soaked in coffee (at least I think it was coffee…it wasn’t strong enough at all).  Between the cake layers was something like a basic vanilla custard or pudding, not the usual mascarpone or even cream cheese type filling.  And there was not one hint of rum, which is one of my most favorite parts, so that was disappointing.

Next was the Strawberry Macaron which was crumbling the minute we picked it up to take a bite.  It had a very hard, brittle outer shell and was a little bit difficult to bite into.  The strawberry buttercream inside was squirting out everywhere because it was so hard to bite!  Definitely not the slightly crisp and chewy macaron I have experienced in the past.   Another bummer.  Moving on….

We decided the White-on-White Whoopie Pie (yes, it is as massive as it looks!) was runner-up to our favorite, only because of the buttercream.  The cookie or cake or whatever it was on the outside, was seriously odd.  It was tough and not even close to having a cake-like texture and was not soft enough to be a cookie.  Very strange.  Jeremy and I sat there trying to figure it out and finally gave up.  But like I said, the buttercream was the only redemptive part of the whole thing…very light, airy and delicious.

Finally, the one thing we actually liked (sort of) was the Original Vanilla Yogurt Cupcake.  The girl that was working told us that their cupcakes were made with yogurt (hence the name), which gave it a super moist texture.  And it was very moist.  It was also kind of pound-cake like.  Again, unlike any cupcake I’ve ever had.  It was topped with a homemade whipped creamed, strawberry chocolate curls and white chocolate.

Overall, everything was honestly kind of odd and I can’t say that I want to go back anytime soon.  Maybe for a cupcake since we did like that.  And the ice cream sandwiches looked good also.  Let me know if you’ve been or if you plan on going…I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Tommy Bahamas (aka dessert overload)


Triple Chocolate Cake
Four layers of moist chocolate cake, chocolate
ganache frosting and topped with a mocha mousse
whipped cream.

In the past when we’ve vacationed in Florida, we’ve tended to eat at the same restaurants that we know and like.  I really wanted to go to some new places on this visit and looked up some restaurants that had good reviews.  One of those was Tommy Bahamas.  It had about 4.5 out of 5 stars and people couldn’t say enough good things about it, despite the fact that it was a chain.  So we tried it and wow, what amazing food!  We had a variety of things from fish tacos to coconut shrimp, chicken and cuban sandwiches to ahi tuna salad.  Of course after we had our fill of all this food, we decided to splurge on desserts (oh, I should mention that it wasn’t just me and Jeremy on this trip…there were six of us so we had plenty of people to help us pig out).


Key West Key Lime Pie
The real deal! Fresh and tart, made with real key limes.

These desserts were all made-from-scratch and absolutely delicious!  We couldn’t pick just one or two so we chose all except one, which was four desserts.  I thought my favorite would be the Key Lime Pie and while it was absolutely delicious, the Triple Chocolate Cake ended up the #1 dessert on my list and I think everyone else felt the same way.  It was divine!  The chocolate cake reminded me of wacky cake and the mousse was thick and not too sweet, just pure chocolate goodness.  Oh, you’re wondering what a wacky cake is?  Hmmm, well it’s a chocolate cake that is made a little differently than most chocolate cakes.  Not to worry, I’ll make one and do a post on it in the near future.  Purely for educational purposes, of course.


Blackbeard’s Butterscotch
Creamy, rich, vanilla & scotch whiskey flavored
pudding with chocolate ganache, “from scratch”
caramel sauce & fresh whipped cream.

The Pina Colada cake was also delicious…I loved the toasted coconut and hint of rum that had soaked into the cake layers.  And the Blackbeard’s Butterscotch was the first time I had butterscotch pudding not made from a box and wow, awesome.  I’m already looking up recipes so I can recreate it at home.


Piña Colada Cake
Moist vanilla layer cake with Myers Dark Rum,
chopped pineapple, white chocolate mousse &
toasted coconut.

They have restaurants in a few different states so click here to see if one is near you and visit immediately!  And unless you go with a group, try not to order all the desserts at once….

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Sugar, Spice & Everything Nice Cookies

Last night I really wanted to make some cookies but had no desire to 1. make ANOTHER trip to Wal-mart and 2. spend money.  So I thought ok, what do I have in my kitchen?  Raisins and oats…Raisin Oatmeal Cookies!  Probably not that exciting for many people, but I happen to love them.  So I hopped online and found this highly-rated recipe from Allrecipes.com for Beth’s Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.  I quickly got to work figuring out how I wanted to change the recipe.  I guess I can’t leave good enough alone; it’s seriously an issue.

Anyway, as I gathered my ingredients I also found nearly empty bags of chocolate chips and coconut.  And then it hit me that I had walnuts in my freezer!  Yep, it was all going in the cookie!  And then things really got crazy…I decided to use CAKE flour!  See, I did some research and found that cake flour has a very low percentage of protein which lends to the tender quality it gives cakes.  So I figured by subbing some for the AP flour, I might get a little bit softer cookie.  Did it work?  I think so but I honestly would need to do a side by side comparison to be 100% sure how much of a difference it made.  They puffed up nice and big right out of the oven but definitely deflated a bit when cooled.

Regardless, the cookies were delicious, very buttery, slightly chewy around the edges and soft inside.  The flavor reminded me of Chai, which I happen to love!  The only change I might make is reducing the cloves to 1/4 t.  It was just a teensy bit too pronounced for my taste.  And I do believe soaking the raisins makes all the difference!  I will definitely do that from now on.  Feel free to play with the ingredients like I did–you never know what wonderful creation you’ll come up with!

Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice Cookies

1/4 c. (1/2 stick) Unsalted Butter, softened

3/4 c. Shortening

1 c. Packed Light Brown Sugar

1/2 c. White Sugar

2 Eggs

2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract

1 c. AP Flour (or 1 1/2 c. if using all AP Flour)

1/2 c. + 1 T. Cake Flour

1 t. Baking soda

1 1/2 t. Ground Cinnamon

1/2 t. Ground Cloves

1/2 t. Salt

2 c. Quick Oats

1 c. Raisins, soaked in 1 c. spiced rum for 2+ hours (or warm water) and drained

3/4 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

3/4 c. Sweetened Flaked Coconut, toasted

1/2 c. Walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a mixer, cream together the butter, shortening, brown sugar and white sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy about 3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time and then vanilla.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour(s), baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt.  Add to the butter/sugar mixture and thoroughly combine.  Stir in the oats, raisins, chocolate chips, toasted coconut and walnuts.  Drop onto the baking sheets with a 2-inch scoop.

Bake 9 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks half-way through.  Let cool on pans for 2 minutes and then cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 45 cookies.

TIP:  For just about anything “toasted” (such as coconut and nuts) all you need to do is spread it in a single, even layer on a baking pan and pop into a 350 degree oven for 6-7 minutes.  Easy!

 

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