This is the cake Kurt chose for his birthday this year. It wasn’t just any birthday, so the cake needed to be a little special. This cake was made to celebrate Kurt’s 40th birthday. We actually did quite a lot of celebrating for this momentous, milestone of a birthday. We spent a long weekend in Las Vegas and indulged in several incredible meals. Sure, there was a little gambling and we were there for Super Bowl weekend, but all those interesting restaurants in such close proximity to one another was the highlight for me. I’ve included descriptions of our meals and links to the restaurants on facebook. You can read all about it and even become a fan if you’d like while you’re there. So, after returning home, I baked this festive cake and the celebration continued. The cake is found in The Greyston Bakery Cookbook. With freshly grated coconut and coconut mousse between the layers and as frosting, I was pretty sure this was going to be good.
In the book, it’s presented as a three-layer, eight inch cake. I made two nine-inch layers instead. The cake itself is very straightforward, and the batter is made with flour, baking powder, salt, egg yolks, sugar, melted butter, milk, and vanilla extract. There was supposed to have been some coconut extract which I wasn’t able to locate, so I used coconut milk instead of cow’s milk. Maybe I should have tried a baking specialty store to find coconut extract because it was nowhere to be found at Central Market, Whole Foods, Williams Sonoma, or Sur la Table. The coconut milk was a fine substitution, and once the batter was mixed, egg whites beaten to a state of stiff peaks were folded into it. The cakes baked for about 30 minutes and were cooled. Don’t skip the parchment rounds in the pans before pouring in the batter, because these cakes were not the easiest to remove. While the cakes cooled, a very simple mousse was made with just heavy cream, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and freshly grated coconut. Again, there should have been some coconut extract, but I skipped it. The recipe suggests using two coconuts worth of gratings for the mousse and for decorating the cake, but I used one and had plenty. I grated the coconut finely for the mousse. Then, for the outside of the cake, I grated larger pieces of coconut and toasted them in a 400 F oven for eight minutes or so. I liked the look of the toasted coconut, and the nutty flavor and crisper texture of it were nice too.
I was a little worried the whipped cream mousse may not hold up well in the refrigerator after a day or so, but I was completely wrong about that. The cake survived well for four days with no running mousse at all. In fact, it was still light, airy, tender, and delicious right to the end. The coconut extract may have given it even more flavor, but as it was, it didn’t seem lacking to me. Kurt was happy with his birthday cake, and hopefully that’s not just because he’s so old he doesn’t even know what he’s eating anymore.