Let them eat cake.

I am not a baker. Still.

(Coconut flakes pre-toasting. During this brief blogging journey I have learned that toasting both spices and nuts have changed how I cook.  Rather they have changed how things I cook taste and therefore changed how I cook.) I know I have said it before, but its still true. NOT. A BAKER. But (and its a bigger butt then it should be, literally. pun intended) I dare say I am improving. I decided this week to bake a cake. Without opening a box. I know right? I recently learned that you can make a cake without Duncan or Betty in the kitchen. Go figure.

(I had the choice between regular lemons and Meyers...those Meyers are soooo beautiful I could not resist. Stay tuned for some lemon recipes 'cause I got another half dozen to use)  I think there is something nostalgic and traditional about baking a cake. Again, not a baker, but I have attempted made cookies, muffins, loaves and bars a hundred more times than I have ever attempted a cake. From scratch. In fact, this could be a first.

(There is a verrrrry fine line between 'toasted' and 'burnt' coconut flakes. In the preceding photo I do not think you could get closer to said line) As a kid in my mom's kitchen or a kid in my university apartment kitchen or a wish-i-was-still-a-kid in my own kitchen, I don't recall baking a cake from scratch. Open box, add water, eggs and oil. Check. But no box? Never. Turns out though, not completely overwhelming.

(a motion shot!) So I decided to make a cake. I also decided to make more cakes. For a few reasons. One, I would like to be able to bring a friend, neighbour, butcher, baker, candlestickmaker....a cake. A whole one. Two, I would like to have a cake on display in my kitchen bay window. Three, I would like to practice so I can make my sweet Little cool cakes for his birthday (like worlds greatest gma did for me growing up, all snowmany and Christmasy tree shaped) and four, I would like to justify buying this. 

(there were a LOT of steps in this recipe. A LOT. See that silver bowl of white goodness? I think I almost made marshmallows...sweet and sticky and gooey...I'm a beater licker and even I could not take care of business here...) So I think I am going to make more cakes...My baby/maternity photographer started making a cake a week for a year a while back. Inspirational for sure, but my already expanded waistline could not handle the beater licking that would accompany that...but I think we could do one at least every month? You think? I think so. Let's put it in writing... 

(recipe called for two round spring form cake pans so naturally I used a bunt like one.) A cake a month at least, I will start to bake. That is 12 a year...I can do that. I think. This one was fun. I found it by literally putting 'cake' into pinterest or foodgawker or tastespotting. And while I a not a follower or her blog, the story of making this cake for her grandpa was very touching...

(The only nice looking fruit I had was frozen, hence the frosty strawberries. And I think that fork came from a set for Little sixtyone45...it was that or the Seattle Seahawks one) Overall, the cake was light and lemony and the recipe was pretty straight forward. I had never made icing with a double broiler before (or in my case a bowl over a pot) but it turned out to be a perfect texture. I still don't know how to adhere coconut flakes to the side of a cake, hence no full cake photos.

(note the dead tulips in the background...hoping Mr. sixtyone45 is inspired to bring home live ones, wink wink hint hint.)  Look forward to finding a yummy cake recipe to make next month...hint hint loyal followers....feel free to give me a recipe and I am happy to tackle!

Golden Chiffon Cake with Toasted Coconut and Seven-Minute Frosting

adapted from A Sweet Pea Chef

For the cake:

2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup canola oil
5 egg yolks
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup (8) egg whites
2 cups coconut flakes


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place coconut flakes evenly over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in the oven for approximately 15-20 minutes. Every 5-7 minutes, check on the coconut and toss. Careful not to burn the flakes. Once evenly golden, remove from oven and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, sift together first 4 ingredients into bowl; make well in center. Add in order next 5 ingredients. Beat until satin smooth.
Add cream of tartar to egg whites; beat till very stiff peaks form. Pour batter in thin stream over entire surface of egg whites; fold in gently. Bake in 2 un-greased spring-form cake pans at 325 degrees until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, approximately 40-55 minutes. Cool on rack. Frost with Seven-Minute Frosting (recipe follows). Sprinkle sides and top with toasted coconut flakes.

For the frosting:

2 unbeaten egg whites
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup cold water
dash of salt
4-5 drops yellow food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla


Place all ingredients except vanilla in top of double boiler. Beat for 1/2 minute on low with electric mixer to blend. Place over, not touching, boiling water. Cook, beating constantly, until frosting forms soft peaks, (about 7 minutes, careful not to overcook). Remove from boiling water. If desired, pour into mixing bowl. Add vanilla and beat till of spreading consistency, about 2 minutes.
Frost sides, layer and top of cake. Sprinkle generously with toasted coconut flakes to completely cover cake.