Thursday, May 27, 2010

When I can't go to exotic places I bake them in my mind...

I've been in a bit funk work wise for a while now, mostly because I desperately want to go traveling but alas have this whole PhD thing to do...So to remedy this general malaise I sit in my lab day dreaming of exotic locations and cooking. Sometimes the two train of thoughts combine to form wonderfully bizarre recipes and I satisfy myself that I'm being productive in someway at least

The roots of my latest inspiration lie with a friend who is going to the UK for a month. Rather than transform my envy into a jealous fit of rage I've channeled the energy in to creating a new gâteaux. While England may not seem overly exotic it did get me thinking about all the fun things one could do there like go to great bars and eat at the cute little cake shops they have there. So now I'm think 'man I want a cocktail and cake' and BAM there it was the best idea for a cake ever : Cocktail Cake! 
Lime, pineapple , coconut, white chocolate, rum...there's definitely cross over potential there! Just think I could make it really naff by decorating the cake with cocktail umbrellas and a lazy beach scene! Or class it up with some shaved coconut scattered over a white chocolate ganache garnished with candied lime... oh the possibilities are endless!

The first step in the process is the base cake. This needs to be kind of sponge like but not too light as it needs to be cut into layers. So I scour the internets again for what I thought was brilliantly inspired thought of coconut cake and of course find a great one on Not So Humble Pie, just needs a little tweaking for my taste buds (and theme!) 

Coconutalicious Dense Base Cake (adapted from Rose's Heavenly Cakes)

180g egg whites
1 1/3 cup coconut milk
30ml Malibu or white rum
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
400g plain flour
250g palm sugar (like in a mohito!!)
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
200g butter at room temp chopped finely

Combine egg white, vanilla and  1/3 cup coconut milk and malibu/rum stand aside

Grate sugar and combine with other dry ingredients, sifting together. In a stand mixer or with handheld, mix dry ingredients and slowly add butter and remainder of coconut milk until combined, scraping as you go. Mix on medium for 2 minutes then bring mixing speed down a notch and add egg mix in thirds mixing for 20 seconds in between additions. You should have a lovely velvety mix at the end that isn't too sweet.
You can bake this in either two 9 inch victoria sponge pans or one high sided spring-form. The small cakes with take 25-35 mins and the bigger 40-55 mins at 180C

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