A day off is one of the best things in the world. I’ve spent mine sleeping in just a little bit, mucking round on the internet in the afternoon sun, experimenting with cake recipes (cakesperimenting? No, that sounds gross) listening to Broadway records, and standing at the open fridge, purposefully grasping handfuls of jelly from the plate of it that we forgot to serve up at Tim’s party last week, and eating it. Fortunately for you, all I’m going to elaborate on is the cake. Wait, that’s a lie. I will elaborate on everything.
While mucking round on the internet…where I still am…I found this video of one of my fav food-people, Yotam Ottolenghi, talking about food, family and love. Who knew he was as louche and good-looking as his recipes? Not I.
I listened to the indefatigable original cast recording of Company today – being home by yourself is the best time to test whether or not you can keep up with Getting Married Today.
The jelly had one layer of strawberry and one layer of pineapple, and Tim made it. It’s his one specialty. To be fair, he’s not living in an environment that allows people other than me to have kitchen specialties. To be fair again, he’s really, really good at making jelly. That’s not even damning with faint praise, it’s pretty easy to get wrong. Sometimes the gelatine goes all chewy…you could pour boiling water on your foot instead of in the bowl…that sort of thing.
And…the cake. I’ve been wondering for a while now whether you could replace the ground almonds in a recipe with dessicated coconut – they’re both pretty similar as far as texture and properties go. Today was the day that I got to try it. I used this excellent Torta Caprese recipe
(which was my birthday cake last year) but left out the chocolate, and instead of using melted butter, I went for a smooth measure of coconut cream. So this is gluten and dairy free now. While it’s nice to have gluten-free recipes around in case your friends (or more urgently, you yourself) can’t eat it, it’s also fun to play around with recipes – why commit only to flour when there are so many other ways a cake can be itself.
Luckily, it being an experiment and all, it’s terrifically delicious. Not traditionally cakey exactly, but solid enough that you can slice it into wedges without it disintegrating. To give it a bit of shine, I made a glazey icing out of brown sugar, more coconut cream, and custard powder all boiled up together. The triple coconut punch of the ingredients wasn’t overpowering – although it’d take a whole lot of coconut for me to feel overpowered. Its mellow, cloudy sweetness and damp texture make this cake a joy to eat, with the soft glaze lusciously smooth in contrast and flutteringly caramel of flavour (not to mention so trendily mustard-coloured that you half expect a fashionista to bust through the window, steal, it wear it as a wondrous cape and then blog about it.)
Please excuse how the knife’s all streaked up from where I licked it, after cutting the slice of cake…
Pac-man cake! I should probably say something sensible about this cake now. Okay. It tastes amazing, and it’s so easy – just a bowl and a whisk is all you need. Desiccated coconut is a whole lot cheaper than ground almonds, and while they might not be interchangeable for all recipes, it worked well in this one. It’s a squat little disc of a cake, about an inch high, like it’s been sat on. But, it’s saucy enough to be served up for pudding, while retaining enough cake persona to accompany a mug of milky tea (or black tea, if you want to keep with the dairy-free theme.) It helps to be a fan of coconut before you barge into this, but the finished result is so flourishingly delicious that it could charm you all the same.
Coconut Cake with Brown Sugar Coconut Cream Glaze
Note: 1 regular tin of coconut cream should be enough for everything here plus a little leftover for whatever else you want to do with it.
200g dessicated coconut
250 ml/1 cup coconut cream
Line the base of a 22cm springform caketin with baking paper and grease the sides. Set your oven to 180 C/350 F.
Whisk together the eggs, then add the sugar and whisk some more until the mixture has thickened and expanded a little. Fold in the coconut and the coconut cream, pour into the caketin and bake for 50 minutes to an hour. Cover with tinfoil towards the end if it gets too dark on top.
Brown Sugar Coconut Glaze
Boil together 1/2 cup cream, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon custard powder, stirring the whole time. Let it bubble away for a minute or so till a rich mustardy-brown colour, then allow to cool a little before spooning over the cake.
Speaking of things…that are…anyway, without further attempted segueing, here’s my new video tutorial, all about pastry. Specifically, short pastry and the gluten-free and vegan pastry that I used to make the roast vegetable tarts
earlier this year. Hope you like it. This one’s a bit longer than the first one, because there’s two recipes, but on the upside, I didn’t have a massive sleep-inducing lunch before I started filming this time.
If you do make the vegan/gluten free pastry that I outline in the video and are wondering what you can do with it, last night I made a Roast Onion Tart – I rolled the pastry out between two sheets of baking paper and then lifted it into a pie plate, pressing it down and patching up the raggedy edges. I baked it as is for 15 minutes at 200 C, then once it was out, lowered the temperature to 180 C and in a tinfoil lined tray, roasted 4 red onions, peeled and halved, and a few fat cloves of garlic, all drizzled with some avocado oil. Once the pie shell was cooled I spread it with some baba ghanouj leftover from the party, but you could use hummus, or tahini, or any spread, or even just some white beans or chickpeas mashed with a fork. Once the onions were glossy and tender, I pressed on the garlic cloves to get all the soft garlic onto the baba ghanouj, then topped it with pieces of onion, then sprinkled over some walnuts (that a family friend had sent back down with us when we visited Mum and Dad – cheers Dianne!) and some thyme leaves.
Tasty stuff, pretty cost-efficient, and while not the fastest meal in town, it’s not taxing to make.
Feel free to make requests for future content, fling handfuls of praise, question the many cuts (Either I got tongue tied, or I’d talk way too much, both of which require some severe editing) or express concern at my lack of mathematical agility. Not that I’m bothered by it.
Title via: I am not actually much of an Arcade Fire fan at all, but luckily for this blog post, the one I track of theirs that I like is Neighbourhood #3 (Powerout).
At the recommendation of good lady and friend Jo, I’ve been listening to a lot of Mavis Staples today. As well as having a seriously cool name, Mavis Staples has the kind of soulful voice and sound befitting someone whose career spans more than 60 years.
You can stream the whole Haunted Love album at undertheradar.co.nz – it’s very good, but if you need convincing or don’t have the time, try their very pretty current single San Domenico.
Next time: Not totally sure yet – I have some food plans up my sleeve though (luckily not actual food up my sleeve, that wouldn’t be fun.)