Hawaiian Island Cake

a3f71150-4ec4-4d6a-8d65-fe68d21942dc
Traditional White Cake with pineapple-coconut filling and cream cheese icing

Behind the scenes

In the picture above, you see what looks like a chocolate cake layer sandwiched between two vanilla sheets. Alas, such isn’t the case. All layers are actually (supposed to be) of the Old-Fashioned White Cake recipe found in the Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. I knew that I wanted to make a cake with strong coconut and pineapple accents, so I took the liberty of substituting a couple of things.

Here’s what happened to the middle layer you see above. First, I doubled Magnolia’s recipe since I was making a 1/2 sheet cake. That was the first mistake. I should have tripled the recipe. Second, I thought I’d ramp up the sweetness and substituted one (of the two) cup milk with a cup of sweetened condensed milk. Third, when checking for doneness  after 30 minutes, I set the timer for 10 more minutes – then fell asleep on the couch – ouch! Well, I woke up well before any burning occurred, but well after the cake had lost its height and started to become a dense, chewy, wavy cookie. It was hours later before I took the courage to use this layer in the final cake. I like dense, chewy cookies, so I got hold of my trusty cake leveler and reduced the overall thickness of this should-have-been cake and took the risk of making it a center layer (see below).

11c9c8f0-1773-46ac-b90e-8c88baa4e295

Here’s how the other two layers (top and bottom) came about. I had to start over. I had contracted to bake this cake for someone, so  there was no getting around it. I stuck with the Traditional White Cake recipe but 1) tripled the recipe and 2) substituted regular milk with organic coconut water. I could tell upon pouring the batter into the 1/2 sheet pan that it was going to be perfect – as long as I didn’t fall asleep and overcook it. Indeed, it turned out beautifully, the most evenly cooked, delicate surfaced white cake I’ve ever baked. I let this cake cool slowly for several hours while I got some sleep. I knew I was going to split it and wanted it to be as sturdy as possible.

4006ab1e-d7c4-45c0-8169-e5ef926d809a
You can see the light color of the two halves of the split cake compared to the earlier cake that became a cookie.

With three sheets of cake ready to go, the assembly went as follows:

84a436c9-f22c-4d0c-88d5-047c59d93782
Bottom white layer + filling + middle cookie-cake layer + filling + top white layer-in-waiting.
ca66a627-35f5-4a4e-8d54-161dcaee3a9f
Top white cake layer in place + icing + shredded coconut + candied pineapple nuggets.

TRADITIONAL WHITE-CAKE RECIPE FROM The Complete Magnolia Cookbook.

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
    • if using all-purpose flour, add 1 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt per 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk (I substituted this with coconut water because I was looking to concentrate coconut flavors)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg whites

Directions:

  • Grease and flour your pan
  • Whip egg white to soft peaks, cover and reserve in fridge
  • Cream the butter and sugar
  • Alternatively add flour and liquids; don’t overmix
  • Gently fold in soft-peak egg whites
  • Place in oven at 350 deg F / 180 deg C
  • Bake for 22-25 min – then test for doneness
  • Let cool.

Half-sheet modifications

  • Triple the recipe – will be able to split once safely.
  • Reduce oven temp to 325 (or even 300)
  • I started checking the cake at 30 min. Mine took 40 min.

ICING – Magnolia Bakery Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1 lb cream cheese, softened
  • 3 oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Half-sheet modifications

  • Double the recipe above
  • Reserve 1/3 to use in the filling

FILLING – for the half-sheet cake

  • 2 x 12 oz cans of chunked or sliced pineapple in light syrup or in natural juice
  • 16 oz sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1/3 of the cream cheese icing
  • Place the pineapple and coconut in a food processor and pulse until combined and there are no large pieces of pineapple. In a large bowl, stir together with icing.

TOPPING – for the half-sheet

  • 8 0z sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 8 oz candied pineapple coarsely chopped

That’s all I can think of.  Have a sweet day!

 

#69, White Chocolate Coconut Cookies with Hazelnuts

“All the exotic tastes of a tropical island wrapped up in one yummy cookie” (Allysa Torey)

DETOUR: i substituted Hazlenuts for the Macadamia nuts called for in the recipe, “White Chocolate Coconut Macademia Cookies.” I never think to look for these nuts when I’m shopping, and I had hazelnuts ready to go, so I sent in the sub.

SILLY EXCITEMENT: This is the first time I’ve used the kind of shredded coconut expected in the Magnolia recipes. It comes already sweetened.

IMG_1465

RECIPE LINK

Well, I had a little extra time on my hands this morning. We are having Parent-Teacher-Student conferences at school this morning beginning at 8 AM. No ducks that I needed to get in a row this morning, so I took the opportunity to bake.

ALERT!

These cookies are at my station and available to my students and parents who come by for a chat. If you are reading this blog and are at ASD, you too are welcome to drop by and put your hand into the cookie jar.

Wanna see what my morning looked like while everyone else was sleeping? Ok!

Vrooom. Vrooom.

Here’s a gif of our trusty mixer creaming butter with white and brown sugars.

camoji

Here’s what Hazelnuts, Coconut, and coarsely chopped White Chocolate looks like BEFORE getting mixed up with batter.

IMG_1467
The volume of these ingredients was actually more than the rest of the cookie batter.

TAKING A PEAK! (Is it “peek” or “peak”? — still too early in the morning.)

IMG_1468
I put this on Instagram as “A baker’s selfie”.

HAPPY HAPPY

You can tell pretty early on whether your cookies are going to hold their shape or flatten out like a cow pie in the pasture (Sorry, but having been raised in a cow barn, that’s the most accurate image I could conjure.) As you can see in the photo above and here below, the cookies held their own.

IMG_1470

HAVE A SWEET DAY.

PERHAPS I CAN HELP?