Saturday, February 18, 2012

Raspberry Coconut Cake

The question is, ultimately, how much do you say? 
Do you say too much?
Too little?

And I watch people conduct these elaborate dances around themselves. I do it too.
We talk and we text and we tell and we photograph every moment, because this youth we're living is so effervescent. 

And there are a million mediums to communicate through and with. And sometimes it is too much. Too many heys and howsitgoins and whatareyoudoinglaters and holdonsomeonetakeapictures. 

I want to just stop. 
I want to stop. 

I want to wash some dirty dishes in a real sink. And I want to take a long bath. I want to knead some bread. Or go swimming, arms pulling in long front crawls.  Or wash my dog, only I can't because she's dead. I want to sweep a floor. Or paint. I want to water a garden and smell the wet dirt. I want the real things. The tangible things. The holding, touching, clinking, breathing, sandwich-making parts of everyday life back. Because no one told me that college would make me forget what normal living and life is like. 
I wanted to bake a cake. 

I wanted to bake a cake and talk to myself.

So I did. 

And I combined sugar and butter, and listened to the steady hum of the mixer.
And I measured out flour and baking soda and powder with the little silver spoons. 
And I mixed in raspberries and blackberries and coconut. (Beautiful words!) 
And then I frosted it with cream cheese and sugar.
And then I ate that cake. 
Life is so good. 

It is the sweet simple things in life that are real after all. -Laura Ingalls Wilder

But really. 


Raspberry Coconut Cake
adapted from

Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, and, in theory, 22 to 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake (I have yet to audition the cupcakes, shame on me)
4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (480 grams) cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
2 sticks (1 cup, 1/2 pound or 225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (400 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk (475 ml), well-shaken
3/4 unsweetened shredded coconut
1 to 1 1/2 cups raspberries or blackberries
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment. (Alternately, you can use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour to speed this process up.)
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated. Using a spatula, gently stir in coconut and raspberries. 
Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. (I like to drop mine a few times from two inches up, making a great big noisy fuss.) Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.

Cream Cheese Frosting

5 ounces (142 grams) cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces or 42 grams) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (4 ounces or 120 grams) confectioners sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy. Sift confectioners sugar over cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until incorporated. Spread frosting over top of cooled cake.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said Mary! val & paul