Friday, April 17, 2015

Chocolate Coconut Parfaits

I get ideas for desserts all the time, but they're usually random things I put together on a weekend and mostly for the blog. Blogging requires attention, you see, and I'm always thinking about it. When I have to come up with a dessert for an occasion of some sort, usually a holiday, I panic a little. It's all well and good to dream up something that only Mr Minx and I are going to eat, but there's more pressure when guests are involved, even if it's family and they're (mostly) non-judgmental about what we put in front of them. But there are always diets and dietary restrictions to think of and what sort of thing will go well with the entree we've just eaten.

I liked the idea of coconut cake for a party dessert. A big ol' yellow layer cake slathered in white icing and mounds of coconut, like the lovely versions at Clementine and the Peppermill. Unfortunately, not everyone likes the texture of coconut shavings. (I'm looking at Mr Minx here.) He doesn't mind the flavor of coconut though, and had in the past suggested that I make Martha Stewart's coconut crunch cake without the macaroon layer. While I agreed that it was a good idea, I still made the cake as written three times. (He did eat it all three times, coconut shavings and all). This time, I decided to do as the poor dear said, because I wanted a flavored cake to use as layers in a mini trifle of sorts, with chocolate pudding and almonds. Sometimes you feel like a nut and all that.

Chocolate Coconut Parfaits

For coconut cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup cream of coconut
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs

For pudding:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
2 cups whole milk
1 large egg
4 ounces semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped

To assemble:
Coconut shavings
Sliced almonds

To make cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a jelly roll pan with a single piece of parchment cut to size. If you are like me, you don't have a jelly roll pan, so just use a smaller baking sheet with sides. Mine is about 9" x 11" but it's very old--YMMV. Cut parchment to size. If you're using a small sheet pan, cut two pieces.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, stir cream of coconut and vanilla.

Beat butter and coconut oil on medium-high until smooth. Slowly add sugar; beat until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium; add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each and scraping down bowl as needed. Add the cream of coconut mixture and beat until completely mixed. Stir in the flour until just combined.

If you're using a jelly roll pan, you can probably add all of the batter. You don't want it to overflow though, so if there's excess batter, put it in a muffin tin and bake it later. If you're using a smaller pan, put in about 1/3 of the batter and spread smooth. Bake a larger sheet for 20-25 minutes and a smaller sheet 13-17 minutes, until cake springs back when pressed lightly with a finger. Cool on a rack. If you're using a smaller sheet, once cool enough to handle, remove the cake from the pan with the parchment attached. Place a fresh parchment in the pan. Add 1/3 of the batter, spread smooth, and bake 13-17 minutes. You can bake a third cake, if you want, or put the remaining batter in a muffin tin, or a mini loaf cake pan.

When cakes are cool, place them face down on a cutting board large enough to hold them, or, barring that, a clean countertop. Peel off the parchment. If there's cake clinging to the parchment, just scrape it off and eat it - cook's treat.

Using the top of the glass you plan on layering the cake in, cut out at least three rounds per glass. Save the cake scraps for snacking on. Place cake circles between layers of waxed paper and store in a covered container up to overnight, until ready to use.

To make pudding: Whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, and boil, whisking, until pudding is thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Immediately beat egg lightly in a medium heatproof bowl, then very gradually add hot pudding to the egg, whisking constantly. Whisk in chopped chocolate until smooth.

Pour pudding into a bowl with a lid or cover surface with wax paper to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate, covered, until cool, at least 2 hours.

To assemble parfaits: Place a cake round at the bottom of each of six serving glasses. Add two tablespoons of cooled pudding, a big pinch of coconut and another of almonds, then another cake round. Repeat layers, ending with a cake round. Garnish with coconut and almonds.

Serves 8.

Follow on Bloglovin

Posted on