January 19, 2008

"The Fix Everything Cake"

This is the “family birthday cake”, “fall down and scrap both knees cake”, “sorry my kid put bb’s through your window cake”, “I got a new pair of shoes cake”, and our family’s general all-around “make things a whole lot better cake”.

It’s a variation on the classic Italian Cream Cake, which is found in about a zillion cookbooks and websites. It’s pretty foolproof, delicious, easy to freeze, and wonderful to give as a gift. I hope you get a chance to bake and enjoy it. It might even get you out of trouble!

Coconut-Hazelnut Three Layer Cake

Serves: a lot of people

For Cake:
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup Crisco
2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, seperated
2 teaspoons hazelnut syrup (the kind you use in coffee drinks)
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh buttermilk
2 cups flaked coconut
½ cup chopped hazelnuts

For Frosting:
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 8 oz package cream cheese
2 teaspoons hazelnut syrup
1 box powdered sugar
½ cup flaked coconut, lightly toasted*
¼ - ½ cup chopped hazelnuts, lightly toasted*

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 3 round 8” cake pans by either using parchment paper or greasing lightly and flouring the pans.
2. In large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, Crisco, and sugar.
3. Beat in the egg yolks and hazelnut syrup.
4. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
5. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the fresh buttermilk to the sugar/butter/egg yolk mixture. Mix well.
6. Stir in the coconut and nuts.
7. In deep cold bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into cake batter carefully but completely.
8. Pour batter into prepared cake pans. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown and springy in the middle of cakes.
9. Cool for 10 minutes in pan, and then remove cakes from pan to cool completely on racks.

To prepare frosting:
1. Place melted butter into medium size mixing bowl. Add the cream cheese and work into melted butter with a wooden spoon. After incorporating butter and cream cheese, switch to electric beater and add the hazelnut syrup and powdered sugar. Beat until glossy and smooth.

To assemble cake:
1. Place first layer, rounded side down, on cake platter or plate. Frost sides and top lightly. Repeat with second layer and third. Frost cake thickly up the sides and on top. Frosting will be soft and gloppy, giving the cake a definitely “rustic” finish! This ain’t fondant stuff! Top cake with the toasted coconut and hazelnuts, sprinkling some of the nuts around the bottom of cake.

* I toast the coconut and nuts (separately) in a large skillet over medium-low heat, shaking pan to keep browning even. Watch carefully, so they won’t burn! Remove from heat when exact browning color is achieved, and turn onto plate to cool.

I made this cake last night because our son is home for a short leave from his Marine base…he leaves for Iraq in a few weeks. I think he’ll probably eat this whole cake by himself.

I’m calling this one “my son is my hero cake, so that’s why I’m crying cake”.

Mac, with one of his littlest cousins, Megan


Jenny said...

I am speechless! That cake looks incredible. I love making big stacked cakes like that. I will for sure be trying your beautiful cake!

That picture of your son is perfect. I can't imagine how hard that is to see your son go to Iraq. My best wishes! I'd be crying too!

Anj said...

What a beautiful cake. What a beautiful son. I admire you being the mom of a soldier. I'd give him a whole cake too!

Emiline said...

We truly don't honor our soldiers enough. You should be so proud.

That is an amazing cake! I'm definitely going to make this sometime. I even have the hazelnut syrup!

Catherine said...

Jenny, don't be speechless! This is so easy, AND it's a perfect one to "tinker" with...I've done so many different things with this recipe! And I'm a big crybaby...those Hallmark commercials? A goner!

Anj, Thank you! And that cake is also a goner!

Emiline, Super easy cake, it never fails...and don't you just love baking/cooking with all those flavored syrups! Thanks!

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"The Dish" by Catherine Wilkinson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.