Thursday, August 10, 2017

Youngest Hawthorne Has A Birthday.

Is this a cake or what?!?!

I was mulling over what kind of cake to make for my little Hawthorne, and mind you, the bar is high.

I never know what to expect from Youngest Hawthorne.
And I don't always know what his expectations are.
Although, sometimes I do.
Case in point:
 This is a schematic he drew, 4 years ago, of exactly what he wanted in a birthday cake.
And I successfully delivered.

This year, I had no such game plan, so to speak, so I'm winging it.
I'm going with a three layer coconut and pecan cake.

Here's my mise en place for the cake.
It helps to have everything ready to rock 'n' roll.

Coconut and Pecan Layer Cake

For the cake:
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
 8 TB unsalted butter, softened
½ cup Crisco 
2 cups sugar
5 eggs, separated, room temperature

1 ¼ cups coconut
1 cup finely chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350°.
Butter and flour three 8" cake pans.
Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in one bowl.
Whisk buttermilk and vanilla in another.
In bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter, Crisco, and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
On low speed, alternately add dry ingredients in 3 batches (starting and ending with dry) and wet ingredients in 2 batches.  Increase speed and beat until batter is smooth. 
Whip egg whites in another bowl until stiff peaks form.
Fold whites, coconut, and pecans into batter.
Divide batter among three pans and bake about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cakes cool for 20 minutes in pan, then turn out onto wire racks and cool completely.

For the icing:
4 TB unsalted butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 cup toasted coconut

With a hand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Slowly add in sugar, beating, and vanilla, until smooth.

To assemble:
Place first cake layer on cake stand and spread with about ⅓ of the icing.  Top with second layer and spread with about ⅓ of the icing. Top with third layer and cover top and sides with remaining frosting.  Sprinkle top and sides with coconut and nuts, pressing into icing.  Chill.

Always take time to go check on your hummers.

My cake batter is ready for the oven.

Cooled cakes, ready for frosting.


Happy Birthday to my Little Hawthornelet!


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