Kerala, truly, lives up to it's title -" God's own country" . Dominated by its greenery, paddy fields, palm trees and back waters, its beauty mesmerizes visitors and natives, alike. Being a romantic at heart, I yearn to visit Kumarkom - a captivating locale, sandwiched by the palm-lined backwaters and the western ghats. Though I have my roots in God's own country, time has never permitted me to enjoy the pleasure of journeying those waters in the tranquility of a house boat. That remains an unfulfilled dream.
Most people relate coconut to Kerala and why would they not. In Kerala, almost every household has backyards with tall,swaying palm trees and mounds of coconuts piled up in every nook and corner . As coconut is so vastly present and available in abundance throughout the year and relatively inexpensive, it plays a very bossy role in Keralan cuisine. Just about anything cooking in a Malayali's kitchen will have this authoritative chief in it.
With that kind of a background, I was steered into becoming a coconut addict and maybe, someday, I'll be put in rehab ;) I love its creamy flavor and anything 'coconut' reminds me of home. Sinking my teeth into this cake, always puts me in a trance. And, I think I have named this cake aptly.....................truly takes you to paradise.
And this snap is a really old one from my archive and is, by far, one of the worst I've ever taken. Sorry about that guys. ( But, what can I do? I was in too much of a hurry to dive into the cake:)
INGREDIENTS (Makes 7-8 servings)
- 170 gms (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1-1/2 tspn pure vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tspn baking powder
- 1/4 tspn baking soda
- 1/4 tspn salt
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup(abt 60 gms) sweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 tspn pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 pound powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tbspns cream of coconut(optional) - [available in the liquor section of most supermarkets]
- 1-1/2 cups(abt 90 gms) sweetened shredded coconut
DIRECTIONS FOR CAKE:
- Layer a loaf pan with parchment paper(for those of you who have run out if it, you can just butter the pan and dust it with a little flour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F(177 degree C).
- In a bowl cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed of an electric mixer for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy.
- With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add these dry ingredients and the milk and buttermilk to the butter-egg mixture. Mix until just combined.
- Fold in the coconut with a rubber spatula.
- Pour the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 40-45 minutes, until the tops are browned .
- Now insert a tooth pick into the cake.If it comes out clean the cake is done.If not, reduce the temperature of your oven to 275 degrees and bake it for 10 additional mins.
- Repeat the tooth pick check and baking process till cake is done.
When done,Let the cake rest for 10 mins in the cake tin and then remove the cake from the loaf pan by inverting it gently.
- Cool the cake on a baking rack for 30 minutes or longer to cool completely.
- Combine the cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract with a hand mixer on low speed. Add the powdered sugar and cream of coconut mix until well blended (do not bring this to a stiff consistency like if it were whipped).
- Spread coconut flakes evenly onto a baking sheet. Place in a 350 degree F oven for 2 to 3 minutes allowing the flakes to toast and turn a golden brown color.( Make sure you do not burn.The toasting happens very fast).When done,remove from oven and let it cool for about 7-8 mins.
- Cut the loaf cake lengthwise into 2 halves. Place the bottom half on a serving platter and spread some frosting on the top( see pic).Then, sprinkle some toasted cooled coconut flakes on the frosting.
- Now, place the second half on top of the first and frost the whole cake.To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.( You don't have be to obsessed about frosting the cake perfectly because the toasted coconut on the frosting will hide all the flaws )
Luv 'n' luc'