Friday, May 4, 2012

Chocolate Coconut Cake

There are a lot of chocolate cake recipes I use. I alternate depending on what I want and what ingredients I have on hand. One great chocolate cake recipe that I like is the Super Easy, Super Moist Chocolate Cupcake recipe from Simply Recipes. I think it is also known as depression cake due to the lack of egg and dairy in the recipe. While it is not the richest chocolate cake out there, it is certainly one of the easiest. No mixer. No butter to cream. No alternating additions of flour and milk. As long as the cake is still tasty, ease is a major plus. The change I usually use when making the chocolate cupcakes is to substitute the one cup of brewed coffee with one cup of skim milk with 1 tbsp of espresso powder. The milk adds a bit of richness, while the espresso powder maintains the extra oomph that coffee gives to chocolate (you don’t really taste any coffee in the cake).

However, today I had a cup of coconut milk sitting around that needed to used (leftover from coconut ice cream). I usually make coconut rice pudding or coconut cupcakes. But, I wanted to try something new and chocolatey. And instead of scouring the web for some tasty new coconut chocolate treat, I decided to see how my easy go-to chocolate cake recipe would fare with a coconut milk substitution. This time I substituted one cup brewed coffee with one cup coconut milk. I did not add any espresso powder, as I was afraid that boosting the chocolate flavor would overpower the more subtle coconut flavor from the milk. I also baked it in a 9” x 9” pan since I felt more like sheet cake than cupcakes today.

This is the best version of this chocolate cake I have made yet. It is really moist, even after several days, without being too dense. However, the coconut flavor is very, very weak. I can only taste it because I know it’s there. I’m pretty sure no one would notice if they were not told. But, I will definitely continue using coconut milk in this recipe, when I have it on hand. And if I want more coconut flavor next time, I’ll probably add a little bit of coconut extract (probably one-eighth to one-quarter teaspoon).  Also, if I want to dress it up a bit, I might top it with a simple chocolate frosting (such as that in the original Simply Recipes recipe above) and some sweetened flaked coconut.

I just enjoyed this tasty three day old slice with a cold glass of milk.

Chocolate Coconut Cake Recipe
Cake ingredients:
    1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural, not Dutched)
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 cup coconut milk
    1 tbsp white vinegar
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    6 tbsp (3/8 cup) canola oil (any vegetable oil will do)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare 9” x9” cake pan (I use AltonBrown’s Kustom Kitchen Lube, alternatively, you can butter and dust with flour or cocoa powder).
2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add coconut extract here if you decide to use.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until combined (mix will be lumpy, but should have no visible dry ingredients).
5. Pour into cake pan and spread evenly.
6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until springy in the middle. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.
7. Let cool in pan. If you are going to frost, make sure to let the cake cool completely before frosting.