Originally, I had planned on posting a full blown recipe for this cake, and someday I will get around to perfecting the recipe and adding it here. The reason the cake recipe isn’t going up is because I did things a little differently. I wanted to get a lot of coconut flavor into the cake and didn’t want to just rely on Coconut Extract/Flavoring. When I was at the store, I purchased some Coconut Sugar and Coconut Flour. I’ve heard of both ingredients, however I’ve never done much experimenting with them.
Normally, when I make a cake, I start with a genoise, which is your basic sponge cake. It’s just eggs, sugar and a small amount of flour. It’s incredibly easy. So where it called for granulated sugar, I replaced it all with the coconut sugar. When it came time for the flour, I did half all purpose and half coconut flour.
Immediately, I could see the difference with the sugar. It was denser and heavier than granulated and during the whipping process, it never really got as thick as granulated sugar would make the eggs. Usually, the eggs and sugar are whipped for a really long time, the mixture gets quite voluminous and thick and very, very pale. The coconut sugar never got nearly as thick and ribbony and the mixture always remained a darker color. So, I know that next time I make this, to either use half granulated and half coconut sugar or maybe even three quarters to one quarter.
For the flour, I already knew that I couldn’t just do all coconut flour. There’s a reason that bakers use all purpose flour all the time. It’s light and has gluten. It has more support and strength in it. It’s why many gluten free items are so dense. So for the next time, I might go three quarters to one quarter with the flour as well. However, I’m sure if you wanted to, you could go all coconut flour, but then your cake will be very dense. It will still work, but you’ll need to give it an amazing soaking. Like Ritz quality.
So when the cake was finished baking, I could already see how dense it was. A genoise, when done right, is very springy. It’s a little dry and a bit flavorless. But that’s what you want because it is ALL about the syrup. You take your syrup and you drench the layers of cake in it until all the moisture has been soaked up and when you press on the cake, a little bit of liquid comes out. It’s magnificent. So when your cake is very dense, it’s doesn’t take in liquid as easily. Most of the time, you can just go ahead and brush your syrup over the cake. Which is what I did. But because it was so dense, it tricks you. It wasn’t until I cut into the cake I realized just how under soaked the cake was. That’s when a lightbulb lit up and I realized I should have just filled a bowl up with the coconut rum and dunked the entire cake in it. In fact, making sure that the cake is moistened properly would have made the coconut sugar and flour easier to overlook.
Everything else for the cake turned out fantastic. The raspberry jam, the swiss vanilla buttercream…both perfect. Because the cake was so dense, it never really rose that much, so the cake itself, once layered and frosted and decorated wasn’t nearly as tall as I would’ve hoped for. So if the recipe were to not change and the soaking process involved dunking the entire cake, I would, in fact, just double the cake recipe so that you have four very dense layers of cake. This way you could have cake, buttercream, cake, jam, cake, buttercream cake and then the rest of the buttercream. Or maybe even two layers of jam and just one layer of buttercream in the middle. You get the idea.
So was this a complete fail? No. I know exactly how to remedy this cake to have it come out the way it was envisioned in my head. So I would either go ahead and make this again exactly how I did before, but just making sure the cake is really, really, REALLY well soaked or I’ll go ahead and adjust the recipe accordingly. The coconut sugar and the coconut flour DID make a difference in taste. You could smell and really taste the coconut. Texture wise, it just wasn’t right. A good start to a new recipe.