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Bringing Home the Bakin'

bake my cake and eat it, too

Monthly Archives: January 2009

Thank you to everyone who participated in my poll!  With 35% of the vote, coconut cake was the winner.

Coconut Cake

Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa at Home)


  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract (I omitted)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

For the frosting:

  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract (I omitted)
  • 1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don’t be concerned.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until just smooth (don’t whip!).

To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.


It’s been a long few weeks with the end of the semester and exams, but it feels great to be back. I know I said I would make one of the selections from my poll first, but this recipe is just something I whipped up last night, and I’ve been itching to write a new entry. They’re from the Martha Stewart Cookies book, and are called Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies. They’re very easy to make and they taste delicious.

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
Martha Stewart

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together 1 stick butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in flour, beginning on low speed and increasing to medium high.

Roll dough by teaspoonfuls into balls, and place 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, and press thumb into tops of cookies to make indentations. Return to oven, and bake until light brown on the edges, 7 to 9 minutes more. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Combine chocolate, 4 tablespoons butter, and corn syrup in a small heat-proof bowl. Set over a pot of simmering water; stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Allow to cool slightly. When cookies are cool, fill the thumbprints with the chocolate mixture.

With the return to school quickly approaching (tomorrow!), I will soon be trading in my good friends Martha Stewart and Ina Garten for others, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Toni Morrison.  Even so, I knew I had to bake once more.  I decided on something simple, yet delicious – a rendition of the chocolate chip cookie.  I’m proud to say these cookies were a hit.  They’re light, and delicate, and the addition of cream cheese and orange zest adds a unique flavor and texture.  Starting tomorrow, I will add a blog entry about once a week (I’ll try my best), so keep reading!

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

Carrie Nahabedian


Makes about 54 cookies

1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese , room temperature
16 Tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter , room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
2 tsp. grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 350°. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, and sugar on high speed until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour and salt until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips and orange zest.

Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets; space dough about 1 inch apart. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned around the edges. With a spatula, transfer to racks to cool completely; store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

People often say, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” but I say, “when life gives you Meyer lemons, don’t (under any circumstances) make Meyer lemon custard cakes.”  Based on the recipe and description, these individual cakes seemed so good.  I thought they would be light, and refreshing, but instead the cakes had a very strange consistency and were much too sweet.  I’m searching for a good, lemon, comfort-food dessert, so if anyone has a recipe they would like to share, please comment and let me know.  Thanks!

Meyer Lemon Custard Cakes

Bon Appétit 

Makes 8/ A comforting dessert that’s a cross between a soufflé and a cake.

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided

1/4 cup all purpose flour

pinch of salt

1 1/3 cups whole milk

2 large eggs, separated

1/3 cup fresh Meyer lemonn juice or regular lemon juice

2 tablespoons finely grated Meyer lemon peel or regular lemon peel

1 8-ounce container chilled crème fraîche

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter eight 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups.  Whisk 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, and pinch of salt in medium bowl to blend.  Combine milk, egg yolks, lemon juice, and lemon peel in large bowl; whisk until blended.  Add flour mixture to yolk mixture and whisk custard until blended.  Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form.  Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar to whites and beat until stiff but not dry.  Fold 1/4 of whites into custard in 2 additions (custard will be slightly runny).

Divide custard equally among prepared ramekins.  Place ramekins in large roasting pan.  Pour enough hot water into pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins.  Bake custard cakes until golden brown and set on top (custard cakes will be slightly soft in center), about 27 minutes.  Chill custard cakes uncovered until cold, at least 4 hours, then cover and keep refrigerated. 

Using electric mixer, beat crème fraîche in medium bowl until softly whipped.  Run small knife around each custard cake to loosen.  Invert each cake onto plate.  Place dollop of crème fraîche atop or alongside cakes and serve.

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