\ Joy the Baker: Pink Hawaii

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Pink Hawaii

I was recently asked to create a Hawaiian themed cake for a girls first birthday.  Children's theme cakes usually run along a spectrum: from Sesame Street designs to Yo GabbaGabba characters.  I somehow can never find my creative voice in tracing an Elmo onto a cake.  It's just not my style.  Imagine my excitement in having free reign with a Hawaiian cake!

What I came up with is a three layered devil's food cake with coconut cream cheese frosting.  The hot pink dye seemed to call out to me, so the cake became a girly pink with toasted coconut dressing up the side.  On top I fashioned a gum paste (and paper) palm tree with shredded coconut sand, gumpaste coconuts and flip flops.  Yea... flip flops. 

I'm so pleased with how this cake turned out!  I was able to satisfy the desires of the customer and still create a colorful, hip design.  A little pink Hawaii for one year old Miss Lilly.

Devils Food Cake
3 cups sugar
1 cup butter
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup sour cream
1 1/3 cup hot, strong coffee

Preheat oven to 350.  Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.  Creaming the butter and sugar in an electric mixer.  Beat for about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  The mixture should be pale in color and fluffy.  Beat in the vanilla extract.  Add eggs one at a time.  Beat each egg into the batter for 1 minute, scraping down the bowlt after each egg.  Alternately add the flour mixture, and sour cream, mixing until just combined.  The batter will be fairly thick at this point, almost like brownie batter.  See the picture above.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the hot coffee.  The batter will thin substantially.  Place in greased and floured cake pans ( I used three 10" pans) and bake for 18- 25 minutes.

This recipe produces a deliciously moist cake, but because of all of the liquids, the cake is a bit fragile.  Cake pans should be very well greased and floured.  When cakes come out of the oven, let them rest until cooled, then take a knife and loosen the cake from the sides.  Turn them out, and let them cool further on a cooling rack.  Don't turn them out to cool onto a plate, they'll stick.  Oh yes, I learned the hard way.  

Layer with any delicious frosting you fancy.  I went for a coconut cream cheese frosting.  Say you aren't a wiz at frosting the sides of the cake.  Here's a tip:  always work with a clean cake decorating knife.  Cake knives have a round tip, and no sharp edges.  As your working with the knife, have a deep bowl of hot water on hand.  Dip the knife in and shake it around to clean off the excess frosting.  Working with a clean tool with help ensure clean lines and edges.

When all else fails... hide your mistakes under a layer of delicious toasted coconut!


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