Quarantine Bakes and Coconut Cakes

The one time I get the post up by the holiday and we’re under quarantine.

And yes, I know that quarantine isn’t the right word, but it sure feels like it. This is just The Weirdest Emergency. There’s this cloud of doom in the air, hasty new laws, everything is on the line, and the consequence of failure is literally life or death.  And yet, there’s nothing you can do. In fact, that is what you are supposed to do: nothing.

That much nothing can get to you after a while. And so… I bake.

I originally planned this post when I thought we might be back to life as we know it by Easter. That’s no longer going to happen, but that doesn’t mean you might not enjoy some cake! Since I had endless time, I let these coconut cakes with pineapple get a little away from me. By the time they were done they consisted of 5 parts: coconut cake, rum soak, pineapple compote, pineapple curd, and coconut buttercream, plus a bonus of an additional Italian meringue buttercream for the flowers, and toasted coconut for the garnish. I’m not going to go into the meringue buttercream and piped flowers, because that’s a post on it’s own, but here are the links  to the rest of the recipes:

Mini coconut cakes with pineapple filling

Coconut Cake:

The cake recipe came Sally’s Baking Addiction.  I liked this recipe. The steps were easy to follow and I was able to make the batter in just a few minutes. The cake was flavorful and the texture was fluffy. In order to make the mini cakes, I baked the cake in a quarter sheet pan instead of round cake pans, then cut circles out with a cookie cutter. I saved the scraps and froze them to make cake balls later.

Pineapple Curd:

I used this recipe from Baked by an Introvert. I was not that impressed by this recipe, honestly. It’s actually why I added the compote to the cake in order to boost the flavor. The texture was fine, but it came out very sweet and kind of bland. I was hoping it would be a little tart (you know, like a pineapple). The flavor could have been due to the type of pineapple juice I used, it’s possible another brand might lend better flavor, but it’s what I had on hand. If I made it again I would maybe add a splash of lemon juice to increase the acidity, as well as some gelatin so that it would set up more firmly. You can see in my naked cakes that the curd started to bend a little as they stood despite being in the fridge overnight to set.

I followed the recipe ingredients precisely, but I did change the technique somewhat. When making curds I prefer to temper my eggs. Tempering is used when making curds and custards as a method to cook the eggs without curdling them. This is done by first heating your liquid (in this case, pineapple juice), then pouring some of the hot liquid into the eggs (which I had already whisked with the rest of the ingredients, minus the butter) while continuously whisking. Once combined, add the warmed egg mixture back into the rest of the hot liquid, bringing the temperature of the eggs up slowly, then finishing cooking from there. This is just my preference, as I feel it yields a smoother texture but shouldn’t alter the flavor any.

Coconut Buttercream Frosting:

For this, I used this recipe from Recipe Girl. I thought it had a nice balance of coconut flavor: it tasted beachy without tasting like sunscreen. I used this as opposed to the buttercream recipe included with the cake recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction because I really prefer coconut flavor to come from actual coconut rather than coconut extract and I felt that the coconut cream would better achieve that over coconut milk. Also I wanted something that was going to be a good firmness for frosting and the amount of cream cheese in the other recipe might make it pretty soft.

Pineapple compote:

I’m not going to lie. I did not use any recipe at all for this and simply dumped some pineapple chunks and juice in a pot with a handful of sugar, a sprinkle of cornstarch, and a splash of lemon juice and cooked it until the pineapple broke down and the juice thickened. Seriously that’s all it is. But as a last-minute addition to the cake I think it did wonders to elevate the flavor, and the chunky bits of pineapple really made the cake feel almost tropical. If you are too nervous to throw things into a pot freestyle, here’s a recipe that looks like it would yield similar results: Baked by Rachel Easy Pineapple Compote

Rum Soak:

I literally just brushed the cake with straight rum. Probably more than I needed to, but ya know, quarantine.

close up of coconut cakes frosting

The order of assembly is as follows:

– Cake

– Rum (optional of course, but oh so good)

– Frosting

– Compote (a little goes a long way)

– Curd

– Repeat all that with second layer

– Top with third cake circle, then frost

So there you have it, all the recipes you need for a (or many!) very complicated, but also very tasty Easter coconut cakes with pineapple. Get creative with that decoration! Maybe cover the whole thing in coconut! Add some berries, peeps, or pipe some little swirls and make it look like a lamb! The possibilities are endless! You can also check out last year’s Easter bake, Pastiera Napoletana, here.

Thanks for tuning into this very lazy and badly written post. You would think the endless quarantine time would make these posts (and my buttercream flowers) better, but alas it has only served to turn my brain to complete mush making it almost impossible to focus on any given task for any extended period of time. Here’s to hoping that my brain cells will wake up once I go back to work. Whenever that is.

Hang in there, friends! This has to end sometime, and maybe we’ll all appreciate life all the more when it does.

beautiful spring scene

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