Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Browned Butter Vanilla Bean Coconut Cake

This past weekend was one of those great family weekends.  A lot of catching up, good times at the beach and plenty of yummy food.  Definitely one of those weekends that makes me miss North Carolina and the South.  Also a great weekend to say goodbye to the summer and welcome the fall with open arms.  There were even apple pie pancakes made Sunday morning, which I can't wait to make again as soon as I go apple picking this fall.

Seriously, I can't tell you the last time I had played in the sand before this past weekend.  I has so much fun with my nephews!

A little run across the island in the heat, but what a great view to have while running.

Before leaving for North and South Carolina, we celebrated Molly's birthday with this cake.  A browned butter vanilla bean coconut cream cake.  Yes, that is a mouth full to say, but the cake it totally worth it.  It is moist and has a wonderful nutty-vanilla flavor.  The toasted coconut and cream cheese frosting really pull all the flavors together nicely while adding both creamy and crunchy textures.  If you love coconut, you have got to give this cake a try.  Enjoy!

Yummy browned butter and sugar.

A little vanilla bean action going on.

Check out those flakes...brown butter and vanilla bean flakes make for a pretty cake.

Cakes done and ready to cool down for a while.

Frosting time!

One layer down, on to the next.

Toasty coconuty goodness.

Browned Butter Cake(recipe from Food & Wine)
3 sticks unsalted butter (12 ounces), plus more for greasing the pans
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
3 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk, at room temperature

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting(recipe adapted from Ina Garten)
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 - 8oz block 1/3 fat cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
3 cups powdered sugar

1.  Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Butter the paper and dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.

2.  In a medium saucepan, melt the 3 sticks of butter. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until foamy, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the milk solids turn brown and the butter smells nutty, about 4 minutes longer. Scrape the melted butter and browned bits into a large heatproof bowl. Let cool on the counter for 20 minutes then place in the refrigerator to re-harden.

3.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour with the baking powder and salt.

4.  Once butter is slightly hardened remove from the refrigerator, scrape into a large mixing bowl, and let sit on the counter for 10 minutes to come to room temperature. 

5.  Then whisk in the sugar and vanilla seeds until well combined.  Next, beat in the egg yolks followed by the whole eggs, one at a time until completely incorporated. 

6.  Next, whisk in the dry ingredients and milk in 3 alternating additions, scraping down the side and bottom of the bowl as necessary, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

7.  Pour the cake batter into the prepared pans and bake in the center of the oven for about 40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until the cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. 

8.  Cool the cakes in the pans for 20 minutes, then invert them onto a rack to let them cool completely. Peel off the parchment paper.  While cakes are cooling prepare frosting and toast coconut.

9.  In the toaster oven, or oven, place coconut on cookie sheet and bake "toast" on 350 degrees on the top rack for 7-10 minutes or until it starts to brown.

10.  Prepare the frosting:  In a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, on low speed, cream together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Mix in the vanilla extract until well combined.  Then mix in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time.

11.  Next, once cakes have cooled, set one cake layer on a platter and using a serrated knife cut the top of the cake off so that it is flat.  Place approximately one cup of frosting on this layer and spread out evenly.  Sprinkle with approximately 1/2 - 3/4 cup toasted coconut.  Then place top layer on cake.  Cover cake with remaining frosting.  Once cake is frosted, using your hand, press coconut to the sides and sprinkle on the top.  Store in the refrigerator until 20-25 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

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