Thursday, April 3, 2008

Chocolate cola cake with toasted coconut-almond frosting

Chocolate cola cake with toasted coconut-almond frosting

I usually write about my sister, Jessica, but rarely mention my brother, Joao Paulo – he’s the funniest person I have ever met. Even though sometimes I think he’s 12, he turned 27 last week, on the 26th.
Jessica’s brother from her mother’s first marriage (wow, that was complicated), Julio Cesar, celebrates his birthday a day before – it’s such a coincidence. He’s 29 now, like me, and is the sweetest guy one can possibly meet.
Both boys have a very special place in my heart, so I baked them a cake, made some finger food and we celebrated their birthdays at my place.

I chose a recipe from this beautiful book – as much as I love the idea of baking a 3-layer cake, our group was pretty small and I did not want cake lying around after my guests were gone; that’s just too dangerous. That’s why I halved the recipe and made a two layer cake, using two 20cm (8-in) round cake pans.
I was out of pecans and used flaked almonds instead. The cake turned out delicious – my dad had 3 slices and he doesn’t like birthday cakes – but I believe that it would have been better with the pecans.

I also used store-bought dulce de leche to speed things up, but I’m posting the complete recipe in case you want to make it like the book.

Chocolate cola cake with toasted coconut-almond frosting

Chocolate cola cake with toasted coconut-almond frosting
adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes

42g (1 ½ oz) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped – I used 72% cocoa
2/3 cup (160ml) buttermilk*
3 eggs
1 ¾ cups + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (400g) sugar
2 ¾ cups cake flour**
½ cup (45g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup (160ml) cherry cola or Dr Pepper – I used regular Coke

1 cup (90g) sweetened flaked coconut – I used unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 cup (about 4oz/112g) flaked almonds
2 cans (395g/14oz each) sweetened condensed milk

For the cake: preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans or coat with vegetable cooking spray. Line the bottom of each with parchment or waxed paper and grease the paper.

Combine the chocolate and buttermilk in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Heat, stirring often, until the chocolate melts, about 7 minutes; do not let the buttermilk come near a boil, or it will curdle. Remove from the heat and whisk until smooth.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs lightly. Beat in the oil and vanilla. Gradually whisk in the sugar until well blended. Stir in the melted chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth and homogenized.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Set these dry ingredients aside. In 2 or 3 alternating additions, add the dry ingredients and cola to the chocolate mixture, beating well between additions. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes (mine baked for 35) or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the layers cool in their pans for 10 minutes then turn onto wire racks to cool completely, at least 1 hour.

Make the frosting: preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF. On a baking sheet, spread out the coconut in an even layer. Toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes, tossing once, until the coconut is very lightly browned. Transfer to a dish and let cool. Repeat the process with the almonds. Leave the oven on.
Spoon the condensed milk into a heatproof glass baking dish, cover tightly with foil and set the dish in a roasting pan or larger baking dish. Fill the pan with enough hot water to reach about halfway up the side of the smaller baking dish. Bake for 2 hours, stirring once or twice, until the milk is a light caramel color. Carefully remove the dish from the water bath and remove the foil with caution; the hot steam can burn.
Transfer the caramelized milk to a bowl and whisk until smooth. Stir in the toasted coconut and almonds (I saved a little to sprinkle the cake). Let cool slightly. Cover the frosting with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface, then refrigerate until cool but not set, 1 to 1 ½ hours.

To assemble the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake plate or stand. Cover the top with about ¾ cup of the frosting, spreading evenly to the edge. Repeat with the second layer and another ¾ cup frosting. Finally, spread the remaining frosting over the top of the cake, allowing the excess to decoratively down the sides.

Refrigerate the cake, uncovered, for at least 1 hour, until the frosting sets. Then cover with a cake dome, large bowl or plastic wrap until ready to serve. This allows the moisture to even out and prevents the frosting from forming a crust. Chilling also makes the cake easier to cut, something that’s best done with a hot, wet serrated knife – this is an unbelievable tender cake.

* we can’t find buttermilk here in Brazil, so I used the following mixture instead: 1 tablespoon white vinegar plus enough milk to equal 1 cup for 1 cup of buttermilk; let stand 5 minutes.

** the same thing happens with cake flour, so I used the following: 1 cup cake flour = 7/8 cup all purpose flour + 2 tablespoons corn starch

Serves 16-20


LyB said...

Oh, wow! All those different flavors together must have been wonderful! You're lucky to have your family near to be able to celebrate special occasions, and they're lucky to have you to bake such great cakes! :)

Steph said...

I have one word "yum". That's all it needs! Great recipe!

Anonymous said...

WOW. That looks awesome!!! They're lucky to have you. I've never had a birthday cake baked for me. Hehe.

Happy birthday and another great year for them!

Anonymous said...

Cool, cola in a cake! Looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

Now THAT is a slice of heaven ;)

bakeorbreak said...

Looks delicious! I am a long-time Dr Pepper fan, so I would have to use that for sure. And toasted coconut almond frosting? Yum!

Mumsy said...

This is just the recipe I've been looking for! Seriously. I love the idea of using cola in a cake. It looks very delicious!

Susan said...

With chocolate *and* cocoa powder! Talk about deep, dark and delicious. A beauty, Patricia.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Words cannot describe how good this looks.

Susan @ SGCC said...

Ooooh! That cake looks great! I'm a big Dr. Pepper fan. What a neat idea to put it in cake!

Manggy said...

Dangerous indeed Patricia!! You're such a sweet sister :)

Peter M said...

I'm fascinated by recipes that use soft drinks as an ingredient: turbo chicken & 7UP, ginger ale & ham, Coke and ribs and now this cake...awesome!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Dr. Pepper? I've never heard of that in a cake! Will definitely have to try it.

Anonymous said...

wow! What an interesting recipe. It looks mouthwatering. In fact, everything on your blog does.

mari said...

That Cola cake looks great!

And I dare you, I DARE you to make the three-layer cake!

Happy Birthdays to all...have a great weekend!

Cakespy said...

Serves 16-20?!? Not in MY HOUSE!!

kellypea said...

Sounds scrumptious. Cola? Definitely. And I used to be able to serve that many, but now, not so. I'm experimenting with 6" cake pans.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

What a delicious-sounding cake. Yum! And a lovely sweet cake for your sweet brother... Bet he loved it!

sher said...

Wow! That's scrumptious! I would eat slice after slice of that! You really do come up with fabulous recipes!

grace said...

i'd be perfectly content with a spoon and bowl of that icing. goodness gracious, it sounds phenomenal!

pepsakoy said...

It's tempting !! ..I would give it a try pretty soon..thanks for a great recipe !

Unknown said...

it looks incredible! hey: I gave you a slice of my apple pie, where's my slice of your cake?

Mary Coleman said...

Hey Patricia,
Coca Cola cake is very popular in southern US. It makes a wonderfully moist cake, doesn't it.
The frosting looks positively amazing.
Now I'm going to be craving this all day long!

Allen said...

Oh wow, I can see why your dad ate 3 slices - it looks so moist and the frosting thickly rich. My birthday is in June .... :-)

Deborah said...

This cake is so beautiful!! And now another book I want to buy...

Sarah said...

Your cake looks so delicious. I love coconut and I bet that frosting is to die for.

Patricia Scarpin said...

LyB, you are right, it's special having them around.
Thank you, darling!

Steph, thank you!

Joy, I'm lucky to have them, too. Thank you, dear!

Linda, it was so tender!

Maryann, I agree. :)

Jen, I do hope you try this, I think you and Quinn will love it!

Lindsey, thank you for your visit! I do hope you try it.

Susan, thank you, darling! And it's really, really dark. :)

Romina, thank you for stopping by!

Susan, let me know if you try it. Or better - honor me with a post on your beautiful blog. ;)

Mark, and you are such a sweet friend.

Pete, baking cakes with soft drinks was a fever here in Brazil back in the 80s.

Lydia, this is an incredibly moist cake.

Syrie, thank you, sweetie.

Mari, wait and see. ;)

Cakespy, hhahahahaha, not in mine either! :)

Kelly, I sometimes need small batch baking, too.

Hi there! He did, but my father liked it more. :)

Sher, and you are far too kind, my dear!

A.Grace, that icing is really sinful.

Pepsakoy, thank you for your visit and comment!

Celine, deal! :)

Mary, it is so moist and tender, you are right.

Allen, good to know that. ;)

Deb, that book is wonderful.

Sarah, the coconut was even more delicious after it was toasted.

Peabody said...

Cola cake is very popular in the South. I have yet to make it yet...but I am feeling the need to now.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Sensational! Honestly, Patricia. I think I may have to purchase that cookbook, even if it's just for this recipe.

Anonymous said...

Patricia - This is amazing! I am a HUGE Dr. Pepper fan. Licking the screen as I type this.. This will be my birthday cake for next year. I am bookmarking it right now! Thanks for the recipe!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Patricia - I am a big fan of cakes made with soda, particularly cola cake! That frosting looks absolutely amazing!

pam said...

Beautiful cake!

Sarah said...

oh YUM! I'll have to try one of these crazy cola looks so moist! I'm sure it was the perfect finishing touch to an already happy celebration. :)

Elle said...

What a sweet cake to celebrat two great 'boys'! Happy birthday to them.

Emily said...

I love Coca Cola cake! I don't think people know how good it is.
I know how you feel about having cake lying around. I have some in the kitchen that's calling my name...
Happy birthday to the two boys!

Stella said...

wow, 2 nuts merged together, along with chocolate, this cake of yours must taste like....

Pixie said...

This looks exceptionally good. I know you say the pecans would have been better but those almonds look quite tempting to me!

KJ said...

cola cake - love it!!!

Anonymous said...

Cola in a cake... that's a first I heard of..interesting!

sunita said...

Patricia, that looks delish!Your brothers are really lucky :-)

test it comm said...

mmm... that looks good!

Anonymous said...

my mouth waters at the mention of chocolate cake :)

Anh said...

Oh la la, your blog always tempts me so badly!

Kelly-Jane said...

What a beauty! I'm putting that book on my wislist...

Oh for the love of food! said...

This cake looks Heavenly, Patricia - I can see myself having 3 slices too!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Your brother and I share the same birthday! (But I had to make my own cake) Such a great sister you are, Patricia! ...with such a great cake too!

Karen Baking Soda said...

OOmph! Love the top frosting with the almonds, the whole cake looks so very luscious to me!

Anonymous said...

I've always wondered how a cola cake tasted like. By the look of yours, it must've been absolutely delish!

Anonymous said...

Chocolate cake is one of life's best pleasures, and you have done a marvelous job on yours! I think I may like the almond sub even better than the pecans, too! :)

Chibog in Chief said...

wow one of a kind cake flavors put all together!! sounds great!!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Pea, I do hope you try it.

Susan, that book is just irresistible. :)

Cenk, really? I'm flattered. ;)

T.W., one just can't go wrong with dulce de leche. :)

Pam, thank you!

Sarah, everyone loved it and that made me really glad.

Elle, thank you, darling!

Emiline, it was my first try and I loved it too!
Thank you, sweetie!

Stella, coconut and almonds are great together, who would have thought?

Pixie, thank you for stopping by!

KJ, thank you!

Didally, it was my first, too.

Sunita, thank you, darling!

Kevin, tks!

Eliza, chocolate is the king. :)

Anh, I have to say the same about yours. ;)

Kelly-Jane, I'll be posting more from it.

Carol, I understand why. :)

Dayna, really? That's so interesting!

Hi sweetie! I'm a sucker for almonds. And dulce de leche. :)

Hi darling! I was pretty curious, too.

Nikki, I'm crazy about all nuts, I can't really pick a favorite. :)

Dhanggit, thank you!

Anonymous said...

That looks so good. What a great flavor combo!

eatme_delicious said...

Yum what a delicious looking cake! The coconut icing looks great. I've never had a cake made with coke (or other pop) before.

Cheryl said...

Some lucky brothers to have you. That is a great looking cake, with some awesome flavor combinations.

Gigi said...

Oh wow! This looks so good! Cherry coca-cola? I have never used that for a cake I can't wait to try this cake out!

kickpleat said...

yum, i love cola cakes! so moist and delicious. i haven't had one in ages, so maybe now is a good time to start!

Kat said...

I am so intrigued by this recipe! It sounds delicious! I just happen to have some leftover buttermilk in my refrigerator at the moment....

dailydelicious said...

This cake is lovely, I always want to try this kind of cake.

Unknown said...

looks ooooh so good!

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of the icing with the coca cola cake! I have been meaning to make a coca cola cake from a Nigella recipe that I found but I wanted a different icing. This is a great idea!

Tanya said...


Ooooh! You might be the right person to ask. I'm thinking about trying March's DB challenge cake again, only orange with dulce de leche filling, and possibly toasted almonds on the sides. Think that would work?

Cait L said...

ooh, this looks amazing! Was it as moist and chocolatey as it looks?

Maggie said...

What a fabulous cake. A feast for the eyes and no doubt the tummy too!

Helene said...

Fantabulous! I love how the frosting is almost like dulce de leche and coconut!

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