Monday, May 21, 2012
Sunday morning and a diversion from the ever important weekly horoscope reading, and a diversion from the tasty brunch and rather good coffee we were consuming at Grey Lynn's Monterey Coffee Lounge, saw the Sunday magazine thrust at me across the table open at the recipes. I'm rarely inspired by what graces the pages, but something about the simplicity of this cake, and the casual request for me to please make it, meant that all of a sudden my Sunday afternoon was planned. I first and foremost watched the Mystics win, before embracing the kitchen.
Not that I hadn't been embracing the kitchen in the days preceding; quite the opposite. After a boozy and deliciously fun dinner at Coco's Cantina on Thursday, I had all of Friday in the kitchen. It involved butterfly shaped chocolate cakes with strawberry icing, amongst other treats, for the delightful Sadie's third birthday party (look out for the upcoming post: How I Spent My Saturday Morning). As well as generally faffing about in the kitchen and continuing my hunt for Auckland's best coffee, I also spent a fair chunk of the day at Farro Fresh in Grey Lynn - verdict: wonderful.
But the cake! A simplistic thing of beauty, and just what Lou wanted. So I borrowed a ring tin, used natural food colouring, and once it was done smeared offcuts of cake around the icing bowl until it was spotless. The mix of good quality vanilla with the cream cheese, combined with the coconut, is a dream. An easy, impressive, dream.
Pink Lady Cake
(Ray McVinnie, 20 May 2012 Sunday Magazine)
1.5 cups caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1.5 cups desiccated coconut (I went 1 cup desiccated, 1/2 cup fancy shred. And what?)
2 cups flour
1 cup milk, combined with a few drops of red food colouring
Preheat oven to 170C and butter a 22cm ring tin.
Beat butter and caster sugar until very thick, pale and fluffy (note! this takes aaaaages. I used a cake mixer and had it going a good 15 minutes, but it is worth it.)
Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Quickly stir in the coconut and baking powder then gently fold in the flour and milk alternately, taking care not to over-mix.
Transfer the mixture to the cake tin, distributing evenly. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean (mine needed about an extra 5 minutes). Remove from the oven, cool, then ice with the following.
130g cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla essence (use the good stuff: equagold or heilala)
2 1/4 cups icing sugar
Mix all ingredients together with a fork until smooth. Add a few drops of milk if necessary to ensure it spreads on smoothly and doesn't lift the surface of the cake as it goes on.
A few things of note: my cakes tend to crack a bit on top as they rise, and I wonder if it's because I use pans that are a little small? This one I was cutting down to get a smooth top anyway so it didn't matter at all (see aforementioned offcut-icing smearing reference. SO GOOD).
Secondly, it's only been reasonably recently that I've acquired the patience to let my baked goods cool before icing them. It really makes a difference. I may or may not have embarrassed myself on national television last year on my birthday when not heeding such advice. Dribbly melting white ganache is not becoming on anything!
Last but not least, there's nothing like fresh flowers to brighten up your baked goods.
Make someone's day! Make them pink lady cake.