Coconut Cake with Chocolate Espresso Sauce March 11 2012

The original recipe for this post is from Paci Restaurant in Southport, Connecticut. I love Paci's Coconut Cake so much that I wrote to Gourmet for it in July, 2000. I was pregnant, out of work, and apparently had a lot of time on my hands.  I'm pretty sure if I had called, and asked nicely, they would have shared the recipe. Bob Patchen and his wife, Donna, are two of the nicest people in the entire universe. But I was SO excited to be "published" in Gourmet magazine I can hardly tell you. I blame it on pregnancy hormones and, of course, REALLY loving their coconut cake. You should make it - their version or mine. Honestly, I love both!

 Just out of the oven - golden brown!

My own version has some minor adjustments, a little less sugar, a little more vanilla and sweetened coconut instead of unsweetened (available at most health food stores).

Coconut Cake

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Serves 10-12

2 cups (270 grams) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks (1 cup) (225 grams) unsalted butter

1 cup (200 grams) sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 large eggs 

1 cup (8.6 ounces) whole milk

1 1/2 cups (135 grams) sweetened, flaked coconut

Grease a 10- by 2-inch round cake pan and line bottom with a round of parchment.  Grease paper and dust pan with flour, knocking out excess. Or, if you are in a hurry, use a cooking spray.

Have all ingredients at room temperature.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In the work bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter with sugar on medium speed until light in color and fluffy.

Add vanilla, then beat in eggs, 1 at a time. (Mixture may look curdled.)

Alternately beat in flour mixture and milk in 3 batches on low speed. Begin and end with flour mixture.

Increase speed to medium and beat batter 1 1/2 minutes, or until smooth. Fold in coconut.

Spoon batter into cake pan and spread evenly with a butter knife or small offset spatula. Bang pan once or twice on counter to remove any air bubbles that may have formed.

Bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.

Cool cake in pan on a rack 1 hour, then invert onto rack. Remove paper and reinvert onto another rack to cool completely.

Serve with Chocolate Espresso Sauce (recipe follows and is a modified Paci recipe as well).

My version, with a little puddle of Chocolate Espresso Sauce.

Chocolate Espresso Sauce

Yield: 1 1/2+ cups

6 ounces espresso

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup heavy cream

12 ounces best quality semi-sweet chocolate 

In a small sauce pan over medium heat add espresso and sugar and cook to reduce by half.

Bring mixture to room temperature. When cool, whisk in vanilla.

In a double boiler over simmering water (I don't own a double boiler and instead use a stainless bowl that fits in a  medium size soup pot), melt semi-sweet chocolate with heavy cream. When melted, remove from heat and gently whisk in espresso mixture. 

This sauce is best used immediately or gently rewarmed prior to serving.