|Better Than Pina Coladas Cake|
Last weekend, I visited my sister at school in LA. I'm still having trouble processing the fact that she is a senior, and in the middle of her LAST semester of college - because I feel like that makes me old. I've definitely been feeling old as of late. A couple weeks ago, the perfect storm of work stress, not sleeping, and winter weather combined into an overwhelming maelstrom and prompted me to get online and buy plane tickets. I think it was about 2 a.m. - I realized I really just needed a change of scenery - ASAP! As I clicked through travel blogs, gazing at pictures of palm trees and and singing to myself ("bring me two pina coladas - I want one for each hand. Let's set sail with Captain Morgan, though we'll never leave dry land") my plan came together: I definitely needed a change of scenery, fast. Preferably, beachy scenery accompanied by warmer weather and good company, and what better company than my sister??!
|Troubles? I forgot 'em. I buried them in the sand.|
When I got home, I was feeling refreshed enough to post this recipe that I actually tested out quite awhile ago. It's loosely based on my Aunt Wanda's recipe for Better Than Sex cake. Whoa. Yeah, I know. Believe me, Pennsylvania women know how to bake. Last time I was in PA, visiting my family (and eating lots of pie...) my Aunt Wanda gave me a copy of her cookbook, which is a collection of recipes from women at her campground. You know how church functions and family reunions always have the BEST food? Some of it might sound a little odd at first (pretzel salad, anyone?) but once you give it a try, it makes perfect sense, and you wonder why you never thought of combining pretzels with strawberry Jell-O and whipped cream before! This cookbook is a collection of all those recipes, ranging from classic to comforting to adventurous.
So, about this cake. This is a very easy, deceptively impressive cake. It requires a little planning ahead (which I always have a hard time with in terms of baking) for the whipped coconut cream, but there's nothing difficult about this recipe. You even get to use a mix! My modified recipe follows below:
|Group photo of all of the ingredients.|
- 1 box yellow cake mix (plus any ingredients listed on the box - I used Duncan Hines and listed those ingredients below, so if you're using a different brand, double-check and make adjustments as needed)
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1 can crushed pineapple (I only had pineapple rings, so I "crushed" them in my food processor, after draining and reserving the juice)
- juice from pineapple (I got just under 1 cup)
- 1 can coconut milk (do not attempt with lowfat - it will not work!)
- 1 cup powdered sugr
- 3/4 to 1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Malibu rum (about 1/3 cup)
- 2 Tbsp Myers dark rum
Remember what I said about planning ahead for the whipped coconut cream? You need to put the unopened can of coconut milk in the refrigerator for about 8 hours (longer is fine), undisturbed. Just put it in there the night before, and the next day, when you open the can, you'll find that the coconut cream has solidified on top, and can be scooped out, leaving behind an inch or so of coconut water. We're after that very cold coconut cream. It helps if your mixing bowl is also cold - I recommend putting that in the 'fridge too. OK? We'll come back to the coconut cream later...
Preheat the oven as directed on the box (Duncan Hines says 350).
CAKE: In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, oil, pineapple juice, and Malibu rum. The cake mix calls for 1 & 1/3 cup of water, for which I substitute the pineapple juice and Malibu. Just combine those together in a large measuring cup and make sure it equals 1 & 1/3 cup. Easy. Mix it all together and bake as directed. I used a 13 x 9 glass pan, because of the simplicity and ease of transportation. You could definitely make cupcakes, or, I was thinking this would make a really cool layer cake, if you double the amount of coconut whipped cream frosting.
GLAZE: While the cake is in the oven, combine the crushed pineapple, butter, and 3/4 cup granulated sugar in a saucepan. Boil until the mixture starts to thicken and becomes syrupy. For me, this took about 20 minutes on medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp Myers dark rum and boil for a few more minutes.
When the cake is done (30 mins for me), poke holes with a bamboo skewer or toothpick, and then pour on the syrupy pineapple-rum concoction. Spread evenly, and let the cake cool COMPLETELY before you even think about frosting it.
|At this point, the cake is kind of a simplified version of a pineapple upside-down cake. You could just leave it at that.|
FROSTING: Now, back to that coconut cream. Make sure everything is very cold before you get started - mixing bowl included. While you're mixing this up, it wouldn't hurt to put the (cooled) cake into the refrigerator. Open up the can of coconut milk (which, ideally, has chilled overnight, undisturbed) and scoop out the solidified coconut cream into the cold mixing bowl. Beat on high speed until soft peaks start to form. This will take longer than regular whipped cream, but the results will be similar. The peaks won't be quite as stiff, but beat long enough to give them a chance. Mix in the powdered sugar, first on low speed, then slowly increasing to high speed until completely incorporated and fluffy. I know it's tempting, but don't add any vanilla, rum, or any other liquid.
|Whipped coconut cream!|
Spread the whipped coconut cream frosting evenly over your cake.
Sprinkle coconut evenly over the cake.