Sunday, June 26, 2011

mounds bar

flourless coconut cake
After my tres leche cake post, Lauren, a friend and former coworker, contacted me for the recipe. Lauren was temping in the Lucky Magazine art department while I was working there as a graphic designer. While at Lucky, she had the opportunity to move to France and teach English for a year, so she went for it. I remember being incredibly inspired and insanely jealous all at the same time. Anyway, when she returned, she brought with her a French boyfriend (!!!) and an amazing recipe for a flourless coconut cake, direct from said boyfriend's French mother. She offered to send me a this recipe in return for the tres leche recipe, and promised me that it tasted exactly like eating a Mounds bar. OH YEAH. Gotta have the recipe.

The ingredients included eggs, sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk, whole milk and unsweetened shredded coconut. The sweetened condensed milk is sweet enough that you don't need to add any extra granulated sugar. And the three milks combined with the hefty amount of coconut make this cake's center extremely moist, just like the filling of a humble Mounds bar.

The recipe is fairly classic when it comes to technique. It calls for separating the yolks from the whites, beating each separately, combining the beaten yolks with the remaining ingredients, then folding in the whites (for all you pastry nerds out there, this cake method is called a separated egg foam). This method allows you to build structure in the cake even though you aren't using any flour and to give the cake volume even though you aren't using baking soda or baking powder to help it rise.

After I unmolded the cake from my loaf pan, I drenched it in bittersweet ganache. Now it REALLY looked like a Mounds bar. Tasted just like one, too.

for the cake:
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites, beaten into stiff peaks (I did this by hand since it is only 3 whites)
200 mL coconut milk
200 mL sweetened condensed milk
100 mL milk
125g unsweetened shredded coconut (I found this at Whole Foods in the baking aisle)

for the ganache:
8 oz. heavy cream
1.5 oz. corn syrup
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate chopped into small pieces (I used Guittard 55%)

Heat oven to 350ยบ. Grease a loaf pan with butter (preferably) or Pam spray.

Beat the 3 yolks. Add the condensed, coconut, and regular milks. Mix in shredded coconut. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites, and pour mixture into pan.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour; while baking, cover with aluminum foil so it won't burn.
The cake is done when a toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool completely before unmolding.

While cake cools, make ganache by heating heavy cream and corn syrup over low heat until bubbling around the edges. Pour mixture over chocolate and whisk to fully combine.

Flip out cake onto a wire rack over a sheet tray. Pour ganache over top and allow to set. Transfer cake to a platter and serve. Keep leftovers in the fridge.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

pastel de tres leches

tres leche cake
Chris has a birthday at the end of the month and this was his request for his birthday cake. I made it this weekend because I am booked solid through the end of the month. Tres leche, or three milk cake, is a sponge cake with a mixture of condensed milk, evaporated milk and fresh cream or milk poured over it. The milks soak into the cake overnight creating an intense moistness and velvety texture. I used a recent recipe from Saveur magazine because instead of regular milk or cream, it called for a can of unsweetened coconut milk to be added to the evaporated and condensed milks. Yum.

The cake in the recipe was a basic genoise, or French sponge cake. I beat eggs and sugar in my mixer until pale, thick and triple the volume (6 eggs and 1 cup sugar almost filled up my 5 quart mixer bowl). I then quickly and gently folded in 1 cup of flour, poured the batter into a pan and baked for a half hour. I read several other recipes where the cake was made more traditionally by creaming butter and sugar together, adding eggs and and beating in flour. I enjoyed the end result of the genoise, though, because it makes such a light cake. And genoise is an amazing cake to bake. It doesn't contain baking powder or baking soda to help make the cake rise. It depends solely on whipping enough air into the eggs to create height (eggs are so freakin' amazing!).

I covered the cake in a cloud of whipped cream and called it a day. Happy Birthday, Chris!

Monday, June 6, 2011


So my baking project this week fell through the cracks because my schedule at work shifted a bit. Instead, I humbly offer up a list of useful Spanish phrases that I have learned in the restaurant. I initiated a "frase del dia" in the pastry kitchen in order to help further everyone's knowledge of the predominant language of our kitchen. (My apologies in advance for not being able to add in the appropriate accents. And a disclaimer: all these phrases were offered up by staff members whose first language is Spanish, so I take no responsibility for any spelling errors or odd syntax.)

¡Mueve tu concha!
"Move your shell" is the literal translation, though it is used as slang to mean "move your ass." There was a bit of confusion at work, because some people thought that it meant to get on the dance floor and shake it, while others thought it meant to move faster you lazy asshole.

el burro que lo haga
Let the donkey do it. When you suffer a morale problem and feel as if the tasks you've been given are simply to much for you to bear, use this phrase to bemoan your miserable state.

Quiero un caballito para mi cumpleanos.
A simple request for a pony for one's birthday.

¡Esto huele a pescado!
This sheet tray smells like fish. Unfortunately, we share sheet trays with the savory cooks and sometimes the pans don't get scrubbed well enough to remove any lingering fish or meat odor. If that ill-fated sheet tray makes it into a pastry oven, it immediately smells up the whole kitchen and threatens to ruin whatever you may be trying to bake on it.

¡Atras! ¡Caliente!
Behind you! It's very hot! Hands down the most important phrase in the kitchen.

¡Tortuga lento!
You slow turtle! Do not replace "lento" with "vago", though, because it means lazy. That would just be too insulting. I personally prefer "tortuga de Dios", which signifies that it doesn't matter if you are a lazy turtle or a slow turtle, we are all turtles of God.

Cierra la puerta. Abre la puerta.
Close the door. Open the door. Used all the time when putting things in or taking things out of the oven. Also commonly used when someone wishes to tell a very off-color story and wants the door to the pastry kitchen closed to reduce the chance of any collateral damage.

¡A que pan mas bonito!
My what nice buns you have! Burger buns that is. We bake them every day, you know.