I came alive at 10 p.m. on Friday night. I was in my kitchen, surrounded by bins of flour and sugar, both substances strewn haphazardly across my counter. The kitchen lights glinted golden off metal shaped brilliantly into cups and spoons. A glass half full of milk and lemon juice waited patiently nearby, combining, one reacting to the other. An open can of coconut milk gave off the sweetest heady aroma, it’s tropical scent taking me away from my small corner of the world to somewhere the sun was shining, hot, hard and bright. The steady hum of my stand mixer filled my ears, a familiar song, comforting and melodious.
Ten o’clock after a long weary week of operating on autopilot and I was finally feeling like myself again. I was standing barefoot in my kitchen, in front of my rapidly warming oven, and I felt bliss. Relief. Calm.
Just me and my rubber spatula, an extension of my hand.
Just me and a block of perfectly softened butter, yellow and cheerful.
No noise. No stress. No expectations of me. No judgment, no complaint. Only sugar, flour and butter. And my own small, simple excitement over creating something joyful.
The smell of baking cake literally burst from the oven, insistent and potent. I stood nearby, peering in at the pans filled with golden buttery batter, transforming in the heat; a most wondrous alchemy.
When so little of my time really and truly belongs to me, I appreciate these moments more than words can express.
Spring is in the air, it’s brighter out for longer, the temperature is rising and the plants are blooming again. This week’s Sunday Supper is celebrating this most welcome change of seasons with recipes that evoke a feeling of spring, whether it features ingredients that are now readily available or lighter dishes to shake off the heaviness of winter. The amazing Amber of Mama’s Blissful Bites is hosting this week. She completed a 21 Day Juice Challenge and shared her experience (and yummy juice recipes) on her blog. I’ve been wanting to do something similar and am totally inspired by her. I’ll have to start the juicing regimen after I eat this cake though.
To me, spring means light. Light outside but also a physical and mental shedding of weight. I don’t want to be wrapped up in thick, heavy layers anymore. It may still be pouring rain in Vancouver but at least it’s warmer and it’s actually bright when I leave for work and bright when I go home at night. I feel like my mind is reawakening with the earth.
Coconut Cake (adapted from Willow Bird Baking)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (I made mine from 1/2 cup milk and juice of half a lemon)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sugar
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9″ cake pans.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, coconut milk and vanilla.
In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about five minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk mixture into the bowl with the mixer on low speed. After everything’s been added, increase the speed to medium high and beat for a few seconds until the batter is smooth.
Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans and bang on the counter to remove any air bubbles and smooth out the tops. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes until a cake tester comes out with only a few moist crumbs.
Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for about 20 minutes before turning them out onto a rack to cool completely. To make the cakes easier to cut into layers, place into the fridge (or freezer if you need to cut them quickly). I left mine until the next day and they were perfectly easy to cut without any time in the fridge.
White Chocolate Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting (my recipe)
2 pkgs cream cheese, softened (16 ounces)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp coconut milk
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup white chocolate chips, melted
1 to 1 1/2 cup raspberry preserves, compote, jam or spread (for assembly)
1 1/2 cups medium shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted in the oven at 350 degrees F for 5 minutes (for assembly)
Place the cream cheese and butter into a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. With the mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and butter until combined. Add the vanilla, 3 tbsp of coconut milk and the melted white chocolate. Beat together for about two minutes. Add in 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar and the other 3 tbsp of coconut milk. Beat together. Add in the remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and beat the frosting on medium-high speed for about five minutes until the frosting is extremely light and fluffy.
I didn’t have enough jam to fill each layer so this was the order of my cake starting from the bottom: cake, frosting, jam, cake, frosting, cake, frosting, jam, cake. I then generously frosted the outside of the cake and covered it with the toasted coconut.
I brought this cake over to a friend’s for dinner so pardon the weird lighting for my cake slice photos. I took a risk bringing this since not everyone likes coconut but it was enjoyed across the board. Even the Husband finished off a slice and he’s my toughest critic. If he likes it, it must be good. I hate cakes that are too sweet so I made sure to cut the sugar content in both the cake and the frosting, especially since I knew I was going to be using raspberry jam. The coconut flavour is subtle but it lurks. You can taste it, smell it. It’s not the star but it’s always there.
I really loved this cake. The flavours and textures worked together perfectly. I used to hate shredded coconut but I’m a huge fan now. Toasting the coconut intensified its flavour, gave it a gorgeous golden colour and provided a lovely crunchy contrast to the soft textures of the cake.
This is springtime in cake form.
Make sure to check out all these delicious culinary odes to spring!
- Baked Eggs with Shaved Asparagus and Proscuitto by The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Shrimp and Leek Quiche by Gourmet Drizzles
- Spinach and Cheddar Quiche for St. Patrick’s Day Brunch by Supper For A Steal
- Asparagus and Spring Onion Frittatta by Country Girl in the Village
- Egg Bake with Spring Onions, Asparagus and Artichokes by The Wimpy Vegetarian
Apps, Bread, Salads, Soups and Dressings:
- Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread by The Meltaways
- Strawberry, Avocado, Spinach Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette by Daily Dish Recipes
- Asparagus Gazpacho by The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
- Spinach Bacon Salad by In The Kitchen with Audrey
- Anchovy and Egg Salad by Pescetarian Journal
- Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup by Fast Food to Fresh Food
- Asparagus Red Pepper Salad by No One Likes Crumbley Cookies
- White Asparagus & Salmon Spring Salad by Family Foodie
- Chicken-Strawberry Field Green Salad w/Strawberry Balsamic Dressing by The Weekend Gourmet
- Bacon & Egg Spring Salad by Daddy Knows Less
- Green Garbanzo Hummus by Soni’s Food
Main and Sides:
- Pea Shoot Risotto by Small Wallet, Big Appetite
- Creamy Meyer Lemon Pasta by Juanita’s Cocina
- Sweet Ginger Scallion Noodles by What Smells So Good?
- Asparagus Pesto w/Heirloom Fingerlings and Orecchiette by Webicurean
- Coddle for St. Patrick’s Day by Noshing With The Nolands
- Corned Beef Cabbage Rolls by Curious Cuisiniere
- Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts with Gruyère and Hazelnuts by Hip Foodie Mom
- Raw Cucumber Sandwich with Avocado and Spinach Sauce by Mama’s Blissful Bites
- Berry Tacos by Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Asparagus and Prosciutto Bundles by Diabetic Foodie
- Caramelized Grapes and Brie Whole Wheat Galette by Vintage Kitchen
- Pink Water Kimchi (Nabak Kimchi) by Kimchi Mom
- Key Lime Cheesecake by The Foodie Army Wife
- Irish Coffee Ice Cream with Caramel Whiskey Sauce by 30A Eats
- Coconut Raspberry Layer Cake by Gotta Get Baked
- Fresh Mango Berry Mousse With Coconut Cream by Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
- Chocolate Mint Brownies by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Strawberry Sorbet by Magnolia Days
- Cadbury Creme Egg Pull-Apart Sweet Rolls by Chocolate Moosey
- Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Meyer Lemon Ice Cream Sandwiches by Cravings of a Lunatic
- Lemon Roll Cake by The Ninja Baker
- Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream by Kudos Kitchen by Renee
- Candied Flowers by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Lemon Citrus Cookies by Mom’s Test Kitchen
- Mini Fruit Tarts by Big Bear’s Wife
- Faux Fried Ice Cream by Neighborfood
- Watergate Salad by Cupcakes and Pearls Blog
- Good-for-You Strawberry Tiramisu Cheesecake Cups by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Guinness Beer Milkshake by The Urban Mrs
- Wines to Pair with Springtime #SundaySupper Dishes by ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper. We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 p.m. EST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll talk about our favorite Springtime recipes!