LIFE IS SHORT, EAT MORE CAKE!

Hello, friends! It looks like we missed a week! Oh no! We were in pre-holiday mode, ok? Busy busy bees. 

Ok what really happened was I got lazy and Dani was actually busy driving to OK for the holiday weekend/friend visits! YAY! #worthit

But we are back this week and ready to roll! Today I'm going to share something I find to be wonderfully amazing and a GREAT way to express yourself creatively: a cake recipe!

Yep. Cake. That's right. It's delicious and fun to make and you can get as creative as you want with it! My older sister had asked me to bring a cake to her daughter's confirmation last week so I got to work trying to come up with the messiest cake I could think of. Just kidding. But it really was the messiest cake ever. And delicious so whatever.

I honestly hadn't given it much thought until well, the day before I needed to make it...I work better under pressure :) I started thinking about how I could get creative with it when my friend Amanda sent me a text telling me she had planned to decorate her cake with flowers (she is my nieces's aunt on the other side of their family). She was letting me know because she said she realized I might have had the same idea and she wanted to at least coordinate colors. My thoughts were, "oh crap! I forgot all about that cake!" quickly followed by, "great, now I have to make it pretty." :-D I only wish I was kidding about that.

Pinterest to the rescue! I went to find inspiration on my "sweets" board and you know what? It totally worked...sort of. Nothing really got me excited (except for the recipes that required 800 ingredients I didn't currently own) so I started doing searches on food blogs I really like. I finally found a cake that was calling to me on Half Baked Harvest. She was beautiful and colorful and layered and white and just so ...beautiful! Bonus points to the cake for requiring only a few ingredients I had to go buy! It was settled, the Coconut Eton Mess Cake with Whipped Ricotta Cream was the cake I would make for my niece's confirmation. 

image from Half Baked Harvest 

WOWZA ISN'T SHE BEAUTIFUL??? Just the most gorgeous cake I have ever seen. 

Ingredients

  • Coconut Cake
  • 3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 cups canola oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 3 whole eggs + 3 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups full-fat canned coconut milk
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 6-8 homemade or store-bought meringues
  • edible flowers, for decorating (optional)
  • Whipped Ricotta Cream
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 16 ounce whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • To assemble the Cake
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, divided
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries, divided
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 blood oranges
  • 2 passion fruits
  • 6-8 homemade or store-bought meringues
  • edible flowers, for decorating (optional)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch (or 9 inch) round cake pans, or line with parchment paper, then butter/spray with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand held mixer) beat together the canola oil, sugar, honey, eggs + egg yolks and vanilla until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low until there are no longer any clumps of flour. Add the coconut milk and mix until combined. Batter should be pourable, but not super thin. Stir in the lemon zest.

Pour the batter among the 3 cake pans and bake 25-30 minutes, until the tops are just set and no longer wiggly in the center. Remove and let cool five minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pan. Grab 3 large flat plates, line them with wax or parchment paper and invert the cakes onto the paper lined plates. Cover and let the cakes cool completely before assembling.

Whipped Ricotta Cream

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand held mixer) fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the ricotta and heavy cream, continue to whip until the the ricotta is smooth and the cream has fluffed, about 6-8 minutes. Add the honey + vanilla and whip until combined. Keep the cream covered in the fridge until ready to assemble.

Assemble the Cake

In a bowl, mash together 1/2 cup chopped strawberry and 1/2 cup raspberries until you have a loose sauce.

Place one cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand and drizzle lightly with honey. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta cream over the cake and then swirl 1/3 over the mashed berries into the cream. Crumble 2-3 meringues over top. Add a handful of fresh chopped strawberries, raspberries, orange slices and passion fruit. Repeat with the remaining 2 cake layers. Be careful not to over fill your layers with fruit or the cake will be hard to slice.

If desired, decorate the cake with edible flowers.

** Ingredients and instructions taken directly from Half Baked Harvest 

So that's how you make the Coconut Eton Mess Cake according to Tieghan over at Half Baked Harvest. Want to know my version of it? You see what had happened was...

I went to Whole Foods to get the missing ingredients (eggs, meringues, berries) because WF is closer than my normal grocery store (Sprouts). But I encountered a little bump in the road of my shopping list when I got there because the berries were SO expensive and also I couldn't find meringues. I was thinking about just splurging for the berries but then I noticed that cherries were on sale. SCORE! Cherries are better than berries anyway (no they're not but I liked saying cherries and berries together). Anyway so I got home and looked up roasted cherry recipes and I found this one for Bourbon Roasted Cherries on The Bojon Gourmet via Rolling Pin Punches

image from The Bojon Gourmet

Roasted Bourbon Cherries:

12 ounces sweet cherries

1 tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons bourbon, divided use

Make the roasted bourbon cherries:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450ºF. Spread the cherries in a single layer in a small, rimmed baking dish or pan. Sprinkle with the sugar and 1 tablespoon of the bourbon. Roast the cherries in the oven, giving the pan a shuffle every 5 minutes, until they are oozing juice and beginning to collapse and look like prunes, about 15 minutes. Watch them closely so that the juices don’t burn. Remove from the oven and let cool.

When the cherries are cool enough to handle, pit them (I did this with my fingers, breaking each cherry in half and removing the pit). Be sure to save all the precious juice. Chop the cherries coarsely – you want them in roughly quarters or eighths. (This can be messy, so wear an apron!) Combine the chopped cherries, their juice, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of bourbon in a jar and chill.

**ingredients and instructions from The Bojon Gourmet

*** I didn't have any bourbon so I used some of the coffee infused rum that is sitting on the counter never being used (but the label is oh so beautiful so I don't even care). 

I felt like I needed something in addition to the cherries so I made some caramelized nuts that I had made for Mother's Day that everyone really loved! I used a recipe I found on The Big Man's World for Sugar Free Caramelised Nuts (his spelling, not mine). 

Ingredients

  1. 3 cups raw nuts of choice (I used cashews, almonds and Brazil nuts)
  2. 1 tsp sea salt
  3. 1 T cinnamon
  4. 1 tsp vanilla essence
  5. 1 cup Norbu natural sweetener (can use coconut palm sugar or a stevia baking blend)
  6. 1/4 cup water

Instructions

  1. Heat a large frying pan or deep pot on medium heat. When hot, add the Norbu sweetener. sea salt, cinnamon and water and mix until fully combined. Allow to heat up, stirring occasionally.
  2. When the sweetener has completely melted, add the nuts and mix until fully incorporated. Watch over the pan and continue stirring often until most of the sugar has been coated and beginning to crystallise.
  3. Remove pan from the heat and allow to sit for 1-2 minutes. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir the nuts once more to avoid overly large clusters and set on a plate or chopping board to cool completely.

Notes

  1. For more cluster like portions, allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Nuts can be stored in an airtight container.

**Ingredients, Instructions and Notes taken from The Big Man's World. 

image from The Big Man's World

I ended up making my own version of a mess cake, and it was a giant giant mess. It turned out nicely though! Excuse my lame pictures because I was too scared to move the cake into a room with better light.

Do you guys ever mix and match recipes? What's your favorite? Oh, heads up, if you make this cake and want to travel with it...it will melt, so be careful! 

 

*** oh and also, I didn't have enough white flour so I used white wheat flour. It was still delicious! Just a little more dense than it would have been. Someday I want to make this cake again and follow the original recipe exactly.