Sudden cool weather means you should bake a cake

So, after weeks and weeks of temps in the low to mid nineties, with humidity also in the nineties, we finally got a break this past weekend. The humidity dropped sharply on Friday night and by dawn the temperature was lowish sixties, the humidity low eighties.

Well, of course it didn’t last; here we are back to sauna conditions. But it was nice while it lasted. If you’re going to have two days of unexpectedly nice weather, the weekend is certainly a good time for that to happen.

I have been walking the dogs on the road in the morning, the two boys and then the three older girls and then the three younger girls, half a mile each. This does not remotely count as exercise for any of the younger ones, but it does for the older girls and for me. I am supposed to walk; it’s supposed to help my back; and Kenya can’t see the point of exercise and never gets any except with me. Plus of course even the youngsters enjoy bouncing along at the edge of the woods, checking out the nightly traffic of bunnies and whatever other wildlife might have passed through.

But when it’s as cool as it was Saturday morning, letting the dogs run makes perfect sense, so I took them out to the Arboretum instead and let them go. The younger ones ran around madly, as they do. Pippa and Dora only meander gently unless they actually find a rabbit; then they forget their age. Kenya, of course, is not interested in bunnies. She followed me around hoping for treats while I check on the young trees. I watered the tiny baby American Yellowwood seedlings (not yet really taking off) and my precious baby magnolias (looking absolutely fantastic), and then I pulled waist-high grass out of one of the more casual flower beds, because casual is one thing, but when you can’t see the flowers for the weeds, time to take action.

Then we came in and it was still very nice and cool, so I turned on the oven and baked a cake I’ve been wanting to try. Here it is:

Chocolate-Coconut Bundt Cake
(Modified slightly from Kraft’s Food and Family magazine, which my mother must have picked up somewhere)

For the cake:
1½ C butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 pkg coconut cream-flavored instant pudding
2½ C sugar
6 eggs
3 C flour
¼ C flaked coconut
3 oz or so mini chocolate chips

For the topping:
¾ C heavy cream
1 generous C semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ C or so flaked coconut

The above list is correct. There is no baking powder in this cake. The butter and eggs are what give it lift.

So, spray and flour a normal-sized … what is that, 12 C? … bundt pan.

Beat the butter and cream cheese until creamy. Beat in the dry pudding mix. Beat two minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Gradually blend in flour and coconut, just to combine.

Spoon in half the batter (a little more than half would be fine). Smooth out somewhat. Sprinkle on the mini chocolate chips. The original recipe called for grated chocolate, but really, that is more trouble than necessary; just use mini chocolate chips. That worked fine. I didn’t use quite enough, so I have upped the amount in the recipe above.

Spoon over the rest of the batter and smooth the top reasonably well. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or thereabouts. This was very nearly correct for me, but the cake was a tiny bit underbaked right under the chocolate chip layer. I would rather have a cake a tiny bit underbaked than overbaked at all, so I am not complaining, but you might consider maybe an hour and three minutes or something like that. Alternatively, a lighter pan might be better than a heavy bundt pan. Just something to keep in mind if you try it.

Anyway, let the cake stand in the pan on a rack for ten minutes. Loosen the sides and turn out onto a serving platter. I will say that this cake turned out of the pan perfectly, without putting up any kind of argument about it. Maybe it was all that butter, but it made a nice chance from the last bundt cake I made where the whole top tore off in chunks.

Let cool an hour or so.

Make the ganache: microwave the cream and chocolate chips and stir until smooth. Pour over the cake. Sprinkle with the coconut. Let stand until completely cool, or, you know, until you can’t stand waiting another second, whichever comes first. Slice, serve, and enjoy.

I liked this a lot. As you’d expect from the ingredients, it is a rather heavy, very moist cake. I would definitely serve this to company, if I thought they would like coconut. It is not very coconut-y, so anybody on the fence about coconut would probably like this cake.

I expect this cake probably holds pretty well at room temp, but I wouldn’t know, because after I tried it and gave some to my parents, I froze the rest. Otherwise I would just eat it all this weekend, and there’s no amount of walking that would make up for that.

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5 thoughts on “Sudden cool weather means you should bake a cake”

  1. Ooooh, that looks so yummy! I’m a lousy baker but might try to get my niece to give this a try.

  2. Mmm. Looks tasty. Somehow I never bake cake. I bake bread about once or twice a month, though. Today, however, was roast chicken with olive, garlic, and rosemary under the skin.

  3. looks and sounds yummy. And it’s good to have something for the bundt pan besides Tunnel of Fudge cake. I will definitely try this.

    Aren’t most of these cakes variations on pound cake, which doesn’t (normally) take leavening?

  4. A few weeks back you asked about favorite fiction about science (as opposed to more general SF.) I thought of another series: Species Imperative, by Julie Czerneda. The heroine is a marine biologist who ends up studying an alien species. The description of science is very good, though the species under study is at the very outside of what is possible.

  5. Elaine, I don’t know! If they are, I didn’t notice the similarity previously.

    Definitely a good cake, though. Good in thin slices right out of the freezer, too.

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