We love those "Baked" boys, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito! We loved Baked. We loved Baked Explorations. We loved Baked Elements, though we never wrote about it. We were wondering why we didn't write about it, and whether we should write about it before we wrote about about Baked Occasions, but we couldn't decide and we couldn't wait, so here is Baked Occasions.
We usually don't go all in on baking books. We don't like a lot of sweet, we don't like anything that doesn't contain chocolate, we don't like to read we need glucose, or meringue powder, or orange water, or sheet gelatin and on and on. (We do love having to buy a speciality pan of some sort to bake in, but I digress....)
We are not going to lie to you -- these recipes are quite long and involved. Don't panic. As with much baking, you need several leaveners, so there is baking powder, baking soda and salt; then a mix of white and brown sugar, plus confectioner's sugar for glazes, whole eggs and an occasional extra white or yolk, and flavorings -- these things add up to long recipes, but not unmanageable. Read the recipes -- basically, most baking boils down to dry stuff, sweet stuff, oily stuff and wet stuff. Those four things in a myriad of combinations is baking.
Lewis and Poliafito specialize in making desserts that harken back to childhood, retaining that wonder and elevating the baking with a modern spin on flavor. Every cookie, cake, and tart is, indeed, an occasion. Each year the pair celebrates Dolly Parton's birthday by making this special cake.
"It would be easy, almost lazy, to categorize our yearly birthday tribute to Dolly Parton (forever known far and wide as just “Dolly”) as mere kitsch. While we are partially attracted to Dolly’s camp factor (who isn’t?), we are equally, if not more, fascinated by her business acumen and all-around talent. She is Martha Stewart with a banjo. She is Oprah with a country heart. Her musical accolades are well known and well deserved"They have done Dolly well. This recipe was featured in Sweet Paul a while back. Yes, it is long, but you can do it. Do it for Dolly! Just divide and conquer! The cake has four parts. The cake, the filling, the glaze and the sprinkles.
For the Coconut Bundt Cake:
3 cups (385 g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces (2 sticks/225 g) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
21/2 cups (500 g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons coconut extract
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
11⁄3 cups (315 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
For the Dark Chocolate Coconut Filling:
5 ounces (140 g) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (40 g) lightly packed unsweetened shredded coconut
6 ounces (170 g) dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), melted and cooled
1 large egg
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the Simple Coconut Glaze:
4 to 6 tablespoons (60 to 90 ml) coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (225 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
6 ounces (170 g) good quality white chocolate, melted but still warm
Red or pink food dye or gel
Pink or rainbow sprinkles (optional)
MAKE THE CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Butter the inside of a 10- or 12-cup (2.4- or 2.8-L) Bundt pan, dust with flour, and knock out the excess flour. Alternatively, spray the pan with cooking spray. Either way, make sure the pan’s nooks and crannies are all thoroughly coated.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the bowl again, add the coconut and vanilla extracts, and beat until just incorporated.
4. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the coconut milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, mixing after each addition until just combined, about 10 seconds; do not overmix. Remove the bowl from the standing mixer, transfer the batter to a large bowl, and clean and dry the mixing bowl.MAKE THE DARK CHOCOLATE COCONUT FILLING
1. In the now-clean bowl of the standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the unsweetened coconut, melted dark chocolate, egg, and granulated sugar and beat again until completely incorporated, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again for a few more seconds. Add 1/2 cup of the cake batter to the filling batter and fold until incorporated.ASSEMBLING THE BUNDT
1. Spoon half of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Spoon the filling on top of the batter, keeping it in the center of the batter and away from the sides of the pan. Then pour the remaining half of the batter over the filling. Smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake in the middle of the oven for 50 to 55 minutes, until a small sharp knife or toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
2. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack. Place a baking sheet (lined with parchment if you like, for easy cleanup) underneath the wire rack.
MAKE THE SIMPLE COCONUT GLAZE1. In a large bowl, whisk together 4 tablespoons (60 ml) of the coconut milk, the coconut extract, and vanilla extract. Add the confectioners’ sugar and whisk until incorporated and smooth. Slowly stir in the warm white chocolate. We prefer a thick yet pourable glaze; if the glaze appears too thick, thin it out with additional coconut milk, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. Stir in the food dye, a few drops at a time, until the desired color is reached.
2. Pour the glaze in large, thick ribbons over the crown of the Bundt, allowing the glaze to spread and drip down the sides of the cake. Top with sprinkles, if using. Allow the glaze to set before serving, about 5 minutes.
HOW TO STOREThe cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
We are thoroughly enamored of the ribbon of chocolate running throughout this cake—it is a tasty and fun surprise. However, if you are not a chocolate fan (the horror!), you can turn Dolly’s Doughnut into a straight-up (and quite tasty) coconut-y Bundt. Simply omit the dark chocolate filling in its entirety, pour all of the coconut batter directly into the pan, and bake per the recipe. We leave it up to you whether you want to omit the white chocolate glaze (and whether you consider white chocolate to be chocolate, anyway).
Yes, making this cake an occasion fit for a Dolly, or anyone else you might adore!