COCONUT CHOCOLATE CHIP BUNDT CAKE

July 27, 2014

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Bundt cakes are one of my favorite baked goods to make, as you all may well know. The possibilities of flavor and ingredient combining are endless, and the results are always fun to anticipate. Several weeks ago, I was shipped a review copy of 125 Best Chocolate Chip Recipes cookbook by Julie Hasson (who happens to be a fellow Portlander and owner of Native Bowl) and I immediate dog-eared a billion recipes, because who doesn’t love chocolate chips in everything? Chocolate is one of the most versatile baking ingredients on the universe, so much that you could bathe in them. So it’s no surprise this book is a total hit. Snickerdoodle Chip Biscotti, Mississippi Mud Pie, Apricot Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins… it was difficult choosing the first recipe to bake. I settled on this Coconut Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake to start off with, for now.

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Bundt cakes are so simple to make. I have a few rules of thumb that I have discovered through trial and error through the years baking them.

1) Always substitute at least half of the butter a recipe calls for for canola or vegetable oil. Why? Because this adds moistness and smoother texture to the flour, preventing it from drying out too quickly. Standard recipes call for 2 sticks of butter (1 cup) so I usually do 1 stick butter, 1/2 cup oil. Easy.

2) Use buttermilk (or apple cider/vinegar in any substitute milk to make your own) for the liquid. Why? It adds tang/flavor and minimal fat, giving baked cake-like goods a rich but soft texture. Since I usually never use an entire carton of buttermilk and it goes bad quickly, I like to make my own with whatever milk I have on hand. Almond or soy milk works great with 1 tablespoon apple cider or white vinegar.

3) Reduce the sugar, but only by a little if it calls for a lot. Obviously, this is subjective and varies on what you’re comfortable with. Why? This particular recipe (and many bundt cake recipes out there) called for 2 cups of white sugar, which seemed like a lot to me. I skimmed off 1/3 cup, and more than likely no one could tell a difference. Alternatively, swapping out some brown sugar for the white sugar can add a nice caramel-molasses moistness to a cake. I didn’t do that for this recipe, but I know it works really well for dark chocolate cakes, especially because the dark brown color would go unnoticeable.

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This cake turned out super delicious. I’d never added cream cheese to cake batter before, but of course it would only add to the texture, moisture and flavor. Paired with the coconut milk, coconut flakes and chocolate chips, the balance of the coconut and chocolate was just right. Since my guy isn’t a big coconut fan, I brought this into work and it was a big hit aka. it completely disappeared by the end of the day.

An additional added perk to bundt cakes? They are (usually) fairly simple to transport. Since they typically don’t call for buttercream frostings (although there is nothing wrong with using one) and use glazed icings that set fairly quickly, you don’t have to worry as much about a potential disaster in your car (hello been there done that!). Coconut flakes are another story entirely, but let’s just say I got to work in one piece/peace.

Enough said. Bundt cakes are the bomb!

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COCONUT CHOCOLATE CHIP BUNDT CAKE

Makes one 10″ bundt cake, serves 12

Adapted from 125 Best Chocolate Chip Recipes 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup), at room temp
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 package neufchâtel cream cheese (8oz), softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup almond/coconut milk + 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, mixed to make “buttermilk”
  • 1 cup lightly packed sweetened flaked coconut
  • 3/4 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips

For the Icing:

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons almond/coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon rum
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter, oil and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and coconut extracts (if using), beating well. Combine coconut milk and the “buttermilk” mixture. Mix in the flour mixture alternately with the coconut milk-buttermilk mixture, making three additions of flour mixture and two of milk mixture, just until smooth. Stir in sweetened coconut flakes and chocolate chips.
  4. Spread batter into prepared pan, smoothing top, Bake in preheated oven for 65-80 minutes, or until a test toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean and cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let cake cool in pan on a rack for at least 15 minutes. Carefully invert cake onto a large plate. Let cool completely.
  5. To make the icing: Meanwhile, while cake is baking and/or cooling, whisk together confectioner’s sugar, milk and rum until smooth. Set aside until cake is cool. Whisk again before drizzling or spooning over top of cake. Sprinkle with toasted coconut and extra mini chocolate chips, if desired.
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PINTEREST FOODIE FAVORITES: Keep Cool

July 26, 2014

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Being that I love Pinterest oh so much, I figured I’d start a new feature on my blog: Pinterest Foodie Favorites. Since this blog is primarily food/baking/cooking-based, I will lean toward posting my favorite food recipes (and photography) finds of the week. Every now and then, I’ll mix in some inspirational art, home, lifestyle, decor, fashion, or travel, but I figured why not start off on a foodie foot?

I’m not sure how hot it is where you are, but Portland has had some bipolar weather. Up until just a few days ago, most days were 75 degrees and warmer since the beginning of June. I’m a foggy, rain, cold-weathered girl, but I do enjoy the opportunity to consume more ice-cold treats on those especially sweltering days. I don’t do well in the heat (neither do my cats or my boyfriend) so I try to keep some popsicles and ice cream in the freezer at all times. And it’s about time to whip out my popsicle molds. How yummy do those cantaloupe and bourbon coconut peach popsicles look?!

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top to bottom, left to right: 

1. Bourbon Coconut Ginger Peach Popsicles are a definite must-try

2. I’ve never made sorbet, but this would definitely make me want to try

3. Apricots, prosecco and coconut in a punch? Say WHAAAT?!!?

4. Cantaloupe paletas sound like the best thing ever right now

5. 10 of the best summery strawberry cocktails

 

Happy weekend! You can follow me on Pinterest here.

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SILENCE

July 23, 2014

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Things have been pretty quiet around here lately if you hadn’t noticed. Every now and then I go through these phases where I am practically non-existent on the blog due to being a) busy, b) uninspired, c) forgetful, d) lazy or e) on vacation. (Not to mention the lack of appeal of turning on a hot oven to bake.) Or all of the above, in this case for a one month MIA. To be honest, sometimes it becomes a downward spiral. After about two weeks of not baking or posting any recipes, it will dawn on me. And then the guilt sets in, and the more and more I push it off my to-do list that it isn’t a priority. But you know what? It should be.

I have been blogging here on The Baking Bird for over 6 years. Blogging organically blossomed into one of my favorite hobbies and passions parallel to discovering my love for vegan baking and food photography. I have loved taking (making) photos since the wee age of 12. I’ll never forget my first digital camera and the whole new world it opened up for me. Photography has been my main creative outlet ever since, and even though there are times when the Canon will get a little dusty in the case, I know it will always be there for me. I’m not worried about it, but I definitely don’t want it to feel left out or neglected.

Do any of you ever experience this with the hobbies in your life? It’s like a plant that needs watering, soil that needs fertilizing, a hunger that needs satiating. It needs to be fed. Not all the time, but definitely not forgotten about. Sometimes it gets to the point (ahem, a month later) where I’ve realized I’ve neglected something for so long that it reminds me to want it again. The stuff that fulfills the soul, the peace it brings from the inside out. It can be so easy to get caught up in day to day life, daily work routines, the chores and errands and internal chatter and external chatter that the very things that bring us peace and joy and fulfillment are put on the back burner. But eventually, we crave them once again to center us. The internal equilibrium signaling us to come back to our place of “balance”, whatever that may be.

So all this is is just a long story short of explaining how cyclical realizations come to be, and that is just the wave of life. Sometimes you need to feel the absence of something to crave it’s presence once again (like oh so many things in life). So, here’s an intention from here on out, at least in this creative cycle, however long it may last, to prioritize the things in this life that feed me in more ways than one. A recipe or two is coming your way soon.

In the meantime, here are some cats. (Some pretty awesome cats). And a new and exciting indoor palm plant. Meow!

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