Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snow what's new?

Gypsy Soup - a sweet potato/tomato based vegetable stew that is scrumptious!
Mulligatawny Stew an anglo-indian chicken soup

Spicy Italian Panini turkey, pepperoni, shredded mozzarella and spicy red sauce grilled on a ciabatta sub roll.

I'm also making a pot of Lentil Soup for this afternoon.

If you asked about my favorite dessert I'd be hard-pressed to answer. A single, perfect truffle, ginger ice cream or a fresh rice krispy treat - my sweet moods are seasonal, emotional and hormonal. But recently it has come to my attention that for a number of years I have subconsciously been seeking my memory of Coconut Cake.

Seriously, regardless of season, temperament or unlikely origin (like the Safeway or Giant bakery) I've tried them all, but to say there was one disappointment after another is an understatement.

Sweet and creamy, fresh coconut and moist layers of yellow cake, I could not place the memory of this baked confection. I assumed my iconic Coconut Cake passed on with Granny Duff.

That is until Thanksgiving.

Out on the screened in porch where pies, cakes, brownies, puddings and cookies spread over 15 feet of counter space (no exaggeration) I spotted a well used cake carrier with a yellow base and a cloudy white cover that has seen better days. And in this modest container was THE cake. I knew immediately as it slumped onto my plate that this was it. And furthermore, someone ALIVE had baked the cake and brought it to dinner. Shortly after I stuffed a forkfull of cake into Michael's mouth yammering something like "this is it - the one - you know? this is what I've always thought coconut cake was....." I went to find the source. It was (and is) my mother's sister Polina. You would have thought I had three eyes the way she looked at me going on and on about THE cake. Guess everyone but me knew that Coconut Cake was a "Polina thing".

So very graciously she agreed to give me the recipe, assuring me that it was the easiest thing ever and one of the reasons it makes a good holiday dessert is the cake should be made and iced several days in advance.

Under no circumstances would I ever have tried the recipe she sent me if I hadn't tasted it for myself. It breaks about every rule and notion related to baking, but give it a try. With winter still upon us and no break in site, it will bring a bit of tropical delight to you and yours. And be forwarned - do not substitute the coconut found in the baking isle for the frozen!

Polina's Coconut Cake
2 cake layers (any yellow box cake) each cut in half horizontally
4 pkgs. frozen coconut (found near the frozen fruit in very flat little packages)
16 oz sour cream
1-1/2 cups sugar
Small container kool whip (God forgive me)

1. Freeze cake layers for easy slicing & filling; but if they are not frozen, dental floss does a neat job.
2. Mix 3 pkgs. thawed or semi thawed coconut with sour cream and sugar. Cover, set in fridge for a day or 2, stir occasionally if you think of it.
3. Reserve 1 cup of this mixture, fill layers.
4. Mix reserved mixture with a small Kool Whip (enough to cover the cake) and frost. Use 4th pkg of thawed coconut to sprinkle on cake.

For best results: back in the fridge for a couple of days.