Today's Sugarpalooza! broadcast features a new player on thishereblog: Coconut Palm Sugar. If I were a better, more thorough food blogger, if I got paid to do the magic that I do in my kitchen and on this keyboard, or even if I'd gotten more than three hours of sleep in a row in the last four weeks, here is where I might share with you some insights on why coconut sugar is unique and worth trying. I might weigh in on the sustainability concerns regarding using coconut sugar in a climate as decidedly non-tropical as that of Minnesota. I might talk about glycemic indexes.
Unfortunately or fortunately for you - depending on whether you like to read all the mumbo jumbo before the goods or not - I have neither the time nor the energy nor the knowledge nor the moral answers to discuss any of those topics.
I merely have the following pearls:
1. Coconut sugar is interesting. Less sweet than sugar. Not especially coconuty, but unique and lovely nonetheless.
2. Coconut sugar, at least in coconut tres leches cake, can easily be replaced with another kind of sugar, as indicated in the recipe.
3. This cake is wonderful. It was made twice in my home in one month, once for my husband's birthday (the day before our baby was born!). That's meaningful, isn't it?
If you make this and bring me a slice you can have your cake and Edith too. I'm just sayin. I've been a little too busy to make my own cakes lately. And it's Sugarpalooza! after all.
Coconut Tres Leches Cake
From yours truly (greatly adapted from Warm Bread and Honey Cake's Three-Milk Cake recipe)
Yield: 9 big slices or 12-16 smaller ones
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar (or regular sugar or light brown sugar)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
For milk mixture
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt (or kefir or sour cream)
2/3 cup evaporated milk (or half & half)
1/2 cup coconut milk, shaken well
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8" square cake pan.
Beat together the eggs, coconut palm sugar (or other sugar), and vanilla until thick and pale (about 3-4 minutes). In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. Add the milk and coconut and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for about 25 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees after about 15 minutes. The cake will be done when it is dark golden brown.
About five minutes before the cake is done baking, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and yogurt until the mixture is as smooth as you can get it manually. Add the evaporated milk and coconut milk.
Once the cake is finished baking, prick holes all over the cake with a large fork. Slowly, as evenly as possible, pour half the milk mixture over the warm cake. Wait about 30 seconds and then repeat with the remaining half of the milk mixture. (If it looks like the cake is drowning, that's okay. That's AWESOME, in fact. But if the liquid is going to overflow, just slow down, let it absorb into the cake a little longer, and then carry on with remaining milks.)
Allow the soaked cake to cool. Chill until ready to serve. Serve in squares cold or at room temperature, spooning up any milk that has pooled in the pan and drizzling it on top. This cake is better on day 2 than 1 and it just keeps getting better over time, as the milks get absorbed into the cake. It kept quite nicely in our refrigerator for about five days.