I’ll call this Cheater’s Coconut Cake. I baked it for John’s office’s United Way fundraiser – I bake one or two cakes each year. And I usually do a pretty major scratch cake. But this time I just thought, hey, coconut cake sounds great, and it’s so easy to make…using a mix. Gasp! No! And cannedcream cheese icing as well. What the? A little coconut extract in the cake batter, with fresh, soft coconut piled in the middle and on top of the cake… Ooooh, sweet, coconutty yumminess – if you love coconut, of course. Which apparently not everyone does, but my god, people, what’s not to like? I don’t trust people who don’t like coconut, it’s not natural. (Just kidding – ?)
And here’s an excerpt from a terrific article on baking bread, from Mark Bittman, aka “The Minimalist,” at The New York Times:
This story began in late September when Mr. [Jim] Lahey sent an e-mail message inviting me to attend a session of a class he was giving at Sullivan Street Bakery, which he owns, at 533 West 47th Street in Manhattan. His wording was irresistible: “I’ll be teaching a truly minimalist breadmaking technique that allows people to make excellent bread at home with very little effort. The method is surprisingly simple — I think a 4-year-old could master it — and the results are fantastic.”
I set up a time to visit Mr. Lahey, and we baked together, and the only bad news is that you cannot put your 4-year-old to work producing bread for you. The method is complicated enough that you would need a very ambitious 8-year-old. But the results are indeed fantastic.
I highly recommend the article, and recipe, which I confess I haven’t made but am very excited about. So, coconut haters, do you hate freshly-baked bread too? Yeah, I didn’t think so… (Recipes posted in comments, below.)