Might Hector know this?  Coconut milk in cake…
Posted: 19 July 2008 07:17 PM   [ Ignore ]
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With Rose away for a while, I’m thinking Hector might know the answer to this, for two reasons:  1) he’s in a tropical place and 2) he’s a cake master!

I want to create a special gift cake for a friend who loves Art Deco and coconut & banana flavors combined.  So, I’m thinking I’ll make Rose’s Art Deco cake from TCB, but instead of the chocolate truffle layers, use her Cordon Rose Banana Cake layers instead.

However, I want to add a coconut flavor along with the banana.

Do you think I could use coconut milk (from fresh coconuts) in place of the water called for in the classic rolled fondant recipe for the icing?

I can’t seem to find any info online about whether the chemical properties of coconut milk would alter the outcome of the fondant.

Any other suggestions about getting coconut into the cake would be welcomed, too!

...Maggie

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Posted: 19 July 2008 10:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi,

I’m not Hector, but I do love coconut.  I don’t know what would happen if you used coconut milk (or water?) in place of the water in rolled fondant.  If I were going to try this, I would make maybe 1/4 recipe and try it.  The most expensive ingredient is probably the coconut.  Make it, see how it handles and tastes, cover a cupcake and see how it drapes. 

I don’t have much experience with fresh coconuts, but Cook’s Illustrated did a coconut cake in 2001 that was to die for.  I mean, seriously wonderful stuff.  It had cream of coconut in the cake and in the buttercream frosting.  The one thing that they introduced me to was the coconut extract from Spices Etc.  It is extremely potent and all natural.  It packs a whollop of flavor.  I bought two bottles last time and kept it in the freezer.  It isn’t cheap but it is worth it. http://www.spicesetc.com/product/1034/6.

One more thing.  I have seen it pointed out that the clear liquid in coconuts is coconut water, while “coconut milk is made by squeezing the grated flesh of a coconut with some hot water resulting in a rich white liquid that looks very much like cow’s milk.” (http://www.coconut-connections.com/coconut_milk.htm

Using an extract like that might get you the coconut flavor you are looking for either without using the coconut milk/water, or as an enhancement to what flavor it provided, provided that it doesn’t make the fondant not work correctly.

How about making the cordon rose banana cake, torting and filling with a coconut buttercream, skim coating with same coconut buttercream and then topping with the fondant, just plain vanilla flavored, or with the coconut extract to flavor it?  The banana cake is such a departure from the chocolate oblivion truffle torte, you are really just going for the exterior design elements.  Anything goes for what lies beneath.

I hope this helps a bit.  It sounds wonderful.

Best of luck,  let us know how things go.

JennyBee

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Posted: 20 July 2008 11:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I don’t think the coconut milk would be ok in the fondant recipe; there could be minute amounts of fat that would affect how the fondant turns out.

I do have some suggestions about adding coconut flavor to your cake - layer the banana cake with a coconut filling.  The filling recipe from the Peninsula Grill coconut cake is to die for - you can find the recipe online at epicurious.com - I use it all the time and people can’t get enough of it.  It really is that good.

Or use coconut extract to knead into your fondant - what you want is a concentrated flavor oil, similiar to what you would use in candy.  If you’re a pro, you could get some coconut compound (or concentrate) from Amoretti - you don’t want coconut puree, because it is grainy and gritty.  Or see what LaCuisine has for coconut flavor.

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Posted: 20 July 2008 10:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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What excellent suggestions!

I’m going to consider them all, plan my cake this week, and come back to let y’all know how things turn out.

JennyBee, I did know the difference between coconut ‘milk’ and ‘water’... learned it when I tried Alton Brown’s classic Southern coconut cake with all fresh coconut.  It was the ‘water’ I was referring to originally, I just mis-called it.

Jeanne, I’m not a pro so that resource is probably out of my reach… but all the others given here sound highly doable.

This has gotta be the most helpful, articulate forum EVER for baking issues.  Thanks to all!

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Posted: 21 July 2008 03:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Jeanne - 20 July 2008 02:31 PM

I don’t think the coconut milk would be ok in the fondant recipe; there could be minute amounts of fat that would affect how the fondant turns out.

I do have some suggestions about adding coconut flavor to your cake - layer the banana cake with a coconut filling.  The filling recipe from the Peninsula Grill coconut cake is to die for - you can find the recipe online at epicurious.com - I use it all the time and people can’t get enough of it.  It really is that good.

Or use coconut extract to knead into your fondant - what you want is a concentrated flavor oil, similiar to what you would use in candy.  If you’re a pro, you could get some coconut compound (or concentrate) from Amoretti - you don’t want coconut puree, because it is grainy and gritty.  Or see what LaCuisine has for coconut flavor.

Jeanne, you just reminded me of something I had forgotten about—flavoring compounds.  Someone gave me a small sample jar of pistachio compound once, and I’m sure it must have been Amoretti brand, because they told me you could usually only buy it in large quantities.  I remember thinking it was the most wonderful pistachio flavor—I wish I could get my hands on some more!

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Posted: 21 July 2008 02:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Amoretti is very generous with their samples, I might add…..

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Posted: 21 July 2008 04:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Maggie, I’ve been thinking about your posting over these days, and glad our wonderful blog “staff” have helped you already!!!

Not an expert with fondant, but I am afraid the guess is correct that coconut milk is not the same as water.  Fat content may throw it off.  Also be aware if you are using fresh coconut milk (not canned or cooked), the plant enzymes may do something to the fondant.  Most coconut cakes require you to cook the coconut milk to make the enzymes inactive.

In any take, the coconut fondant idea sounds delicious and I think it can be done.  How about using dried coconut, the texture and fat content is similar to almonds, so how about an “almond marzipan fondant” done with coconut flakes instead of almonds?  Another idea would be to knead regular fondant with coconut flakes (run the flakes thru the food processor until fine), and add a drop or two or wonderful natural coconut essence?  I am already drooling.

Please read the complementary adornments section for CR Banana Cake.  It doesn’t list coconut, so I am unsure if it will be a good match…..

Do report back… and send me a slice!

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Posted: 21 July 2008 07:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Based on my experience, the coconut is not going to be ground finely enough to make a sufficiently smooth “fondant” (even if you get what we call macaroon coconut or dessicated coconut), but you could make a “coconut marzipan” in the fashion of the pistachio marzipan in the Pistachio Rose wedding cake in TCB (Rose’s brother’s wedding cake).  There’s few recipes for coconut in TCB so maybe this is uncharted territory…...

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Posted: 21 July 2008 10:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Hello, everyone,

I was poking around the other night when I was replying to the original question.  I just came across a site http://www.earthincommon.com/coconut-cream-concentrate™-p-116.html  They. sell a powdered Coconut Cream Concentrate.  They also sell a coconut flour.  Maybe that’s the ticket for finely ground coconut additive. 

I have never seen either one of these products before.  But ever since I had the eureka moment 6 years ago, when feeding my nut-allergic son roasted soybeans (I thought, “Hey.  If I ground these up, would it be like peanut butter?”  Well, duh!  Then I discovered the existence of Soy Nut Butter.  No grinding required. (though pricey)). 

So whenever I think something should exist.  I go looking for it first.  Coconut in a powder form?  Here it is.  The Concentrated Coconut Cream confuses me a bit.  It doesn’t sound like you could use it in a fondant, but maybe the coconut flour would work with either the coconut fondant or marzipan ideas. 

If fondant contains crisco, the addition of fats shouldn’t make it break down.  It’s not an egg white thing, where the fat will cause the foam to fail.  So, wouldn’t it just be a matter of adjusting the total fat and sugar content to compensate for the additional fats and sugars in the coconut product?  About the plant enzymes; I think the concern would be the gelatin.  My only recollection is that you can’t use fresh pineapple in gelatin, because the enzymes keep it from gelling. Is the purpose of the gelatin in fondant to provide an elastic binder?  It’s not like its a bavarian or anything like that.  Besides, there are recipes for coconut gelatin things all over the web.

I eventually found that lipase is the enzyme that occurs in coconut meat.  Heatry souls can investigate the chemistry behind deactivating lipase here http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/wo.jsp?IA=WO1981002089&WO=1981002089&DISPLAY=DESC  Yikes!  Heat deactivates the enzymes, just like boiling your custard (with the starch/sugar buffer) is critical to prevent the enzymes from digesting the starch gel.  But I can’t find anything to tell me what they would do if not heated beyond decreasing shelf life.  The coconut site above mentions their need to destroy all enzymes in their oil product to prevent premature spoilage.  I would think that most processed products have been treated in such a manner. 

Anyhow.  I should probably be doing something more productive now.  Remember, I’m the “Why?” person.

Experiment.  Take chances.  Make mistakes! (sez Ms. Frizzle)

Now I want a coconut cake.  Dang!

JennyBee

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Posted: 22 July 2008 04:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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“Lipase” means an enzyme that affects “lipids,” which are fats. Since there’s fat in fondant that might be a concern.

The enzyme in papaya is a “protease” which affects protein—like the proteins in gelatin.

I’ve now exhausted most of my faint memories of chemistry class—hope the information is helpful!

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Posted: 06 August 2008 04:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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you could also make a homade coconut extract from the cocount water and use it in place of some of the water in the fondant recipe.  Food network’s Alton Brown had a “Good Eats” episode in which hee showed how ta make it. Look it up!!

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