Food & Drink Magazine

Coconut Cakes

By Monetm1218 @monetmoutrie
Picture I'm staying at my parent's house for the holidays, and in the morning, I watch a half dozen birds flutter and peck at my father's bird feeder. Plump bodies covered with white and black feathers shiver in the early morning cold.
As I fill my mug with coffee, I watch them and remember seeing the same scene last year, and the year before, and the year before that.
After a year of immense change and tragedy, these simple moments of consistency can be a great comfort.
I think that baking  and cooking often operates the same way. Losing a friend or a family member, moving across the country, breaking up with someone you still love...we all experience so much heartbreaking change. Yet is in these moments that we often turn back to the recipes we grew up, the cakes that our grandmother brought over on Christmas, the soups we made with a lover on a cold January day.
The consistency and the memories bring comfort.
Picture I made these coconut cakes on a whim. My mother had an extra bag of coconut, left over from all of her Christmas baking, and my grandmother sent me a beautiful rosette baking pan.
I couldn't resist.
These cakes are so simple, yet different enough to make a weekend morning special. Toasted coconut remains one of my favorite baking ingredients (much to Ryan's chagrin...he doesn't like the consistency) because I love how intense and sweet the flavor is.
I'm looking at these coconut cakes with even more fondness because as I type, I'm smelling burnt chocolate. I'm in the process of baking a chocolate cake and used 1-inch high cake pans when the recipe called for 2-inches...we have a very messy oven right now.
But one of the joys of baking is that there will always be recipes like this to return that you know like the back of your hand.
Coconut Cakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup slightly toasted coconut*
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a 12-tin muffin pan.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.  With a whisk, stir dry ingredients until well combined.  Add your toasted coconut  and toss lightly to coat with flour.
3.  Combine oil, egg and milk in small bowl and beat until combined.  Stir in your vanilla extract.   
4.  Add your wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just moistened.  Your batter will be very thick.
5.  Using a 1/3 measuring cup, evenly distribute your batter into your muffin tins.
6.  Bake in your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from muffin tins.
* I like to toast coconut in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Be careful though...coconut can turn from golden brown to burnt very quickly!
Anecdotes and Apple Cores

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