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Need your best coconut cake and chocolate-mint cookie recipes

redthong Nov 25, 2012 04:01 PM

I want to make the coconuttiest cake ever for Christmas. I'm looking for something where maybe the layers and the frosting have coconut milk or cream in them, plus coconut sprinkled on. Moistness would be a real plus. I've used one in the past where you mix sour cream, sugar, and coconut to fill and frost a three-layer white cake, but it's difficult to keep it together, so I'm looking for something new.

I'm also seeking some sort of chocolate-and-mint cookie or brownie or bar. I've tried lots of recipes through the years, but I still haven't found one that really sends me. Ideas?

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  1. Caitlin McGrath RE: redthong Nov 25, 2012 05:07 PM

    These Chocolate Chip and Peppermint Crunch Crackles are quite good (very chocolaty): http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Caitlin McGrath
      redthong RE: Caitlin McGrath Nov 26, 2012 02:14 PM

      Those sound wonderful. I'll definitely be trying them. Thanks.

    2. cookie monster RE: redthong Nov 25, 2012 05:42 PM

      My favorite coconut layer cake:


      a/k/a coconut crack cake amongst my coconut loving friends

      My favorite chocolate mint brownie recipe. I add a bit more chocolate to the brownie batter and bake them for 5 - 10 minutes less because I like my brownies on the fudgy side:


      5 Replies
      1. re: cookie monster
        redthong RE: cookie monster Nov 26, 2012 02:18 PM

        That coconut cake sounds similar to what I'm imagining. I read some of the comments and was wondering - have you had trouble with this cake being dry, as some people have? Did you substitute cake flour for the AP flour? And have you added any coconut extract?
        As for the brownies, can you taste the cream cheese in the cream cheese layer once you've added the mint extract? And how much more chocolate do you add to the brownie batter?

        1. re: redthong
          cookie monster RE: redthong Nov 26, 2012 03:16 PM

          I make the cake as is, with AP flour, and it hasn't come out dry at all. Purely speculation on my part, and I don't mean to impugn strangers' baking skills, but I wonder if people who weren't happy with the cake's texture either overbaked it or didn't get the folding in the beaten eggwhites part quite right - I know I've messed that up the latter in other recipes. I could see adding coconut extract to the cake batter to up the coconutty-ness.

          I would say that yes, you can taste the cream cheese in the cream cheese layer of the brownies. I don't usually recommend recipes I've never tried, but I saw this one recently on Serious Eats and it looks really good - similar, but with a mint icing layer instead of the mint cream cheese swirl: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

          Oh, and the last time I made these I think I added about 1.5 oz more of chocolate to the brownie batter, so 5.5 oz instead of 4.

          1. re: cookie monster
            redthong RE: cookie monster Nov 27, 2012 04:41 AM


        2. re: cookie monster
          pavlova RE: cookie monster Nov 27, 2012 10:23 AM

          I agree about that coconut cake! I made it for my brother's birthday one year and after taking a bite he said, 'We're taking the rest of this home'. There was a bit of a scrabble at the end of the night to divvy up the cake! Oh, and it wasn't dry at all, redthong.

          1. re: cookie monster
            tcamp RE: cookie monster Dec 30, 2012 05:04 PM

            I promised to make a friend's birthday cake and he told me he wanted coconut. I chose the coconut layer cake as I had Coco Lopez and cream cheese on hand. Boy, it turned out beautifully. Not dry in the slightest and the frosting was perfect - not too sweet. My only tip would be to use parchment paper on the pan bottoms. My layers clung to the pans despite copious buttering/flouring.

            I had three people ask me for the recipe and the birthday boy was thrilled so a definite success.

          2. chowser RE: redthong Nov 25, 2012 05:51 PM

            What about making a coconut tres leches cake?


            For something chocolate mint, have you seen andes baking chips?


            Both types are really good--the second one on the page gives it a great crunch. Add them to your favorite chocolate cookie (or regular even) or brownie recipe.

            2 Replies
            1. re: chowser
              redthong RE: chowser Nov 26, 2012 02:22 PM

              Good Lord that cake sounds good! Will definitely try it. Unfortunately, I've never seen those Andes chips around here, but I'll definitely double check.

              1. re: redthong
                ItalGreyHound RE: redthong Nov 27, 2012 08:14 AM

                Please let us know if you try the coconut cake soon! I added that recipe to my Pepperplate account a few months ago, intending to make it for my husband, who adores a moist coconut cake. It calls to me almost weekly - need to go ahead and try it myself!

            2. roxlet RE: redthong Nov 26, 2012 02:41 PM

              I've posted about this coconut cake numerous times. I have been baking coconut cakes for nearly 30 years for my husband's birthday, and when I made this cake about 5 years ago, he told me that this was it. This was the one he wanted me to make every time I made a coconut cake.
              Coconut Cake Layers
              From Perfect Cakes by Nick Malgieri

              1 ¾ cups bleached all-purpose flour (spoon into dry measure cup and level)
              1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
              ¼ teaspoon salt
              12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) of unsalted butter, softened
              1 1/3 cup sugar
              1 teaspoon vanilla extract
              1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
              2 eggs at room temperature
              2 egg yolks
              ½ cup Thai coconut milk
              1 cup (about ½ a 7 ounce bag) sweetened shredded coconut, finely chopped

              2 8” cake pans, buttered, floured, and with parchment on the bottom (the Wilton release works well here – that was all I used)

              1. Set rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350.
              2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl
              3. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer and beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until soft and light. Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest, then beat in the eggs an yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.
              4. Reduce the speed to low and add one third of the flour mixture, and then half of the coconut milk. Scrape down the bowl and repeat with another third of the flour, the rest of the coconut milk, and the final third of the flour. Scrape down the bowl and beater again.
              5. Use a rubber spatula to give the batter a final mixing, and then mix in the chopped coconut. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans.
              6. Bake the layers for 30-35 minutes until they are well-risen and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on racks for 5 minutes, then unmold onto racks to finish cooling.

              And I use the coconut version of this recipe:

              Flour Frosting

              1/4 cup flour
              1 cup sugar
              1 cup milk (or coconut milk for coconut cake)
              1 cup butter cut in cubes (My butter was cool and firm, but I could still leave an indent when I pressed my finger into it)
              1 tsp vanilla
              pinch of salt

              1. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar, flour, salt together. Add the milk and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally (I had to whisk constantly or else it started to stick and clump at the bottom) until the mixture has thickened into a paste and slightly bubbly at edges (You probably don't want it boiling because we all know how boiled milk tastes..)

              2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter; beat until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. If the frosting is too soft, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator to chill slightly: then beat again until it is the proper consistency.

              3. Add the vanilla and continue mixing until combined.

              19 Replies
              1. re: roxlet
                redthong RE: roxlet Nov 27, 2012 04:44 AM

                Thanks, Roxlet. Do you sprinkle coconut on the cake after frosting?

                1. re: redthong
                  roxlet RE: redthong Nov 27, 2012 09:20 AM

                  Yes, I do. This is a double recipe of the cake baked in 3 9" pans, and a double recipe of the flour frosting.

                  1. re: roxlet
                    soccermom13 RE: roxlet Dec 15, 2012 02:39 PM

                    Hey Roxlet,
                    When you double the recipe and bake three 9" layers, how long do you bake them?
                    Thank you.

                    1. re: soccermom13
                      roxlet RE: soccermom13 Dec 15, 2012 03:39 PM

                      I set my timer for the amount of time that the recipe calls for (for 8" pans), and then I check them and add more time until they're done.

                      1. re: roxlet
                        soccermom13 RE: roxlet Dec 15, 2012 04:41 PM


                2. re: roxlet
                  magiesmom RE: roxlet Nov 27, 2012 08:25 AM

                  Yes!!This is the most perfect coconut cake. Moist and deeply flavorful. And easy.

                  1. re: roxlet
                    TerriL RE: roxlet Nov 27, 2012 08:40 AM

                    Have you tried using unsweetened coconut rather than sweetened in the cake batter?

                    1. re: TerriL
                      roxlet RE: TerriL Nov 27, 2012 09:22 AM

                      No, I never have done that. The large coconut curls on the cake are unsweetened, however.

                      1. re: TerriL
                        magiesmom RE: TerriL Nov 27, 2012 03:20 PM

                        I did that once, actually by mistake. I liked it a lot, but I almost always find cakes too sweet Also used coconut oil for butter in the forsting.

                        1. re: magiesmom
                          TerriL RE: magiesmom Nov 28, 2012 09:38 AM

                          Thanks, I'll try it unsweetened as well. 1 1/3 cups sugar seems fine.

                      2. re: roxlet
                        CocoaChanel RE: roxlet Dec 15, 2012 03:05 PM

                        Roxlet, I have decided to make your coconut cake (as well as a fig cake from Dorie) for Christmas dinner dessert.

                        1. re: CocoaChanel
                          roxlet RE: CocoaChanel Dec 15, 2012 03:39 PM

                          It's always a hit. When you serve it, I would suggest using a serrated knife to slice the cake since the coconut in the cake batter can catch on a regular knife and cause the cake to shred.

                          1. re: roxlet
                            HillJ RE: roxlet Dec 15, 2012 04:43 PM

                            Tip we use, we chill the ball of kitchen string. Cuts like butter thru coconut and nut covered iced cakes.

                            1. re: HillJ
                              roxlet RE: HillJ Dec 15, 2012 04:50 PM

                              Really? Never heard of that one! Cold string. Who'da thunk it?

                              1. re: HillJ
                                CocoaChanel RE: HillJ Dec 15, 2012 05:00 PM

                                Neato! Thanks!

                                1. re: HillJ
                                  goodhealthgourmet RE: HillJ Dec 15, 2012 05:15 PM

                                  you can also use cheese wire.

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                    HillJ RE: goodhealthgourmet Dec 15, 2012 05:36 PM

                                    Even better, if you keep cheese wire handy!

                                    1. re: HillJ
                                      goodhealthgourmet RE: HillJ Dec 15, 2012 05:37 PM

                                      I usually have cheese wire handy, but I doubt I'd remember to chill the twine!

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                        HillJ RE: goodhealthgourmet Dec 15, 2012 05:39 PM

                                        ROFL...well okay then! Open the frig :) We keep the twine, wire and pie slicer in the wine cooler....what can I say!

                          2. eperdu RE: redthong Nov 27, 2012 01:34 PM

                            It's not a brownie but this is a faux girl scout thin mint cookie. I call it a hack, but it's amazing and delicious.

                            Ritz Crackers
                            Peppermint Extract
                            Dipping chocolate (I use Candiquik)

                            I used 19 crackers, 3 cubes of dipping chocolate and 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract. I melted the chocolate and then added the extract. Dip the crackers into the chocolate and lay onto a sheet of parchment/foil to cool.

                            They really do taste like the real thing even though they aren't chocolate cookies!

                            Like I said, it's a hack but an oh so delicious one ...

                            1. maria lorraine RE: redthong Nov 27, 2012 01:50 PM

                              Have you checked Alton Brown's coconut cake recipe?

                              It uses fresh coconut that's shredded in the food processor, coconut cream and coconut extract, so the coconut flavor is pronounced yet clearer and fresher. It's different from the cakes made with sweetened coconut in the plastic bag.

                              Alton Brown video

                              You can find the recipe here:

                              Lots and lots of threads on Chowhound on Coconut cake. Here's one:
                              Ultimate Coconut Cake

                              1. c
                                CocoTO RE: redthong Nov 27, 2012 02:52 PM

                                I recommend substituting coconut oil for the butter when making any of these cakes. Adds another coconut dimension and the cake is very moist. I've done this successfully with a few recipes, most recently this one http://www.marthastewart.com/260375/u.... Didn't even need a coconut extract

                                1. m
                                  magiesmom RE: redthong Nov 27, 2012 03:25 PM

                                  Have you tried these grasshopper brownies from Smitten Kitchen? They are some work to make and use white chocolate, not usually my thing, but they are really good.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: magiesmom
                                    prima RE: magiesmom Dec 16, 2012 05:57 PM

                                    I was going to suggest Gourmet's Grasshopper Squares, which happens to be the same recipe Smitten Kitchen adapted. I also had an issue with the ganache and mint layer being a little too soft, but the flavours were good for a chocolate mint brownie. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                    Another idea is a chocolate mint nanaimo bar. I haven't tried making chocolate mint nanaimo bars, so I'm not sure which would be a better recipe. http://www.canadianliving.com/food/ch...


                                  2. b
                                    bdegregory RE: redthong Nov 27, 2012 05:17 PM

                                    The coconut cake in Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home is our favorite. He has you reduce coconut milk to add to the cake the batter and the frosting is a meringue/7-minute icing type. His recipe is for a white cake (no yolks) but I've also thrown in a few yolks for good measure and it still comes out great. Moist tender crumb yet somehow also substantial.

                                    1. missmasala RE: redthong Nov 27, 2012 05:54 PM

                                      I make brownies with peppermint patties sandwiched in the middle and people go crazy for them. I find that this brownie recipe works best. Also, the brownies have to be thoroughly chilled after baking (like overnight) before cutting.


                                      Also, Maida Heatter has a fairly famous recipe for brownies with mint patties. This is the recipe I started with, but found the Medrich brownies a better fit for the mint patties.


                                      1. jmcarthur8 RE: redthong Nov 27, 2012 07:19 PM

                                        There's a link on another thread about chocolate mint cookies that takes you to www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/chocolate-...
                                        They have a recipe for the most fantastic chocolate mint chip cookies I've ever had. Sorry, I'm using my phone to post and haven't figured out how to cut and paste with it. If you like a dark chocolate flavor, you'll love these.

                                        Edit: thanks maria, hopefully I fixed it.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: jmcarthur8
                                          maria lorraine RE: jmcarthur8 Nov 27, 2012 07:26 PM

                                          Link is broken.

                                          Do you mean this instead:

                                        2. s
                                          sandylc RE: redthong Nov 28, 2012 10:21 AM

                                          The folks over at Serious Eats have a few recipes for thin mint cookies - might these be worth checking out?

                                          1. h
                                            hetook RE: redthong Dec 15, 2012 02:55 PM

                                            If you can some how get,1 cup of buttermilk in the wet ingredients , you won't be sorry.( don't hv recipe to give U). but the tang of the bm really kicks up the coconut.

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