I had a bit of coconut milk left (coconut cream, actually) and I really did not want it to go to waste, though cheap as it may be. I've been wanting to try a chocolate cake with coconut milk in it for the longest time, so it was the perfect opportunity to utilize the remaining half cup or so.
The words "chocolate cake" and "coconut milk" punched into google's search engine turned up a link to this recipe that has been made by quite a few other bloggers as well. There was a gentle warning that this cake doesn't really taste very strongly of coconut but I thought that since I was using coconut cream, the flavour might show up more. And also since I was using a higher-fat-containing ingredient, I experimented a little and took away the butter in the recipe.
The cake was plenty moist. I don't think I lost out by omitting the butter. The reviewers were right though- the coconut was hardly detectable in the baked cake. However, the smell of the cake was so unique, so delicious. There was a nutty scent to it. Although you can't explicitly taste the coconut in the cake, there is definitely an extra something to it, an undertone that sets this cake apart from purely chocolate cakes. I hate to say this but maybe this cake needs a bit of coconut extract to underscore the coconut flavour. Otherwise, it is just a chocolate cake, but a darn good one at that.
To accompany the cake, I whipped up a quick crusting buttercream. Or at least it was supposed to crust. When I sliced into the cake a few hours after frosting, I was disappointed to hear no light crackly sound of a thin shell of sugar giving way under the weight of a serrated knife. After all, I would have done without any frosting for the cake if not for wanting a texture contrast from a crusting buttercream. Perhaps it was the humidity, or perhaps it was because I didn't refrigerate the cake (and the buttercream piped onto it). This definitely needs some research into. Luckily, it's the kind of research I like. (More buttercream to come!)
P.S. If you want a coconut frosting to accompany you chocolate coconut milk cake, here is an excellent one that I highly recommend you try!
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Chocolate Coconut Milk Cake
adapted from here
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup boiling water
6 tbsp butter, melted (I replaced with water because I used coconut cream in place of coconut milk)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup coconut milk (I used coconut cream)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
optional: 1/2 tsp coconut extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 9 inch cake pan.
Combine the chocolate and cocoa powder in a bowl. Pour over the boiling water and let the mixture stand for 1 minute. Whisk until the mixture is homogenous. Set aside to cool.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together.
Beat the butter and sugar until combined. Add the eggs and beat until the mixture is pale and slightly thick. (If you're replacing the butter with water, whisk the eggs with the water until combined then dump in the sugar and whisk until the mixture is pale and slightly thick. Add in the coconut extract as this point if you're using.) Stream in the coconut cream and chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cool cake completely before frosting.