Monday, April 8, 2013

Kona Chocolate Cake with Toasted Coconut and Macadamia Nuts

Coffee and chocolate...oh my goodness, I don't know which I love more! This cake is the perfect marriage of the two. While the cake has a very subtle coffee flavor, the frosting is a mocha lover's dream!

Kona Chocolate Cake with Toasted Coconut and Macadamia Nuts
by Susan Whempner

For the cake:
1 cup cocoa powder
2 cups hot brewed Lock-n-Load Charlie Don't Surf Kona coffee
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour three 9" cake pans. In a medium sized bowl, whisk the cocoa powder with hot coffee until smooth, and set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Turn the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa/coffee mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Divide the batter equally into prepared cake pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Check with a cake tester. If it comes out clean, remove the cakes from the oven. If not, bake a little longer until done (check every two minutes). Cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges and carefully remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

For the frosting:
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon half and half
1 1/2 Tablespoons ground Lock-N-Load Charlie Don't Surf Kona coffee
1 (6-ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butter
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour the half and half into a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave on high until bubbles begin to form around the edge (about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes depending on your microwave). Stir the coffee grounds directly into the half and half and let sit for about 20 minutes. Now carefully strain the half and half into a medium-sized saucepan, and discard the coffee grounds (I used a little tea strainer and it worked perfectly). Add the chocolate chips and butter to the half and half. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir until the chocolate and butter are melted and the mixture is nice and smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract. Remove from the heat and pour into a mixing bowl, making sure to scrape the sides and the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Now whisk in the powdered sugar. Set this bowl inside another, bigger bowl filled with ice and beat with a hand mixer until the frosting holds its shape (takes several minutes). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the top:
1 cup chopped, toasted macadamia nuts
1 - 1 1/2 cups toasted coconut
1 plain milk chocolate candy bar

To toast macadamia nuts:
Preheat the oven to 325°F. On a foil-lined cookie sheet, spread out the macadamia nuts. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool completely.

To toast coconut:
Preheat the oven to 325°F. On a foil-lined cookie sheet, spread out the coconut. Roast for 5 to 10 minutes. The coconut will toast quickly, so watch it carefully. I nearly over-toasted mine! Cool completely.

To make chocolate curls:
Run a vegetable peeler gently along the long sides of candy bar. Handle the curls very gently because they're fragile. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

To assemble the cake:
Lay the first layer on a cake plate, spread some frosting over the top. Add the second layer and do the same thing. Now add the last layer. Spread the frosting over the top and all around the sides. Top with the coconut and macadamia nuts. I also spread some coconut around the bottom for a pretty effect. Top with chocolate curls. Enjoy!