Category Archives: Cakes

World Cup Coconut Cake


I made this for Takumi’s birthday! -he loves soccer

I’ve made this several times now as EVERYONE loved it so much. Many have said that this cake has surpassed my chocolate cake as their favorite. The recipe is an adaptation of 2 recipes one from Epicurious and the other from Completely Delicious and then my addition of real toasted coconut.  I think this one is by far a real winner.  I think what sets it apart is the REAL coconut flakes. Their toasted natural coconut taste is WAY BETTER than the awful sweetened version you often find. In addition, the moist crumb of the cake from the coconut cream and buttermilk makes it a real winner. Enjoy!


2 3/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup canned sweetened cream of coconut (Coco López)
4 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
Pinch of salt

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 3-inch-high sides*. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter and sweetened cream of coconut in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla extract & a drop of coconut flavoring. On low-speed, beat in dry ingredients and then buttermilk, each just until blended.

Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites with pinch of salt in another large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold beaten egg whites into batter.

Divide cake batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on rack 10 minutes. Run small sharp knife around pan sides to loosen cakes. Turn cakes out onto racks and cool completely.

*Note: The batter will not fit in two 8-inch pans-consider using 3 8-inch pans or two 9-inch pans with 3-inch sides.

For the Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:

8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups (455 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
1-3 tablespoons regular milk
1 teaspoon coconut flavoring

Beat together the butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar on medium high-speed until light and creamy. Add the coconut flavoring and enough coconut milk (or regular milk) to reach a spreadable consistency. Mix until smooth.

Make the toasted coconut:

1 cup (85 grams) unsweetened coconut (Bob’s Red Mill brand)

Spread the coconut on a sheet pan. Toast in a 350 degree oven until golden, checking every 2 minutes. Watch it carefully, the coconut will burn fast. Let it cool completely.

1 cup of the Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting (above)
1 cup (237 ml, 8 fl oz) heavy whipping cream

With a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream until it starts to thicken. Add 1 cup of the cream cheese buttercream a spoonful at a time while mixing on medium-high speed. Whip to soft peaks.

Assemble the cake:

Place one cake layer on a cake stand or plate. Cover with the whipped cream cheese filling. Place the other layer on top.  Frost the entire cake with the remaining cream cheese buttercream and cover in the toasted coconut.

Chill for overnight before serving. It will be more moist the day after.



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Red Velvet Cupcakes

Just in time for Valentine’s Day another Brown Eyed Baker Recipe!  After a while she’s going to think I’m stalking her.  I just love her recipe choices and flavors. I am pretty sure we have the exactly the same tastes. This recipe makes 12 regular sized cupcakes.  I doubled the recipe.  I also found the icing to sweet so I added twice the amount of cream cheese and 1 more cup of powdered sugar to make the frosting more tangy and less sweet. Enjoy!

For the Cupcakes:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons red food coloring
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons distilled white vinegar

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4 ounces butter, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin/cupcake pan with liners.

2. On medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.

3. In a separate small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter and mix on medium speed until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.

5. Again, reduce the mixer speed to low and add the salt, baking soda and vinegar. Turn to high and beat for another couple of minutes until completely combined and smooth.

6. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a thin knife or skewer inserted into the center of the largest cupcake comes out clean.

7. Cool for 10 minutes and then remove cupcakes from the pan and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

8. To make the frosting: Using the whisk attachment, whip the butter and cream cheese on high speed for about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl down as necessary. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar until all is incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Increase the speed to medium high and whip for a few minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary.

*Note: This recipe can be doubled to make an 8 or 9-inch layer cake.

(Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker, originally from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook).


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Genomic sequence cupcakes!

Today is my first day of class for my Intro to Genomics and Proteomics course and it is also my 40th birthday (yes…I’m getting old).  So I had to make my new students something special to celebrate. I baked on of my favorite recipe- the Fudgy Chocolate Sour Cream Cake with Mocha Ganache (see below).  Then I decided to decorate the tops with DNA nucleotides:  G, C, A or T. Hopefully they will like them and me!  I always get nervous the first day of class. Anything to break the ice like chocolate cake should work!


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 16 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Whisk first 4 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Bring 1 cup water to simmer in heavy small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add 2 tablespoons espresso powder; stir to dissolve. Add chocolate; whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth. Cool slightly.
In another large bowl, whisk vegetable oil, sour cream, eggs and vanilla to blend. Add chocolate mixture and whisk to blend well. Add 1/3 of chocolate-sour cream mixture to dry ingredients and whisk to blend. Add remaining chocolate-sour cream mixture in 2 more additions, whisking well after each addition. Divide batter equally between prepared pans or cupcake cups. Gently tap each filled pan atop counter to burst any air pockets.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes (DO NOT overbake). If making cupcakes 25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Run knife around sides of cakes and turn out onto rack. Cool completely.

For ganache:
Bring first 6 ingredients to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat, stirring until butter melts. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Whisk in vanilla. Pour ganache into large bowl; cool until thick enough to spread, stirring occasionally, about 1-2 hours. Sometimes I stick it into the fridge to cool faster. I often make the ganache first before the cakes so it has time to cool to the right thickness.

I also wanted to show a photo of a sculpture of me that my father, Michael Skop, did a few days after I was born in 1972.  It has always been one of my favorites.  

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