Help! Modifying a Coconut Cake Recipe


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I have this delicious coconut cake recipe from Epicurious that gets its flavoring from a cup of canned cream of coconut (Coco Lopez). The cake has the best light and fluffy consistency, and I want to turn it into a vanilla cake. Do you think I could leave the recipe largely the same, and instead swap out the cream of coconut for sweetened condensed milk? Or do any of you have another recommendation for how to modify the original recipe?

I consider myself still a novice baker, so am still learning about all the chemical reactions of the ingredients.

Recipe pasted below for reference:

Coconut Cake
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose 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 (such as Coco López)*
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Pinch of salt

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch- diameter cake pans with 2-inch- high sides.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl to blend.
  3. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter and sweetened cream of coconut in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in dry ingredients and then buttermilk, each just until blended.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
 
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Welcome to the forum! :)

Do you think I could leave the recipe largely the same, and instead swap out the cream of coconut for sweetened condensed milk?
Nope, that would drastically change the cake. Condensed milk has a very high sugar content, it's very heavy and syrupy, whereas coconut cream is very light. I would look for a different recipe if I were you ;)
 
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Gah! That's what I was afraid of... Thank you!

Do you have a good, light and fluffy vanilla cake recipe

It's been my white whale! Ive tried quite a few different recipes and they come out too dense or too dry. I like that this recipe uses buttermilk and butter, and folds in the egg whites.
 
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If you've had trouble with a variety of recipes, then it may be more your technique that's the issue. Here's how I tackle a vanilla sponge:

  1. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy - using an electric whisk or mixer helps
  3. Add each egg one by one, and beat until well incorporated before adding the next egg
  4. Once all eggs are added and well mixed, add the vanilla (or whatever flavour you're using)
  5. Sift in the flour and other dry ingredients (baking powder, bicarbonate of soda etc) making sure to hold the sieve high above the bowl to incorporate more air
  6. Mix in the flour by hand, not using an electric mixer/whisk. Mix until you have a smooth batter, but no more - if you continue to mix you will build up the gluten and it will result in a dense, heavy cake
  7. Pop it in the oven, and don't be tempted to open the oven door until at least 80% of the cooking time has passed (otherwise the cake structure doesn't have enough strength to support itself and it ill collapse when the cold air hits)
  8. Bake until a skewer comes out clean
Hope this helps! :)
 

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