Saturday, February 18, 2023

Coconut Coffeecake with Chocolate-Coconut-Pecan Streusel


In my first blog post after my long hiatus I mentioned that much of my personal cooking these days is centered around using things up: ingredients/partial containers left from cooking classes…private events…etc.  But as I pointed out then, anyone who lives and cooks in a small household is familiar with the need to learn to cook with the odds and ends left from previous meals.
As I reassemble my career in our post-pandemic world, I have begun to focus on my online cooking classes more and more.  I have been teaching cooking classes for over twenty years, but early in the pandemic it became obvious to me that the kinds of things that had worked well for in-person classes were not the same things that would work well for an online session.  So I’ve been adjusting a bit. 
It has occurred to me that the online format is perfect for giving people a peek into the actual workings of a small household kitchen.  I can make the things I actually cook for myself…in the portion sizes I cook them in…basically showing my cooking reality in order to encourage other people who are living the small household life that it is totally possible to cook and eat well when there is “just” one…or two…of you.  As it turns out, those of us living this life are not a small group.  I read the other day that as of 2021, 28% of American households were comprised of single adults.  35% are made up of two adults.  It is clear that small households are the majority of us.  We should be eating well at home!
So you might be wondering what all of this has to do with coffeecake.  Well…besides the fact that I regularly make big coffeecakes and cut them into portions for the freezer (and because it’s just me, they are mine…all mine…), this particular coconut streusel coffeecake came about because I had some ingredients leftover from a curbside dinner.  

I had made a Coconut Bavarian Parfait and had an open can of coconut milk, a partial bag of shredded coconut, and extra egg whites.  Not to mention the big container of granola-like (i.e. eminently snack-able) graham cracker-coconut crumb crust that was left in my pantry.

So I created a coffeecake that used all of these ingredients.  At the time I thought it was a one-off…a never-to-be-duplicated treat…because I was unlikely to ever make the crumb crust again just to fill a coffeecake.  But of course the cake doesn’t need a crumb crust middle.  And as I have been getting ready for my first “cooking for a small household” class, I remembered this coffeecake because one of the recipes in the class includes a can of coconut milk.  

The recipe in question is a delicious purée of spicy roasted cauliflower and chickpeas.
  You can make a big batch and use up the whole can (and freeze or share the extra portions of soup).  Or—like me—you can make a small batch….in which case, you’ll have some coconut milk leftover.  You could roll that can of coconut milk into another dinner later in the week (these pork meatballs are fantastic)…or you can make a cake.  I know.  Tough decision.

You’ll notice when you look at the cake recipe that it uses all egg whites.  I almost always have a container of egg whites in my refrigerator.  I frequently make things that use just egg yolks and I save the whites.  They keep well in an airtight container for several weeks (just mark the date so you won’t keep them for six months…).  But if you don’t have egg whites, just use two large eggs instead. 

I have not included the graham cracker-coconut crumb crust filling in the recipe I’m posting.
  But if you would like to add it, the recipe can be found on the post for my Coconut Bavarian Cream Tart.  Just make the crust…toasting the clumps spread out on a baking sheet instead pressed into a pie or tart pan.  Break the clumps up a bit when they are cool.  To add this to the cake, spread half of the batter in the pan, scatter 2/3 to 3/4 cup (or however much you like) of the toasted crumb crust over the batter, dollop the rest of the batter over the crumbs and smooth out.  Top with the streusel and bake.  Increase the baking powder to a tablespoon if you add a layer of crumbs—the cake batter will need a little extra oomph because of the weight of the crumbs. 
If you make this coffeecake, you’ll have a little over half a can of coconut milk left.  There are lots of great things you can do with that half can.  But if you happen to see this post before February 28, I hope you’ll consider joining me for my “Cooking for a small Household: a Head of Cauliflower and a Can of Chickpeas” class.  I’ll be making that delicious soup…as well as a couple of other nice dishes using cauliflower and chickpeas.

Coconut Coffeecake with Chocolate-Coconut-Pecan Streusel
80 g. (scant 3/4 c.) pecans, lightly toasted and coarsely broken
115 g/4 oz. (2/3 c.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
50 g (1/2 c.) sweetened shredded coconut
25 g. (2 T.) sugar
25 g. (2 T.) melted butter
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour (200 g.)
1/2 t. salt
2 1/2 t. baking powder
10 T. plus 2 t. (150 g.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c. sugar (200 g.)
100 g. egg whites (see notes)
1 1/2 t. vanilla
2/3 c. coconut milk (160 g.)
75 g. (3/4 c.) sweetened shredded coconut

Butter a 9x9-inch baking pan.  Line the bottom with parchment.  Butter the parchment.  Flour the pan.  Tap out the excess and set aside.  Preheat the oven to 350°.
To make the streusel, place the pecans, chocolate chips, coconut and sugar in a bowl and stir until everything is evenly distributed.  Drizzle the melted butter over all and fold with a rubber spatula until the butter is well distributed.  Set aside.
Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside.  Beat the butter and sugar until smooth.  Increase the speed and cream until fluffy.  Beat in the egg whites in two or three additions.  Beat in the vanilla.  Fold in the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the coconut milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Add the coconut with the final addition of the dry ingredients. 

Spread the batter in the prepared pan.  Scatter the streusel evenly over all.  

Bake in a 350° oven until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean—40 to 45 minutes.  Serve warm.  Serves 9 to 12.
Note:  If you don’t have any egg whites on hand, you may replace the 100 grams of egg whites with 2 large eggs.


JohnnyMac said...

This looks really good. I shall have to try it the next time we are having a family brunch. By the way, I am glad to see you are posting regularly again.

Paige said...

I hope you enjoy it!

And I'm glad to be posting again... I missed it.

Katrina said...

Mmmm, looks great. Flavors are a fave, too. I'm here for the gingerbread recipe. I know I've made it GF, but can't find the printed recipe.

Paige said...

Thanks Katrina! I love the flavors of this one too.

I just looked at the Gingerbread post and I posted it before I had a print function. Give me a bit and I'll get a printable version for the post!