Last week I was lucky enough to snag to tickets to Taste of the Nation here in New York City. Taste of the Nation is a culinary event that brings together some of the city’s best chefs and restaurants in a collective effort to raise awareness for childhood hunger in America.
There were over 50 restaurants, mixologists and wineries
serving food and pouring drinks! You can only imagine how difficult it was for
me to select which dishes to try. Even Brian, who usually has no qualms about
working his way into a food coma, had to restrain himself to some extent. Highlights of the night included a frittata featuring fresh farm eggs from Blue Hill, meatballs with polenta from the team behind dell' anima and l'apicio, and a fluke panazanella from Ai Fiori.
Unfortunately, I am guilty of a massive blogging failure. I did not take a SINGLE PHOTO. What can I say; I guess we were just focused on the food! Luckily, I did find a photo of one of our favorite dishes of the evening, the Fluke Panzanella from Ai Fiori.
But perhaps the most exciting part of the evening occurred at the very end. As we were leaving the event, I happened to spot one of my absolute favorite cookbook authors, Dorie Greenspan.
Brian suggested that we walk over and introduce ourselves, and after some protesting on my part, I agreed. I am so happy that we did meet her, because she was so incredibly nice and sweet! I only hope that I was coherent enough to convey to her how much I admire her and her recipes.
If you don’t own one of her books, I whole-hardheartedly recommend that you purchase at least one of them as soon as possible. Both my mom and sister own Baking: From My Home to Yours and Brian and I own Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. All of her recipes are tested impeccably and I assure you that her recipes will quickly become family favorites.
Our run-in with Dorie inspired the cake recipe below. I used Dorie’s EVO and Yogurt Loaf Cake recipe, store-bought lemon curd, and a quick 7-mintue coconut frosting recipe. The combination of coconut and lemon just seems perfect for Spring.
If you would like to read more about Share Our Strength and the No Kid Hungry campaign, click here. Taste of the Nation is hosted in a number of cities across the country, so check it out if you are interested in supporting a great cause.
Lemon Coconut Loaf Cake
For the lemon loaf cake (slightly adapted from this recipe by Dorie Greenspan)
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup sugar
- zest of 1 large lemon
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup whole milk yogurt
- Juice of ½ of a lemon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- additional unsalted butter for greasing pan
For the 7-minute frosting:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 egg whites (from 2 large eggs)
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup sweetened coconut flakes
- 1/3 cup store-bought or homemade lemon curd
- sweetened coconut flakes (for decoration, optional)
To make the cake:
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan.
- Place flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and whisk together with a fork to combine.
- Place the sugar in a large mixing bowl with the lemon zest and break up the lemon zest using your fingers, incorporating the zest into the sugar.
- Add the eggs, vanilla extract, lemon juice and yogurt, and whisk until well blended.
- Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and carefully fold the flour mixture into the batter using a rubber spatula.
- Add the olive oil and use a rubber spatula to fold the oil into the batter until the batter is smooth and shiny.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and back for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Please cake in pan on a rack to cool. After 5 minutes, carefully unmold the cake and allow it to cool to room temperature, right-side-up, on a wire rack (Dorie notes that you can keep the cake at room temperature for up to 4 days or freeze it for up to 2 months).
To make the coconut frosting:
- Fill a saucepan about a quarter of the way up with water and bring water to a simmer on the stove.
- In the mixing bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine the egg whites, sugar, pinch of salt, and water and whisk with hand-held wire whisk until thoroughly mixed.
- Place the bowl with the egg white mixture over the pot of simmering water and continually whisk until the mixture registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit (or about when the egg whites become just barely too hot too touch). Note: Be careful not to overcook the egg whites. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and immediately place it on the stand mixer and beat on high with the whisk attachment until glossy and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Beat in vanilla and coconut flakes until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
For assemble the cake:
- Using an offset spatula, spread an even layer of lemon curd on the bottom half of the cake.
- Place the top layer on the cake and using a clean offset spatula spread coconut frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.
- Sprinkle coconut flakes on cake for decoration.