[If you’re like me and grew up in the big ATL you my have fond memories of the Rich’s Bakery. If so, this my interest you as it has so many this week.]

Guardian of recipe spills secrets

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Published on: 04/08/07, By JIM AUCHMUTEY

Carl Dendy has the original recipe for Rich’s coconut cake, but you probably wouldn’t want to use it. The photocopied recipe from the department store bakery he ran during its heyday in the ’60s and ’70s would make at least 10 nine-inch cakes.

I wondered if we were going to bake every one of them when Carl e-mailed me the ingredients he needed to test a domesticated version at his house in Rockdale County.

5 lbs cake flour, 2 cans Crisco, 5 pounds granulated sugar …

“Carl,” I said, arriving at his front door with the requested groceries, “are we feeding the Rockdale County road crew?”

“We may need to make it more than once,” he said, allowing that he might be out of practice.

A few minutes later, Angie Mosier, the Atlanta baker whose fond memory of Rich’s coconut cake led to this story, walked in with an armful of pans. The two of them went straight to work reducing the recipe to more manageable portions. Sitting at Carl’s breakfast table — under a sampler that read “Give us this day our daily bread” — they puzzled out the ratios on a yellow legal pad. “We call this baker’s math,” Angie said.

Only then were they ready to get their hands messy.

Carl had insisted on frozen, sweetened coconut — found next to frozen fruit at the supermarket — instead of the unrefrigerated bags of grated coconut that most of us know. At Rich’s, he said, they always used the freshest coconut they could find without cracking the shells themselves.

“That was the most important ingredient. I imagine it accounted for a third of the cake’s weight.”

As Angie mixed the batter and creamed the icing, I asked Carl why he had specified Crisco and powdered milk. I mean, those aren’t exactly from the pages of Gourmet.

“You wanted Rich’s coconut cake,” he said. “That’s what we used.”

And with good reason, Angie explained. Large-scale bakeries often use shortening and powdered milk because butter and fresh milk require costly refrigeration and raise food safety risks. Besides, shortening makes a pure white frosting that’s easier to spread than one made with butter.

After the cakes came out of the oven, Angie turned one out of the pan. A couple of sizable chunks broke off.

“We fix that by spackling and cementing it with frosting,” she said, not missing a beat.

“Happens all the time in bakeries,” Carl agreed.

“Yeah, the more mistakes you make, the more goo you get.”

It was time to assemble the cake. One of the secrets, Carl said, is the way the coconut is applied.

For the frosting between the three layers, he made a bowl of simple syrup — half water, half sugar — and added coconut to it. As Angie iced the tops of the first and second layers, she made a buttercream levee around the edges and Carl spooned the coconut/syrup on top of the frosting. It looked almost as moist as a trifle.

After she finished frosting the outside of the cake, Angie and Carl liberally appliquéd the surface with the rest of the coconut, which wasn’t nearly as wet.

Carl, the man who launched a million coconut cakes, cut the first slice, looking as delighted as a boy at his 12th birthday party.

He took a bite.

“Strong vanilla flavor. Nice and moist. Very sweet.”

Another bite.

“You know, I think we could have used more coconut.”

Rich’s Bakeshop Icing

16 servings
Hands on: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons powdered milk
1/2 cup water (for dissolving milk powder)

In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, combine the vegetable shortening, vanilla and salt and cream together until incorporated. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar until it forms a very thick consistency. Dissolve the powdered milk in the water and gradually add, just 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time, until the icing is a nice, spreadable consistency.

Rich’s Bakeshop Yellow Cake

16 servings (three thin 9-inch layers or two thicker 9-inch layers)
Hands on: 30 minutes
b>Total time: 50-60 minutes

Rich’s always did a three-layer cake, with two layers of coconut filling, but some home cooks don’t have three pans of the same size, so two would work just fine.

Shortening and flour for pans
2 1/4 cups cake flour (if you can’t find cake flour, use White Lily brand all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon powdered milk
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup liquid milk (2 percent or whole)
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cake pans by lightly greasing with shortening, then dusting with flour. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir the powdered milk into the water and mix until dissolved. Combine the liquid milk with the powdered milk/water mixture and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the shortening and the sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add about half the flour mixture, beating until just incorporated, and then half the milk mixture, again beating until just incorporated. Repeat this step, adding the remaining flour with the remaining liquid, and beat until just smooth (about 1 minute). Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowls once or twice during the mixing. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake in preheated oven for about 20-30 minutes. The cooking time will vary depending on how many cake pans you use and how full they are. The cake is done when it springs back when lightly pressed near the center with your finger. Allow the cake to cool for a few minutes in the pan, and then turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

Rich’s Bakeshop Coconut Cake

16 servings
Hands on: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 1/2 hours

Angie Mosier tested and rewrote the recipe for home use.

2 pounds frozen unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 or 3 layers Rich’s Bakeshop Yellow Cake (see recipe)
1 batch Rich’s Bakeshop Icing (see recipe)

In a large bowl, thaw the frozen coconut. Set aside. Take 1 1/2 cups of the coconut and place in a smaller bowl. Combine the water and sugar and pour over this smaller bowl of coconut. This should be very moist but not soupy. Place one layer of the yellow cake on a cake plate and spread with icing. Spoon the moistened coconut over that. Place the next layer on top and spread with icing, spooning the moistened coconut over it. Continue this process until all your layers are filled; however, don’t put the moist filling on the very top of the last layer, as it will be iced. Next, cover the entire cake with the icing. Make sure to use a thick coating of icing on the cake to eliminate any of the cake showing through. Take handfuls of the dry, thawed coconut and press the flakes into the buttercream. You may want to put a tray underneath to catch any coconut that falls as you do this. Continue pressing dry, flaky coconut all over the cake until it is completely covered. Chill for about one hour to set (it helps the coconut to stay) and then serve.


0 Responses to “CAKE CONFIDENTIAL”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

April 2007
« Mar   May »

Twitter Updates

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Patsy Burnette's Facebook profile
Help end world hunger

Psalm 19:1-3

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork...There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard."

Blog Stats

  • 100,266 hits

%d bloggers like this: