Saying good-bye is often a bittersweet experience. And this good-bye was bittersweet. On the one hand I am very happy for my friends that all their plans have come together and that a fresh start lays ahead of them. But at the same time I am sad because they are moving away from a manageable spontaneous “let’s-meet-up” distance of 40 minutes car drive to a not so spontaneous 5-6 hour car drive.
One says that you never make the kind of friends and form the same bonds like you did back at school or university. There is some truth in that. I found a dear friend over Facebook a few years ago whom I had grown up with. We had lost contact for years. And I mean years. Like 20 odd years. We spoke to each other on the phone and her voice was still so familiar. Suddenly we were back in school, we were meeting up after school, we were smoking our first secret cigarette together. We talked for hours on the phone, it was like we had never lost contact. And when we met up in person. Oh my, what a reunion!
But although it is difficult to make such friends later on in life, it isn’t impossible. And these friends are a good example of that. Thinking positively I suppose that the longer distance will mean that next time we meet up will be for a long weekend which is longer than we normally have met up in the past.
For the farewell garden party I decided to make something coconutty. As my friends are vegan the cake had to be vegan, of course. I have baked a few vegan cakes so far so this wasn’t the problem. Deciding which cake to bake with the variety around was more difficult.
I used a recipe from a Swiss confectioner called Marcel Paa. I substituted the orange juice with coconut milk and split the mixture between two 20 cm round baking tins. Although the skewer came out clean when the cake cooled down it sunk a little in the middle. A sign that it wasn’t quite baked through. I had to forfeit one layer but still had 3 to go with so I was safe. I will bake the cake again to see if it happens again and/or maybe bake the cake a little longer. Maybe because I didn’t use fruit juice whose acidity together with the baking powder helps raise the cake more…?
I adapted Gretchen’s coconut filling from her Almond Joy cake. I made my own condensed milk by bringing 400 ml coconut milk to the boil and adding 150 g sugar. I let the mixture boil for a few minutes stirring occasionally and then let it simmer for 30 minutes until it had thickened. I also made some white ganache with vegan white chocolate and coconut milk (ratio 2:1 chocolate:milk). Why do vegan products have to be so expensive? 80 g chocolate cost €1,95 (I used four bars).
I brushed each layer with some fruit juice to give a little extra flavour and layered the cake with ganache, coconut filling and crumb coated the entire cake with the ganache. I then pressed some desiccated coconut to the sides and put the cake in the fridge for a few hours.
As I was one cake layer short I had coconut filling and ganache left over. I sprinkled some of the coconut filling over the cake and the remainders I mixed together with the ganache, rolled the mixture into 10 small balls, rolled these in puffed quinoa and put them into the fridge to set. Before leaving for the party I sprinkled a little coconut sugar over the top of the cake for some extra colour, arranged the coconut chocolates on the top and decorated with some larger coconut chips as well.
As you can see the top coconut chocolate is dipped in dark chocolate. This is one of the vegan “Raffaelos” which I had made a day before to decorate the cake with. The consistency and taste of these coconut sweets are more like a Bounty bar really, but not quite as sweet. That’s why I decided to dip them into dark chocolate. The coconut sweets I made out of the remaining ganache and coconut filling were more like Raffaelos as the ganache gave a creamy consistency.
Vegan “Raffaelos”: http://www.veganblatt.com/rohkoestliche-raffaello