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Grant Smith-South Carolina Ranger
Coconut Mango Cake

I really think you need to lay off the spices in the food that you choose to pair with this beer.  The beer itself already has so much going on that adding a dish with lots of spice kind of makes for a “too much going on” scenario.  So for my pairing I utilized the help of my expert dessert chef Andrea Gruber.  She brought to the table a Coconut Mango Cake covered with a coconut Italian buttercream and topped with a fresh mango and toasted coconut flakes.  This pairs well for a variety of reasons.  It kept things simple by not overdoing spice.  The buttercream really is the key here as it is sweet and perfectly helps balance out the strength of the spice in the beer as well as the heat in the finish.  Also, the mango is a perfect touch on adding some seasonality.  And coconut, what’s wrong with pairing coconut with MORE coconut?  Nothing!

Coconut Mango Cake
Coconut Cake
1 large egg
5 large egg whites
¾ cup cream of coconut
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
2 ¼ cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

8 ounces unsweetened coconut flakes
1 fresh mango


1. For the Cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with shortening and dust with flour.

2. Beat egg whites and whole egg in large measuring cup with fork to combine. Add cream of coconut, water, vanilla, and coconut extract and beat with fork until thoroughly combined.

3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on lowest speed to combine, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running on lowest speed, add butter 1 piece at a time, then beat until mixture resembles coarse meal, with butter bits no larger than small peas, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.

4. With mixer still running, add 1 cup liquid mixture. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds. With mixer still running, add remaining liquid mixture in steady stream (this should take about 15 seconds). Stop mixer and scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then beat at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds. (Batter will be thick.).

5. Divide batter between cake pans and level with offset or rubber spatula. Bake until deep golden brown, cakes pull away from sides of pans, and toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes (rotate cakes after about 20 minutes). Do not turn off oven.

6. Cool in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes, then loosen cakes from sides of pans with paring knife, invert cakes onto racks and then re-invert; cool to room temperature.

7. While cakes are cooling, spread shredded coconut on rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until shreds are a mix of golden brown and white, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times. Cool to room temperature.

Coconut Italian Buttercream
4 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup of water
1 lb (four sticks) unsalted butter, softened
½ teaspoon coconut extract
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

1. On medium-high speed, begin whipping egg whites to a stiff peak, but not dry.

2. Meanwhile, bring the sugar and water to a boil and cook to the softball stage, approximately 238 degrees.

3. With the mixer still on medium to high, pour a steady stream of the sugar syrup into the egg whites. This should take about 4 minutes. Add butter in small bits for 3 to 5 minutes and whisk on high until spreadable texture is achieved.

4. Whisk in vanilla and coconut.

Assemble the Cake:

1. Peel and slice mango

2. If cakes are not flat on the top, slightly trim cakes so they are flat across the top

3. Take one 9-inch cake and top with a thin layer of coconut buttercream. Layer fresh mango slices and top with another thin layer of buttercream to secure the mango.

4. Place second 9-inch cake on top and cover entire cake with coconut buttercream.

5. Lightly press toasted coconut flakes on the top and sides of cake. Place fresh mango slices in center of cake