by Heather Harris Brady
Believe it or not, I woke up a few days ago thinking about coconut snowballs. Now mind you, the last time I actually had a Hostess snoball I was probably also gazing dreamily at my Duran Duran poster and Nick’s purple eyeshadow. I knew I wasn’t after an actual duplicate, but rather the experience of cutting down through that pristine exterior to find amazing chocolate cake underneath.
Dorie Greenspan, because she is my spirit baker (like a spirit animal, but you know, a baker), understands such things. So much so that she has almost exactly that on the cover of her Baking cookbook. I’ve adapted her cake recipe here, covered it in an old-fashioned seven-minute frosting, and then coating the whole thing in coconut.
Unlike their inspirational counterparts these aren’t for keeping, you have to make them and eat them up shortly thereafter because the icing can get sticky in humidity. You’ll want to eat them right away anyway, the chocolate cake is meltingly delicious inside the fluffy frosting.
Coconut Snowballs, Makes six individual desserts
- 3/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/3 c. unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- 1/4 t. baking soda
- 1/4 t. baking powder
- 5 T. butter, softened
- 1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 t. vanilla extract
- 1 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
- 1/4 c. buttermilk
- 1/4 c. hot strong coffee
- 1/3 c. mini chips
- Frosting (recipe below)
- 2-1/2 c. fine shredded coconut
Combine the first four ingredients together and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350. Put the sugars and butter in a mixing bowl, cream well.
Add the egg and beat well, until very light and fluffy, about three minutes.
Beat in the melted chocolate, then add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Beating well after each addition.
Lastly, fold in the coffee, followed by the mini chips.
Spoon the batter into six ramekins. (I had to bake mine in two batches.)
Bake for about 10 minutes, until puffed and just firm to the touch in the center.
Turn them out to cool. They will fall slightly but that’s okay!
While the cakes are cooling make the icing.
Frosting (from King Arthur Flour)
- 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 1/3 c. cold water
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 t. light corn syrup or 1/4 t. cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In the top of a double boiler, combine the sugar, water, egg whites, corn syrup or cream of tartar, and the pinch of salt. Beat with an electric mixer set at low speed for 30 seconds, then set the pan over boiling water (the pan shouldn’t touch the water).
Beating at high speed, cook the frosting for about 7 minutes, or until it’s stiff and glossy. Remove it from the heat, add the vanilla, and beat an additional 2 minutes.
Put each cake right side up on a plate and cover it with frosting, mounding it on top to get a half-spherical shape.
Sprinkle coconut on to cover and put the finished cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.