It is magical, this time of year. And no I’m not talking about Springtime, yet I am very appreciative of the weather. I hate snow with a passion. But I am talking about Girl Scout Cookies. Paying homage to these cookies I made a Samoa Cake.
I remember secretly ordering girl scout cookies from a girl in ballet. It felt sinful, smuggling the cookies to my room. Hiding them in my dresser. When I was young I only bought the Tagalongs. My brother would take the cookies from my oh-so-secret hiding place. It’s not like he liked them, he simply ate them to irk me. I miss that hiding and that sibling fooling around, no irony attached. I miss the cookie hiding tradition.
Taking inspiration from Studio DIY, I was drawn to the visual presentation of the Samoa cake. I had a problem: I didn’t have two boxes of cookies. To compensate, I did some recipe adaptions. And did a smaller taller 6-inch 4 layer cake.
Since I’ve already done a coconut filled cake on several occasions like the Moist Carrot Cake, but I wanted to try a different route. Instead of relying on shredded coconut flakes for the coconut-y flavor, I chose to use coconut milk and a teaspoon of coconut extract. Besides vanilla, you can never eye ball a splash of an extract. An overuse of coconut extract can lead to a bitter and artificial taste. Though I dislike using cliches, a little bit goes a long way with coconut extract.
For the Samoa Cake, I scraped the dulce de leche. Yes dulce de leche has that deep caramel color, the canned stuff is lacking in flavor and would just make this Samoa Cake too sweet. I made a salted caramel buttercream instead. I feel like I’m a hypocrite for using a jar of caramel topping in the frosting yet if I were to use a homemade caramel sauce it would harden the buttercream.
It may be hard to tell but the frosting is purple. VERY purple. In the photos it almost looks blue against the yellow background. I matched the Samoa Cake frosting to the color on the Girl Scout Cookie box. The Samoa Cake is a perfect balance of coconut and caramel neither of which is too sweet or too overpowering.
This cake combination is a flavor profile to be acknowledged. Coconut and caramel, come on, it’s perfect!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 6 large eggs, separated and room temperature (you will only need 2 yolks)
- ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1⅓ cups canned coconut milk, stir well before using
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup caramel ice cream topping
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 to 7 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1½ cups (3 sticks, 12 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 2 pounds powdered sugar, sifted
- ⅓ cup evaporated milk
- Purple gel food coloring
- Samoa cookies for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 4 6-inch cake pans with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a clean bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the 5 eggs whites and cream of tartar on medium-high speed until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Place the eggs white in a separate bowl.
- Clean out the bowl and use the paddle attachment to beat the sugar, butter, and oil on a medium speed until completely combined.
- Add the 2 egg yolks, one at a time, followed by the coconut and vanilla extracts.
- Working in three separate batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, add ⅓ of the flour mixture, alternating with ½ of the coconut milk and mixing just until combined after each addition (if you don't have the paddle attachment that scrapes the sides of the bowl, stop mixer and scrape sides and bottom occasionally).
- Use a rubber spatula and fold the egg whites into the cake batter a ⅓rd at a time. Fold just to combine, do not over fold or it will deflate the egg whites.
- Pour the batter evenly among the 4 pans and bake for 16 to 23 minutes until a toothpick is mostly clean. Cool completely before cutting and frosting.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter on medium high until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add vanilla.
- With the mixer on low, alternate adding a cup of powdered sugar with a few ounces of the caramel sauce until the desired consistency is reached. For piping a border you'll want to thicker consistency.
- Finish the frosting with the sea salt.
- Beat the room temperature butter in a stand mixer on a medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy. About 3 to 5 minutes
- Stop, scrape the bowl, and add the vanilla and tiny pinch of salt
- Turn mixer back on. On the lowest speed add the powdered sugar a cup or two at a time. When the frosting gets too thick drizzle in the evaporated milk. Continue this process until completely incorporated and the desired thickness. Scrape the sides down as needed.
- Add the purple gel food coloring and beat the frosting a final time on a high speed for 20 to 30 seconds.
- If the cake layers have domes, use a serrated knife to level off each layer.
- Filling pastry bag with some of the purple frosting. Pipe a ring of purple frosting on the perimeter of the cake layer, this will create a moat for the filling. Spoon in the caramel frosting. Repeat with the next two layers.
- Give the cake an initial coating of purple frosting. Let the cake set up in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Frost the cake with a final purple coating. Chill for another 15 minutes.
- Finish by decorating the cake with a boarder of caramel frosting and decorate with Samoa cookies.