Tuesday, April 28, 2009

That's What Friends Are For...

“True friends are the ones who never leave your heart,
even if they leave your life for awhile.” –Author Unknown

The year was 1971, and I was just graduating from high school and heading to Roosevelt Hospital School of Nursing. I would be living away from home (of course, not if my father had anything to do with it, lol...he's comment was "Italian girls leave home in a wedding dress or a coffin." My mother however, was far more progressive, and let my father think he made the decision to allow me to go (he was such a pushover.)

My first day in the dorm, and I met a few girls who would become my dear friends, Kathy Skelly (Sullivan) Tina Terenzi, Diane Kobert (Hochman), Cathy McClenin, Leslie Staub, and Bernadette Walsh. We all lived on the same floor and we all hung out together.

After nursing school, some of us drifted apart, but I stayed in touch with Kathy and Tina through the years. We stayed in touch through marriages, divorces, babies, children serving in Iraqi, and now grandchildren. I was talking to Kathy and asked if she ever heard from Diane. It seemed like Diane had fallen off the face of the earth. I decided to join Facebook and put in my information, including nursing school, and a few weeks after this conversation, Diane found me on Facebook. Now, she Kathy, Tina, and I are all in touch once again.

Tina with grandson Peyton Morales

Kathy Skelly Sullivan has more grandchildren than I can count :)

Diane and her family

Diane and I seemed to have a lot of parallels in our lives, one of them being that we love to cook, and we both have a food blog. She is currently redoing her blog and when it is up, I'll post the link here. We were talking about recipes and she told me she had a great cake recipe and would I be interested in it. I sure was, I love all recipes. She sent me the recipe and a picture of the beautiful cake.

Although the format is not step by step, I think you will enjoy making this beautiful cake that Diane was kind enough to let me print here. After all, that's what friends are for :)

White Chocolate Cake
Diane Kobert Hochman

Original Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, 2002 (I have edited the recipe to make it mine)


2 cups butter (divided 1 1/2 cups and 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup water
8 ounces white chocolate chopped (divided 4 ounces and 4 ounces)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
4 slightly beaten eggs
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract (note: the original called for rum extract)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 (7 ounce) packages flaked coconut (reserve 1/2 cup for cake batter)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
6 cups sifted, powdered sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
edible flowers (optional)

Remove 1/2 cup butter and all cream cheese from the refrigerator to soften.

Pre-heat oven to 325°F.

Place coconut (minus 1/2 cup) in a plastic bag. Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar and shake to coat.
Arrange coconut on a baking sheet so that it lies flat. Toast for 12-15 minutes or until tinted brown. Remove from oven and move to a plate. Set aside.

Increase oven temp to 350°. (Note: if you are using dark, non-stick pans, do not increase oven temperature.

Grease and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans (Baker's Joy works just fine). Set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring butter and water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add 4 ounces white chocolate and stir till melted. Whisk in the buttermilk. Temper ( add a little of the of mixture to the eggs, whisking quickly so the eggs don't cook) the eggs with the butter mixture then add eggs to saucepan. Add in the coconut extract.

In an extra large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir in the egg mixture. Divide batter between the prepared pans.

Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and cool on wire rack.

While the cakes are cooling, make frosting:

Melt 4 ounces white chocolate (over a double boiler or in the microwave in 30 second increments - even though it may not look melted, stir it and add more time in 15 second increments) , let cool 10 minutes.

Beat 1/2 cup softened butter and the 11 ounces of cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined and smooth. Beat in the white chocolate.
Gradually add 6 cups powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Reserve 1 cup for decorating.

When the cakes are cooled, level the tops of the cakes. Place strips of waxed paper under what will be the bottom layer. Using an offset spatula, frost the top of the bottom layer, leaving 1/4-inch unfrosted. Place the second layer on top. Starting with the sides, fill in the gap between the layers, then put a light coat around the sides of the cake. Frost the top. Go back and re-frost with a heavier layer of frosting, until all of the frosting is used up. Swirl the frosting around making a consistent pattern all over the cake. Remove waxed paper strips.

If using, place flowers around cake. Carefully place coconut on top of cake. Using either a pastry bag and star tip, or decorating tool of your choice, strategically decorate between the flowers with the reserved frosting.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

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White Chocolate Cake on Foodista

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