Domestication: Cuban Food & Coconut Cake

After watching Julie & Julia with my mom, I immediately slit my wrists and watched "Hood 2 Hood" 4 times in a row in attempt to rid myself of the filth that I had just witnessed. Under no circumstances should anyone watch this movie NOT under the influence of mushrooms. Meryl Streep talking in that obnoxious Julia Child's voice instantly blew out my left and right ear drums and that Peter Pan-looking broad's haircut is singlehandedly responsible for every case of clinical depression in America. Then again, so are the "bangs" that I gave myself with my roommates kitchen scissors. Anyhow, the movie reminded me that I should join the rest of the food blogging/adult female community and cook something once in a while.

Thank goodness I decided to cook because I am a cooking GOD. I am the MANNY PACQUIAO of the kitchen (DIE CLOTTEY). As you might recall from previous Cuban-related posts, I am very good at eating Cuban food and I figured I would be equally as good at cooking it, which turns out to be true. I made camarones al ajillo aka garlic shrimp (with some red snapper because I had extra lying around), Arroz Moro aka white rice with Cuban black beans, and platanos aka plantains.

Here's the garlic shrimp recipe from I made some modifications because I did it a little bit different.


1/2 cup pure Spanish olive oil or more to taste
10 garlic, finely chopped
1 pound prawns or medium shrimp
2 red snapper filets
1/3 cup flour
ice cubes
salt and pepper
4-5 tomatillos
juice of 2 limes
pinch of dried oregano
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

In a large skillet over low heat, heat the oil until it is fragrant, then cook the garlic and tomatillos, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes. Mix flour with water add ice cubes to make a batter. But salt and pepper on the shrimp, cut the fish into smaller pieces, and batter them. Raise the heat to medium, add the shrimp and fish, and cook, stirring, until they turn pink/cook, 5 minutes. (If you prefer extra oil, add it along with shrimp.) Add the lime juice, salt, oregano, and cilantro, and stir well.

Annihilate this to shreds.

Toss ya scrimps like a salad.

Tomatillos y lime.


Cook with the fishies.

DAMN BABY, how much? Plate it nicely, add more cilantro, and throw it on a street corner. SCRIMPIN'.

Next is the ARROZ MORO. I got it from (DIBS).


2 cans of black beans
3-4 cups of already cooked white rice
1/3 cup of sofrito casero (Blend onion, bell pepper, garlic and cilantro til puree)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon of oregano and a drizzle of vinegar
2 garlic clove finely chopped
1 cup of beer
1/2 can tomato sauce

In a pot, add olive oil and sautee garlic and sofrito for a minute. Add salt, pepper, cumin and oregano to sofrito and mix. Add beans and mix well. Add tomato sauce and beer or broth and mix.

After 5 minutes, add vinegar and stir. Add 2-3 cups of already cooked white rice (at room temperature) and mix well. Cook until all is absorbed (about 10-15 minutes).

Let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

The sofrito mix.

Pureed the sofrito with olive oil and it turned into this boogery slush.

Heated it up with the garlic and spicies.

Added a touch of class with a cup of PBR.


I also made some platanos. You just peel, cut in half, and fry them til they blister. Pair it with some Mexican crema and INHALE.

AIN'T NOTHIN TO A BOSS. Look at that, pure unadulterated talent on a platter.


So I also made a cake. I don't know why I was being so wildly ambitious the other day but I guess I became possessed by Paula Deen's alarming passion for butter because I made a coconut cake with pineapple cream cheese frosting. The original recipe was Ina Garten's coconut cake recipe (Paula's recipe was scary) but I added pineapple to the frosting and made it my own.


* 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
* 2 cups sugar
* 5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
* 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
* 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 cup milk
* 4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

For the frosting:

* 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
* 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
* 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
* 6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
* 1/2 can of crushed pineapple


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until just smooth (don't whip!).

To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.

And there you have it, I am a LADY. What a transformation it has been...I am getting used to the childbearing and the whole being potty trained thing. I owe my domestication to this majestic woman:


donuts4dinner said…
We just became friends on Foodbuzz, which is sort of ironic, since I was an extra in Julie & Julia and think it's sooooo cute.

I hope this doesn't lessen your boner for me.

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