5 ounces can equal a cup, and so can 8 ounces. No, we’re not in an alternate universe—just our kitchens.
Sometimes, recipes don’t execute like clockwork and the baker is facing down a mystery lump not a treat. I must clarify a baking 101 that I’ve been asked about more than once. I know many of you live in different states and a lot of others are in different countries, but two basic rules of baking apply to everyone everywhere.
You must measure your liquid ingredients using “wet” measuring container with markings such as 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces (or 240 milliliters). They are often made of clear or translucent plastic, glass, or silicon and have a spout for easy pouring.
Dry ingredients are measured using a set of “dry” measuring cups (1/4, 1/3, 1/2, and 1 cup), which are usually made of metal, plastic, or even porcelain and have a flat rim to allow you to scrape off the excess with a flat utensil. For example, 1 cup of unbleached AP flour equals 5 dry ounces.
Here is a better alternative. I weigh my dry ingredients, and I encourage you to do the same. It’s not only more precise, but you also use fewer bowls and utensils for each recipe, thus less cleaning.
I don’t weigh my liquids, however. I do use the cup markings on the side of a liquid measuring cup. All liquids have different densities, so weighing isn’t an accurate method.
So, if you are an occasional baker and not ready to commit to using a scale, at least get separate set of measuring cups for wet and dry ingredients. Without them, your end result will be unpredictable. We have enough unnecessary surprises in our lives, so why not eliminate what we can avoid?
Coconut-Carrot Cake w Pineapple-Coconut Cream Glaze
yield: one 9-inch cake
Coocnut Pastry Cream
2 cups canned coconut milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
Pinch fine sea salt
1/4 cup (1-1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into four pieces
1/2 teaspoons vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut rum
1. Heat coconut milk in medium saucepan over medium heat until just simmering. Meanwhile, whisk yolks, sugar, and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Add flour to yolk mixture and whisk until incorporated. Remove coconut milk from heat and, whisking constantly, slowly add coconut milk to yolk mixture to temper. Whisking constantly, return tempered yolk mixture to saucepan.
2. Return saucepan to medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, whisking constantly, 5-6 minutes.
3. Increase heat to medium and cook, whisking vigorously, until bubbles burst on surface, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat; whisk in butter, vanilla and rum until butter is melted and incorporated. Strain pastry cream through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl. Press lightly greased parchment paper directly on surface and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
Coconut-Pineapple Carrot Cake
adapted from Cook’s Country
2-1/2 cups (12-1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablepsoon pumpkin pie spice
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 8oz can crushed pineapple, in 100% pineapple juices
3/4 pound carrots (about 6 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1-1/4 cups (8-3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (2 ounces) packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350℉. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray. Line pans with parchment and spray parchment with cooking spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, ginger, and salt in large bowl.
2. Drain pineapple in fine-mesh strainer over a small bowl, press to extract as much juice as you can, reserve pineapple juice for glaze (recipe to follow).
3. Process carrots in food processor until finely ground. Transfer to large bowl and wipe processor bowl dry. Process coconut with granulated sugar until coconut is finely chopped. Add brown sugar and eggs and blend until mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. With machine running, slowly pour in oil and process until combined.
4. Transfer mixture to bowl with carrots. Add flour mixture and drained pineapple and stir until no streaks of flour remain. Pour into prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack, peel off parchment, and let cool completely, about 2 hours.
Coconut-Pineapple Carrot Cake
Coconut Pastry Cream
Pineapple-Coconut Cream Glaze, recipe to follow
1/2 cup large coconut flakes, toasted (optional)
1. Use serrated knife to cut each cake horizontally into 2 even layers. Place bottom layer of 1 cake on cake stand or serving platter. Using icing spatula, spread one -third of pastry cream evenly on cake, gently place top layer on top of pastry cream. Spread another one-third pastry cream on top of cake, repeat with remaining cake and pastry cream and end with cake layer on top. Refrigerate cake while preparing glaze.
Pineapple-Coconut Cream Glaze
Reserved pineapple juice
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Pinch of fine sea salt
4 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon coconut rum (optional)
1. Bring pineapple juice to boil in small saucepan over medium heat. Continue to boil until liquid has reduced to 2 tablespoons. Add coconut milk, corn syrup and salt, bring it to a simmer over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and add white chocolate, and vanilla. Whisk gently until smooth, 30 seconds. Refrigerate until thickened, about 30 minutes.
2. Remove mixture from refrigerator and whisk to loosen up glaze. Add cream cheese and rum, whisk vigorously to combine and lightened. Pour glaze onto center of cake. Use offset spatula to spread glaze to edge of cake, letting excess drip decoratively down sides. Sprinkle toasted coconut flakes (if use) on top. Chill finished cake 2 hours before slicing. Cake may be made one day ahead before serving.