Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ciopinno and Coconut Cake

Every year for my birthday, I bake a cake and make the Italian seafood stew, Ciopinno. This year was no different, except that this year it wasn't actually on my birthday day (work schedules and all) that I made this to celebrate with my family. It was the very best stew I have ever made and I had to share.

Adapted from: The Best of Sunset

1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
2 T. dried parsley, minced
28 oz. can tomato sauce
3 -15 oz. cans Italian diced tomatoes
1 glass red wine
2 t. Italian seasoning
Simmer 20 minutes.

1-2 lbs. true cod, halibut or salmon, cut into 1 inch chunks
1-2 cooked Dungeness crabs, add crab legs in the shell and meat from body
1-2 lbs. live Manila clams, scrubbed
1 lb. live mussels, scrubbed
1 lb. shrimp, shelled
1 lb. scallops
1 lb. squid, cut into rings
Cover and simmer medium-low taking great care not to scorch. Clam and mussel shells should open and fish flake easily.

This is better the following day. And the day after that, if one is lucky enough to still have any left in the fridge, which often is the case and one of the reasons for this continuing birthday tradition.

I made this cake found in The Complete Southern Cookbook by Tammy Algood (click here) for my husband's birthday last April but never got around to sharing the recipe. This is the author's grandmother's recipe and her daddy's favorite cake. That I took as a serious endorsement. I made it again last weekend for my birthday (notice the trend here?) and simply had to share it. The first time I made it I wasn't sure how it would turn out. It it put together rather oddly compared to the usual way cakes are made but it's fabulous! The original recipe is a Four-Layer Coconut Cake and when I made it in April I baked the full recipe in three pans (because that's what I have). Last weekend when I made it, I halved the recipe for this Two-Layer Coconut Cake -a more modest approach that means I'm eating cake for breakfast only once rather than all week!

Two-Layer Coconut Cake
Adapted from: The Complete Southern Cookbook by Tammy Algood
Yields 6 southern-style servings (or 8 moderate servings)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease and flour two non-stick 9 inch cake pans.
Combine with mixer, mixing well:
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. cream tartar
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. solid vegetable shortening
1/4 c. butter, softened

1/2 c. coconut milk
1 t. coconut extract
1/2 t. vanilla extract

Add 3 eggs, one at a time and mixing well after each addition.
Stir in 1 c. shredded coconut.
Divide batter between two pans and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and turn onto racks and cool completely. Frost with Coconut Milk Frosting then sprinkle with shredded coconut. Candles are optional.

Coconut Milk Frosting

Beat with mixer until fluffy:
1/2 c. butter, softened
two pinches salt
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. coconut extract

Add alternately:
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/3 c. coconut milk


  1. well, Happy Birthday!!!

    and yet again ~ that shared-foodie-wavelength thing is happening

    Ciopinno ~ I've been craving it for about a week and voila, there you go and post your yummy creation

    that looks as good as any I have ever tried...the broth is actually my favorite part and yours looks particulary rich and delicious!!


  2. Happy Belated Birthday!!

    This coconut cake looks amazing with all the ways to get the coconut in there. I'm going to make one, but I'll have to make it gluten-free.
    Also, Bob loves ciopinno, so I'll print this one too!

    Thanks for sharing,