If at first (second, third, fourth, fifth, etc.) you don't succeed...bake again.
Thanks to a few of Rose Levy Beranbaum's tips for success (her Cake Bible is something every home baker should own) and a bit of common sense, I now have cocoanut [sic] cakes--cupcakes, actually--that look the part. They are airy, golden brown and have a curved top. No more sunken centers.
To achieve this, I cut back on the baking powder by 1 teaspoon (1/4 of the entire recommended amount), cut back on the sugar slightly, as I was out of fresh cocoanut and had to use sweetened, and changed the mixing method.
Feather Cocoanut Cake (1928/2010)
1-1/2 c. pastry flour
3/4 c. sugar
1 tbl. baking powder
4 tbl. butter (room temperature)
1 tsp. lemon extract
1/2 c. grated cocoanut
1 large egg
1/2 c. milk.
Measure out the flour and sift. Measure again, and discard excess. Measure the sugar, baking powder and salt into the flour and sift a second time. Whisk dry ingredients.
In a separate large bowl, cream the butter. Add in about 1/4 c. of the dry mixture and cream. Next add a portion of the milk, blend in well, and beat* for at least 30 seconds. Continue to alternate the mixing of dry and wet; add in the egg. After each incorporation, beat the batter again. Reserve a small portion of the dry to mix with the cocoanut; mix this in after the lemon extract.
Beat well, until the batter forms ribbons.
Makes one 9" cake, or 1 dozen cupcakes.
Bake at 375 F until gently risen and golden around the edges. If making cupcakes, begin checking at 13 minutes. Cake could take as long as 45 minutes.
DO NOT open oven until at least 15 minutes have passed, and be sure to open and close the oven door very gently.
Cool for about 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely.
Serve as is, or with lavender cream cheese frosting, or frosting or glaze of your choice.
*Yes, by hand! Fine; you can use your mixer if you want to, but this is a great way to burn off some calories before you polish off most of the cupcakes.