, ,

Maple-Rosemary Ribs and Creamy Coconut Cake


Although we ate it standing up while doing dishes, it was a good one today, on account of our “Ode to the Pig” this morning on CBC. I could not do a pork show without making ribs, but in typical Julie fashion did not make it out to buy them until close to 8 Monday night, which had them coming out of the oven (I always pre-bake ribs on a rimmed baking sheet, covered tightly with foil, at 300F for 2.5-3 hours) at around 11. I didn’t have any barbecue sauce, so was going to make them ginger-soy in the morning. I finished up some stuff and went to bed at midnight.

At 12:10, it occurred to me that maple-rosemary ribs would be pretty fantastic. And why not add the sauce now, so that the ribs marinate overnight? Why not marinate cooked meat, when it’s all about flavour? So I fumbled around for my glasses and padded back downstairs, separated the ribs and put them in a pot with 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup soy sauce, a couple squirts of grainy mustard and the leaves pulled from a few stems of rosemary. Then I put it back in the fridge, and this morning put the pot over medium heat, brought it to a simmer and cooked them for about 15 minutes, to rewarm and glaze the ribs. They were like the very best candy; tonight when we reheated the leftovers I found myself running my finger through the bottom of the pot to get every last drip of the sauce. It was late, and M had to go out, so we ate ribs, teeny rainbow Hotchkiss carrots, strawberries and apples. M and I ate the ribs while cleaning the kitchen, and when he left W insisted we eat the fruit, carrots and some cheese outside sitting on a towel (he will sit on a washcloth and call it a picnic).

Maple Rosemary Ribs

Put a rack or two of side or back pork ribs on a rimmed baking sheet and cover with foil; bake at 300F for 2 1/2-3 hours. When cool enough to handle, separate into ribs.

In a large pot, combine:
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. Dijon or grainy mustard
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Add the ribs to the pot and let sit for half an hour or so, or refrigerate overnight (or for up to two days, if well covered so they don’t dry out). When ready to eat, set the pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer.

Simmer for about 20 minutes, tossing them around in the pot so that the ribs absorb some of the sauce, get glazed and and sticky, and heat through. Serves 4.

And the cake! That was actually lunch, but I had to include it, because it did contribute significantly to our caloric intake for the day. And it’s so pretty. (Two friends were having or recently had birthdays, so I invited them and their juniors over for lunch.) It is actually lower in fat than many cakes, and I didn’t use coconut milk, which is common in coconut cakes and not a bad idea per se, but gets lost, I think, and is ultimately a waste of coconut milk that could be put to better use elsewhere, especially considering the high quantity of saturated fat it contains.

When I make coconut cake I just use a regular white or yellow cake recipe, and add 2 tsp. coconut extract in place of the vanilla. Easy. Same with the frosting – I generally start with a lump of soft butter and add a dribble of extract, then add icing sugar and splashes of milk until I have something spreadable. Is that enough to go on? If not, I’ll add some more precise measurements below.

I kind of wish I had left it a pristine white, but I went and (over)toasted some shredded coconut, and so decided to sprinkle it over top anyway. I like the crunch it adds to the soft, buttery cake.

Creamy Coconut Cake

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. canola oil (optional)
3 large eggs
2 tsp. coconut extract
1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray two 8” or 9” round cake pans or one 9”x 13” pan with nonstick spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a larger bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer for about half a minute, until it’s pale and creamy. Pour in the sugar (and oil if you’re using it) and continue to beat for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each, and adding the coconut extract somewhere along the way. Scrape down the sides of the bowl whenever it needs it.

Add about one-third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir it in by hand or with the electric mixer on low speed, just until it’s combined. Add about half the milk in the same manner, then another third of the flour, the rest of the milk, and the rest of the flour, mixing just until the batter is blended.

Divide the batter between the greased cake pans and tap the bottoms a few times on the countertop to remove any air bubbles. To prevent a domed top, spread the top of the batter with a spatula, creating a slight dent in the middle and a raised edge. This compensates for the way a cake tends to rise higher in the middle.

Bake for 30-35 minutes for round layers or 40-45 minutes for a 9-x 13-inch cake, until golden, the edges are pulling away from the sides of the pan, and the tops are springy to the touch. Let them cool for about 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge of the pans and inverting them onto a wire rack. Cool completely before you frost them.

Coconut Frosting:
1/4-1/2 cup butter, softened (depending on whether you’re watching fat intake or not)
1 tsp. coconut or vanilla extract
3 cups icing sugar
1/4-1/3 cup milk, as needed to achieve a spreadable consistency

In a medium bowl, beat the butter and extract with an electric mixer until creamy. Add about a third each of the icing sugar and milk; beat and continue to add each until you have a spreadable frosting. Makes enough for 1 cake or a batch of cupcakes.

One Year Ago: Grilled Farmers’ Sausage, Roasted Sweet Potato and Braised Red Cabbage



About Julie

You May Also Like

37 comments on “Maple-Rosemary Ribs and Creamy Coconut Cake

  1. Pierre Lamielle
    May 5, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Phew, thanks Julie. At least you know you’ve got some loyal readers.
    Sorry for the confusion ladies and I hope there are no hard feelings.
    Hugs and love to all the moms, mothers and mommies… especially all Yo Mommas!

  2. Donna
    May 5, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    Great looking ribs and cake. I can almost taste them – the pictures are so good.
    Your friend Pierre’s blog shows a creative mind and quirky sense of humor. Entries here felt a bit like we were being thrown into an aussie rules football game when we thought we were playing badminton.
    I prefer badminton, if I am to be a player. :)

  3. Jenni
    May 6, 2009 at 3:06 am

    Speaking as one of the birthday girls – the “over toasted” coconut was my favourite part of the cake :)

  4. Carolyn
    May 6, 2009 at 4:05 am

    I’m so glad that the nastiness is over with Pierre. Julie, reading your posts are something I look forward to every day. I can’t wait to make the coconut cake – I think i’ll do it up in cupcake format for Mother’s Day. Have you tried it with a 7-minute frosting (aka your marshmallow frosting in OSC)?

  5. Manon from Ontario
    May 6, 2009 at 4:40 am

    I’m so glad about Pierre, cause his comments made me smile, it was kind of funny!

    Wow those ribs, menoum, like we say in French! Was that MY maple syrup Julie, or are you already all out?

    Hope you had a great picnic with W, and Lou I’m sure!

    MFO :)

  6. Fiona
    May 6, 2009 at 5:02 am

    Ohh, that cake is perfect for my Mother’s Day lunch on Sunday. I was going to do a hot milk cake, but this sounds delicious. Now all I have to do is figure out the main…

    That Pierre is quite a character. if I ate chicken, I’d make Yo Momma’s Stuffed Thighs, for sure.

  7. Mrs. M
    May 6, 2009 at 5:13 am

    The coconut cake is beautiful!
    I have a little boy’s birthday coming up soon…may be just the ticket.
    ….and my husband would die if I made those ribs…he’ld be praising and bowing for days…better go take some out of the freezer now!:)

  8. Elaine
    May 6, 2009 at 6:22 am

    It’s reasurring to know that getting out of bed in the middle of the night in order to tweak the next day’s dinner is not totally abnormal.

  9. Dana
    May 6, 2009 at 6:34 am

    Yummy take on New Southern cuisine!

    I discovered grilling bags a couple of years ago and use them for ribs all the time now since they cut out that precooking step even when you use them in the oven:


  10. Melissa@ For the Love of Health
    May 6, 2009 at 6:49 am

    My Goodness! That looks soooooo good! I love coconut and that cake would be Heaven for me!
    My boyfriend would love me forever if I made ribs like that. I am definitely going to attempt the recipe at some point :-)

    That’s great you cleared things up with Pierre- haha :-)

  11. Cheryl
    May 6, 2009 at 6:56 am

    Damn, I am so disappointed I had to miss that cake yesterday.

  12. robyn
    May 6, 2009 at 8:28 am

    Hey Julie,
    Are you open to people posting their own blog link on your blog?

  13. Barb
    May 6, 2009 at 8:49 am

    I may have to try those ribs myself. The bags Dana is talking about sound like quite the thing.

  14. Morgan
    May 6, 2009 at 11:46 am

    I feel like I could pick up that slice of cake from the picture and just wolf it down…it looks mouth-watering delicious!

  15. JulieVR
    May 6, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Robyn – in the comments, you mean? Of course! There’s lots of room for everyone to play. I’m always interested in seeing what everyone is up to. Just don’t try to sell pharmaceuticals or sex toys here.

  16. Steph
    May 6, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    I really like that this recipe has less butter. I’m definitely going to give it a try. I totally agree with you, it is a waste to add coconut milk.

  17. Pat
    May 6, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    The ribs look great!
    HELP!!! I need your expertise Julie. I am making spinach-artichoke lasagna on Saturday for a friend to serve on Sunday. Should I cook it Saturday and have her reheat it on Sunday, or keep it in the fridge, and have her cook it Sunday???? I appreciate your input.

  18. Hélène
    May 6, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Just discovered your blog. Lot’s of great recipes. I’ll be following it and will be back.

  19. Alejandra
    May 6, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    This looks really gorgeous! I love coconut and want to give this a try.

  20. Amrita
    May 6, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    This one’s like a dream post, seriously…
    Juicy ribs with an all-time favorite coconut cake!!!

  21. Avery
    May 6, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    I have to make those ribs soon; I’m not even a rib fan, and I’m drooling.
    Bad news, btw… I tested both my baking powder and soda, and they’re both alive and well. That means I’m just a bad muffin-mixer. Heavy sigh…

  22. JulieVR
    May 6, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    Pat – I emailed you earlier! I’d bake it, then reheat it. Lasagnas always seem to reheat well, and are less sloppy, even.

    Avery – OK, you are going to have to come over here and make muffins and I’ll watch and we’ll see what’s up. Actually you should come the same time as Jenni – she wants to learn how to make her Grandma’s cinnamon buns! how domestic would that be? we could all get together and bake while our babies play.

  23. Sophie
    May 6, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    MMMMMM….Julie, my new foodie friend!! What a lovely meal!!
    Those ribs look finger licking good! That tarte looks excellently delicious & decadent!! MMMMMMMMMMMM…..

  24. Kathy
    May 7, 2009 at 5:13 am

    Julie those ribs look divine and I can’t wait to make them. If I double the recipe, they’d be perfect for our weekly potluck we go to!

    Julie where’s the best price you’ve found for baby backs?

  25. Diane
    May 7, 2009 at 6:46 am

    I have been reading your blog for a couple of months now and my file “recipes to try” is growing every day!!! Somehow I feel connected as I grew up in Calgary. I smiled really big when I was browsing recipes and found “puffed wheat squares”!! HAHA. My childhood favorite. Just try and find puffed wheat here in Utah – a real search. Love the blog. Our family will be eating what your family is eating.

  26. Avery
    May 7, 2009 at 6:47 am

    Awesome… that would be uber-domestic! We should do it all whilst sipping afternoon martinis… wait, maybe that’s why my muffins never turn out…
    I’m planning on making your cinnamon sticky buns for Mother’s day (which, again, taste great but never look as puffy as yours).

  27. Jamie
    May 7, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Wow do those ribs look fabulous and, yes, truly finger-licking good. I love the marinade recipe and I will try it!

    That cake looks wonderful, too. I could also eat just that for lunch!

  28. Meghan
    May 9, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    The recipe’s sound fantastic! I’ll be using it for tomorrow.

    The pictures are really well done, and make the food look even more delectable. I’m actually planning a dinner for my Mother. For Mother’s day. And I don’t intend on letting her lift a finger.

    I’m super excited, thanks for the great recipes.

  29. Brigid
    May 10, 2009 at 8:45 am

    Made the Ribs. My husband, who doesn’t even like pork ribs, had ten bones on his plate by meal’s end. Good to the last lick. Keep up the good work Julie! I hope your goose egg heals. Happy Mother’s Day.

  30. Sandra
    August 7, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Hi Julie,
    I got the recipe for the ribs when you were on CBC and cooked them for my husband. Not trusting my oven, I cooked them a bit longer and they were overdone. Nevertheless, my husband loved them and I was planning to make them again tonight (cooking them for 2-1/2 hrs. only) but could not find the recipe. I went to the Eyeopener website and followed the link. Oh, joy!!! A treasureload of recipes. Thank you so much.

  31. shilo
    March 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Thank you Julie for having this Coconut Cake recipe – after searching the net of blogs with an easy “white cake/or coconut cake without the milk in it” i went straight to you – which i shouldve done in the first place! I love your blog – and even praised you in my own blog! haha keep up the amazing cooking!

  32. panasonic 3d tv offers
    May 6, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Couldn’t be written any better. Reading this publish jogs my memory of my previous room mate! He at all times saved speaking about this. I will forward this article to him. Fairly positive he could have an excellent read. Thanks for sharing!

  33. Darlene
    August 27, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Hi Julie… Darlene here from Lacombe…attending a rib cook-off today and of course perusing your website for the “winning” ribs!! I will attempt to make your maple-rosemary ribs – sure to wow them!! Hope your summer has been wonderful, and I wish you the best for the fall.

  34. Lucianna
    December 3, 2011 at 10:31 am

    My friend and I made this cake for a friend’s birthday. Never have we received so many compliments on a cake before. So much so that I think this may become THE cake to make!! We did actually substitute almond extract for the coconut extract because none of the FOUR grocery stores we went to carried it. (We’re still shocked by this).We also didn’t add the canola oil- but the cake was so dense/moist that it wouldn’t have been necessary. Whatever the case, I will be most certainly making this cake again- next time, with real coconut extract!

  35. Laura Chutny
    January 11, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Julie, those ribs were the best indoor ribs my family has ever had. By a long shot. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.