Well, I am officially past the “half” of NaBloPoMo, and still going like a slightly decelerated Energizer Bunny. I have designated Fridays in November as “Dessert Recipe Days,” and I have a good one for you today. Its not pumpkin or remotely Thanksgiving-y, but it is lovely.
It is not as authentic as Alton Brown’s version, which sounds good, but requires that you start by buying whole coconuts to get the milk to make the cake AND that you make your own coconut flakes. I admire Alton’s enthusiasm (seriously, I do) and if I was in a position to spend hours making a single cake (other than my Buche de Noel, which always takes hours to make) I’d be all over it. This recipe is a compromise; it is an honest-to-goodness scratch cake, and no power tools are required to obtain any necessary ingredients. I also quite like the layer of lemon curd, which breaks up the overwhelming sweetness of cake and frosting. This is a very pretty cake, and is lovely for birthdays, “lady parties” and spring festivities like Easter.
This recipe comes from “Everyday Food,” a publication that I generally do not find terribly useful. Its in the “I wanted to like it” category, and its not awful, I have just found that we do not love what I make using the recipes, and there are high number of recipes for things that, for various reasons, will never be eaten in this house. On the other hand, I’ve made this cake twice, and its a keeper.
Coconut Layer Cake
(From “Everyday Food”)
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks (reserve whites for frosting)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk
- Seven Minute Frosting (recipe follows)
- Lemon Curd (available in jars in the jams and jellies section of most grocery stores)
- 1 bag Sweetened, shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 35, with rack in center. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment papers rounds; butter paper (I just spray with butter-flavored non-stick spray). Dust paper and sides of pans with flour, tapping out excess.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with milk in two, beginning and ending with flour. Mix until just combined.
- Divide evenly between prepared pans. Place pans next to each other in oven (without touching); cook until a roothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.
- Cool pans 10 minutes on wire rack. Run knife around edges; invert cakes onto rack. Peel off parchment; reinvert and let cool completely before assembling. (I actually do the inverting using two plates to secure the cake while “inverting” it).
(You can buy frosting if you want, but this tastes better, is lighter and more elegant, and will make you feel like June Cleaver)
- 3 large egg whites (reserved from cake
- 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- In a medium saucepan, bring 2 inches of water to a simmer.
- In a large, heatproof mixing bowl, combined egg whites, corn syrup, cream of tartar, cold water and sugar.
- Place bowl over simmering water (it should not touch water; with a hand-held mixer beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes.
- Remove bowl from heat; beat 3-5 minutes more to cool. Use immediately.
- In a small bowl mix 1/4 cup lemon curd with 3/4 cup Seven Minute Frosting. Place bottom cake layer on a platter, tuck strips of parchment under edges of cake. (This is for cosmetic purposes; you mess up the parchment as you frost and decorate, and then remove it to leave an immaculate platter).
- Leaving a 1-inch border, spread layer with lemon-curd mixture and 1/2 cup coconut. Top with remaining layer.
- Spread 2 cups frosting over top; spread remaining on sides (push spatula in a forward motion to prevent crumbs).
- Sprinkle 1 1/4 coconut over cake; pat gently on sides. (I use as much coconut as it takes to create fluffy beauty, and pat very gently to avoid smushing).
- Optional: I garnish this cake with a twist of lemon on the top, or (in the spring) with edible flowers.