Saturday, June 27, 2009

Coconut Layer Cake

This was my first attempt at making a coconut cake and I was really quite pleased with the outcome. I actually made this cake way back in March for my brother's birthday and I'm just now sharing with you. I know, pathetic.

I used two different recipes; one for the cake and one for the frosting. The cake is like a pound cake consistency and so I wanted to pair it with a cream cheese buttercream rather than the traditional meringue style. Both were incredible and I'll definitely be making again before the summer ends.

I didn't have my camera with me and I wanted to show what the inside looks like.

Coconut Layer Cake
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Makes one 9-inch, 4-layer cake.

1 large egg
5 large egg whites
3/4 cup cream of coconut
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour (9 ounces), sifted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 12 pieces, softened, but still cool
2 cups packed sweetened shredded coconut (about 8 ounces)

1. For the Cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with shortening and dust with flour.

2. Beat egg whites and whole egg in large measuring cup with fork to combine. Add cream of coconut, water, vanilla, and coconut extract and beat with fork until thoroughly combined.

3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on lowest speed to combine, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running on lowest speed, add butter 1 piece at a time, then beat until mixture resembles coarse meal, with butter bits no larger than small peas, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.

4. With mixer still running, add 1 cup liquid. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds. With mixer still running, add remaining 1 cup liquid in steady stream (this should take about 15 seconds). Stop mixer and scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then beat at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds. (Batter will be thick.)

5. Divide batter between cake pans and level with offset or rubber spatula. Bake until deep golden brown, cakes pull away from sides of pans, and toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes (rotate cakes after about 20 minutes). Do not turn off oven.

6. Cool in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes, then loosen cakes from sides of pans with paring knife, invert cakes onto racks and then re-invert; cool to room temperature.

7. While cakes are cooling, spread shredded coconut on rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until shreds are a mix of golden brown and white, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times. Cool to room temperature.

Adapted from somewhere

12 ounces of cream cheese slightly chilled
1 stick of butter plus 6 tablespoons of butter (7 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup of confectioners sugar, sifted after measuring
2 teaspoons of granulated sugar
¼ cup of water
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon of coconut extract

1. Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer and beat on medium speed until slightly fluffy and smooth. Add the butter 1-2 tablespoons at a time, mixing until smooth. Add the confectioner’s sugar and coconut extract and mix until fluffy. Set aside at room temperature while buttercream is made.

2. Combine the granulated sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Continue to cook without stirring until the syrup reaches the softball stage 228 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

3. Meanwhile, place the egg whites in mixer bowl and have the mixer ready to go. When the syrup is ready, turn the mixer on med-low and begin mixing the egg whites. Slowly add the hot syrup to the whites taking care not to pour onto the beaters, it may splash. When all the syrup is incorporated, raise the speed on the mixer to med-high and beat the egg whites until mixture has cooled and stiff meringue forms.

4. With the mixer on low, begin adding the cream cheese mixture by the spoonful. When all is incorporated, raise the speed to medium and whip until frosting is smooth and fluffy.

5. Spread a generous amount of frosting between each layer. Sprinkle the sides with toasted coconut. Enjoy.