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Entries in Coconut Cake (1)

Wednesday
Aug242011

Coconut Cake

Many years ago, I saw a glorious coconut cake on the cover of a magazine.  My several attempts at making it were a miserable mess.  There just didn’t seem to be enough cake batter to make this six layer cake, so I gave up. 

Then I saw Ina Garten make coconut cupcakes and pulled the recipe on-line.  I used her cake batter recipe with two big changes:  cake flour instead of all purpose flour, and buttermilk instead of whole milk.  The result was a sky high cake with a moist and tender crumb.  I also substituted this family recipe for Pastry Cream Filling, and used real whipped cream and coconut for the frosting. 

Fabulous, a little awkward at the last minute, and messy to cut. Never a piece left though.

Prepare Cake Pans: 

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Coconut Cupcakes 

Two 9x2”cake pans, plus one 6” cake pan (potentially, two 10x2” cake pans)

  • Butter and flour the bottom and sides of the pans. 
  • Cut parchment for bottom of pans, place inside, and butter and flour top of parchment.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

For the Cake:                                    

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra large eggs
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
3 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
7 oz sweetened coconut

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter for two minutes.  Add the sugar and cream together for another 3-4 minutes. 
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl. 
  • Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix. 
  • In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients with a wisk, or sift together.  
  • Alternately, add 1/3 of he dry ingredients, then 1/2 of the buttermilk until all is incorporated.  Do not overmix. 
  • Fold in coconut. 
  • Pour batter into pans until 2/3 full.  Don’t be tempted to overfill the pans if you have extra batter as it will result in a very dense cake.  Either discard or bake in individual cupcake pans. 
  • Bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. 
  • Let cool on racks for about 10 minutes in the pans, then remove the cakes from the pans and cool completely on racks.  (May be wrapped in plastic, then foil and stored for 2 weeks in the freezer.)  

For Cream Filling: 

6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
4 cups milk
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp pure almond extract
4 oz sweetened shredded cococut

  • In a saucepan, wisk the sugar with the flour. 
  • Add the egg yolks and mix into a paste.  Then add the milk and wisk until smooth. 
  • Over a medium low heat, continue stirring constantly until the mixture starts to boil.  
  • Once it boils, remove it from the heat, and stir in the remaining ingredients. 

Let cool in a glass or metal bowl, then cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours.  I usually make this the day before I am going to assemble the cake.

For Frosting:

1 pint heavy whipping cream, cold
1 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pure almond extract

  • Place the beaters and the bowl in the freezer for about 30 minutes before whipping the cream.
  • Beat the cream until peaks start to form. 
  • Add the vanilla, and the sugar and beat until very stiff peaks form.

To Assemble:

  • Level the the top of the first layer, and place it top down on a serving plate. 
  • Add a thick layer of the filling (1/2 inch), to about 1/2 inch of the edges. 
  • Place the second layer bottom side down and press to even out the filling. 
  • Cover the top and sides of the cake with the whipped cream, then cover top and sides with the remaining shredded coconut.  Keep chilled until ready to serve.