Coconut Cake

February 12, 2009 at 5:20 pm 4 comments

My grandparents came to visit for the months of Febuary and March this year to get out of the cold Chicago weather. Since Grandma arrived the day after her birthday I knew a cake was in order. She LOVES coconut so I agonized over which cake to make. I finally decided on a cook’s illustrated recipe and I’m glad I did. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the cake except for me because I don’t like coconut. 🙂

Coconut Layer Cake
For the cake:
1 large egg
5 large egg whites
3/4 Cup cream of coconut
1/4 Cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
2 1/4 Cups cake flour, sifted
1 Cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces, softened, but still cool
2 Cups packed sweetened shredded coconut

For the frosting:
4 large egg whites
1 Cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 pound unsalted butter (4 sticks) cut into 6 pieces, softened, but still cool
1/4 Cup cream of cocnut
1 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the cake: adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with butter and dust with flour. Beat egg whites and whole egg in large measuring cup with a fork to combine. Add cream of coconut, water, vanilla, and coconut extract and beat with fork until thoroughly combined.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the 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, 2-2 1/2 minutes.

With the 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.)

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 20 minutes). Do not turn off often.

While cakes are cooling spread shredded coconut on rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until coconut is a mix of golden brown and white, about 15-20 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times. Cool to room temperature.
For the buttercream: combine whites, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set the bowl over a saucepan containing 1 1/2 inches of barely simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture is opaque and warm to the touch (and registers 120 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes.

Transfer bowl to the mixer and beat whites on high speed with whisk attachment until barely warm (about 80 degrees) and whites are glossy and sticking, about 7 minutes. Reduce speed to medium high and beat in butter 1 piece at a time. Beat in cream of coconut and coconut and vanilla extracts. Stop mixer and scrape bottom and sides of bowl. Continue beating at medium-high until well combine, about 1 minute.

To assemble the cake cut layers in half horizontally using a long serrated knife (so each cake forms 2 layers). Put a dab of icing on a cardboard round cut just larger than the cake. Center one cake layer on the round. Place a large blob of icing in the center of the layer and spread it in to the edges with an icing spatula. Hold the spatula at a a 45 degree angle to the cake and drag it across the surface to level the icing. Repeat with remaining cake layers. To ice the sides of the cake, scoop up a large dab of icing with the tip of the spatula and spread it on the sides with short side-to-side strokes. Sprinkle the top of the cake with coconut. Then press the coconut into the sides, letting the excess fall back onto a baking sheet.

Source: Cook’s Illustrated


Entry filed under: Cakes, dessert.

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