Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Outrageous Coconut Cream Cake

Christmas time with my family is so special to me. There's my sister, watch as she measures the length of this cat!
And my Grandpa, festive and handsome in his holiday beret...
And my mama, so serious washing those dishes... She's probably thinking about the lyrics to a John Mayer song or something. My mom loves John Mayer. We listened to Heartbreak Warfare while I made this cake and she made fudge.
But do not even get me started on this one...
Be still my ovaries.

This special occasion deserves a special cake, and the Outrageous Coconut Cream Cake is as special as it gets.

There are three components to this beauty: a spongy coconut cake, a coconut cream filling, and a meringue frosting. If you have the lead time, you can make this cake in a few parts. A few days ahead, make your cake and freeze the layers. The day before, whip up the coconut cream filling. Then, on the day you're serving it, make the meringue, assemble the cake, and when your guests gush about your amazing talents, just toss your hair aside and say, "oh it was nothing."

So first the cake:
Dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt
Wet ingredients: coconut milk, vanilla extract
Now cream some butter and sugar...
And add three egg yolks. But save your egg whites, you'll use them too. Once the yolks are mixed in, alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients.

Now take the three egg whites in a large bowl, and beat them until they form soft peaks.
Soft peaks!

Fold the egg whites into the cake batter, and divide the cake batter evenly into three greased round cake pans. I grease them with butter, line the pans with parchment, then butter the parchment.

Bake the cakes at 350 for 25-30 minutes. They come out looking like this...
And they smell crazy good.

Now while these cool, you can make your custard filling. Start with cream and egg yolks.
And add it to sugar and flour in a saucepan.
Whisk the mixture over medium heat until it's thick like pudding.

In another pan, toast some coconut.
Add the coconut and some vanilla to the custard. Then, whip a bit of heavy cream, and add that as well. Now you have your filling, and you're almost there!
Now it's meringue time: Your first step is to dissolve some sugar in some egg whites. You do this by setting the bowl on top of a pot of boiling water.
Whisk whisk whisk!

Once the sugar is dissolved, you basically just beat the hell out of the egg whites until they stand on their own. They'll resemble marshmallow fluff, if you're familiar with that delectable treat. If you're having a hard time getting your eggs to stiffen, add a teaspoon or two of cream of tartar, that should help.
Beat it... Beat it... No one wants to be defeated!

Now frost your cake with the meringue, using a rubber spatula to make a swirly pattern.
Ok, now this cake is not done, and here comes the best part. The recipe says to brown the meringue with a kitchen torch.

My parents don't have a kitchen torch. Hmm... What to do?

Well it just so happens that my stepdad Matt is a contractor. So while we didn't have a kitchen torch...
Matt's propane torch was a perfectly good substitute!

It's glooooorious!
And it tastes as good as it looks!

Outrageous Coconut Cream Cake
From Fine Cooking, October 2009

For the cake

8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened; more for the pans
13-1/2 oz. (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, well shaken and at room temperature
1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature
6 large egg whites, at room temperature

For the filling
2 cups heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbs. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes, toasted
1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt

For the meringue
3 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups egg whites (about 10 large), preferably pasteurized, at room temperature

Make the cake
Position racks in the bottom and top thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
Butter three 9x2-inch round cake pans and line each with a parchment round. Butter the parchment.
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a 1-cup liquid measure, mix the coconut milk with the vanilla.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add about one-third of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add half of the coconut milk and mix until incorporated. Continue adding the flour mixture and coconut milk, alternating the two and ending with the flour. Add the sour cream and mix until incorporated. Pour the batter into a large bowl.

In a clean mixer bowl and using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a spatula, gently stir a large spoonful of the whites into the batter to loosen it, and then fold the remaining egg whites gently into the batter.
Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Level the batter with a spatula. Set two pans on the top rack and the third on the lower rack. Stagger the pans on the oven racks so that no pan is directly over another. Bake, swapping and rotating the pans’ positions after 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes total. Cool on racks for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the racks, remove the parchment, and cool completely.
Make the filling
In a medium bowl, whisk 11/2 cups of the cream and the egg yolks.
Combine the sugar and flour in a medium saucepan. Add the cream mixture and cook, whisking, over medium heat until smooth, 2 minutes. Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking, until thickened to a pudding consistency, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the coconut, butter, vanilla, and salt and let cool to room temperature.
With an electric hand mixer, whip the remaining 1/2 cup cream to soft peaks. With a spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the filling.
Assemble the cake
Put a cake layer on a flat serving platter or a cake stand lined with strips of waxed paper to keep it clean while icing. Top the layer with half of the filling, spreading it evenly with an offset spatula almost to the cake’s edge. Repeat with a second cake layer and the remaining filling. Top with the last cake layer.
Make the meringue
Put the sugar and egg whites in the metal bowl of a stand mixer (make sure it’s clean) and set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk constantly until the sugar melts completely, 3 to 4 minutes. Rub a small amount between your fingers to make sure all of the sugar grains have melted.
Transfer the bowl to the mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, and whisk at low speed until the mixture becomes completely opaque and begins to thicken, about 4 minutes. Raise the speed to medium and beat until thickened to soft peaks that barely hold their shape and flop over when the beater is lifted, 5 to 7 minutes. Finally, raise the speed to high and beat until glossy and thickened to medium-firm peaks that stand up stiffly but curl slightly at the tip when the beater is lifted, about 4 minutes more.
Using an offset spatula, apply the meringue thickly over the entire cake—don’t worry about spreading it smoothly or you’ll overwork the meringue (you may not need all of it). Then, repeatedly poke your fingertips into the meringue, pulling it into spikes all over the cake. Remove the waxed paper strips.
Using a kitchen torch, brown the meringue by holding the torch 2 to 3 inches from the meringue and waving the flame over the cake until it’s browned all over.
Make ahead: You can bake, cool, wrap, and store the cake layers at room temperature for up to 1 day or freeze for up to 1 month. You can refrigerate the assembled cake (without the meringue topping) for up to 4 hours before decorating it. Wait to make the meringue until you’re ready to finish the cake.


  1. That is such a beautiful post. I love all the time you took to post the process, and the photos of your family are so charming. Be still your ovaries? Bestill my thighs! That's one delish looking cake!

  2. Thanks Ivy! My family agrees to let me post their pictures in exchange for all the cake :-).


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