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14 November 2007 @ 07:52 pm
Recipe: Coconut-Cream Cake  
This is a recipe found in the December 2006 issue of Bon Appetite. I've made (almost) no modifications. This is supposedly a signature dessert cake made at LUNA in Spokane, Washington.

I really can't recommend this cake enough if you like coconut cake. It took me two days on my first try, but it was worth it. You'll want to read the recipe a few times before beginning.

You will need three cake pans!

Recipe: 10-12 servings
Practically: 16-20 servings
2 days on my first try

Coconut-Custard Filling
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 cups half and half
  • 4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 14 oz. unsweetened coconut milk

Buttercream Frosting
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 cups sweetened, flaked coconut

>>TIME MANAGEMENT TIP Because cooking times can vary by oven, it's always a good idea to start checking the cake a few minutes early If the tester comes out clean, the cake's done (Yeah, I know it's a big duh, but I'm copying the magazine.)

FOR COCONUT-CUSTARD FILLING: Beat eggs, flour, and sugar in a very large bowl. Place half and half and coconut in a heavy large saucepan. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into pan; add bean. Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Gradually whisk coconut mixture into egg mixture. Return to pan. Whisk over medium heat until mixture boils, about six minutes. Remove from heat. Discard bean. Whisk in butter. Transfer to very large bowl; press wrap onto surface and chill until cold, at least three hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. (I personally recommend doing this one day ahead. Splitting this project up over two days makes it doable and pleasant).

FOR CAKE: Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Spray three 8-inch cake pans with 2-inch-high-sides with nonstick spray. Line bottoms of pans with parchment (I wasn't sure what parchment meant, so I took it to mean wax paper. I traced a pan onto wax paper, cut inside the circle so it was small enough to fit inside the pan, and made two more from that pattern). Spray parchment. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in a large bowl until creamy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions alternately with coconut milk in two additions. Divide batter among pans; smooth tops.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 5 minutes (by racks it means let air get underneath. I just use my gas stove burners). Turn cakes out onto racks; cool completely (for this, I use my toaster oven grill stretched across my gas stove burners. Really do let them cool completely. This is going to be a six-layer cake, and if you break one of the cakes at this stage, it'll never stand.) Using serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally in half. Place cake halves on baking sheets in a single layer and freeze one hour for easy assemble.

FOR BUTTERCREAM: Whisk whipping cream, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and cornstarch in a heavy small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture just begins to boil. Transfer to a small bowl; cover and chill until cold, about two hours. (From my long experience making ice cream, sometimes this egg-and-cream mixture can develop some solid egg bits as it heats. If that happens, and it did to me while I was making this, just run the mixture through the flour sifter before putting it to chill. It's fine). DO AHEAD This vanilla base can be made one day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, and salt in a large bowl until fluffy, about 7 minutes. Gradually beat in cold vanilla base until smooth.

Place one cake round on a plate. Spread one cup coconut-custard filling over it. Repeat with 4 more cake layers and remaining filling. Top with remaining cake layer, pressing to adhere. Spread buttercream over sides and top of cake. Press coconut over sides and top of cake (this recipe assumes that at some mysterious point you toasted the coconut, since you can't buy it toasted. Spread it on a cookie sheet in the oven and bake it just a few minutes until it starts to brown. This can be done in advance as well).

MY MODIFICATION: Was totally cosmetic. I have some large-granulated sugar that is meant to look like crystals or snowflakes, and I sprinkled it on the top of the cake to make it look wintry and festive.

The cake keeps beautifully due to all the moistness between the layers. A week later it tasted just as good as the day it was made. Transporting it was a bit of a trick, so you may want to serve it at home if you can. It defies most covered cake stands with its formidable height.

Current Location: St. Paul, MN
Current Mood: lovedloved
Current Music: Memoirs of a Geisha
ecogryff: tamalesecogryff on November 15th, 2007 07:25 am (UTC)
omg, yum!
Pernille: candypernille_is_me on November 15th, 2007 08:33 am (UTC)
astrogeek01astrogeek01 on November 15th, 2007 02:13 pm (UTC)
I have fond memories of that cake... mmmm.
★Mella★: bellyschlopki on November 15th, 2007 06:34 pm (UTC)
o.O WOW that does look so so yummy!!!!! and it's huge! i wanna try this some time, thanks so much for posting!