Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!


Friday, March 30, 2012

Coconut and Lemon Layer Cake

Harry Nilsson may have told us to put "Da Lime in Da Coconut" but I think a little lemon in the coconut is better. Since Easter is quickly coming upon us I thought I'd trot out an old southern favorite - the coconut cake and combine it with one of my favorite taste treats - lemon curd.

The result is a great layer cake featuring a wonderfully light and white cake delicately flavored with coconut and vanilla filled with a crisp and bright lemon flavor. Add some sweetened coconut to some cream cheese frosting and, man! this is one good cake!

Coconut cakes are a staple in the south for holidays. You'll find them at both Christmas and Easter. Often the filling will be coconut and pecan. However, for Spring it just seems more appropriate to have something a little brighter for the taste buds.

I use Dickinson's Lemon Curd for this because it's one of my preferred brands (alongside MacCay's). But you can make your own or use whatever brand you prefer. You'll need about one jar for this cake to get a nice thick filling between layers.

This recipe also calls for coconut milk. If you aren't used to working with coconut milk in recipes here are a couple tips. Coconut milk tends to separate and solidify while sitting on the shelf. Before opening the can you'll want to shake it up really well. Most of the time, this won't solve your solidity problem though. To get the milk into a liquid form you'll need to heat it some. There are two ways. First, you can open the can fully and place it in a warm water bath until the solids liquify and mix with the liquids. Stir it up really good before using. Second, you can dump the whole thing into a glass measuring cup and heat it for about 15 seconds in the microwave and give it a stir. Either works.

I'll warn you now, this cake smells delish when baking! I couldn't wait to get it out and cooled so I could frost it and dig in! By the way, I took a shortcut on this one and used a whipped cream cheese frosting you can buy in the cake section of the grocery store. I was surprisingly pleased with the result. The frosting was a nice consistency and tasted very good when topped with the shredded coconut. If you want to make your own cream cheese frosting you'll find a recipe here.

If you want to take your cake decorating up a notch there's nothing prettier on a white coconut cake than edible flowers. In this case purple, pink, or lavender pansies would be a nice addition since they also have a tart flavor. If you like the flower idea but not the eating them part, you can always decorate with silk flowers and remove them when ready to cut the cake. Obviously, I was lazy and didn't go in search of pansies or silk flowers!

Happy Easter and slice you a piece of Coconut and Lemon Cake!

Recipe: Coconut and Lemon Cake

Description: Delicate white coconut cake filled with tart lemon curd and topped with cream cheese frosting and sweetened coconut flakes.

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/3 cups cake flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 6 oz. unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 10 oz. lemon curd
  • 1-2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • cream cheese frosting

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line bottoms with greased parchment rounds.
  2. In small bowl mix together the egg whites, milk and vanilla together.
  3. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment stir together cake flour, baking powder, and sugar on low speed until combined. Add butter and coconut milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Slowly add egg and milk mixture scraping bowl as needed.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on wire rack. Allow cakes to cool in pan 10 minutes. After 10 minutes turn cakes out on wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Once cooled spread the lemon curd over the bottom layer evenly to just about 1/4-inch of the edge. Place top layer on lemon curd and frost cake with cream cheese frosting. Sprinkle shredded coconut over top of cake and carefully holding cake at an angle sprinkle coconut along sides of cake as well.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 40 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 12
Culinary tradition: USA (Southern)
Copyright © 2012.
Recipe by Sugar Pies.


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