- Coconut Cake with Fluffy Icing
Makes 12 servings
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
8 egg yolks
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into 8 pieces
Grated zest of 2 lemons
Pinch of salt
3 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) butter, softened
4 eggs, at room temperature, separated
1 cup well-stirred, canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 egg whites, at room temperature
2 teaspoons corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 bag (17 ounces) shredded sweetened coconut (2 2/3 cups)
In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, combine lemon juice and 1/2
cup water. Add cornstarch, and whisk to dissolve. Add sugar, egg
yolks, butter, lemon zest and salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking
constantly, until mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and whisk 1 minute. Strain through a coarse sieve into a medium bowl.
Let cool to room temperature, press a piece of plastic wrap directly
on surface, and refrigerate until very cold. (Filling may be prepared
up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated.)
Position a rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350
Lightly butter and flour three 9-inch round cake pans; tap out
excess flour. Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In
a large bowl, cream sugar and butter with an electric mixer on high
speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg yolks,
one at a time, then vanilla. On low speed, add flour in three 1-cup
additions, alternating with two 1/2-cup additions of coconut milk,
beginning and ending with flour, and beat until smooth, scraping
bowl often with a rubber spatula. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites
(with clean beaters) on high speed until they form stiff peaks.
Whisk 1/4 of the whites into batter, and then fold in remainder.
Spread evenly in pans.
25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in centers comes
out clean. Be sure pans don't touch each other and that they clear
sides of oven by 2 inches. Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks
10 minutes. Invert onto racks and unmold, removing parchment paper.
Turn right sides up and cool completely.
In the bottom of a double boiler, simmer water. In the top of a
double boiler, combine sugar, egg whites, corn syrup, cream of
tartar and 1/3 cup water. Place over simmering water. Beat on high
speed with a handheld electric mixer until icing forms soft peaks,
about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and beat in vanilla. Continue
beating 5 minutes, or just until stiff peaks form.
Place one layer upside down on a serving plate. Spread with half
of lemon filling. Place another layer on top, right side up. Spread
with remaining half of lemon filling. Add the final layer right
side up. Spread icing over top and then sides of cake. Press handfuls
of coconut all over icing. (Cake tastes best the day it is made.)