coconut cake

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Coconut cake with Rasperries & Lemon Cream 

from Macrina Bakery & Cafe Cookbook                                                  

This cake is light and delicious without being too sweet. This recipe has 3 fillings besides the cake-lemon syrup, lemon cream and white chocolate frosting-and it makes enough  for two cakes. I usually make one cake and then save the rest for a second cake in the next week or so.

Makes 1 (9-inch) layer cake so you need a 9 x 3 inch springform pan. Other useful, but not entirely necessary tools for this are a cardboard cake circle, cake wheel, a long cake spatula and a stand mixer. You also need parchment paper.

3 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 cup coconut milk
5 egg whites
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 Tblspoon + 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 Tblspoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temp
1 recipe Lemon Syrup (follow link)
1 recipe Lemon Cream (follow link)
2 cups (1 pint) raspberries
White chocolate frosting (follow link)

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare the springform pan by brushing it with oil and lining the bottom and sides with pieces of parchment paper (I cut a circle out of the parchment paper by putting the ring part of pan on paper, tracing with a pen then cutting out the circle. Cut the sides by cutting strips and using a few to line the edges). Set aside.

-Place coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and spread it into an even layer. Toast on center rack of oven for 3 minutes. To toast coconut evenly, toss coconut with tongs or spoons after first 3 minutes, then turn pan and return to oven for another 3-5 minutes until coconut is lightly toasted.  Pour toasted coconut into a medium bowl and set aside.

-In a medium bowl, combine coconut milk, egg whites, almond extract and vanilla.  Mix with a whisk and set aside.

-Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add 1 cup of the toasted coconut and using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed for about 30 seconds.   Cut butter into 8 pieces and scatter the pieces over the surface of the flour mix.  Mix on low speed until the mixture is coarse and crumbly and there are no pieces of butter, 1-2 minutes.  Add half of the wet ingredients and mix on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Scrape down sides and add the rest of wet mix.  Mix until combined, another 30 seconds or so and scrape down bowl again.

-Pour batter into springform pan.  Bake on center rack of oven for about 1 hour, until top is golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. (This usually takes my cake more than an hour, but I start testing at 1 hour and then bake more in 10 minute increments until skewer comes out clean). Remove from oven, put on rack and let cook at least one hour. (Now while cake is baking and cooling, I make the Lemon Cream, the Lemon Syrup and the Frosting)

coconut cake waiting to be born

cake waiting to be born

-After cake is cooled, release sides of pan and lift.  Peel off paper from sides of cake, then carefully turn cake over, I put a plate on top and then flip.  Lift the pan’s base off the cake, then the paper.  Turn cake back over, setting it on a cake wheel/spinner (not sure of official name, but you get the idea) if you have one and cut the cake horizontally into 3 equal layers. I find it helpful to plan where your layers are going to rest after cutting and while you prepare the cake-use plates or a clean cutting board so you can lift and slide the layers as you assemble the cake. I use a longish, sharp knife and put it in a third of the way from the top, then spin the cake, keeping the knife as straight as possible. Hopefully, your cut matches up when you get back to where you started. Carefully lift off the top and repeat cut. Don’t worry too much if your layers aren’t perfect, you’re filling it with raspberries and I use these to even things out a bit as I build the cake.

-Spread a blob of frosting on plate or cardboard circle and place the top layer of cake upside down (the frosting keeps it from sliding off) and brush top with a little Lemon Syrup.Spread a 1/4 inch layer of Lemon Cream over the cake and sprinkle half of the raspberries over the top. Place another layer on top, then repeat Lemon Syrup, Lemon Cream and use the rest of the raspberries, but hold back 2-3 for decorating the top if you like. Top with last layer of cake and spread with frosting. I start with the top, then do the sides and then go back around with more frosting. The cookbook recommends that you do a thin layer and then put the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes and finish with another layer of frosting. This is called doing a crumb coat, but I’ve never done that with this cake and it always turns out beautifully in my opinion and as you can see in the pictures.

frosting the cake

The next step is to put the coconut onto the cake. I put the cake on a baking sheet, sprinkle coconut on the top and sort of throw it on the sides. It’s a little tricky, but you want a nice coating of coconut all around the cake. The recipe says to carefully press it on, but I find that the frosting sticks to your fingers and you get dents all over the cake if you try this. If you gently toss it on the sides, picking up what falls and tossing it again as you go around, this works pretty well. The last step is to decorate with raspberries and some mint leaves or an orange wheel. I roll the berries in a little sugar to make them sparkle a bit. There you have it, a lot of work, but one beautiful cake!

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