Recently another friend of mine had a birthday. Now I’ve told you how much value I place on the homemade birthday cakes. So of course, I started making baking plans for her cake. I wanted it to be a surprize, so this took a bit of sneaky detective work on my part. I was eventually able to deduce that her favourite cake was ” a yellow cake with white frosting and coconut all over it”. Hmmm…possibly a problem. I was familiar with the cake as it was described to me, but I didn’t have any coconut cake experience. The husband doesn’t like coconut. Actually he likes the flavour of coconut just fine, but finds the texture very objectionable, so I don’t pay a lot of attention to any recipes which call for the stuff. But luckily I had Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours close at hand. And voila! It seemed I flipped the book open to the exact recipe I needed, Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake.
She claimed that this cake will be “just-right” for any celebration and as usual, she did not fail me. The cake not only looks festive, but also tastes delightful and met all of the requirements for my friend’s favourite cake, layers of delicious bright lemony cake interspersed with summery raspberry preserves and lemony buttercream frosting all topped with sweet coconut flakes.
Well, I guess it met almost all of them. This cake is not yellow, but is a snowy white cake which makes the contrast of that raspberry jam layer all the more vibrant and festive! This cake is a reason for celebrating all on its own if you didn’t already have one in mind. And even better, it is easily customizable to fit your celebratory needs, switch out the raspberry preserves for another or you could use fresh berries along with a whipped sweetened cream frosting, …the possibilities are endless. The cake layers are moist, light and fluffy yet won’t crumble when you split them in half or begin piling on layers of preserves and frosting. This truly is a perfect cake recipe that you should always keep close at hand. It will make any celebration all the merrier!
Perfect Coconut Party Cake
recipe from: Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours
For the Cake:
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1 stick ( 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
For the Buttercream
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large egg whites
- 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice ( from 2 large lemons)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves, stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable
- About 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
Center a rock in the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter two 9 X 2″ round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk/egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2 minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. (The cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months).
For the Buttercream: Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or other large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream. Remove the bowl from the heat.
Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat the buttercream on medium-hight speed until it is thick and very smooth 6 to 10 minutes. During this time, the buttercream may curdle or separate just keep beating and it will come together again. On medium speed, gradually beat in the lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla. You should have a shiny, smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the buttercream and set aside briefly.
To assemble the Cake: Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half. (or use a cake leveler, like I did.) Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Spread it with one third of the preserves. Cover the jam evenly with about one quarter of the buttercream. Top with another layer, spread with preserves and buttercream and then do the same with a third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have buttercream left over). Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining buttercream to frost the side and top. Press the coconut in the frosting, patting it gently all over the sides and top.
Perfect Coconut Party Cake brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )