The Best Part

January 21, 2008

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Coconut Cake with Ginger-Lime Curd Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting. What’s that? You think that sounds good? Spectacular, even? Well, congratulations!, you’re right. I’ve made a fair amount of layer cakes and with each new one, I seem to think it’s the best one yet. This one, however, could be tough to beat.

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(Click “more” for the rest of the story, the photos & the recipe.)


Really, this cake had it all. The cake itself was dense and moist, with a soft coconut flavor. And the frosting was luscious and creamy and, again, subtly coconut-y. And, with it’s ethereal dusting of flaky ribbons of coconut, it was beautiful. If I do say so myself.

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And, I still haven’t even gotten to the very (very, very) best part: the ginger lime curd filling. I have never made a curd before and, frankly, wasn’t all that excited about it. But, once I got past the need to zest and juice about a million limes, it turned out to be an oddly satisfying experience. Seeing a sloshy bowl of sugar, eggs, lime juice and zest, and ginger transform into velvety mounds of curd was, well, neat. And, oh my goodness, was it delicious: rich and sweetly tangy, with whispers of spicy ginger.

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I would’ve been happy to eat this stuff slathered on toast, cradled in a tartlet shell or, most of all, straight up by the spoonful. But it was absolutely perfect sandwiched between the layers of this cake. With its complex and assertive flavor and creamy texture, it elevated this cake from one that was very good to one that was really special.

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The cake was also a perfect finale to the line-up of Spanish food I wrote about yesterday. Best of all, Brynn loves coconut desserts, so this cake was the perfect one to celebrate her engagement.

Coconut Layer Cake
Shubox Café via Bon Appetit

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup canned sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco Lépez)*
4 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
Pinch of salt
Cream Cheese Frosting***
4 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter and sweetened cream of coconut in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in dry ingredients and then buttermilk, each just until blended.

Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites with pinch of salt in another large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold beaten egg whites into batter.

Divide cake batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on rack 10 minutes. Run small sharp knife around pan sides to loosen cakes. Turn cakes out onto racks and cool completely.**

Place 1 cake layer on cake plate. Spread 1 cup Cream Cheese Frosting over cake layer. Sprinkle 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut over.*** Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle remaining coconut over cake, gently pressing into sides to adhere. (Coconut Layer Cake can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours before serving.)

*Canned sweetened cream of coconut is available in the liquor section of most supermarkets nationwide.

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Cream Cheese Frosting
Shubox Café via Bon Appetit

Beat cream cheese in medium bowl until fluffy. Add butter and beat to blend. Add sugar, sweetened cream of coconut and vanilla extract and beat until well blended.

*Bon Appetit Note: Canned sweetened cream of coconut is available in the liquor section of most supermarkets nationwide.
**Kristin’s Note: I made two cakes for the party. For one of the cakes, I cut the two cake layers in half to create a four-layer cake. For the other (from which the slice pictured above came), I left the two layers in tact.
***Kristin’s Note: Instead of filling the cakes with the cream cheese frosting, I used ginger-lime curd (recipe below) for the filling, as I mentioned in the post.

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Ginger-Lime Curd Filling
Bon Appetit

3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup grated lime peel (from about 12 limes)
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature

Whisk eggs, yolks, sugar, lime juice, lime peel, ginger, and salt in large metal bowl to blend. Place bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch simmering water); whisk constantly until curd thickens, about 8 minutes. Remove bowl from over simmering water; whisk butter into curd. Strain through fine strainer set over bowl; discard solids in strainer. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of curd; chill overnight. (Curd can be made up to 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

29 Responses to “The Best Part”

  1. bevsedgehills Says:

    that looks amazing!!! ooh I could just eat a slice of that right now! mmmm

  2. Bexxie Says:

    wow that looks lovely! I love coconut cake🙂

  3. Karina Says:

    Mmmm the ginger-lime filling sounds delicious. What a beautiful cake!

  4. ourkitchensink Says:

    Bevsedgehills: Thanks! I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one considering a slice of this cake for breakfast!

    Bexxie: Thanks! I’ve never been a huge coconut fan, but this cake converted me.

    Karina: Thank you! The filling was absolutely amazing. Your blog looks great, by the way! I see you recently made a coconut cake too. Thanks for leaving the link.

  5. rachel Says:

    That’s a beautiful and yummy sounding cake!

  6. amanda Says:

    i love the way that these coconut cakes look. so light and fluffy. totally reminds me of a spring cake, you know?

  7. Evelin Says:

    This looks, sounds and I don’t doubt must taste so good! I’m a huge fan of coconut, but I’m usually a bit skeptical about cake recipes that feature coconut milk/cream. How well does the flavour come through here?

  8. Joy Says:

    Yumm!!! That looks soo beautiful! My tummy is grumbling now because of it. Haha.

  9. ourkitchensink Says:

    Rachel and Amanda: Thank you, thank you!

    Evelin: Thanks! Between the coconut cream in the cakes themselves, the coconut cream in the frosting, and the actual coconut flakes coating the outside, there is a definite, yet subtle, coconut flavor. I was worried it would be overpowered by the curd (but not that worried because I loved the curd so much), but it wasn’t. I think the coconut and ginger/lime flavors played off each other really well.

    Joy: Thanks!

  10. Brynn Says:

    This cake was heaven. 2 of my absolute favorite flavors – coconut and bright, tangy citrus – put together into a perfect (not to mention beautiful) cake. I wish I’d had the foresight to snag an extra piece to go when I had the chance. Thank you again for the best party and the best cake.

  11. ourkitchensink Says:

    Brynn! I’m such a bad hostess. I can’t believe we didn’t send you guys home with the leftover cake. The good news is that I have a very hefty wedge in the fridge right now that has your name all over it. I’m so glad you enjoyed the cake (and, oh yeah, the party)!

  12. ourkitchensink Says:

    JP: Yes, that’s the recipe I used for the ginger-lime curd. The reviews for the cake and frosting, however, were less than ideal and commenters recommended the Shubox cake in its place. So, I went with that!

  13. JEP Says:

    I sure wish this cake were sitting in my kitchen right now! Huge fan of coconut cake—the lime curd just elevates it to the next level!

  14. Sara Says:

    This looks incredible! I can’t wait to try it.

  15. familyhomecooking Says:

    mmmm…licks computer screen.

  16. brilynn Says:

    Ginger and lime is a fantastic combo, throw some coconut in there too and I’m in heaven!

  17. Deborah Says:

    There is a coconut cake that I have been dying to make, but this one sounds even better!!

  18. Sindy Says:

    I saw this picture on “Tastespotting” and that led me here. The cake was beautiful but when I saw the recipe I knew I just HAD to have it. BUT, I am a self professed non-baker. So, I rolled up my sleeves. Read the recipe several times and measured and mixed a carefully as I was capable of. The results? OMG GOOD! and it even looked beautiful (often I only get one or the other) I had a small dinner party and my guests were VERY impressed! One even said it was possibaly the BEST CAKE SHE EVER HAD and she is quite a cake coniseur so I am quite proud of myself and in debt to you.
    This balance of flavor was truly profound!

  19. ourkitchensink Says:

    Sindy: That’s great! I’m so glad you gave it a try and, even more, that it was such a great success! Thanks for letting us know.

  20. Rachelle Says:

    Hi there!! I don’t know whether or not you will get this comment as the post is a bit older, but I had a quick question about his cake… how tall does it bake? It’s fairly tough to tell from pictures… I LOVE tall, tall cakes for birthdays and am going to be baking this for someone next weekend. Would you recommend making it as is or making one and a half times the cake and making a third cake round to create that dramatically tall cake??? Thanks for your time!!

  21. ourkitchensink Says:

    Rachelle: I’d guess the cake was about 5 inches high. I think you’d be fine if you added a third layer, because this cake was pretty sturdy. Between the dense/moist cake layers themselves, the curd (which acts as a glue) and the thick frosting (which holds the whole thing together really well), I think you’d be fine. Just be careful when you slice it. Let me know if you try …

  22. Sarah C. Says:

    Hi there, this cake really does look special. I have a question for you regarding the recipe. Do you think that coconut milk could replace the sweetened cream of coconut? The cream of coconut always seems extraordinarily sweet to me.

  23. Phaedra Says:

    OK, I have some friends that are doing a kinda Japanese-themed wedding this fall and I’m looking for some cake ideas and wanting something that’s citrus-y and ginger-y but also would lend itself well to a beautiful big wedding cake. I think I’m going to run this recipe by them just because I think it looks so yummy… Any more possible ideas anyone?

  24. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink Says:

    Sarah C.: I’m not sure about that swap. I’d be mainly concerned about the difference in texture (thickness) between coconut milk and cream of coconut. I will say that the end product here is definitely not overly sweet. I think you would be safer to make the switch to coconut milk in the frosting than you would be to do so in the cake. If you do try it, let us know how it goes

    Phaedra: I think this would be wonderful for the occasion! What lucky friends you have!

  25. Kristina H Says:

    I made this cake for a Cake Buffet last week and I must tell you, it is by far the most delicious cake I have ever made. Thank you!


  26. Kristina H: That is wonderful to hear!

  27. Laura Says:

    Just a question – which one did you prefer, the one with 2 layers or the one with four? Was the 4 layers of curd too much? Cheers, Laura


  28. Laura: I liked the four layers better. Not too much curd at all. And I liked the thinner layers.


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