The Best Part
January 21, 2008
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ginger-Lime Curd Filling
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.)