Chocolate-Almond Coconut Cake

As usual I was perusing recipes on the web as well as thumbing through the numerous cookbooks I own looking for a dessert to end a Spring dinner with friends. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to bake a coconut cream tart or a chocolate cake. I ended up combining two of my loves; coconut and chocolate.

The following recipe is inspired by a cake from Cooks Illustrated. They used marshmallow fluff for the filling. I on the otherhand made an Italian meringue because in the end, it’s just a toasted coconut buttercream. Makes one 8-inch, three-layer cake.

Coconut Cake
1 large egg, room temperature
5 (5 1/2 oz / 150) large whites, room temperature
3/4 cup cream of coconut 
1/4 cup whole milk 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
2 1/4 cups (9 oz / 255 g) cake flour (not self-rising)
1 cup (7 oz / 200 g) granulated sugar 
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
12 tablespoons (6 oz / 168 g) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened

FOR THE COCONUT CAKE: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease three 8 x 1-inch round cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper rounds.

In a 4-cup liquid measuring cup whisk together whole egg, egg whites, cream of coconut, milk, vanilla, and coconut extracts. Set aside.

Set a sieve over the bowl of a stand mixer and sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using the paddle attachment and mixing low speed adding butter, 1 piece at a time, mixing until pea-size or smaller pieces remain, about 1 minute.

Re-whisk the egg mixture. With the mixer running on low pour in half the egg mixture. Increase speed to medium-high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to medium-low, add remaining egg mixture, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Using rubber spatula, give batter final stir by hand.

Divide batter evenly among prepared pans and smooth tops with rubber spatula. Bake until tops are light golden, and toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Let cakes cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and let cool completely on rack, about 2 hours.

Coconut Buttercream
1 cup (7 oz / 200 g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
6 tablespoons water
4 egg whites (4 oz), room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners’ sugar 
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 1/3 cups (4 ounces) sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM: In a small saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Set over low heat. Swirl the pan to dissolve the sugar completely.  Once the sugar has dissolved, stop swirling. Increase the heat and boil to 240 degrees F (check it using a candy thermometer).  Wash down the inside wall of the pan with a wet pastry brush. This helps prevent sugar crystals from forming around the sides and falling into the sugar mixture, causing an undesirable chain reaction.

While the sugar is coming up to temperature, in the impeccably clean bowl of an electric mixer, whip the eggs whites on low speed until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar, increase the speed to medium and beat until soft peaks form. Once the eggs are at soft peaks turn down the mixer so as not to overbeat the egg whites while the sugar mixture is come up to temperature.

Once the sugar has reached 240 degrees F, with the mixer running, pour the hot sugar syrup in a thin stream down the side of the bowl of soft-peaked egg whites. Beat on medium-high speed until the egg whites are stiff and glossy, about 4 – 5 minutes.

Add the butter one tablespoon at a time and beat until each piece in incorporated when whip for about 30 seconds. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar and extract and beat until light and fluffy.

Remove and reserve about 1 cup or so (to be used to crumb coat the cake). Add the toasted coconut to the remaining butter cream and mix to combine.

Chocolate Glaze and Decoration
½ cup (1 1/2 ounces) sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
½ cup sliced almond, toasted
1 cup heavy cream 
¼ cup light corn syrup 
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

This entry was posted in Desserts, General Blog, Recipes. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *