Baltimore Sun photo
April 17, 2007
A coconut cake is an impressive way to honor Mother any time of the year. In a feature on Mother's Day desserts, we upped the ante with a four-layer version kissed with almond and covered with whipped cream.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk
5 ounces (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
5 large eggs
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
Filling and topping
4 cups cold heavy (whipping) cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons amaretto (almond-flavored liqueur)
4 cups sweetened shredded coconut (divided use)
For the cake: Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and butter over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture is hot, about 150 degrees if measured on a food thermometer. Do not boil.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture is fluffy, thick and lightened in color, about 3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts.
On low speed, mix in the flour mixture just until it is blended. Slowly add the hot-milk mixture, mixing until it is smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pans, dividing it evenly.
Bake for about 45 minutes, until the top feels firm when touched lightly and a toothpick inserted into the center of each layer comes out clean.
Let the cakes rest in the pans for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of each pan to loosen the cakes. Invert each cake onto a wire rack. Discard the paper liner. Let the cake layers cool thoroughly.
For the filling and topping: In a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed, beat the cream, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and amaretto until firm peaks form.
The whipped cream will increase in volume; transfer 5 cups to a medium bowl and fold in 1 1/2 cups of the coconut. Set the remaining whipped cream aside.
Finish: Place a serving plate on the bottom of 1 cake layer and, using the wire rack to hold the cake in place, invert the cake onto the serving plate. The top side of the cake layer will be up. Tuck waxed paper strips just an inch or so under the bottom of the cake all the way around to keep the plate clean.
Use a long serrated knife to cut the cake layer horizontally into 2 even layers. Use the removable bottom of a tart pan to lift up the top half of the cake layer and move it to the side. Spread about 1 1/2 cups of the coconut whipped cream over the cake. Slide the top half of the cake layer carefully over the filling and spread it with another 1 1/2 cups of coconut whipped cream.
Invert the second layer onto another plate or wire rack so it is top side up, cut it horizontally into 2 even layers, and move the top half of the cake layer to the side. Slide the bottom layer onto the filling and spread the remaining coconut whipped cream over the cake.
Slide the remaining top half of the cake layer carefully onto the filling and spread the reserved whipped cream generously over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the remaining coconut over the top and press it on sides of the cake.
Carefully pull out and discard the wax paper strips. Cover carefully and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Serve cold.
Per serving: 829 calories, 9 grams protein, 53 grams fat, 35 grams saturated fat, 83 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 225 milligrams cholesterol, 310 milligrams sodium