Can you guess who makes the birthday cakes around here? Yep you guessed right, me, and I love to make them. I really enjoy the challenge of a layer cake so always jump at the opportunity when asked. My older brother had his birthday this past weekend and so I obviously asked him what he wanted. He was very helpful and said anything but chocolate. That might seem easy and straight forwad but if you knew my brother you know he is actually a pretty picky eater. After finally establishing that he liked coconut I chose this cake, once again, from “Sky High Cakes” and thankfully it was another excellent cake from that book. The cake layers are made with the fat/flour method and include coconut milk giving them a mild coconut flavour and a really nice compact crumb (which made for easy cutting). The frosting was also quite different in method as its a cream cheese buttercream where a standard cream cheese frosting is mixed into an italian meringue. The frosting is so soft and silky yet isnt too sweet. The cake went down a treat but sadly I only got once slice before my brother rushed the rest home. Kind of coincidentally I woke up on sunday to frost the cake and woke to up to a thick blanket of snow so had a white scene to match the white snow like cake.
Coconut Cake – “Sky High Cakes”
5 egg whites
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
2 1/3 cups sugar
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
226g / 8 ounces unsalted butter, at warm room temperature
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1. Preheat the oven to 350F / 175C. Butter the bottoms of three 8-inch cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment and butter these too.
2. In a medium bowl add the egg whites and 1/2 cup milk and vanilla, whisk until thoroughly combined. Set aside
3. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer. With the paddle attachment, set to slow mix well to combine, about 30 seconds. Add the butter and coconut milk and mix on low beat to combine. Increase the speed to medium and beat for about 2 minutes when the batter should be light and fluffy.
4. Add the egg white mixture in 2 or 3 additions, mixing just till combined each time. Scrape the sides of the bowl between each addition. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
5. Bake for 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Remove the parchment once cooled.
6. To decorate place the first layer, flat side up, on your plate or cake board. Cover with about 1 cup of the frosting and spread to the edges. Sprinkle the frosting with 1/2 cup of sweetened coconut. Add the second layer and repeat. Top with the final cake layer and frost the tops and sides with the remaining frosting.
Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
340g / 12 ounces cream cheese, slightly chilled
198g / 7 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
3 egg whites
1. Place the cream cheese the bowl of your electric mixer and beat on medium until soft, fluffy and smooth. Add the butter a couple of tablespoons at a time mixing until smooth. Mix in the icing sugar and and vanilla beating until fluffy. Set this aside whilst you make the buttercream.
2. Combine the granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to cook the syrup without stirring until it reaches 238F on a candy thermometer.
3. Whilst the syrup is coming to temperature add the egg whites to the mixer bowl with the whisk attached. As the syrup reaches temperature set the mixer going on medium/low. Slowly pour the syrup down the side of the bowl, avoiding the whisk. Once all the syrup is all in increase the speed to medium/high and beat until the meringue has cooled to body temperature.
4. With the mixer on low add the cream cheese mixture by the spoonful. Once all mixed in increase the speed to medium and whisk the frosting until fluffy and smooth.