with fresh berries and lemon cream
This is one of my favorite birthday or special occasion cakes. The natural sweet flavor of toasted coconut layered with fresh summer berries and lemon cream makes for a light yet decadent summer treat.
- Coconut Cake
- 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 5 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2-1/4 cups cake flour
- 1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 pints fresh raspberries (for assembly)
- Lemon Cream
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup whipping cream
- White Chocolate Frosting
- 12 ounces white chocolate chips
- 8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Coconut Cake: Preheat oven to 325°F. Spread coconut evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 3 minutes. Toss with tongs to toast evenly and return to the oven for 3 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the coconut milk, egg whites, and almond and vanilla extracts. Mix with a whisk and set aside.
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the toasted coconut and mix on low speed using the paddle attachment for 30 seconds. Cut butter into small cubes and add to the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until it is coarse and crumbly with no visible pieces of butter, approximately 4 minutes. Add half the wet ingredients and mix on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and add the remaining wet ingredients, mixing for another 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl again to ensure it is well incorporated.
Prepare a 12” x 18” baking sheet pan with 1/2” rim by brushing it with oil and lining the bottom with parchment paper. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake on the center rack for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. When cool, run a knife around the edge of the cake and invert onto another sheet pan. Gently remove parchment paper and then cut three 7” circles of cake. You will have excess cake scraps, which make great trifle with fresh berries and whipped cream. Cover cake circles until ready to assemble layer cake.
Lemon Cream: Combine egg yolks, sugar and lemon juice in a medium stainless steel bowl and mix well with a whisk. Place the bowl on top of a saucepan filled with 2” of simmering water. Whisking constantly, slowly cook for about 10 minutes. You don’t want to cook this too fast or the egg will scramble. As it thickens you will see ribbons form in the custard. Add the butter and continue whisking until it is dissolved. Remove bowl from the saucepan and whisk to cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap, allowing it to rest on the surface of the lemon curd. Cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Whip the heavy cream to medium stiff peaks and fold into the chilled lemon curd. Set aside in the refrigerator.
White Chocolate Frosting: Place the white chocolate into a medium stainless steel bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan filled with 2” of simmering water. Stir with a rubber spatula until it is completely melted. Remove bowl from the saucepan and cool to room temperature.
Place the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat until the mixture is completely smooth, approximately 3-6 minutes. Add the lemon juice and then the melted white chocolate. Mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated. If it is too soft (this can happen if your room temperature is warm) chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before using.
Assembly: Begin layering the cake using a single cut layer at the base. Top with a 1/2” thick layer of lemon cream and a single layer of raspberries. Keep a 1” border at the edge of cake so when the additional layers are added it doesn’t push the filling out. Repeat with the second layer and top with the final layer. Place the cake into the refrigerator or freezer to chill for 20 minutes.
To add a crumb coat (a base coat of frosting that allows for a perfect finish), spread the sides and top with a thin layer of frosting. Chill for 30 minutes.
To add the finishing coat of frosting, start by covering and smoothing the sides before completing the top. You can add some color by taking a small portion of the white chocolate frosting and mixing a little bit of food coloring into it. Then smooth onto the sides to create color blushes. Don’t be afraid to be creative!
Chill this cake for 1-1/2 hours before serving so that it is completely set. Decorate with fresh garden flowers and raspberries.
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