Friday, February 4, 2011

coconut layer cake with laymon curd filling

I thought I had escaped Birthday Season back in December. Not so.

But I don't mind. In fact, I love birthdays. Joyous, happy, blessed, yummy. 

Really, I love birthdays because they give me an excuse to drink coffee and eat a vanilla bean scone for breakfast. Because, what the hey, I'm having cake suffering from sugar coma later anyway, right?

Tonight we celebrated Chelsea and Rudhdi's joint birthday via dinner at Cafe Europa followed by cake and merriment at my apartment.

Of course, I knew I was going to bake. But I knew I had to bake something special. Especially since Chelsea and Rudhdi are two of my closest foodie friends, not to mention good cooks themselves. The pressure was on.

I decided on a coconut layer cake with lemon [laymon] curd filling and a coconut cream cheese frosting. Why coconut? Mainly because I have been craving something coconut for a while now. Also because I've had lemon curd in the freezer from the Biscuit Joconde Imprime a while back. And because I feel coconut is just about as quirky, sophisticated, and lovable as Chelsea and Roods. You are what you eat, right?

Coconut and lemon is quite an interesting combination, and one that is rather popular in baking. I never would have guessed, though. Probably because I've had a lot of coconut in my day [hello, motherland] and lemons are somewhat uncommon in Pakistani cuisine [my father, actually, is not keen on the taste of lemon, so you'll only really find limes in my parents' fridge]. Ergo I've never had the idea to put the two together. Which is too bad, since it is divine.

I suppose any choice of filling would work, though. Actually, I think mango curd would be equally as delicious. Raspberry and strawberry would too. Chocolate. Coffee. Anything. Ugh, I just love coconut.

Anyway, ramblings aside, this cake has three components: the coconut cake, the cream cheese frosting, and the lemon curd filling. As always, I'll give you the recipe below.

Coconut Layer Cake with Lemon Curd Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Paula Deen's Lady & Sons Just Desserts and Tastespotting: The Blog

For the coconut cake, you'll need:
  • 1 cup [2 sticks] butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup cream of coconut
  • 1 tsp coconut essence
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the cream cheese frosting, you'll need:
  • 2 8-oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup [2 sticks] butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp cream of coconut
  • 1 tsp coconut essence
  • 1 pound confectioner's sugar

    • desired filling, prepared as directed [for my lemon curd filling, click here]
    • 2 cups toasted coconut, for garnish

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line the base and grease a 9-inch springform pan. In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Alternate adding in flour and coconut cream in increments, beginning and ending with flour. Add in coconut and vanilla essences and mix until just combined. Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 60-75 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely.

    Meanwhile, prepare cream cheese frosting. In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Lower speed and gradually sift in confectioner's sugar. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until using. Cream cheese frosting can be prepared and refrigerated a day in advance.

    To assemble cake, cut cooled cake into three even layers. If cake has fluffed up in the center during baking and formed a 'bump', trim a bit off the top of the cake to flatten it. Place one layer on desired serving plate, flat side up [always make sure the flat side is up, as this will make it easier to frost]. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the layer. Refrigerate for thirty minutes. [This method is called the crumb coat - it traps the moisture inside the cake and makes it easier to frost, as it prevents the frosting from pulling crumbs off the cake layers.] After refrigeration, spread a generous layer of lemon curd over the crumb coat. Gently spread a layer of cream cheese frosting over the lemon curd. Place second layer on top. Repeat with crumb coat, refrigerating for thirty minutes, and frosting with lemon curd and frosting. Place third layer on top. Frost the top and sides of the cake with a thin crumb coat and refrigerate for thirty minutes. Use remaining frosting to finish frosting the cake. Press toasted coconut onto the top and sides. Refrigerate until serving.

    After spreading the cream cheese frosting over the lemon curd, I sprinkled a small handful of shredded coconut on top for a little extra coconuttiness. The coconut flavor in the cake and cream cheese frosting is very mild, which is nice, but I like to taste my coconut.

    I also baked this in an 8x8-inch square cake pan, because it is universally known that square cakes are much classier. [That's a total lie; I just really wanted a square cake.]

    The cake turned out muuuch denser than anticipated. I originally wanted four layers, but overestimated the amount of batter I'd need per layer [I baked the three layers separately] and they ended up thicker than I would have liked. That on top of the lemon curd and cream cheese frosting made for messier layers than I would have liked. Meh. Practice makes perfect.

    And everyone else enjoyed it, which is all that I wanted in the end. [And for them to take it away from me because there was no way this cake could stay in my possession].

    Happy twentieth birthday(s), Rudhdi and Chelsea! Love love love.

    om. nom.


    1. BEST. CAKE. OF. MY. LIFE. you are a goddess, and turning 20 couldn't have been more delicious.

    2. That cake looks totally amazing! I am a total stranger who follows your blog and I think you are sooooooo cool.

      Ok so I may have met you once...or twice...ish... and I may have already eaten this cake. But the point is that you are sooooooo cool.

    3. That cake looks incredible! Beautiful photography!

      Great blog; happy I found you!

      Mary xx
      Delightful Bitefuls

    4. YOU R AMAZING GIRL.... GR8 TALENT.... mouth watering recipe... wish i was there to eat it LOL

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    Thanks so much for reading!
    I'd love to hear your thoughts :)