I love getting together with my feminist friends because they know I'll bring something crazy that I've never made before to a get-togethers. They're always adventurous, will try it, and compliment me on it, even when I bring a coconut cake with grainy frosting.
This is such a pretty cake for a party, and I love that it's covered in coconut because then, no one can see how bad one's frosting job might be.
Coconut Cake with Lime Curd
For cake layers:
3 1/3 cups sifted cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
5 large eggs
For lime curd:
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons heavy cream
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons freshly grated lime zest1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 c sweetened flaked coconut I ended up using about ½ c more
Put racks in middle and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottoms of three buttered 9- by 2-inch round cake pans with rounds of wax paper or parchment paper and butter paper. Dust pans with flour, knocking out excess.
Make cake layers:
In a bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a glass measure stir together milk, water, and vanilla.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat butter on medium speed 1 minute and add sugar in a slow stream, beating. Next time, I'm going to try using my KitchenAid mixer. I'm not a fan of my handheld electric mixer. Beat mixture scraping bowl occasionally, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture in 4 batches alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture and scraping bowl occasionally, until batter is just combined (do not overbeat).
Divide batter among pans, smoothing tops and tapping pans on counter to allow any air bubbles to escape. Bake cake layers in middle and lower thirds of oven (arrange pans so they overlap only slightly) until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert cake layers onto racks. Remove wax paper carefully and cool cake layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped in plastic wrap, in an airtight container in a cool dry place. (Alternatively, cake layers may be made 5 days ahead and frozen wrapped in plastic wrap and foil. Thaw cake layers in refrigerator 1 day before proceeding.)
Make lime curd:
In a heavy saucepan whisk together yolks, sugar, lime juice, cream, and butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking constantly, 5 to 7 minutes, or until mixture just reaches a boil (do not let boil). Strain curd through a fine sieve into a bowl and stir in zest. Cool curd its surface covered with plastic wrap, and chill at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.
Assemble cake layers and lime curd:
Put 1 cake layer on a cake plate and spread evenly with about half of lime curd. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded fresh or sweetened flaked coconut and chill 15 minutes. Repeat layering in same manner with another cake layer, remaining lime curd, and remaining 1/2 cup coconut and top with remaining cake layer. Chill cake 15 minutes.
In top of a double boiler off heat or in a large metal bowl with a hand-held electric mixer beat together frosting ingredients until combined. In double boiler or in bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water beat mixture on high speed until it holds stiff glossy peaks, about 7 minutes. (Depending on mixer and weather, this may take longer.) Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and beat frosting until cool and spreadable. I thought I did all this, but my frosting was still grainy. Next time, I might try making a simple syrup with the water and sugar first.
Frost cake and coat with shaved fresh or sweetened flaked coconut.