Coconut Column Cake
This delightful dessert's appeal is not only in its taste, but also in its presentation. Made from a basic coconut layer-cake recipe, the column cake is filled with coconut buttercream, garnished with freshly shredded coconut, and covered with a blanket of snowy meringue.
Martha Stewart Living Television
- Yield Makes 3 (9-inch) layers
- 2 1/2 cups freshly shredded coconut, about 2 coconuts
- 3 1/3 cups cake flour, plus more for pans
- 2 1/4 cups superfine sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup canola oil, plus more for pans
- 11 large eggs, separated, plus 3 whites
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped, bean and seeds reserved
- 1/4 cup canned cream of coconut
- 2 eight-inch wooden skewers
- 2 eight-inch wooden skewers
- 6 cups Coconut Meringue Buttercream (http://www.marthastewart.com/263816/coconut-meringue-buttercream)
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line two baking sheets with cooling racks. Spread freshly shredded coconut evenly over racks. Place in oven, and bake, turning coconut occasionally, until dry, about 90 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool completely.
- Increase oven temperature to 325 degrees. Line three 9-by-2-inch round cake pans with parchment paper, and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, 1 3/4 cup superfine sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup water, canola oil, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and vanilla-bean seeds. Add oil mixture to flour mixture and mix until smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer to large mixing bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until foamy, about 1 minute. Continue to whip on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, two to three minutes. Slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup superfine sugar and whip until stiff peaks are formed, one to two minutes more.
- Fold 1/4 of the egg whites into cake batter to lighten. Carefully fold in remaining egg whites. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake until the cakes are golden brown and spring back in the middle when pressed, about 40 minutes. Immediately turn cake rounds onto a wire rack to cool. Remove parchment paper.
- In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup water, vanilla bean, 3/4 cup sugar, and cream of coconut. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 minute; strain and reserve. Discard vanilla bean.
- Carefully level and trim each cake layer with a serrated knife. Place one layer on a 9-inch cake round, and brush with one-third of the coconut syrup. Spread with 1 cup coconut buttercream and 1/3 cup sweetened coconut. Top with second layer, coconut syrup, 1 cup coconut buttercream, and 1/3 cup sweetened coconut. Add the remaining layer of cake and brush with remaining 1/3 cup coconut syrup. Insert two eight-inch wooden skewers through top of cake to secure layers. Trim with kitchen skewers until level with top of cake.
- Using an offset spatula, ice cake with 2 cups buttercream to give the cake a "crumb coat." This thin layer of buttercream will seal the cake. Spread the icing from the center outward, making sure to push the buttercream over the sides of the cake. Smooth the buttercream. More icing will cover the crumb coat later, so it doesn't have to be perfectly smooth at this point. Chill in the refrigerator to set the buttercream, about 30 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Use the remaining 2 cups buttercream to cover the top and sides of the cake. Carefully draw a small offset spatula up the sides of the cake to create the lines of the column. Garnish with fresh toasted coconut and a dusting of confectioners' sugar. Serve at room temperature.
Pick coconuts that are heavy for their size, and pierce the softest "eye" of each with an ice pick and a hammer. Drain the liquid into a cup through a fine sieve, and crack the coconut open, removing the meat in large pieces and peeling away the dark brown skin. Use a mandoline or the blade of a hand grater to slice the coconut meat in large flakes.
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