For Valentine's Day, treat your sweethearts to this beautiful (and on-theme) layer cake. A homemade vanilla pastry cream and fresh raspberries are sandwiched between the layers and also used to artfully decorated on top, along with ethereal shredded coconut

Martha Stewart Living, January/February 2022

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Credit: Johnny Miller

Recipe Summary

prep:
50 mins
total:
4 hrs 50 mins
Yield:
Serves 10 to 12
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Spread coconut in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until dry but not browning, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely on sheet.

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  • Increase oven temperature to 350°F. Butter a 10-by-2-inch heart-shaped cake pan (see cook's note for product link). Line bottom with parchment, butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a heatproof bowl set over (but not in) a pot of simmering water, whisk together eggs, sugar, and vanilla seeds until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm. Remove from pot and beat on high speed until thick and pale, about 4 minutes. Add flour mixture; whisk just to combine. Add butter; whisk to combine. Add crème fraîche, milk, and vanilla extract; whisk to combine.

  • Scrape batter into prepared pan, smooth top, and bake until top springs back when lightly touched and a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes, then invert onto rack, remove parchment, and let cool completely. Cake can be made ahead to this point, wrapped in plastic, and stored at room temperature up to 1 day.

  • Whisk pastry cream to lighten, then whisk heavy cream to stiff peaks. Fold whipped cream into pastry cream. Using a serrated knife, split cake in half horizontally. Use a 4 1/2-to-5-inch heart-shaped cutter to cut out center of bottom layer. Spread a thin layer of cream mixture (about 1 cup) over other (uncut) layer, then arrange about 2 3/4 cups berries over cream, covering entire layer.

  • Dollop about 1 1/2 cups more cream mixture over berries, spreading with an offset spatula to cover. Place cut-out layer on top, bottom-side up. Fill heart-shaped hollow with remaining cream mixture. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or, covered, up to 24 hours.

  • Frost top and sides of cake with crème-fraîche whipped cream. Sprinkle border with coconut. Arrange remaining 1 1/4 cups berries over cream mixture in heart-shaped hollow. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or, covered, up to 8 hours.

Cook's Notes

To make this raspberry-and-cream-filled confection, you'll need a 10-inch heart-shaped pan, a long serrated knife to cut the cake into two layers, a 4 1/2-to-5-inch heart cookie cutter, and an offset spatula to spread the icing easily. We used Wilton's 10-inch heart-shaped aluminum pan ($11.49, amazon.com).

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