Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Coconut Layer Cake with Strawberry Buttercream



Do I really have to write words about this cake? Because if you ask me, a five-layer ombre ruffle cake kind of speaks for itself...



Agreed?

Usually when I make something this extravagant, I can't help but find myself a little disappointed in the end result... simply because the more work I put in, the higher my expectations get. This cake, however, did not disappoint!

The cake itself manages to have a lot of coconut flavor without tasting like suntan lotion, and the tanginess of the strawberry buttercream helps to balance the sweetness of the cake and filling. Coconut and strawberry are nowhere near my favorite flavors, but I absolutely loved it!

I'm sure this cake would be perfect for any special occasion, but I know from experience that it's especially appropriate for your younger sister's twenty-first birthday. Happy Birthday, Kelsii!


Coconut Layer Cake with Strawberry Buttercream
Adapted from Baking Illustrated

For the cake:

2 & 1/4 cups cake flour
1 large egg + 5 large egg whites
3/4 cup cream of coconut
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into 12 pieces

For the coconut buttercream:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
5 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 teaspoons coconut extract

For the strawberry buttercream:

2 cups unsalted butter, softened
10 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ounce freeze-dried strawberries, ground finely with a food processor

Note: The ruffle technique requires quite a bit of frosting, so you may not need this much strawberry buttercream if you're going to frost the cake differently.

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease five 8-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper, and dust each pan with flour. (I only have three 8-inch pans, so I had to do this step in two parts).

2. In a large liquid measuring cup, beat the whole egg and egg whites with a fork. Add the cream of coconut, water, and coconut and vanilla extracts. Beat with a fork until combined.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Allow the mixer to run at the lowest speed for about 30 seconds to combine these ingredients. With the mixer still running, add the butter one piece at a time; continue mixing at low speed until the butter pieces are the size of small peas, about 2 minutes.

4. With the mixer still running, add 1 cup of the egg mixture. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for about 1 minute, or until light and fluffy. With the mixer still running, slowly stream in the remaining 1 cup of liquid, taking about 15 seconds. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then beat at medium-high speed for about 15 seconds.

5. For an ombre cake, evenly divide the batter into five small bowls. (I used a kitchen scale to ensure the portions were even). You can add as much or as little color to each layer as you like; for my cake, the layers  had 0, 1, 2, 4, and 8 drops of red food coloring. Once you've colored the batter to your liking, transfer the batter from each bowl into each of the prepared cake pans.

6. Bake the layers on the lower-middle oven rack for about 17-22 minutes, or until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pans and a toothpick inserted in the center of each layer comes out clean. Only bake as many layers at once as can fit on a single rack in your oven.

7. Cool the cakes in the pans for about 10 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.

8. For the coconut buttercream: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter at medium-high speed for about one minute. Reduce the speed to low and add the powdered sugar and salt. Allow the mixer to run at low speed until most of the powdered sugar is incorporated into the butter. With the mixer still running, add the milk and coconut extract and continue mixing at low speed for about 15 seconds. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

9. For the strawberry buttercream: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter at medium-high speed for about one minute. Reduce the speed to low and add the powdered sugar, ground strawberries, and salt. Allow the mixer to run at low speed until most of the powdered sugar is incorporated into the butter. With the mixer still running, add the milk and vanilla extract and continue mixing at low speed for about 15 seconds. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

You can find instructions for assembling a layer cake in this post.
For a demonstration of the ruffled frosting technique, check out this video.

7 comments:

  1. What a delicious masterpiece this one is! Sometimes there are desserts that just stick in your mind and this is one of them. Not only stunning in appearance but lovely flavor and texture. Fabulous post-glad I stopped in!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words! I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we did :)

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  2. Wow, this really looks amazing! I wish there was someone to make me a cake like that for my twenty-first birthday! :)

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  3. It really looks amazing. But I would never be that ambitious to try and make one. Maybe you can make one for my birthday ;)

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    1. Thank you! It's really a lot simpler than it looks :)

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  4. All I have to say is YUM! Cannot wait to make this cake.

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  5. So I just made this cake, it's out of the oven. I used liquid egg whites and I'm wondering if this is the cause for why my cake smells a little eggy. The batter was not as viscous as I am accustomed to. The cake isn't soft to the touch it's rather hard. I cooked it as directed and it's not burned at all, but I'm wondering if it is supposed to be like this. Any help would be great.

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