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Coconut-Peach Cake


souljoy
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Coconut-Peach Cake

Serves 12 as Dessert.

From Brown Sugar by Joyce White. Used with permission from the author. This is a fancier than the version found in The Daily Gullet article, click here.

"This elegant cake is perfect for a wedding reception. Very lightly toasted coconut adds a tawny color to the cake, but if you prefer a snowy pristine look, don't toast the coconut. Place the cake on a nice crystal platter and ring it with candied violets.

Toni likes the cake stacked with homemade peach preserves, but it is just as pretty, and delicious, with plum preserves made with black or Santa Rose plums, which turn into a delightful purplish-red color. So both recipes are included.

And on a hot, humid day, whipped cream is a fine covering for a coconut cake -- a nice substitute for temperamental boiled icing."

Pages 85-88, Brown Sugar.


Cake Layers:

  • 3 c cake flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lb butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c whole milk, room temperature
  • 2-1/2 c freshly shredded coconut, lightly toasted

Peach or Plum Filling:

  • 1-1/2 c Peach or Plum Preserves, preferably homemade
  • 2 T peach brandy or peach schnapps

Vanilla Icing:

  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature (see note below)
  • 1-1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c water
  • 2 T light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp cider vinegar or cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter threee 8 x 1½-inch round cake pans. Dust with flour and shake out any excess flour.

Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt and set aside.

Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or use a large mixing bowl and a handheld electric mixer. Beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, for 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the bowl once or twice with a rubber spatula.

Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating about 30 seconds after each addition, and scraping the bowl as needed. Stir in the vanilla extract. Set the mixer at low speed. Alternately add the flour and milk to the creamed mixture, mixing only until blended after each addition, ending with the flour.

After the last addition, beat the batter on low speed for 30 seconds, or until the batter is smooth and satiny.

Using a measuring cup, pour the batter into the prepared pans, dividing evenly. Shake the pans gently to settle the batter.

Place the cake pans in a triangular patter in the hot oven on the middle shelf. Make sure that the cake pans don't touch. Bake the cake layers for 20 minutes, and then quickly change the position of the pans in the oven for even browning, shifting the pans from front to back and vice versa.

Bake for 5 to 7 minutes longer or until the cake layers are brown and puffy and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, or until the layers pull away from the sides of the pan.

Remove the cake layers from the oven, place on wire racks, and allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Don’t turn off the oven.

Run a knife or metal spatula around the edges of the cake pans, tap gently, and carefully turn the cake layers out onto the wire racks and cool completely, top side up.

To toast the coconut: Scatter 1½ to 2 cups of the coconut on a baking sheet or jelly-roll pan. Set the pan on the middle rack of the 350-degree oven. Toast the coconut for about 5 minutes, or until it is barely tinged golden brown, shaking the pan or stirring the coconut with a wooden spoon once or twice. Watch carefully and don't let the coconut burn or overbrown.

Use the remaining 1 cup of coconut for the filling, untoasted.

To make the Peach or Plum Filling: Combine the preserves and brandy or schnapps in a medium bowl. Beat briskly until well blended and smooth. Set aside.

To prepare the Vanilla Icing: Carefully crack the eggs one at a time and place the yolk and egg white into two separate small bowls, making sure that not one speck fo yolk mixes in with the egg white. If the egg white is free of yolk, transfer it to a large spotless clean bowl for shipping. If the egg yolk drips into the egg white, discard that egg white and break another egg, using a clean bowl. Set aside the egg whites to warm to room temperature and return the yolks to the refrigerator. The egg yolks can be frozen and used in a custard, or scrambled for breakfast.

Have ready a long-handled wooden spoon, a pastry brush, a cup of hot water for brushing down sugar crystals from the sides of the pan, a candy thermometer, and a hand mixer with clean beaters.

When the egg whites reach room temperature, combine the sugar, 1/3 cup water, and the corn syrup in a heavy 3-quart saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid.

Stir briskly with the wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar. Set the pan on medium heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Cover the pan, raise the heat to medium-high, and cook for 3 minutes.

While the sugar is boiling, using the hand mixer set at medium-high speed, beat the egg whites until they are foamy. Sprinkle over the vinegar or cream of tartar and continue beating until the egg whites form soft peaks. Don't over beat; this should take no more than 3 minutes. Set aside.

Uncover the pan, dip the pastry brush in the hot water, and wipe away any crystals on the inside of the pan. Attach the candy thermometer to the inside of the pan, raise the heat a bit, and cook the syrup, without stirring, until it reaches 238 to 240 degrees. (This should take about 4 minutes.)

Remove the syrup from the heat, let cool for 1 to 2 minutes, and then pour in the egg whites in a thin stream while beating on high speed. Continue beating until the icing is thick and glossy and holds a shape, for about 7 minutes.

Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla extract and spread the icing immediately over the cooled cake.

If the icing begins to harden, stir in a little of the hot water and beat briskly.

Makes 3 generous cups vanilla icing

To assemble the cake: Place one cake layer top side down on a cake platter. Spread with half of the peach preserves or plum filling--3/4 cup--smoothing with a metal spatula. Sprinkle on ½ cup of the untoasted coconut.

Place on the second layer, top side up, and spread with the remaining preserves and the remaining ½ cup untoasted coconut. Top with the third later, bottom side down. Secure the cake in place with metal skewers if it is leaning.

Spread the cake all over--sides and top--with the Vanilla Icing or with Whipped Cream Frosting (page 93 of Brown Sugar), swirling for a pretty effect.

Coat the cake all over with the toasted coconut, patting lightly with your hand.

Set the cake in a cool, dark place until ready to serve. Refrigerate any leftover cake.

Makes 10 to 12 servings

Note: If you aren't sure about the safety of the egg whites you plan to use in the icing, consider using pasteurized egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites instead. Powdered egg whites or meringue powder can be ordered from Wilton at 1-800-794-5866, or on line at www.Wilton.com.

Keywords: Dessert, Cake, Topping/Frosting, American, Stand Mixer, The Daily Gullet

( RG602 )

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