Thursday, December 06, 2007

I'm Going to a Housewarming Party! I Hope Everyone Likes Coconut Cake with Lilikoi Curd

*** Scroll down for update***

Hosted by Peabody, at Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, another Daring Baker with a fun and drool-worthy blog!

As is clear from the picture above, we had to slice into the cake - we couldn't wait until Saturday, but there's plenty left for a virtual housewarming. The recipe is adapted from yet another Ina Garten winner from her book, Barefoot Contessa at Home: Everyday Recipes You'll Make Over and Over Again.
I used buttermilk instead of plain milk, and increased the amount of almond extract in the frosting. I also decided to make my own passion fruit (lilikoi) curd using Goya brand frozen passion fruit pulp, which some of you may be lucky to find in your frozen food section under its Spanish name, maracuya. In my opinion, ambrosia, that legendary food of the gods, must taste like passion fruit. I know I'm right on this, so there's no sense arguing about it!

Instead of putting frosting between the layers, I used the passion fruit curd. I actually had enough curd to make the cake, despite spooning it into my mouth at any given opportunity. "Oh, I've opened the refrigerator - I'd better check on the curd," or "I see it's a full moon out tonight - I'd better check on the curd." And the always popular, "I'll go on a diet tomorrow. I'd better check on the curd."

In the end, the result: a dense but moist layer cake, laced with almond and coconut, sharpened by the brilliant, intense flavor of the passion fruit. For what it's worth, Master Chow dislikes coconut, and he really liked this cake. He could taste the coconut, but it was not overpowering. And, hey, who doesn't like ambrosia? See you at Peabody's!

Note: My recipe for the lilikoi (passion fruit) curd came from The Hali'imaile General Store Cookbook: Homecooking from Maui, which I can't seem to find in my pile of books at the moment. When I do, I promise to update this post with the recipe. Please do not think that you can use a lemon curd recipe and substitute passion fruit for the lemon - it won't work. Passion fruit needs more sugar. If you absolutely can't wait and want to make this immediately, look for some bottled curd (Heidi vouches for one on her blog), or you may consider using this recipe. Now, I haven't used that recipe, but the restaurant from which it comes, Chef Mavro, is considered by some to be one of the best in the nation.

Coconut Cake
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut (set this out on a plate ahead of time so it dries out just a bit - it will be easier to handle)

For the frosting
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted (don't skip the sifting, or you will have a lumpy, grainy frosting!)
6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut (set this out on a plate ahead of time so it dries out just a bit - it will be easier to handle)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Set a rack in the middle of the oven. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. If you have cake strips, use them to prevent doming. If not, build up the batter towards the perimeter of the cake to help keep it as flat as possible. If you don't understand what I'm talking about, don't worry - have fun, it will taste great!

Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix just until just smooth (don't whip!).

To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and carefully slice in half. Using a piping bag, or an offset spatula, create a thin "dam" of frosting along the outer circumference of the layer. This is to prevent the curd, which you will spread withing this circle, from leaking out. Place the second half of the layer on top, top side down, and repeat the "dam" and curd process.

Now, take your second layer, split it in half, and repeat the dam and curd process. When you put the second half of the second layer on top of the cake, place it top side up. At this point, I would recommend you refrigerate the cake for least an hour to help stabilize it before you frost the top and sides.

After an hour, remove the cake from the refrigerator and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.
Update: found the lilikoi curd recipe! Here it is, and this makes a LOT of curd, so you will have some left over:
Liliko'i Curd
6 whole eggs
6 egg yolks
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups lilikoi (passion fruit) puree (unsweetened)
You will be using a double boiler, so get a pan of water boiling. In a stainless steel or other non-reactive, heat-proof bowl whisk together the egg yolks and eggs until well blended. Add the sugar and the puree, and mix well.
Place the bowl on top of the pan of boiling water, and whisk continuously for 10-15 minutes until the mixture thickens to a consistency of a thick pudding. Mine never got quite that thick until I chilled it; it is important not to let the mixture boil. If you have to, take the pan with the lilikoi mixture off the double boiler periodically to prevent boiling.
When the mixture has thickened, immediately pour it through a strainer for a silkier texture, and to strain out any bits of egg that may have cooked.
Store in the refrigerator for up to one week, with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to prevent the formation of a crust. I've actually frozen this for up to three weeks, and the taste was outstanding. The curd was slightly less creamy, but not by much!


Blogger rowena said...

You just reminded me that I really should do something with that bottle of lilikoi juice in the fridge! Lilikoi! Another island fave that I haven't spoiled my tastebuds with in a long, long time. Lovely idea (and cake!) marrying coconut and passion fruit together!

December 07, 2007 5:35 AM  
Blogger Lydia Hamre said...

looks great

December 07, 2007 2:20 PM  
Blogger Peabody said...

Yeah, I don't think I could have waited till the party either to dive into this! I love coconut cake and your twist of passion fruit is a great idea.

December 07, 2007 8:01 PM  
Blogger Gretchen Noelle said...

Please Post Maracuya Curd Recipe...SOON. Oh yum! I love the idea of maracuya & coconut together!

December 09, 2007 10:53 AM  
Blogger Tartelette said...

Love the combo of coconut and passion fruit. Delicious cake to bring to the party!

December 10, 2007 12:10 AM  
Blogger Deborah said...

Ohhhh, coconut and passion fruit sounds amazing!! This looks beautiful!

December 12, 2007 4:45 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Coconut cake is wonderful in and of itself. Add passion fruit?!

December 13, 2007 10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'll go on a diet tomorrow. I'd better check on the curd."

lol! Get out of my head.

You know I love me some coconut cake and this one looks delicious, especially with the passionfruit added in!

Ari (Baking and Books)

December 17, 2007 8:38 AM  
Blogger Lyra said...

This sounds delicious...I love passionfruit! The best passionfruit dessert I have had is the mousse de maracuja that you can buy all over Brazil.

I just ran across your blog from the daring bakers blogroll-its great to find another DC area food blogger. I have duly added you to my blogroll.

December 17, 2007 11:46 AM  
Blogger Madam Chow said...

Thank you all for visiting! It means a lot to me, and keeps me motivated in my culinary adventures, such a they are. And you all give me inspiration and a welcome respite from my busy schedule. I really do appreciate the comments and the visits.

December 17, 2007 4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*Mouth Waters* yummy in my tummy!

July 03, 2012 12:13 PM  

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