Sunday, March 31, 2013

Lemon Coconut Cake

What a lovely way to finish an Easter Brunch- Lemon Coconut Cake with Fresh Fruit. It's got it all going on, vanilla genoise, lemon curd, meringue buttercream and of course a spectacular fruit topping that beats any decoration you can think of.

And not too difficult to pull off, If you give yourself a few days in advance to do each component. I started with the lemon curd on Thursday because that has a long shelf life. Friday I made the genoise. Saturday I made the buttercream and assembled the cake. And early Sunday morning I finished it with fresh fruit. Voila, easy peasy, lemon curd squeezy. The end product is something spectacular that your guests will go on and on about and oh, yea, it tastes as good as it looks.

Let's get started, shell we...

lemon curd

10 yolks (save the whites for buttercream)
3/4 cup white sugar
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
rind of two lemons
1 & 1/3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

In a medium heat-proof bowl (metal works best) combine yolks, sugar, lemon juice and rind and put on top of medium pot of simmering water. Stir occasionally until mixture thickens, about 10-15 minutes. The mixture should coat the back of a spoon when it's ready. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter. Pour into a clean container, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 


4 ounces butter
9 eggs
1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of two 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper secured with a few small smears of butter and set aside. Melt butter and transfer to a medium bowl. Warm eggs in a water bath (no hotter than the temperature of bath water) for 5 minutes. 

Sift together flour and cornstarch and keep the sifter handy. Drain and dry off eggs and crack them into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk. Beat eggs on medium high and slowly add sugar. Once all the sugar is in add vanilla extract. Beat the mixture until it is light and fluffy and pale lemon-yellow in color, about 3-5 minutes. Don't over beat!

Sift the flour and cornstarch in 3 or 4 additions into egg mixture, gently folding in each addition before adding the next. This may seem tedious but it's the only way to insure you don't get nasty lumps of flour in the cake. 

Once all the flour has been added pour about 1/3 of the mixture into the bowl with the melted butter and gently whisk together. Next gently fold the butter mixture back into the main mixture. 

The key things to remember are to be gentle but also fast. The only leavening in genoise is the air you've beaten into the eggs and you don't want to lose that by deflating it with a heavy hand or taking to long to get the cakes in the oven!

Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool the pans on racks and when cool enough to handle run a knife or decorating spatula around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake. Turn out the cakes and remove the parchment paper. (If you are making this ahead of time you can turn out the cakes, wrap them and refrigerate until ready to assemble.)

meringue buttercream

5 egg whites*
1 cup white sugar
1 pound unsalted butter, cut up, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine the egg whites and sugar in a medium bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk until all the sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm.

Carefully remove bowl from pot, watch out for the steam! Transfer to a stand mixer with a whisk. Whip on high until soft peaks form. Turn the speed to medium and slowly add the butter bit by bit.  The mixture may start to look curdled before it comes together. Add vanilla extract.

*Please refer to the USDA guidelines on consuming uncooked egg products. 

simple syrup

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 water

Combine ingredients in a small pot and heat to a boil. Remove from heat and cool before using.

lemon curd
simple syrup
shredded coconut
fresh fruit
warm raspberry jam (seedless) optional
confectioners' sugar
Cut each cake in half and trim if necessary. Place the first layer on a cake circle or serving dish. Brush with simple syrup and top with 1/3 of the lemon curd.

Repeat with the rest of the layers. Bush the top of the last layer with simple syrup. Give the side of the cake a skim coat of frosting making sure not to get any crumbs in the buttercream. Once the first coat of frosting has set put a thick layer of frosting on the side of the cake only. While the frosting is still soft pat the shredded coconut on the side of the cake. Using a pastry bag and star tip pipe a decorative border around the outside of the top of the cake. 

Fill the top of the cake with fresh fruit such as berries, melon and pineapple. Brush with a thin coat of warm seedless raspberry jam if desired and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar just before serving. 10-12 slices. Keeps for 2 days refrigerated. 

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  1. WOW! You've outdone yourself this time girl! No lie, I'm gonna be needin a peace of that there cake stat!!

  2. Want to be my best friend? :) Such a beautiful cake!!

  3. Save me a bite :) Beautiful Cake!!!

    1. Thanks much! I'm afraid it's all gone, but you'll be the first to know when I make another one!

  4. So pretty! A fantastic Easter dessert! :)

  5. Ummmm...I would like a piece of this right now. Beautiful!

    1. Thanks Lori, you'd like it, it's full of lemony goodness!