Coconut Custard Cake

Cake from Epicurious

Frosting from Mr. Brown

Filling from The Kitchn

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 ¾ cups cake flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 ½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 ¾ cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Filling

  • 1 ½ cups whole milk, heavy cream, or a mix
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • ½ teaspoon coconut extract

Frosting

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 5 egg whites, room temperature
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons

Instructions

Make Coconut Custard

  1. Place milk in medium sauce pan over medium low heat. Allow to warm just to the point of steam rising. If milk starts to simmer, reduce heat to low.
  2. While milk warms, whisk together egg yolks, salt, sugar, and flour. Beat well, creating a thick yellow paste.
  3. Once milk is steaming, pour a small amount into egg mixture. Whisk in completely. Add a second addition of milk to eggs, whisking to fully incorporate. Once smooth, pour egg mixture into milk. Rinse bowl from egg mixture and set a strainer over top, keeping it near at hand.
  4. Return saucepan to medium heat. Whisk thoroughly, bringing mixture to a foamy consistency. Whisk consistently and not stopping, until mixture seems to be thickening. Stop whisking now and then – once bubbles begin breaking the surface, give it 10 seconds more of whisking before pulling it off the heat.
  5. Pour custard through strainer and use a silicone spatula to press it through the mesh, catching any potential bits of scrambled eggs.
  6. Add shredded coconut and coconut extract to cream, stirring in completely.
  7. Allow to come to room temperature before placing a piece of cling wrap onto the surface of the custard and refrigerating. Let chill, preferably overnight, or for at least 3 hours.

Make Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and evenly space your racks. Prepare four 9“ pans or one 8” pan and two 4“ pans – depending on if you want tiers or not – by greasing and flouring. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and shredded coconut. Set aside.
  3. In electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy and light in color. Add eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. Slowly drizzle in oil, beating until fully incorporated.
  4. Add dry ingredients in three additions, adding buttermilk between each addition. Allow to mix until everything comes completely together.
  5. Divide batter between pans. You should get about 2 cups into each of the four 9” pans. Alternatively, do 2 cups into the 4“ pans and 4 cups into the 8” pan (note that putting this much batter into one large pan will drastically increase the cooking time).
  6. Bake for 22-35 minutes – 4“ pans take only 22 minutes, while the 8” pan will take closer to 35. Rotate pans half way through cooking.
  7. Allow to sit in pans for 5 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks and allowing to cool completely.

Make Frosting

  1. Boil 1 cup sugar with ¼ water. Have a candy thermometer ready; you're shooting for 245°F of doneness (the top end of softball stage). While syrup boils, make your meringue.
  2. Whip egg whites in a very clean bowl until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add in ¼ cup granulated sugar.
  3. Once syrup mixture reaches 245°F, bring it to mixer. Reduce heat to low and very slowly drizzle syrup into meringue. Try to aim between the whisk and the sides of the bowl – hitting the whisk will cause the syrup to splatter around the bowl, while hitting the side of the bowl will cause the syrup to cling to the bowl and not fully incorporate. Add all syrup to meringue then return to high speed.
  4. Allow to whisk until the outside of the bowl has reached room temperature – approximately 12 minutes.
  5. Once frosting has cooled, begin adding butter. Drop it into the frosting one tablespoon at a time, giving about 5 seconds in between additions. The frosting will very likely deflate – don't panic! Finish adding your butter and allow it to whip back up into shape. This can take as long as 5 minutes. Once finished, you're ready for assembly.

Assembly

  1. Cut cakes down to size. An 8“ cake can be cut into thirds; the 4” cakes into halves; and the 9“ cakes can just be trimmed.
  2. Remove custard from fridge and give it a few good stirs. If it is quite thick, add about a ½ cup of milk to the mixture to thin it out – you want it to be spreadable.
  3. Assemble cakes with custard in-between each layer, along with a smear of buttercream. Once layers are stacked, trim the outer edges to straighten everything up. Apply a thin crumb coat to cake and let refrigerate for 15 minutes before applying second coat of frosting.
  4. Decorate using toasted coconut shavings or flakes. If serving in the Spring, decorate using edible flowers, such as Bachelor’s button, dianthus, lavender, or snap dragons.