WOW... its been a whopping four months, huh? Apologies to my dear followers & friends but I've been really busy... dealing with pregnancy, a 2 year old, the summer, vacations, work, etc.... you know how it goes... life in general.
But here I am at last... with my SMS pick. (I will tell you that I did make a few of the recipes these four months, just didnt have the time or energy to post about them.)
I picked this recipe quite a long time ago... when I was very, very ambitious. Ambitious, indeed! This recipe requires quite a few steps and ingredients.
First the cake, I made half the recipe and there was enough batter for a small 7-inch cake and a six cupcakes (which I reserved for BabyM, who gobbled them up right away w/o any of the filling or frosting.) I searched all over for passion fruit juice but came up empty handed.
I decided to try vanilla pastry cream for the filling (or in my case, topping). I've been wanting to try to make pastry cream and am so glad I did. This recipe was super simple and very tasty.
Thank you very much to those who baked along with me and my sincerest apologies for my absence. I also apologize for no photos.
Here is the SMS recipe for Fluffy Coconut Cake with Passion Fruit Filling:
Makes one 9-inch cake
FOR THE CAKE
20 tablespoons (2 1/2) sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
9 large egg whites, at room temperature
FOR THE PASSION FRUIT FILLING
1 1/2 cups passion fruit juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
7 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
¾ cup sugar
FOR THE COCONUT CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup sweetened cream of coconut
3 cups sweetened coconut flakes
BEFORE YOU START
Place a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F Butter and flour two 9 x 2-inch round cake pans. Line each with a 9-inch round of parchment paper.
TO MAKE THE CAKE
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
2. In separate large bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the milk and vanilla.
4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix well after each addition but be careful not to overmix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix on medium-high speed for 10 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
5. In the very clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the very clean whip attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they hold medium stiff peaks.
6. Using a rubber spatula, briskly fold one-third of the meringue mixture into the batter to lighten it. Gently fold in the remaining meringue until just combined.
7. Divide the batter equally between the two prepared cake pans. Use a spatula to level the batter. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched with your finger, and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a rack to cool for 30 minutes before turning out onto the rack to cool completely.
The baked layers may be stored tightly wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for 2 days. For longer storage, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 days, or freeze wrapped in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil for up to 2 weeks. Do not unwrap before thawing.
TO MAKE THE FRUIT FILLING
1. In a medium skillet, bring the passion fruit juice to a boil. Turn down the heat to simmer, and reduce the fruit juice by half, about 10 minutes. (You will have 3/4 cup passion fruit concentrate.) Allow to cool. Stir in the lemon juice.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, eggs, and sugar until well combined. Whisk the passion fruit concentrate into the egg mixture.
3. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering, not boiling, water. Be sure it is not touching the water. Cook, stirring, until nappante (thick enough to coat the back of a spoon) or
185°F on a candy thermometer, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.
4. Strain the mixture into a bowl set in an ice bath (see Note).
5. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap flush against the surface of the filling (to prevent a skin from forming). Refrigerate until cold before using.
The fruit filling keeps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
TO MAKE THE FROSTING
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar on low speed, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until fluffy and smooth, 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
2. Add the butter and mix on medium speed until just combined, stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl, 1 to 2 minutes. Do not overbeat. Decrease the speed to low and add the vanilla and cream of coconut and mix until just combined.
Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Let the frosting come to room temperature and beat in the mixer slightly before using.
TO COMPLETE THE CAKE
1. See How to Assemble a Layer Cake (page 91) for instructions on how to fill and frost a split layer cake.
2. After the cake is frosted, use your hands to help pat the coconut onto the sides and the top of the cake.
Once completed, the layer cake may be stored in a cake saver in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Note: An ice bath is a large bowl filled with two quarts of ice and two cups of water. A smaller bowl containing a hot liquid is set inside the bath in order to help cool down the liquid quickly.
Add more ice as needed.
The foregoing is excerpted from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy. All rights reserved. Copyright © Melissa Murphy, 2008.
Here is the recipe for vanilla pastry cream:
Recipe from Bon Appétit February 1998
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Bring half and half to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Whisk sugar, eggs, egg yolk and flour in medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in hot half and half. Transfer to saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until mixture thickens and comes to boil, about 5 minutes. Boil 1 minute. Pour into medium bowl. Stir in vanilla. Press plastic onto surface of pastry cream. Cover; chill until cold, about 4 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.)
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