Coconut-Lemon-Passion Fruit Cake
I like the combination of coconut and passion fruit. I was lucky to find this passion fruit jelly a couple of months ago and I bought the jelly with the intention of making passion fruit buttercream. I really liked how it turned out. I also used Monin passion fruit syrup to brush the cakes with and the passion fruit flavor really came through. I kind of whipped out this cake on a busy weeknight so I used a jar of purchased lemon curd, but you can certainly use the leftover egg yolks to make fresh lemon curd. If you don’t like passion fruit or can’t find passion fruit jam or jelly, the cake would be great with either vanilla buttercream, coconut buttercream; flavored with cream of coconut (such as coco lopez brand) or cream cheese frosting and you could cover the cake in coconut.
Coconut Cake: (yield: 2 layer 9 inch cake)
3 1/4 Cups sifted cake flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 C unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/3 Cup granulated sugar
6 large egg whites
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp. coconut extract/flavoring
1 small lemon, zested
2/3 Cup coconut milk
3/4 Cup whole milk
3/4 Cup sweetened shredded coconut
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying the bottom and sides with baking spray (I use the kind with flour in the spray). Line the bottom of each pan with a parchment paper round.
2. Combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; whisk to combine and set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment; cream the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat on med-high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the egg whites a little bit at a time until combined; stop the mixer to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl every so often to insure the eggs combine thoroughly. Add the lemon zest and stir to combine.
4. Combine the coconut milk, whole milk, coconut extract and vanilla bean paste together in a measuring cup.
5. With the mixer on low-speed, add about 1/3 of the flour mixture, alternating with the milk mixture, stopping the mixer after each addition to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Make sure to end with the last bit of flour mixture. Stir in the coconut by hand.
6. Divide the batter equally into the two pans and smooth the tops. Rap the pans on the counter sharply to release any air bubbles.
7. Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes until the tops are just lightly browned around the edges and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. You will not see the cakes turn much color; they will retain a light color, so be careful not to overbake.
8. Cool the cakes in the pans for about 15 minutes and then invert the cakes, peel off the parchment paper, and place onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Filling: Purchased lemon curd (I like Dickinson’s)* you can make homemade lemon curd; I’ve used jar variety here to save time on a busy weeknight after work and one jar is exactly the right amount to fill the cake.
Passion fruit syrup: Purchased Passion fruit syrup (Monin brand)
Passion Fruit Swiss Buttercream:
5 large egg whites
1 Cup granulated sugar
4 sticks unsalted butter (1 lb.)
6 Tablespoons passion fruit jelly (also known as lilikoi)
1 tsp. vanilla
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer place the egg whites and sugar and whisk to combine. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water as a double boiler setup and whisk the mixture until the temperature registers 160º degrees on an instant read thermometer.
2. Remove the bowl from the double boiler, and place on the stand mixer on medium high; using the whisk attachment, whisk the egg/sugar mixture until you have stiff, glossy peaks and the bottom of the mixer bowl is not warm to touch; this will take about approx. 5 minutes.
3. Add one tablespoon of butter at a time and beat on medium high-speed. You will notice that the mixture will start to take on a curdled appearance and separate, (this is because of the high water content in the butter) but continue to add in the butter and the buttercream will come together. Add in the vanilla and combine. Add in the passion fruit jelly and turn the mixer down to low-speed and combine.
Brush one cake layer with passion fruit syrup. Pipe a ring of frosting on the top of the cake layer around the outer edge around the cake circumference to create a dam so the lemon curd does not squirt out. Spread the lemon curd on top of the brushed cake layer within the buttercream dam; brush the 2nd cake layer with passion fruit syrup and invert the cake layer so the brushed layer rests over the lemon curd. Brush the top of the cake with more passion fruit syrup. Frost the cake with the buttercream frosting in your desired choice of design. Store the cake in the refrigerator until one hour before serving. Let the cake come to room temperature for about hour before serving. Serve at room temp. Chill any remaining cake in the refrigerator.