Have Your Cake and Eat It Too This Holiday!
I love cake and I'm tired of feeling bad about eating it. Although I always want cake, I admit to not baking it much during the year. However, the holidays are different. Not only do I feel the need to make cake (and cookies), I also feel most comfortable indulging in it! One of my favorite cakes is lemon. It's light, refreshing and it always feels special when you serve it - perfect for holiday entertaining. Below is the ultimate Lemon Cake recipe from this month's Gourmet Magazine Special Holiday Edition. If you want to have your cake and eat it too - this might just be the perfect one!
Lemon Coconut Layer Cake
Serves 10 to 12 | Active time: 1 hour | Start to finish: 2 hours
- 2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 large whole eggs, at room temperature for 30 minutes
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup whole milk
FOR LEMON FILLING
- 2 large whole eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 Tbsp grated fresh lemon zest
- 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces
FOR MARSHMALLOW FROSTING
- 1 (7-oz) bag sweetened flaked coconut (2 2/3 cups)
- 2 large egg whites
- 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2/3 cup light corn syrup
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 (9- by 2-inch) round cake pans; stand mixer (necessary for frosting but not for cake)
> Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter cake pans and line with rounds of parchment or wax paper. Then dust cake pans with additional flour, knocking out excess.
> Sift together flour (2 3/4 cups), baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl.
> Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer (fitted with paddle attachment if using a stand mixer) at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then beat in vanilla and continue beating 5 minutes more. Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture and milk alternately in 4 batches, beginning with flour mixture and mixing until batter is just smooth. Divide between cake pans, spreading evenly.
> Bake cake layers until they begin to pull away from sides of pans and a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in pans on racks, then invert cake layers onto racks and cool completely. (Leave oven on for toasting coconut.)
MAKE FILLING WHILE LAYERS BAKE:
> Whisk together eggs in a large heatproof bowl until well combined.
> With clean dry whisk, stir together sugar, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt in a 1 1/2- to 2-qt heavy saucepan. Whisk in water, zest, and juice until well combined. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whiskng; reduce heat and cook at a bare simmer, whisking constantly, 2 minutes (mixture will be thick).
> Add hot juice mixture to eggs in a slow stream, whisking, then return egg mixture to saucepan, whisking, and cook over medium-low heat just until it reaches a boil. Remove pan from heat, then add butter, whisking until butter is melted. Chill filling, its surface covered with a buttered round of wax paper (buttered side down), until cold, at least 30 minutes.
> Spread coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven, stirring often, until golden, 12 to 15 minutes (see Tip, above right). Cool on sheet on rack.
> Combine frosting ingredients in bowl of stand mixer fitted with whip attachment. Beat at high speed until frosting is thick and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
> Halve each cake horizontally with a long serrated knife. Put 1 layer on a cake stand or large plate and spread with one-third of filling (about 3/4 cup). Stack remaining cake layers using half of remaining filling between each layer. Spread top and side of cake generously with frosting and coat cake with coconut, gently pressing to help it adhere.
COOKS’ NOTES: Cake layers (not split horizontally) can be made 1 day ahead and kept at room temperature, wrapped individually in plastic wrap, or 1 week ahead and frozen.
> Filling can be made 1 day ahead and then chilled, covered. Stir before spreading.
> Cake can be assembled and frosted 2 hours ahead.
> The egg whites in the frosting are not cooked. If this is a concern, you can substitute reconstituted dried egg whites such as Just Whites.
TIP: Toasted coconut adds an irresistible crunch and nutty brown flavor to baked goods. It’s well worth the 12–15 minutes it takes to make, but requires a watchful eye. Spread packaged coconut as evenly as possible on a rimmed baking sheet and place in a 350°F oven. After 5 minutes, pull out the baking sheet and stir the coconut well, then spread it out again. Do this a couple more times. During the last few minutes, check coconut often: It can go from pale gold (nearly ready) to golden brown (done!) to burned in the time it takes to grab a potholder and rack for cooling.
The Special Holiday Edition of Gourmet Magazine is full of other amazing recipes too - 120 to be exact. To stay on top of food trends and future editions, visit Gourmet Live online, on twitter @GourmetLive or at facebook Gourmet Live.