- 13 hours
- 1 minute
The notion of coconut being a popular ingredient in the South is a bizarre one, considering that coconut is not native to the South. There are several reasons why this may be. One possibility is the fact that many immigrants from Latin America settled in the South. Another possibility is that the advent of refrigeration may the transport of exotic foods -- such as coconuts, pineapples and bananas -- feasible at a time when an impoverished and war-torn South was unable to grow enough fresh food to feed its population. Regardless of the origins, coconut is an inseparable part of Southern cuisine, particularly in Southern baking.This recipe is inspired, in part, by the coconut cake from the Peninsula Grill in Charleston, South Carolina. With profound layers of coconut flavor and a smooth texture, this impressive dessert is bound to impress.
- Start by making the filling. In a large saucepan, combine 4 cups of heavy cream, 3 cups white sugar, 1 pound butter, the dulce de leche and the vanilla. Place over a medium heat, whisking consistently. Beat the egg yolks in a heat-resistant bowl and temper the yolks by slowly drizzling one cup of the heated cream onto the yolks while whisking. Whisk the yolk mixture into the cream. Mix the cornstarch with two tablespoons water, Add the cornstarch slurry to the cream mixture and boil for one minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 9 cups chopped coconut. Allow to cool fully. Pour into a baking pan, cover and allow to refrigerate for 12 hours.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Flour and grease 3 9 inch round pans and line bottoms of pans with parchment. Set aside. In a stand mixer, cream 1 pound butter until smooth. Add 3 cups white sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, waiting until the last egg is fully integrated before adding the next. Whip for ten minutes.
- Combine 1 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract and the coconut extract in a small bowl and set aside. In a second bowl, combine and mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Fold half of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, followed by half of the cream mixture, the remainder of the flour mixture and the remainder of the cream mixture. Divide among the prepared pans and spread the batter even. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean after inserted in the center of the cake. Cool completely on a rack before depanning.
- In a small saucepan, make the simple syrup by combining the 3/4 white sugar and the remaining water. Boil until the sugar is dissolved. Cool completely.
- In a stand mixer, whip the remaining butter and the cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add the confectioner's sugar until fully integrated. Add vanilla and whip until light and fluffy. Split cake bases into two even layers.
- To assemble, start by placing a cake layer on a cake circle or a plate. Brush the cake layer with simple syrup until moist but not wet. Spread one cup of filling on top of layer and add new cake layer. Repeat until all cake layers are placed. Brush top layer with simple syrup. Frost top and side of cake with cream cheese frosting and coat sides with toasted coconut. Allow cake to set in refrigerator for thirty minutes to stabilize frosting before serving.