Dear SOS: Years ago the L.A. Times published a recipe for a wonderful six-layer coconut cake with lemon filling.
Dear F.: This is quite spectacular on a cake stand. Assemble the cake with the filling before you make the frosting, otherwise the frosting will dry out as it sits.
Total time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Servings: 14 to 16
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
4 eggs, separated
4 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flake coconut, for garnish
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) round cake pans.
2. Cream the butter in a mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until very light, 2 to 3 minutes. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks until pale and thick. Add to the butter mixture, blending well.
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the creamed mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the coconut milk, and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add the vanilla and beat to thoroughly combine.
4. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff, then gently fold into the cake batter. Pour into the pans, spreading to the edges. Bake until a toothpick inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean, 35 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Loosen and invert onto racks to cool completely.
5. When cool, split the cake layers in halves. Spread the lemon cream filling over 5 of the layers and stack. Top with the plain layer. Frost the top and sides with the frosting. Sprinkle the top and sides with the coconut.
Lemon cream filling
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon butter
1. Combine the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, water, lemon juice, lemon zest and butter in the top of a double boiler set over, but not touching, boiling water. Cook, stirring, until thick and creamy, about 5 or 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a sieve. Cool thoroughly before spreading on the cake layers.
4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1 1/3 cups water
4 egg whites, stiffly beaten
2 tablespoons orange juice
1. Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir only until the sugar is dissolved. Boil rapidly, without stirring, until a small amount of syrup forms a soft ball in cold water or until the mixture registers 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Slowly pour the syrup in a fine stream over the egg whites, beating constantly with an electric mixer. Add the orange juice. Continue to beat until the frosting forms soft peaks.
Each of 16 servings: 780 calories; 250 mg. sodium; 115 mg. cholesterol; 24 grams fat; 16 grams saturated fat; 139 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams protein; 1 gram fiber.
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