Okay, first I want to make sure you’re not intimidated by the length of this recipe. It’s not at all difficult and you can make it all the day before you mean to serve it. In fact, you have to make it the day before, the cake sits in the fridge for at least 10 hours so all the components can cozy up, tell campfire stories, have pedicures and generally get to know each other better.
This really is a lovely cake. Lovely. And rustic looking. (Read: imperfections rule!) The sponge cake is brushed with a rum flavored syrup and then filled with coconut custard before being cloaked in a luscious whipped cream frosting and sprinkled with toasted coconut. De-li-cious!
P.S. The cake part of this recipe is just a really great sponge cake. Easy to make and well behaved, with a light, fluffy crumb. It would be a great addition to your cake repertoire :)
Coconut Custard Cake
Adapted from Country Living
For the custard: 3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
5 egg yolks
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped, pod reserved
1 cup sweetened coconut OR 1 teaspoon coconut extract (I followed the recipe and used the coconut, but I wasn’t super-thrilled by the texture. In future, I plan to omit it and use the coconut extract.)
In a small bowl, whisk the flour and 1/2 cup milk until smooth. Set aside.
In a medium sized heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine the 1 cup milk, sugar, vanilla seeds and pod.
Cook over medium low heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.
Whisk in the flour mixture and cook until thickened – about 3 minutes.
Slowly add 1/2 the milk mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly.
Return the mixture to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble and thicken – about 3 minutes.
Strain through a mesh sieve and stir in either the coconut or the coconut extract.
Place a piece of saran wrap directly on top of the custard (to prevent a skin from forming) and chill in the fridge.
For the cake: 1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 eggs, separated
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9” Springform pan with baking spray.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In your mixer, beat together the egg yolks and water for 1 minute.
Gradually add the sugar.
Add the extract and increase the mixer to high. Beat the eggs until thick and pale, about 4 minutes.
In a medium bowl, use your hand mixer to beat the egg whites on high until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.
Add the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture and fold to combine.
Fold in the egg white mixture.
Pour batter into the pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
Set the pan on a wire rack to cool.
For the syrup: 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon rum or coconut extract
Bring the sugar, water and extract to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat.
Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat.
To assemble the cake: Cut the cake into three even layers. (Ha! Good luck with that! I can’t do it to save my life! But it’s okay because this cake is RUSTIC! Plus all the layers meld together and uneven layers are all but invisible.)
Set the bottom layer on your cake plate.
Generously brush the cake with the syrup. Generously.
Add 1/2 of the chilled custard to the cake and spread it out evenly.
Add the middle layer of cake.
Generously brush the cake with the syrup.
Add the rest of the chilled custard to the cake and spread it out evenly.
Add the top layer of cake.
Very generously brush the cake with the syrup.
Wrap the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 10 hours and up to 24 hours.
Remove cake from fridge and top with whipped cream frosting and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Recipe follows.
For the frosting: 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons sugar
Add the cream and extract to the bowl of your mixer.
Whisk on low for 2-3 minutes.
Sprinkle in the sugar and turn the speed up to high for about 4 minutes, or until you reach soft peaks.
For the toasted coconut:
1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes.
Stir the coconut and bake for another 7 minutes or until golden brown and toasty!