Coconut-Almond Cream Cake

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Brooks Hamaker, from New Orleans, makes this cake with the precision of a skilled baker who has made his masterpiece many times. If the tops of the layers are a little rounded, he recommends leveling them with a serrated knife. "This is a tall cake," he says, "and it needs to be level if you want your friends to admire your work before they devour the cake--as they absolutely will."

Coconut-Almond Cream Cake
Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Rose Nguyen
Prep Time:
30 mins
Bake Time:
47 mins
Cool Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 27 mins
Yield:
12 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

  • Parchment paper

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

  • 5 large eggs

  • 1 cup whipping cream

  • 1/3 cup coconut milk

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1 tablespoon almond extract

  • Coconut-Almond Filling

  • Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Garnishes: kumquats, currants, fresh mint sprigs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Bake coconut in a single layer in a shallow pan 6 minutes. Place almonds in a single layer in another shallow pan; bake, with coconut, 7 to 9 minutes or until almonds are fragrant and coconut is lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

  2. Line 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with parchment paper. Grease and flour paper.

  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a very large bowl.

  4. Beat butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy; gradually add sugars, beating until blended. Beat 8 minutes or until very fluffy, scraping bottom and sides of bowl as needed. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition (about 30 seconds per egg). Stir in whipping cream and next 3 ingredients.

  5. Gently fold butter mixture into flour mixture, in batches, just until combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.

  6. Bake at 325° for 30 to 32 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour).

  7. Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate. Spread half of chilled Coconut-Almond Filling over cake layer. Top with 1 layer, pressing down gently. Repeat procedure with remaining half of Coconut-Almond Filling and remaining cake layer.

  8. Gently spread Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting on top and sides of cake. Press toasted coconut onto sides of cake; sprinkle toasted almonds on top. Garnish, if desired.

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