Tuesday was my father-in-law’s 65th birthday. Whenever I am available (aka living in Utah) I always offer to make Wayne Harley Brachman’s version of coconut cake for his special day. It’s beautiful and a bit unconventional, just like my sweet father-in-law! However, a series of unfortunate events–catching a terrible cold, running out of ingredients, and having my car break down–led to me needing to shortcut this recipe! So here is my cheater version of dear Mr. Brachman’s cake:
TOASTED COCONUT LAYER CAKE
makes an 8″ cake that serves 12 people
for the cake:
1 box Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
2 Tbs. flour
1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup milk (preferably at room temp.)
boiled icing with coconut:
1/2 lb. unsweetened coconut flakes (found in health food stores)
4 egg whites
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
2/3 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350° and grease & flour two 8″ round cake pans.
- Empty the cake mix in a mixer bowl and add flour to it. Whisk or mix the ingredients together to break up clumps and blend.
- Add the rest of the cake ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl towards the center. Increase speed to medium-high for 2 minutes.
- Evenly distribute batter between the two cake pans and bake between 26-30 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
- When cakes are done baking place on a wire rack for ten minutes. After 10 minutes, gently remove cakes from pan and place directly on the wire rack until completely cool.
While the cakes are cooling, you can begin to work on the icing.
- Preheat or change the oven temperature to 325° and line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Evenly spread coconut over the baking sheet and bake for 3 minutes. For an even toasting, shift coconut around baking sheet with a spatula and turn pan. Bake an additional 3 minutes or until coconut edges begin to brown. Typically, they are ready when you can start smelling the coconut!
- Set coconut aside. Crack egg whites into a clean mixing bowl. Fit mixer with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium speed until egg whites are foamy and thick.
- In a medium sauce pan add sugar, cream of tartar, water, and salt and set to medium heat while whisking occasionally.
- Simmer/lightly boil sugar water mixture until temperature reaches softball stage (235°) on a candy thermometer.
- While the mixer is mixing the egg whites on low slowly pour sugar water into the egg whites.
- Continue to mix increasing the speed to medium. Add vanilla while mixing for about 2-3 minutes. Frosting should be stiff.
- Divide icing into two bowls evenly. In one bowl mix in half of the coconut.
- With a large serrated knife cut the two cool cakes into four layers total.
- Place the first layer on a cake plate and top with coconut icing. Continue this process with each layer until you get to the last one.
- Once the cake is assembled frost the entire cake in the plain icing making sure it is smooth and even.
- Gently press remaining coconut around the sides of the cake. I like to leave the top coconut free like Wayne does. This gives the cake an ultra sharp appearance!
- Refrigerate cake until you’re ready to eat!
I hope all of these steps don’t intimidate you! Learning to make this simple boiled icing will expand your cake-making repertoire and give you the courage to try others like swiss meringue! Let me know how it goes!
TIP: Keep all of the eggs you need for this recipe out on the counter to get to room temperature (along with the butter). This helps the eggs separate and blend with batter easier.