Strap in, this one’s a doozy. Carla made a very long series on Bon Appetit about layer cakes, and this was one of the featured recipes. Unfortunately, it didn’t contain any actual quantities, so I had to improvise a bit. I made this for my birthday in 2019, and it turned out delicious, but also enormous. Plan to feed a family of 5 for a week with this recipe, and beware making it with only two to consume, even if hosting a party.
- 4 cups cake flour
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 3 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 6 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp almond extract
- Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Cream in butter using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer.
- Combine wet ingredients, and incorporate into mixture in 4 additions, beating on medium-high for a total of about 2 minutes.
- Pour into 3 9” cake pans, and bake at 350 °F for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Toasted Coconut Caramel Filling
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups virgin coconut oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 3 cups toasted finely shredded coconut
- Toast shredded coconut in a pan until fragrant and slightly browned.
- Caramelize the sugar on the stove, then, off the stove, slowly add heavy cream. This completely broke the first time I made it, and I remain a little skeptical that that much cream can be incorporated.
- Melt in coconut oil, off heat. This melts at around room temperature, so leaving it near the stove will probably warm it into liquid form already.
- Stir in toasted coconut.
- 6 egg whites
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup water
- Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan, bringing to a boil. Continue boiling until soft ball stage, 110 °C (235 °F). This temperature is fairly critical, as it determines the sugar/water ratio in the mixture.
- Beat egg whites in a stand mixer until frothy, then add cream of tartar and salt.
- Timed so that the sugar mixture hits temperature at the same time the eggs are beaten to a very soft peak, begin adding sugar mixture to eggs, and continue beating until stiff peaks are achieved.
- 1 1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes
- Cut cakes in half, layering back together with toasted coconut caramel filling in the middle. Make sure to include a ring of Italian meringue frosting to ensure filling doesn’t leak out.
- Frost the cake in entirety, then sprinkle top with toasted coconut flakes.
I’ve made this once, and I doubt I’ll ever make it again, at least not at full scale. It took about 2 days and produced way more cake than I could eat. It was very sweet, but maintained a complex enough flavor profile not to be overwhelming (the caramel filling helped tremendously). I’m also not sure if the quantities are correct, as I had to bake an additional cake and wound up with an extreme excess of caramel filling, though I had to save the caramel by significant additions of ingredients to unbreak it. Overall, I would recommend practicing with a 6” cake or a 2 (4) layer cake instead of the full 3 (6) layer cake. My cake stand also wasn’t tall enough to contain the full might of the 6 layer cake, so I tossed one of the halves and wound up with a 5-layer cake. It was pretty excessive.