I recently made it to my first weight-loss milestone of ten pounds (see pics here). Then I made this cake for a friend’s birthday the next day. And ate 1/4 of it. By myself!!! Needless to say, I’m a bit leery of the scale right now but my mouth was certainly happy while I chomped down on it.
This cake is a bit involved, even more so than most scratch cakes because it has four different recipes for one end product, but it is well worth the time and effort. Make it for a special occasion. I wouldn’t, however, recommend making it as a reward for losing weight. Unless you lost the weight so that you could eat this cake. I didn’t, but I think the small relapse was worth it. If you can’t tell by the pictures, it is moist and rich and really, really delicious. (More pics after the recipe.)
For the cake:
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons water
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup + ¼ cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the filling:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 ounces butter, cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted
For the syrup:
1 cup water
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum
For the chocolate icing:
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 ½ ounces unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1. Butter two 9-inch cake pans, then line the bottoms with rounds of parchment or wax paper. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. Melt both chocolates together with the 6 tablespoons of water. Use either a double-boiler or a microwave. Stir until smooth, then set aside until room temperature.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter and 1 ¼ cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate, then the egg yolks, one at a time.
4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
5. Mix in half of the dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture, then the buttermilk and the vanilla extract, then the rest of the dry ingredients.
6. In a separate metal or glass bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold soft, droopy peaks. Beat in the ¼ cup of sugar until stiff.
7. Fold about one-third of the egg whites into the cake batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites just until there’s no trace of egg white visible.
8. Divide the batter into the 2 prepared cake pans, smooth the tops, and bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool cake layers completely.
While the cakes are baking and cooling, make the filling, syrup, and icing.
To make the filling:
1. Mix the cream, sugar, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Put the 3 ounces butter, salt, toasted coconut, and pecan pieces in a large bowl.
2. Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the spoon (an instant-read thermometer will read 170°.)
3. Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature. (It will thicken.)
To make the syrup:
1. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and water until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the dark rum.
To make the icing:
1. Place the 8 ounces of chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and 1 ½ ounces of butter.
2. Heat the cream until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand one minute, then stir until smooth. Let sit until room temperature.
To assemble the cake:
Remove the cake layers from the pans and cut both cake layers in half horizontally, using a serrated bread knife.
Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush well with syrup. Spread ¾ cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges. Set another cake layer on top.
Repeat, using the syrup to brush each cake layer, then spreading ¾ cup of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top.
Ice the sides with the chocolate icing, then pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top, encircling the coconut topping.
(It may seem like a lot of chocolate icing, but use it all. Trust me. You won’t be sorry.)
Veronica’s Notes: Since I only have one mixer, I pre-measured everything for the cake before starting, then whipped the egg whites to stiff peaks and scraped them into a separate bowl to wait until I needed them. It worked fine this way, so I’d recommend this method if you only have one mixer. The reason for pre-measuring is to cut down on the amount of time it takes to make the cake batter so the prepared egg whites aren’t sitting there so long they deflate. Also, I’d recommend making both the filling and the icing the night before, or at least 6 hours before you will need them. It takes both about that long to become as thick as you’ll want them to be before you start so save yourself some frustration by either doing it in advance, or in a pinch you can put them both in the fridge and stir every ten minutes until desired consistency. For the syrup, I put mine in a bottle previously designated for water only and squirted it onto each cake layer, which is an easy way to apply it. Otherwise, you can use a pastry brush to dab it on.
Recipe source: David Lebovitz