Yield: 12 Servings
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
Coconut Simple Syrup
1 ½ cups water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¾ cup sweetened flaked coconut
¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup coconut custard
¾ cup very cold heavy cream
3 sticks unsalted butter
1/3 confectioner’s sugar
¾ cup coconut custard (recipe above) – chilled
2 tablespoons softened butter – for pans
2 ¼ cups cake flour, plus more for pans
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces, slightly chilled
Preheat oven to 325 degree F.
Spread the coconut evenly onto a rimmed baking sheet and toast until lightly brown, stirring once, 8-10 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the coconut sit in the oven until very dry and crunchy, approximately 15 minutes.
Bring water and sugar to a boil and then add in the coconut. Remove from heat and let the mixture sit for a minimum of 30 minutes, up to 4 hours. Strain the liquid into a clean saucepan, bring to a boil and then let simmer for approximately 5 minutes, until the liquid is slightly reduced. Let cool.
Combine the milks and the vanilla bean in a medium non-reactive saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Whisk egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch together in a large bowl. Slowly whisk the warm milk into the egg yolk mixture, then return the mixture to the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly, until thickened. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and whisk in vanilla extract. Let cool to room temperature and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours.
Combine the custard and heavy whipping cream in a bowl and whip until soft peak forms. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator.
Beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the coconut custard and salt and beat until combined and smooth.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 (9 by 2-inch) round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Whisk together the milk, egg whites, vanilla bean seeds and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With mixer running at low speed, add the butter, one piece at a time and continue beating until the mixture resembles moist crumbs. Add all but ½ cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 1 ½ minutes. With mixer on low speed, add remaining ½ cup of the milk mixture, increase speed to medium and beat 30 seconds more. Scrape sides of the bowl and mix for 20 seconds longer. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, approximately 22-24 minutes. Cool in pan on a baking rack for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the sides of the pan and invert cakes onto the baking rack, removing parchment paper and let cool completely, about 45 minutes.
Using a long serrated knife, slice each cake horizontally into 2 layers. Reserve one of the flat bottom layers for the top of the cake. Place another layer on a cardboard round, cut side up and brush with some of the coconut simple syrup. Spoon 1/3 of the coconut filling onto the cake and using a small offset metal spatula, spread it into an even layer, leaving a ½ inch border around the cake edge of the cake. Repeat with 2 more layers. Brush the cut side of the reserved cake layer with the remaining syrup. Place the layer cut side down on top of the cake.
Frost the sides and top of the cake with the buttercream frosting. Pat the coconut onto the sides of the cake and sprinkle the remaining coconut on top of the cake.
Bobby Flay – Food Network – Episode #BT0501