Tuesday, 9 March 2010

ICCHFC - Week 25: Lemon coconut layer cake

It was my fourth bake this week and I was lacking inspiration for my choices so I had a thumb through the biggest recipe book I have, The Practical Encylopedia of Baking, and decided on layer cakes as my theme. The cake layers I proffered were:
  • Walnut
  • Lemon coconut
  • Banana lemon
  • Caramel
Surprisingly, the dice of destiny was required to choose between the last three options. Fate decreed that I'd be making a lemon coconut layer cake.Amazingly the cake managed to last three days i.e. without being completely eaten or stolen by the OCT (office cake thief). Even after three days the cake had not dried out at all. Sabayon based cakes always seems to have a slightly chewy consistency and this was no exception. The lemon curd could definitely have been more lemony and I misunderestimated how much dessicated coconut would be left decorating all the surfaces of my kitchen! However, the multiple layers means an much larger filling:cake ratio which always hits the spot. I think the cake is on the right track but the individual components could be improved. Still everyone in the ICCHFC seemed to enjoy it especially Hannah and John (;-)).

Also, in a first for an ICCHFC bake, the cake was actually rated using the same criteria as A:

6 - This is a pretty high score since I'm not a great fan of coconut or lemon curd.
8 - Love lemon, like coconut so you couldn't really go wrong. Plus it's taken away the rank taste of the soup I had for lunch.

5 - Enjoyable but wouldn't ever make it into my top ten cakes. The ingredients are working against you here. Dessicated coconut with sticky curd and a chewy sponge. Remarkable considering my stance on these flavours.
6 - Hmmm, ok. I'd vote for more butter icing and less lemon curd but that's just my personal taste.

5 - Rustic but I guess that's what it's supposed to be.
4 - I might be biased by the mangled bit I had today!!!

Expectations met:
11 (assuming this is out of 10) - Exceeded. I really didn't think I'd like it but I did. Enough for three portions. I had to over-score since my expectations were very low for this cake.
10 - Layers, lemon, coconut, lots of icing: well satisfied. Sorry I don't give 11s.

Recipe for Lemon Coconut Layer cake (taken from The Practical Encylopedia of Baking)

5oz plain flour
1/8tsp salt
8 eggs
12 3/4oz caster sugar
Grated rind of one orange
Grated rind of two lemons
Juice of one lemon
2 1/2oz dessicated coconut
2tbsp cornflour
250ml water
3oz butter
For the icing:
4oz butter
4oz icing sugar
Lemon juice
4oz dessicated coconut


1. Place six eggs in a bowl set over hot water. Beat until frothy with an electric mixer.
2. Gradually beat in 5 1/2oz of sugar until the mixture leaves a ribbon trail when the beaters are lifted out.
3. Remove the bowl from the hot water and fold in the orange rind, half the lemon rind and 1tbsp lemon juice. Fold in the coconut.
4. Sift the flour and salt and fold in.
5. Divide the mixture between three 8" cake tins (which have been greased and lined).
6. Bake for 25-30mins at 180°C or until cakes begin to pull away from the sides of the tins.
7. For the filling blend the cornflour and a little cold water to a smooth paste. Whisk in the remaining eggs until just blended.
8. Over a moderate heat the butter, remaining lemon rind and juice and water until boiling.
9. Whisk in the cornflour and egg mixture and return to the boil. Continue to whisk until thick (approximately 5 minutes). Remove from the heat.
10. For the icing beat the butter and sifted icing sugar until smooth. Stir in the lemon rind and add enough lemon juice to form a thick spreading consistency.
11. To assemble the cake, sandwich the three layers with the lemon curd mixture. Spread the icing on the sides and then roll the cake in the coconut. Ice the top of the cake and press on coconut.

P.S. I made Jo an individual lemon layer cake as she has an aversion to coconut (using the same batter just separated before adding the coconut and a little flour added in as a substitute)
Jo also rated her personal cake:

Taste - 7
Texture - 5
Presentation - 6
Expectations met - 7

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