We found this yummy dessert recipe that just screams summer. The recipe for the Italian Meringue Buttercream follows at the end of the cake recipe. Enjoy this yummy, decadent treat.
Coconut Pineapple Cake
1 batch Italian Meringue Buttercream, vanilla variation, ready to use
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
1, 20-ounce can crushed pineapple in juice
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2¾ cups sifted cake flour
1 tablespoon plus ¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1¼ cups 100% unsweetened coconut milk (not sweetened cream of coconut)
13 tablespoons (1 stick plus 5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
1¼ cups sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Italian meringue buttercream, vanilla variation
3 cups sweetened long-shred coconut
For the Filling: Place sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan and whisk to combine. Drizzle a little bit of the juice from the pineapple over the dry mixture and whisk until smooth. Add remaining pineapple and juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for a couple of minutes, whisking occasionally until thickened and translucent. Whisk in the butter and cool completely. Refrigerate until chilled and firmed or in an airtight container for up to 3 days, if desired.
For the Cake: Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat the insides of two 8-inch by 2-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray, line bottoms with parchment rounds, then spray parchment.
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl to combine and aerate; set aside. Whisk together the egg whites and milk in a small bowl; set aside.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar gradually and beat until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Beat in vanilla.
Add the flour mixture in four additions, alternating with the egg white/milk mixture. Begin and end with the flour mixture and beat briefly until smooth. Divide batter evenly in pans and smooth tops with offset spatula.
Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick shows a few moist crumbs. The cake will be tinged with light golden brown around the edges and the top and will have begun to come away from the sides of the pan.
Cool pans on racks for about 10 minutes. Unmold, peel off parchment, and place directly on racks to cool completely. Layers are ready to fill and frost. Alternatively, place on layers on cardboards and double wrap in plastic wrap; store at room temperature if assembling within 24 hours.
For the Assembly: Make sure buttercream is ready to go. It should be very soft – almost like mayonnaise. Place bottom layer on an 8-inch cardboard round (it will make covering it with coconut that much easier later on). Fill the cake with the pineapple filling (you might not need all of it, extra is great over ice cream). Frost the cake’s top and sides with the buttercream. Don’t worry if your application job isn’t perfect – you will be covering the whole cake with coconut! See how imperfect it looks when you are still in the midst of it all?
Make sure you have a nice thick layer of buttercream all over (you might still have some leftover, which can be frozen).
Place coconut in a large bowl. Pick up cake (this is where that cardboard round comes in) and hold over bowl. Scoop up coconut with other hand and press generously all over top and sides of cake. Cake is ready to serve. May be refrigerated up to 2 days covered with a cake dome. Make sure to serve at room temperature.
The pineapple filling is optional. There is enough buttercream to use as filling, too.
Italian Meringue Buttercream
Makes: Makes about 6 cups
1¼ cups sugar, divided into 1 cup and ¼ cup
? cup water
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
2¼ cups (4½ sticks) unsalted butter, very soft, cut into pieces
Place 1 cup of sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir to wet sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, swirling pan occasionally. Dip pastry brush in cold water and wash down sugar crystals from the sides of the pot once or twice. Allow sugar mixture to simmer gently as you proceed with egg whites.
Meanwhile, place egg whites in a clean, grease-free mixing bowl and whip until frothy on low speed using the wire-whip attachment of a standing mixer. Add cream of tartar and turn speed to medium-high. When soft peaks form, add ¼ cup sugar gradually. Continue whipping until stiff, glossy peaks form.
Bring the sugar/water mixture to a rapid boil and cook until it reaches 248° to 250° F. As syrup cooks, check visual cues to assess doneness if you do not have a thermometer: it starts out with a thin consistency and many small bubbles covering the entire surface. As the water evaporates, the mixture will become visibly thicker. Bubbles become larger and pop open more slowly. At this point the syrup definitely looks thickened, but it has not begun to color; this is the firm ball stage – if you drop a bit of the syrup into a glass of cold water it will form into a ball. When you squeeze the ball between your fingertips, it will feel firm and the syrup is ready.
With the mixer running, pour syrup in a thin, steady stream directly over the meringue. Do not pour any on the whip or the sides of the bowl. Whip meringue until cool to the touch; this could take several minutes. With the mixer running, add butter a couple tablespoons at a time. Keep beating until the buttercream is completely smooth and spreadable, somewhere in texture between peanut butter and mayonnaise. Now the buttercream is ready to use. Any flavorings may be added at this point; variations are given below. Refrigerate up to 1 week in an airtight container or freeze up to 1 month. If frozen, defrost in the refrigerator overnight and bring to warm room temperature before re-beating. Always re-beat before using.