Coconut Layer Cake, Coconut Cream, Lime Curd, Cashew-Pink-Peppercorn Brittle

Adapted by
November 2020
Yield: 1 cake


Coconut Cake:
(Yield: Six ½-sheet cakes)
740 grams cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teasponn baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
6 eggs
894 grams sugar
Zest of 2 limes
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
550 grams canola oil
682 grams full-fat coconut milk
Lime Curd:
8 fluid ounces lime juice
4 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
223 grams sugar
1 pinch of salt
5 ounces butter, softened
Coconut Pastry Cream:
(Yield: 2 quarts)
782 grams Coco Lopez
578 grams full-fat coconut milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean
56 grams cornstarch
18 grams all-purpose flour
8 egg yolks
114 grams butter
Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
(Yield: 3 quarts)
8 fluid ounces egg whites
14 ounces granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
20 ounces butter
But Brittle:
(Yield: 2 quarts)
594 grams sugar
42 grams butter
12 grams salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
9 grams baking soda
14 ounces cashews, toasted and chopped
Sea salt
Pink peppercorn dust
To Assemble and Serve:
Lime zest
Toasted coconut


For the Coconut Cake

Preheat oven to 325℉ with a low fan. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside. To a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip eggs with sugar and lime zest until pale yellow and doubled in volume. Continuing to whisk, drizzle the oil in slowly so the mixture emulsifies like making mayonnaise. On low speed, add half the dry ingredients and the coconut milk, finishing with the remaining dry ingredients. Divide the batter evenly between 6 parchment-lined, sprayed, half-sheet trays with 500 grams of batter each. Bake until pale golden and set, rotating when done, about 15 minutes total.

For the Lime Curd

In a non-reactive bowl over a double boiler, combine the juice, eggs, sugar, and salt.
Blend with an immersion blender until uniform. Cook over simmering water, stirring constantly with a spatula until it starts to thicken. Stir in butter and allow to further thicken. Strain and transfer to quart containers, pressing a layer of plastic directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming; chill.

For the Coconut Pastry Cream

In a pot over low heat, gently melt the Coco Lopez until smooth and uniform. In another pot, combine half the coconut milk, thickened Coco Lopez, salt, and vanilla. In a bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, flour, yolks, and the remaining coconut milk. Temper the yolk mixture into the liquid and whisk until thick and bubbling; it should hit 165℉ with the candy thermometer. Strain through a chinois and immediately whisk in the butter to fully combine. Buzz with an immersion blender. Transfer to a nonreactive container and press a piece of plastic directly on the surface so a skin doesn’t form as it cools.

For the Swiss Meringue Buttercream

In a mixing bowl set over a double boiler, stir together egg whites and sugar until sugar is fully dissolved and foamy and it reaches 160℉. Transfer to the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip on high until stiff, glossy peaks form. Add vanilla and salt. Switch to the paddle attachment and add butter, about 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each piece to fully mix in before adding the next. Once butter is incorporated, transfer to quarts or pastry bags and store at room temp up to 3 days.

For the Nut Brittle

Set up a full sheet tray, upside-down and lined with a silpat. In a large, deep pot over medium-high heat, combine sugar and add enough water to reach a wet sand consistency. Add butter, salt and vanilla. Bring sugar to a very pale caramel, then add baking soda and stir vigorously with a spatula. It will foam up and take on a bright orange color. Working quickly, remove pot from heat and fold in cashews. Dump cashew caramel out onto the silpat and spread into an even layer. Top with another silpat and use a rolling pin to press out into a flat layer. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt and pink peppercorn dust. Once cool, break into chunks and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

To Assemble and Serve

Layer Coconut Cake with Lime Curd and Coconut Pastry Cream, alternating fillings and starting and ending with the Lime Curd. Wrap and chill overnight, then slice and portion. Finish each slice with piped Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Nut Brittle, fresh lime zest, and coconut.