Coconut-Pineapple Layer Cake, adapted long ago from Gourmet magazine
Cold and clear here lately, and I am lapping it up with the proverbial silver spoon but the beautiful days also create in me a bit of wistfulness for summer – and so I’ve been thinking of this cake. What could be more summery than coconut and pineapple? Not much. This is a perfect cake to beat the winter doldrums, and the ingredients couldn’t be more available regardless of season.
For cake layers
2 1/3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, beaten lightly
a 28-ounce can crushed pineapple in unsweetened juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
a rounded 1/4 cup sugar
2 2/3 cups sweetened flaked coconut (a 7-ounce bag), toasted golden
1 carton heavy cream, whipped
Make cake layers:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottoms of 2 buttered 9- by2-inch round cake pans with rounds of wax paper. Dust pans with flour, knocking out excess.
Into a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a glass measuring cup stir together milk and vanilla. In a bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed cream butter 1 minute and add sugar in a steady stream, beating until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition, until pale and fluffy. Add the dry mixture, alternating with the milk in 3 additions.
Divide batter between cake pans and bake about 35 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from oven and turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, whisk the pineapple, sugar, and cornstarch together until thick. Cook a few minutes then remove from heat and cool completely.
Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Spread the pineapple on one cake layer and top with about 1/3 cup of of the whipped cream. Place the other cake layer on top; cover completely with the rest of the whipped cream. Scatter toasted coconut on top and sides of cake. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes (or longer) before serving.