- Preheat the oven to 350F and line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.
- Spray the parchment and the sides of the cake pans with unflavoured cooking spray.
- Place the egg whites in a bowl and whisk them slightly. Add the milk and coconut flavouring and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
- Next pour the entire can of coconut milk in a deep bowl and stir it smooth until no chunks remain.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, almonds, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- Add the butter and the coconut milk and combine on low speed until moistened.
- Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the egg white mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing just long enough to incorporate between the additions.
- Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes before cutting around the perimeter to loosen the sides from the cake pan.
- Allow the cakes to cool down.
- Wrap and place them [still in the pan] in the fridge for the night.
- The following day make the buttercream. Whisk the egg whites with your stand mixer on medium-high speed.
- Add the cream of tartar and a pinch of salt.
- While the egg whites are whisking, start the sugar syrup by bringing the water and sugar to a boil.
- Once the syrup reaches 230F on a candy thermometer and the egg whites are stiff, pour the syrup into the egg whites while running the mixer on low speed.
- Increase the speed to medium-high and whisk until glossy.
- The meringue should now be cool to the touch. Set the mixer to medium speed.
- With a teaspoon, cut the butter into the meringue one spoonful at a time.
- Next, add the icing sugar.
- Increase the mixer to high speed. The buttercream will start to curdle but don't worry.
- After 2-3 minutes the buttercream should be creamy and fluffy. Set aside.
- Take out the fully chilled cakes from the fridge and gently pry them out of the cake pan with the parchment paper still attached.
- Gently pry off the parchment and place the cakes on a flat surface.
- Scrape the crumbs off the tops.
- Gently slice the cakes in half horizontally. You should end up with four layers.
- To assemble the cake, cover the serving platter with clean pieces of parchment paper.
- Place the first cake layer on the platter.
- Divide the buttercream in four parts and spread one part on top.
- Cover with the second layer and repeat with the third layer.
- Place the last layer on the top and crumb coat the entire cake, the top and sides.
- Chill the cake for at east 30 minutes in the fridge.
- Frost the top and the then the sides with the remaining buttercream and decorate it with rafaellos.
This is a celebration cake. Adapted from Sugary and Buttery, the recipe called for two 6-inch cake pans. I wanted a larger cake and made 1.5 of the recipe. It may seem frivolous to use 2-1/4 cups of full fat coconut milk, which requires roughly one and one-half cans, but when you want to celebrate, you might as well do it right. The buttercream didn’t need to be increased as it was designed for more layers. Cutting a nut cake into thin slices while fresh would be close to impossible. Weather you make six or nine-inch cakes, do not attempt to cut them unless fully chilled. Keep the cakes in the pan and chill them overnight or at least for 4 hours before cutting. Even after that, handle the slices with the utmost care.
I am not quite sure what was more amazing, the cake or the buttercream. The crumb was excellent, the flavour was divine; indeed it was a light cake. Despite all the butter in the buttercream, it wasn’t heavy, in fact we found it ethereally light.
Happy Birthday Leilah!
Rafaello Cake [designed for 2 or 4 layers]
5 large egg whites
1/2 cup whole milk
1 Tbsp coconut extract
2-1/2 cups cake flour
1 cup ground almonds
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1-1/2 cups or 1 can of full fat coconut milk
6 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup sifted icing sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp coconut extract
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