Cakes




 

Cheryl's Favorite Carrot Cake





Ingredients


For the cake:

  •     2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
  •     1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  •     1 teaspoon baking soda
  •     1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  •     1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  •     1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  •     1/2 teaspoon table salt
  •     1 pound medium carrots (6 to 7 carrots), peeled
  •     1-1/2 cups granulated sugar (10 1/2 ounces)
  •     1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
  •     4 large eggs
  •     1-1/2 cups vegetable oil , safflower oil, or canola oil


For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  •     8 ounces cream cheese , softened but still cool
  •     5 tablespoons unsalted butter softened, but still cool
  •     1 tablespoon sour cream
  •     1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •     1-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar (4 1/2 ounces)





Instructions


Step 1: For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9 inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom of pans with parchment and spray parchment.

Step 2: Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in large bowl; set aside.

Step 3: In food processor fitted with large shredding disk (see below for mixer method), shred carrots (you should have about 3 cups); transfer carrots to bowl and set aside.
 
Step 4: In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or in large bowl and using hand-held mixer), beat granulated and brown sugars and eggs on medium-high until thoroughly combined, about 45 seconds.

Step 5: Reduce speed to medium; with mixer running, add oil in a slow, steady stream, being careful to pour oil against inside of bowl (if oil begins to splatter, reduce speed to low until oil is incorporated, then resume adding oil). Increase speed to high and mix until mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 45 seconds to 1 minute longer.

Step 6: Turn off mixer and stir in carrots and dry ingredients by hand until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain.

Step 7: Pour into prepared pans and bake until toothpick or skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Cool cakes to room temperature in pan on wire rack, about 2 hours.

Step 8: For the frosting: When cake is cool, mix cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla at medium high speed in clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment ( or in large bowl using handheld mixer) until well combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix until very fluffy, about 1 minute.

Step 9: Run paring knife around edge of cake to loosen from pan. Invert cake onto wire rack, peel off parchment, then invert again onto serving platter.

Step 10: To assemble the cake: Trim layers if necessary. Remove any ragged edges. Slightly rounded tops are easily covered by icing, but excessively large bumps may have to be cut off.  Brush all crumbs from cakes. Loose crumbs make icing difficult. Place the bottom layer upside down on a cardboard cake circle. This gives a flat surface for the filling. Place in the center of a turntable or serving plate. Spread icing on bottom layer out to the edges.  Place top layer on bottom layer, right side up. Ice the cake.





Cheryl's Limoncello Cheesecake






Ingredients

Crust

  •     20 lemon cookies (e.g., Pepperidge Farm lemon cookies)
  •     3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  •     1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Filling

  •     5 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  •     1 cups sugar
  •     5 teaspoons cornstarch
  •     1/2 cup limoncello liqueur
  •     3 tablespoons lemon juice
  •     1/4 cup heavy cream
  •     pinch salt
  •     2 teaspoons vanilla
  •     2 tablespoons lemon zest
  •     5 large eggs, at room temperature
  •     2 egg yolks, at room temperature


Topping

  •     12 ounces of creme fraiche
  •     2 tablespoons sugar
  •     1 teaspoon limoncello





Instructions

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

Step 2: For the Crust: Finely grind the cookies in a food processor. Add the melted butter and lemon zest, and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom (not the sides) of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is golden, about 10 minutes. Cool the crust completely on a cooling rack. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Step 3: For the Fillling: In a large mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and cornstarch until smooth for about 3 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally and scraping down the sides of the work bowl. Add the limoncello, lemon juice, heavy cream, salt, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of lemon zest. Mix well. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat just until blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Step 4: Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in greased 9-inch springform pan. The batter will reach the rim of the pan. Place the baking pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking pan.



Step 5: Bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour and 15 minutes until the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken (the cake will become firm when it is cold). Transfer the cake to a rack; cool 1 hour.

Step 6: For the Topping: Mix the creme fraiche and sugar together and gently spread over the top of the cooled cheesecake. Bake for 5 minutes. Let cool until the topping is set or chill overnight. Best served at room temperature.





Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Icing





Ingredients

  •     2 cups all-purpose flour
  •     1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  •     1/2 tsp baking powder
  •     1/2 tsp baking soda
  •     1/2 tsp salt
  •     2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  •     1-1/2 cups sugar
  •     2 large eggs
  •     2 large egg yolks
  •     1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  •     1 cup buttermilk
  •     4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  •     1 recipe for chocolate icing




Instructions

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter two 9-X-2-inch round cake pans.

Step 2: Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

Step 3: Beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes, until it is thoroughly blended into the sugar.

Step 4: Add the eggs one at a time, then the yolks one by one, beating for 1 minutes after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. 

Step 5: Beat in the vanilla.

Step 6: Reduce the mixing speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternatively with the buttermilk; add the dry ingredients in 3 portions and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); mix only until each new batch is blended into the batter. 

Step 7: Scrape down the bowl and add the melted chocolate, folding it in with the rubber spatula. Divide the batter between the cake pans.

Step 8: Bake for 26 to 30 minutes, or until the cakes feel springy to touch and start to pull away from the sides of the pans.  Transfer the cakes to racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them.  Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
 

Step 9: Assemble and frost cake with chocolate icing.





Coconut Cake

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, Published March 1, 2001.


Makes one 9-inch, 4-layer cake.






Ingredients

Cake

  •     1 large egg
  •     5 large egg whites
  •     3/4 cup cream of coconut
  •     1/4 cup water
  •     1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •     1 teaspoon coconut extract
  •     2-1/4 cups cake flour (9 ounces), sifted
  •     1 cup granulated sugar
  •     1 tablespoon baking powder
  •     3/4 teaspoon table salt
  •     12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 12 pieces, softened, but still cool
  •     2 cups packed sweetened shredded coconut (about 8 ounces)
  •     1 recipe for Coconut Buttercream





Instructions


Step 1: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with shortening and dust with flour.

Step 2: Beat egg whites and whole egg in large measuring cup with fork to combine. Add cream of coconut, water, vanilla, and coconut extract and beat with fork until thoroughly combined.

Step 3: Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on lowest speed to combine, about 30 seconds.

Step 4: With mixer still running on lowest speed, add butter 1 piece at a time, then beat until mixture resembles coarse meal, with butter bits no larger than small peas, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.

Step 5: With mixer still running, add 1 cup liquid. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds. With mixer still running, add remaining 1 cup liquid in steady stream (this should take about 15 seconds). Stop mixer and scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then beat at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds. (Batter will be thick.)

Step 6: Divide batter between cake pans and level with offset or rubber spatula. Bake until deep golden brown, cakes pull away from sides of pans, and toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes (rotate cakes after about 20 minutes). Do not turn off oven.

Step 7: Cool in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes, then loosen cakes from sides of pans with paring knife, invert cakes onto racks and then re-invert; cool to room temperature.

Step 8: While cakes are cooling, spread shredded coconut on rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until shreds are a mix of golden brown and white, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times. Cool to room temperature.

Step 9: To Assemble the Cake: With a long serrated knife, cut both cakes in half horizontally so that each cake forms two layers.
Step 10:  Put a dab of icing on a cardboard round cut just larger than the cake. Center one cake layer on the round.
Step 11:  Place a large blob of icing in the center of the layer and spread it to the edges with an icing spatula.
Step 12: Hold the spatula at a 45-degree angle to the cake and drag it across the surface to level the icing.
Step 13: Repeat steps 3 and 4 with remaining cake layers.

Step 14: To ice the sides of the cake, scoop up a large dab of icing with the tip of the spatula and spread it on the sides with short side-to-side strokes. Sprinkle the top of the cake with coconut. Then press the coconut into the sides, letting the excess fall back onto a baking sheet.





Double Chocolate Flourless Cake

Adapted from Cuisine at Home, April 2010





Ingredients


For the Torte:

  •     1/3 cup water
  •     1/2 cup sugar
  •     1 stick unsalted butter, cubed
  •     12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
  •     1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  •     1/4 teaspoon table salt
  •     1/3 cup almond liqueur OR cold brewed coffee
  •     2 teaspoon almond extract
  •     6 eggs


For the Ganache:

  •     1/2 cup heavy cream
  •     3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (4 ounces)
  •     Toasted sliced almonds
  •     Fresh strawberries or raspberries

 





Instructions


Step 1: Preheat oven to 325. Coat a 9 x 2 inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper cut to fit into bottom of pan; coat with nonstick spray.

Step 2: Bring water and sugar for the torte to a boil in a pan to dissolve sugar; remove from heat.

Step 3: Add butter, 1 bag of chocolate chips, espresso powder, and salt. Let sit 2 minutes, then stir until smooth.

Step 4: Whisk in liqueur and almond extract.

Step 5: Whisk eggs until whites and yolks are mixed, then whisk into chocolate mixture.

Step 6: Pour batter into prepared cake pan,and place cake pan inside a roasting pan.

Step 7: Add warm water to roasting pan halfway up the outside of the cake pan. Bake torte until puffed and soft to the touch, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove roasting pan from oven, then remove the cake pan to a cooling rack. Let cool 1 hour. Run a paring knife around inside of the cake pan; invert onto a platter. Peel off parchment; cool completely or chill until ready to serve. Bring to room temperature before
serving.

Step 8: Before serving, heat cream for the ganache in a microwave safe measuring cup in a microwave on high until boiling, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 3/4 cup chocolate chips and let sit 2 minutes, then stir until smooth. Cool Ganache 2 to 3 minutes, then spread over top and down the sides of torte. Sprinkle top with almonds. Dip a knife into hot water and wipe dry for each slice. Serve cake with strawberries. Chill any leftover cake.





Dulce de Leche Layer Cake

Adapted from Heart of Mary blog;  White velvet butter cake recipe adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Rose's Heavenly Cakes, 
 
Make 12 servings
 



 

Ingredients

    

For the cake:

  • 4-1/2 large egg whites, at room temperature (4.8 ounces)
  • 1 cup milk (8.5 ounces), divided
  • 2-1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3-1/2 cups (10.5 ounces) cake flour, sifted into cup and leveled
  • 1-1/2 cups (10.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened (65° to 75°F)
 
 

For the Dulce de Leche:

  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
 

For the dulce de leche frosting:

 
 
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: To make the dulce de leche: Remove the label from the can of condensed milk. Poke two vent holes in the top, by using a can opener for example. Put the can into a pot (with the holes up), and fill up the pot with water until it is a quarter inch or so below the top of the can. 
 
Step 2: Put the pot on a stove and turn up the heat. Let the pot and can simmer gently for up to four hours for solid dulce de leche. Add more water, as necessary, to the pot when the level boils down too much.
 
Step 3: When it's done, let it cool for a while, and then carefully open up the can completely.
 
Step 4: To make the cakes: Grease two 9-inch by 1-1/2-inch cake pans, then line bottoms with parchment or wax paper, and then grease again and flour.
 
Step 5: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
 
Step 6: In a small bowl, whisk the egg whites, 1/4 cup of the milk, and the vanilla just until lightly combined.
 
Step 7: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds.  Add the butter and the remaining 3/4 cup milk and mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1-1/2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
 
Step 8: Starting on medium-low speed, gradually add the egg mixture in two parts, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  
 
Step 9: Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with a spatula. The pans will be about 1/2 full. Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cakes should start to shrink from the sides of the pans only after removal from the oven.
 
Step 10: Let the cakes cool in the pans on racks for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and invert onto greased wire racks.  Let cakes cool completely before icing.
 
Step 11: To assemble the cake:  Position your first layer on a rotating cake stand. Using your dulce de leche filling and a pastry bag, pipe a ring of filling around the edge of the cake. From there, you can fill in the middle with filling by placing a mound of filling in the center of the layer and spread with a flat spatula to the edges.
 
Step 12: Add the top layer of cake, you can begin to ice the sides and top of the cake.  Start by making a crumb coat.  Spread a thin layer of icing onto the cake. Don’t worry if there are crumbs in the icing, this is expected. The icing layer is so thin that you will see the cake and crumbs. Smooth the icing as best as you can and let it dry. The crumb coat needs to be dry to the touch before you put the final layer of icing on.
 
Step 13: After the crumb coat is dry, place a mound of frosting in the center of the cake and push to the sides with your spatula. Continue to frost the top and sides of the cake.
 
Step 14: Add your remaining dulce de leche filling to a pastry bag fitted with a fairly large round time.  Pipe a ring of filling around the edge of the cake. From there, you can fill in the middle with filling by placing a mound of filling in the center of the layer and spread evenly with a flat spatula to the edges
 
Step 15: Once you are finished, you can decorate the top and bottom of the cake as you wish. 
 



 

German's Chocolate Cake

My mother and I were searching for a German chocolate cake recipe to make for our Christmas day dinner and she found this one on the Taste of Home website. This one is a really good and classic German chocolate cake recipe.  It is straightforward and fairly easy to make.  This was my first attempt and it turned out delicious.  

 
By the way, for anyone wondering about the origins of this cake - it actually has nothing to do with the country Germany.  The cake is named after an American by the name of Sam German, who worked for American Baker's Chocolate Company. He developed a type of sweet baking chocolate in 1852 and Baker's Chocolate Company named this sweet dark chocolate after him.  The recipe, originally called "German's Chocolate Cake" appeared years later, in 1957, in a local Dallas, Texas newspaper (the " 's" was dropped over the years). A homemaker sent the recipe to the local Dallas newspaper but the actual recipe's origins are unclear.  
 

Adapted from Taste of Home

Makes 12 servings
 



 

Ingredients

 

For the cake:

  • 4 ounces German sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
 

For the frosting:

  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 5 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped Diamond of California® Pecans
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: Line three greased 9-in. round baking pans with waxed paper. Grease waxed paper and set aside. 
 
 
Step 2: In small saucepan, melt chocolate with water over low heat; cool.
 
    
 
Step 3: In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
 
 
Step 4: Beat in 4 egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
 
 
Step 5: Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla. 
 
 
Step 6: Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.
 
 
Step 7: In a small bowl and with clean beaters, beat the 4 egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold a fourth of the egg whites into the creamed mixture; fold in remaining whites.
 
   
 
 
Step 8: Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 24-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
 
 
Step 9: For frosting, in a small saucepan, heat the sugar, milk, butter and egg yolks over medium-low heat until mixture is thickened and golden brown, stirring constantly. 
 
 
Step 10: Remove from the heat. Stir in the coconut, pecans and vanilla extract. 
 
 
Step 11: Cool until thick enough to spread. Spread a third of the frosting over each cake layer and stack the layers.
 
 
 



 

Jaimie's World Famous Carrot Cake

This recipe belongs to Jaimie, a sister of a good friend of mine. Sadly, Jaimie passed away on January 11, 2015 from a grade 4 brain tumor at the very young age of 45. I didn’t have the pleasure of ever meeting Jaimie but I’ve heard so many wonderful things about her and the lives she touched. And after trying her delicious carrot cake, I feel like I have met her. So in memory of Jaimie, I am posting her carrot cake recipe. This cake is absolutely scrumptious. You can’t feel too guilty about eating a cake loaded with carrots and made with whole wheat flour. Honestly, you can’t get any healthier than that. Enjoy!
 



 

Ingredients

 

For the Cake:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground all spice
  • 4-1/2 cups finely grated carrots
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, safflower oil, or canola oil
 

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1-8 ounce package of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4-1/2 to 4-3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar
 
 



 

Instructions:

 
Step 1: For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position; pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9 inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom of pans with parchment and spray parchment.
 
Step 2: Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, and salt in large bowl; set aside.
 
Step 3: In food processor fitted with large shredding disk, shred carrots (you should have about 4-1/2 cups); transfer carrots to bowl and set aside.
 
Step 4: In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat sugar and eggs on medium-high until thoroughly combined, about 45 seconds.
 
Step 5: Reduce speed to medium; with mixer running, add oil in a slow, steady stream, being careful to pour oil against inside of bowl (if oil begins to splatter, reduce speed to low until oil is incorporated, then resume adding oil). Increase speed to high and mix until mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 45 seconds to 1 minute longer.
 
Step 6: Turn off mixer and stir in carrots and dry ingredients by hand until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain.
 
Step 7: Pour into prepared pans and bake until toothpick or skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Cool cakes to room temperature in pan on wire rack, about 2 hours.
 
Step 8: Run paring knife around edge of cake to loosen from pan. Invert cake onto wire rack, peel off parchment, then invert again onto serving platter.
 
Step 9: For the frosting: Beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla at medium high speed in clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with flat paddle attachment until well combined, light and fluffy, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Gradually add powdered sugar and mix until very fluffy, about 1 minute.
 
Step 10: To assemble the cake: Trim layers if necessary. Remove any ragged edges. Slightly rounded tops are easily covered by icing, but excessively large bumps may have to be cut off.  Brush all crumbs from cakes. Loose crumbs make icing difficult. Place the bottom layer upside down on a cardboard cake circle. This gives a flat surface for the filling. Place in the center of a turntable or serving plate. Spread icing on bottom layer out to the edges.  Place top layer on bottom layer, right side up. Ice the cake.
 



 

Limoncello Cake with Limoncello Zabaglione

This cake truly captures the sunshine of Southern Italy, where limoncello is traditionally made.  Limoncello and lemon are infused in every element—the cake itself, lemon curd, and zabaglione cream. The recipe is a little complicated and time- consuming to make but, if you have the time, I guarantee it will get rave reviews from your guests.
 



 

Ingredients

 

For the cake:

  • 2-1/2 cups cake flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened 
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar 
  • 2 large whole eggs, at room temperature 
  • 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 
  • 1/4 cup limoncello
  • 1/2 cup whole milk 
 

For the lemon syrup:

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons limoncello
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
 

For the lemon curd:

  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
 

For the limoncello zabaglione:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Limoncello
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • 2 cups heavy cream
 
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: To make the lemon cake: preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper and butter parchment. Dust the bottom and sides of pans with flour and tap out the excess.
 
Step 2: In a medium bowl, Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir together the dry ingredients with a whisk. Set aside.
 
Step 3: In an electric stand mixer, using the paddle attachment or beaters, beat the butter on medium speed for about 30 seconds, or until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the speed to medium-high, and continue to beat until the mixture is light, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
 
Step 4: Add the whole eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest. 
 
Step 5: Reduce the speed to low and gradually beat in the limoncello (the batter will appear curdled at this point but will smooth out after you add the dry ingredients). 
 
Step 6: Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with milk in 2 additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another 10 seconds. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans.
 
Step 7: Bake the cakes for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the racks and cool completely.
 
Step 8: To make the lemon syrup: place the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves and the syrup clears slightly. Remove from the heat and transfer to a glass bowl to cool to room temperature.
 
Step 9: To make the lemon curd: combine sugar and cornstarch in heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in fresh lemon juice. Whisk in eggs and yolks; add butter. 
 
Step 10: Whisk over medium heat until curd thickens and boils, about 12 minutes. Pour into medium bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto the surface.  Refrigerate until cold, at least 5 hours. Curd can be prepared 1 week in advance.
 
Step 11: To make the filling, first make the zabaglione. Place a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add the eggs and sugar and whisk well.  Add the limoncello. Continue to whisk, over the pan of water until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set to one side to cool slightly.
 
Step 12: In another large bowl beat the mascarpone until it is smooth. Beat in the slightly cooled Zabaglione and mix until even.
 
Step 13: In another bowl, whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks and fold into the mascarpone/zabaglione mixture.
 
Step 14: To assemble, place 1 cake layer onto a serving plate. Soak the top of the cake layer with the lemon syrup brushing on with a pastry brush.
 
Step 15: Spread the cake layer with lemon curd and then add an even layer of mascarpone filling. Top with the second cake layer. 
 
Step 16: Soak the top of the cake with the lemon syrup brushing on with a pastry brush. Coat the top of the cake with an even layer of mascarpone filling. Run a palette knife around the sides of the cake to even out the filling. Reserve the remaining mascarpone filling and place the cake in the fridge for 4 hours to firm so that the rest of the assembly can be completed. Once chilled, coat the sides and top of the cake with the reserved mascarpone filling.  Decorate as desired.
 
 
 



 

Luscious Lemon Cake with Whipped Cream Frosting





Ingredients

 

For the cake:

  • 2-1/2 cups cake flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened 
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar 
  • 2 large whole eggs, at room temperature 
  • 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 
  • 1/2 cup whole milk 
 

For lemon curd:

  • 2-1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
 

For the lemon frosting:

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd
  • 4 cups heavy cream
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: To make the lemon cake: preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper and butter parchment. Dust the bottom and sides of pans with flour and tap out the excess.
 
Step 2: In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir together the dry ingredients with a whisk. Set aside.
 
Step 3: In an electric stand mixer, using the paddle attachment or beaters, beat the butter on medium speed for about 30 seconds, or until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the speed to medium-high, and continue to beat until the mixture is light, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
 
Step 4: Add the whole eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest. 
 
Step 5: Reduce the speed to low and gradually beat in the lemon juice (the batter will appear curdled at this point but will smooth out after you add the dry ingredients). 
 
Step 6: Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with milk in 2 additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another 10 seconds. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans.
 
Step 7: Bake the cakes for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the racks and cool completely.
 
Step 8: To make the lemon curd: Combine sugar and 2 teaspoons cornstarch in heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in fresh lemon juice. Whisk in eggs and yolks; add butter. 
 
  
 
 
Step 9: Whisk over medium heat until curd thickens and boils, about 12 minutes. Pour into medium bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto the surface.  Refrigerate until cold, at least 5 hours. Curd can be prepared 1 week in advance.
 
  
 
Step 10: To make the lemon frosting: Combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and lemon curd in the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until smooth. Once smooth, remove the paddle attachment and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. While the mixture is whipping, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl a couple of times while you continue whipping until the cream can hold a stiff peak.
 
Step 11: To assemble the cake, place 1 cake layer on a serving plate. Pile the lemon filling onto the center using a small offset metal spatula, and spread it into an even layer, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge of the cake layer. Top with the second cake layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the lemon frosting and decorate as desired.
 
 
 
Step 12: Serve the cake immediately, or refrigerate and bring to room temperature before serving.




Martha Stewart's Ultimate Chocolate Cake

Makes two 9-inch layers
 





Ingredients

  •     1 cup cocoa, plus more for dusting
  •     3/4 cup strong coffee, boiling
  •     1 cup milk, room temperature
  •     2-3/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  •     1 teaspoon baking soda
  •     1/2 teaspoon salt
  •     1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  •     2-1/2 cups sugar
  •     1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  •     4 large eggs, room temperature
  •     Hershey's Cocoa Chocolate Frosting
     




Instructions


Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper. Butter the parchment, and dust with cocoa powder; tap out excess.

Step 2: Sift cocoa; whisk in boiling coffee and milk. Let cool. Sift together cake flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
    
Step 3: Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Pour in the cooled cocoa mixture. Mix until fully incorporated.
    
Step 4: Add the sifted dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture, stirring until just combined.

Step 5: Pour the batter into the prepared pans (about 4 cups in each pan). Bake for 20 minutes, rotate the pans, and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center.

Step 6: Remove the cakes from the oven, and allow to cool in pans for 15 minutes on a cooling rack. Carefully run a small offset spatula around the edge of the cakes to loosen them from the pan. Remove cakes from pans, and invert onto a wire rack. Let cool completely, about 1 hour.

Step 7: To assemble, using a serrated knife, level the top surface of each cake layer. Place four strips of parchment paper around the perimeter of the cake stand. Spread with 3/4 cup of chocolate frosting. Top with the remaining layer, bottom side up. Using a swirling motion, cover the outside of cake with the remaining frosting. Remove parchment-paper strips





Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

Makes  l0 to l2 servings.






Ingredients

  •     2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
  •     1/4 cup butter, melted
  •     2 (8 ounce) packages light Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
  •     3/4 cup sugar
  •     2 tablespoons cornstarch
  •     1 teaspoon vanilla
  •     3 eggs
  •     1 cup canned pumpkin
  •     3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  •     1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Topping

 

  •     2 cups sour cream
  •     1/3 cup sugar
  •     1 teaspoon vanilla
  •     Pecan halves for decoration





Instructions


Step 1: For the Cheesecake: Combine crumbs and margarine; press onto bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.  


  

Step 2: Combine cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla, mixing at high speed on electric mixer until well blended.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Step 3: Reserve 1 cup of the cheese mixture.  Add pumpkin, remaining 1/4 cup sugar and spices to remaining cheese mixture.  Mix well.  You should have a little over 3 cups of the pumpkin mixture and 1 cup of the plain cheese mixture.



Step 4: Layer half of pumpkin mixture and half of  the plain cheese mixture over crust.  Repeat layers.  Cut through batter with knife several times for marble effect. 

   

Step 5: Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the cheesecake in a water bath to keep the oven moisture high and the heat gentle. Don't overbake the cheesecake. When perfectly done, there will still be a two to three-inch wobbly spot in the middle of the cheesecake; the texture will smooth out as it cools.

Step 6: For the Topping:  Mix sour cream, sugar and vanilla together. Spread on top of cheesecake. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Loosen cake from  rim of pan; cool before removing from rim of pan.  Chill before serving.





Schiacciata alla Fiorentina

My sister-in-law, Kathy, first ate schiacciata at the Pensione Bencista in Fiesole, overlooking the Duomo while the wisteria was in bloom. She loved it so much she asked for the recipe; she still has it—written longhand in Italian by one of the pensione’s owners. This version of the Tuscan cake was baked in a rectangular pan for breakfast and left out uncovered all day for snacking tourists. The overall effect was satisfyingly dry and chewy.
 
Kathy was kind enough to share the recipe with me. The original yields a cake that is slightly dense but very fragrant—I really love the combination of the orange and lemon flavors. I made a lighter and moister version thanks to the substitution of sour cream for the non-fat plain yogurt; I also used whole wheat pastry and cake flours instead of the heavier whole wheat flour. And because I love the shape of bundt cakes, I decided to make the schiacciata in a round fluted cake pan.



 

Ingredients

 
  • 1-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1-1/2 cups cake flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • powdered sugar for topping
 
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease or butter a 9 X 12 glass rectangular dish or a 9-1/2 inch fluted cake pan.
 
Step 2: Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
 
Step 3: Combine the sugar and lemon and orange zest in a stand mixer bowl and rub together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and smells like the lemon and orange.
 
Step 4: In bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs on medium to low speed for 30 seconds, then add sugar-zest mixture, sour cream, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until combined.
 
Step 5:  Add oil slowly to the egg mixture and mix well (about 1 minute).
 
Step 6: Fold or gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed.
 
Step 7: Pour batter into a 9 X 12 greased glass pan or fluted cake pan and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. If using a glass pan, bake for 35 minutes. If using a fluted pan, bake for 50 minutes.
 
Step 8: Cool on rack.  Sift powdered sugar on top and serve.
 



 

Strawberry Cream Cake

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, Published May 1, 2006. 




 


Ingredients

Cake

  •     1-1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces)
  •     1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  •     1/4 teaspoon table salt
  •     1 cup sugar (7 ounces)
  •     5 large eggs (2 whole and 3 separated), room temperature
  •     6 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
  •     2 tablespoons water
  •     2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Strawberry Filling

  •     2 pounds fresh strawberries (medium or large, about 2 quarts), washed, dried, and stemmed
  •     4 - 6 tablespoons sugar
  •     2 tablespoons Kirsch
  •     Pinch table salt


Whipped Cream

  •     8 ounces cream cheese , room temperature
  •     1/2 cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
  •     1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •     1/8 teaspoon table salt
  •     2 cups heavy cream



 

Instructions


Step 1: For the cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two round 9 by 2-inch cake pan and line with parchment paper.

Step 2: Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and all but 3 tablespoons sugar in mixing bowl.

Step 3: Whisk in 2 whole eggs and 3 yolks (reserving whites), butter, water, and vanilla; whisk until smooth.

Step 4: In clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat remaining 3 egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Step 5: With machine running, gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form, 60 to 90 seconds.

Step 6: Stir one-third of whites into batter to lighten; add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain.

Step 7: Evenly pour batter into prepared pans and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert cake onto greased wire rack; peel off and discard parchment. Invert cake again; cool completely, about 2 hours.

Step 8: For the strawberry filling: Halve 24 of best-looking berries and reserve.

Step 9: Quarter the remaining berries; toss with 4-6 tablespoons of sugar in medium bowl and let sit for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Strain juices from berries and reserve. You should have about 1/2 cup of liquid.

Step 10: In workbowl of food processor fitted with metal blade, give macerated berries five 1-second pulses (you should have about 1 1/2 cups). In small saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer reserved juices and Kirsch until syrupy and reduced to about 3 tablespoons, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour reduced syrup over macerated berries, add pinch of salt, and toss to combine. Set aside until cake is cooled.


Step 11: For the whipped cream icing: When cake has cooled, place cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whisk at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed.

Step 12: Reduce speed to low and add heavy cream in slow, steady stream; when almost fully combined, increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture holds stiff peaks, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes more, scraping bowl as needed (you should have about 4 1/2 cups).

Step 13: To assemble the cake: Place bottom layer on cardboard round or cake plate and arrange ring of 20 strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around perimeter of cake layer.



Step 14: Pour one half of pureed berry mixture (about 3/4 cup) in center, then spread to cover any exposed cake.



Step 15: Gently spread about one-third of whipped cream (about 1 1/2 cups) over berry layer, leaving 1/2-inch border from edge.



Step 16: Gently press last cake layer on top. Spread remaining whipped cream over top; decorate with remaining cut strawberries. Serve, or chill for up to 4 hours.  The cake portion can be made ahead of time, wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap, and frozen; thaw the frozen cake, unwrapped, at room temperature for about two hours before proceeding with the recipe.




 

Texas Sheet Cake





Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter 
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (alternatively, you can substitute 8 ounces sour cream for the buttermilk)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 recipe for Hershey's cocoa chocolate icing
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Sift sugar, salt, flour, and baking soda together. Set aside.
 
Step 2: Add butter, water and cocoa to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Continue boiling for two minutes.  
 
Step 3: Remove from heat and add sifted dry ingredients. 
 
Step 4: Using an electric mixer, add eggs, one at a time. 
 
Step 5: Add buttermilk (or sour cream) and mix well until just incorporated.
 
Step 5: Pour into greased and lightly floured sheet pan (12" X 15" pan).  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
 
Step 6: Spread icing on hot cake.




Walnut and Halvah Cake

My boss recently went to Israel and brought some halvah back to the office for everyone to taste. In case you didn’t know (because I didn’t know until only recently), halvah is a candy made with sugar or flour and some type of nut butter, such as sesame or sunflower seeds. My boss brought us halvah made with tahini sesame nut butter and sugar. Having not had it before, I found it to have an interesting texture and unique flavor. Although I’m not sure that I could eat it like I would eat other types of candy, like a Reese's cup or Hershey's bar, I was very intrigued by the halvah. Since trying it, I’ve learned that many people add it to cakes and cookies and other types of baked goods.   I honestly don’t know how I’ve not known about this until now.  
 
Of course, my new baking mission began, and this generally happens when I learn of a new baking ingredient. It just so happens that this particular recipe has been sitting on my bookshelf for several months calling out to me to make. I found this fabulous recipe very quickly in Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook, called Plenty More. While I’m not a vegetarian (yet), I absolutely love Yotam Ottolenghi. He is an Israeli and Italian British chef and he is a genius when it comes to cooking, especially vegetarian cooking.  Check him out here: http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/yotam/.  His walnut and halvah cake is delightful and delicious.  It’s a simple yellow cake with a walnut streusel halvah filling, topped with a streusel walnut topping. Oh, I shouldn't forget to mention the best part -- the streusel, used in both the filling and topping, is made with a browned butter, which totally enhances its nutty flavor.  This is my first attempt at making this recipe and baking with halvah. It is so easy to make, it’s delicious and it will most definitely impress all of your family and friends.
 
 



 

Ingredients

 

For the filling and topping:

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • Scant 1 1/4 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Scant 3 tablespoons dark muscovado sugar (may substitute turbinado or another coarse raw sugar)
 

For the Cake:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), at room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, preferably superfine
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 6 ounces plain sesame halvah, broken into 1-inch pieces
 
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: For the filling and topping: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Allow it to sizzle for 3 or 4 minutes, until it is light brown and smelling slightly nutty. Remove from the heat to cool.
 
Step 2: Combine the brown butter, walnuts and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Divide the mixture in half, then stir the muscovado sugar into one of the portions; don’t be afraid to use your hands spread the sugar evenly throughout the mixture. Set the two mixtures aside.
 
Step 3: Cut the halvah into i-inch pieces.  Set aside.
 
 
Step 4: For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with a little butter, then line the bottom and sides with parchment or wax paper, cut large enough so that it overhangs by several inches on each side (for ease of removal).
 
Step 5: Combine the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Stop to scrape down the bowl. 
 
Step 6: Add the eggs one at a time; beat on medium speed, until well incorporated. Stop to scrape down the bowl.
 
Step 7: Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add this to the batter on low speed, alternating with the sour cream, in a couple of additions, being careful not to over-mix.
 
Step 8: Spread half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Scatter the sugarless butter-nut mixture evenly over the batter. Dot the halvah pieces on top. Spread the remaining batter evenly as a top layer. Finish by sprinkling the sugary nut mixture evenly over the surface.
 
Step 9: Bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let the cake cool for 20 minutes, then gently remove it from the pan by lifting the parchment paper. Discard the paper; transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.
 



 

Classic German Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

 

For the cake:

  •     3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2.3 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder (sift before measuring)
  •     1/2 cup boiling water
  •     1/2 cup canola oil
  •     4 large eggs, separated, plus 2 egg whites at room temperature (1/4 cup of yolks and 3/4 cup of whites)
  •     1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •     3/4 cup (2.6 ounces) cake flour (sifted into the cup and leveled off)
  •     2/3 cup (2.6 ounces) all-purpose flour (sifted into the cup and leveled off)
  •     1-1/2 cup (10.6 ounces) sugar
  •     2 teaspoon baking powder
  •     1 teaspoon baking soda
  •     1/4 teaspoon salt

 


For the filling - Make filling at least 3 hours before using:

  •     1 cup heavy cream
  •     1 cup sugar
  •     3 large egg yolks
  •     3 ounces butter, cut into small pieces
  •     ½ teaspoon salt
  •     1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
  •     1 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted


For the syrup:

  •     1 cup water
  •     3/4 cup sugar
  •     2 tablespoons dark rum

 

For the chocolate icing:

  •     8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  •     1 cup heavy cream
  •     1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 


Instructions

 

Step 1: To make the cake: Butter two 9-inch cake pans, then line the bottoms with rounds of parchment or wax paper. Preheat the oven to 350°.

Step 2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, by hand, whisk the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Step 3. Add the oil and yolks to the mixer bowl with the chocolate. Attach the whisk beater. Starting on low speed, gradually raise the speed to medium and beat for about 1 minute, or until smooth and shiny, and resembling a buttercream. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in vanilla for a few seconds.

Step 4. In a medium bowl, sift together the cake and all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Step 5. Mix in half of the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture and beat on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture. Raise the speed to medium high and beat for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl. The mixture will be very thick. 

Step 6. On low speed add the egg whites. Gradually raise the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. The batter will be the consistency of thick soup.

Step 7. Divide the batter into the 2 prepared cake pans (each one will be 1/4 full), smooth the tops, and bake for about 25 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Important Note: During the baking, the batter will rise almost to the top of the pans and a little higher in the middle. They will start to lower just before the end of baking. To prevent the collapse of the delicate foam structure, while still hot the cakes must be unfolded as soon as they have baked.

Step 8: Leave oven on to toast the pecans.

Step 9: Cool cake layers completely. While the cakes are baking and cooling, make the filling and icing.

Step 10: To toast the pecans: Spread the pecans evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 7 minutes to enhance the flavor.  Stir once or twice to ensure even toasting and avoid overbrowning. Set aside.

Step 11: To make the filling: Mix the cream, sugar, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Put the 3 ounces butter, salt, toasted coconut, and pecan pieces in a large bowl.

Step 12. Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the spoon (an instant-read thermometer will read 170°.)

Step 13. Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature. (It will thicken.)

Step 14: To make the syrup: In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and water until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the dark rum.

Step 15: To make the icing: Process the 8 ounces of chopped chocolate in a food processor until fine.

Step 16: Heat the cream until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour the cream through the feed tube of the food processor in a steady stream. Process for a few seconds until smooth.

Step 17:Pulse in the vanilla the chocolate.

Step 18: Cover and cool in the refrigerator. Stir every 20 to 30 minutes until it reaches a soft frosting consistency.

Step 19: To assemble the cake: Remove the cake layers from the pans and cut both cake layers in half horizontally, using a serrated bread knife.
Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush well with syrup. Spread ¾ cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges. Set another cake layer on top.

Step 20: Repeat, using the syrup to brush each cake layer, then spreading ¾ cup of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top.

Step 21. Ice the sides with the chocolate icing, then pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top, encircling the coconut topping.