Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Coconut Dome Cake

This cake was born from the marriage of Orange Mimosa from Simple Art of Perfect Baking and Coco Cabana from Cocolat. I made the genoise dome from the first book while I borrowed the filling and decoration idea from the second one; and I wrote the recipe the way I made it. Since my genoise was a dry one, I had to increase the syrup quantity; feel free to use even more if needed. Instead of apricot preserves, I used a combination of orange and apricot preserves favoring the orange, since I thought that this would reinforce the theme introduced by the syrup and candied orange peel. The cream-coconut filling for the inside was too much, so I spread the leftover cream over the dome and reduced the cream amount for the outside accordingly. (While the original recipe called for 1 1/2 c cream, I whipped only 3/4 c and used even less.) Since I do not have a zester, my candied orange peel was too thick and stiff, giving the cake a funky look. When Rana first saw it, she laughed and said, "Funny Pasta!" in her half-English, half-Turkish language. The questionable look aside, this cake tasted very good, with a pure coconut flavor followed closely by an orangey note--just what I had hoped to achieve.

4 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 c orange juice (substituting rum)
6 tsp sugar
1 3/4 c heavy cream
3/4 c shredded dried unsweetened coconut
7-inch Genoise dome (recipe below)
1/4 c orange and/or apricot preserves
1 c dried unsweetened large flake coconut
Candied orange zest (recipe below)

In a small bowl or jar, combine lemon and orange juices, 3 tsp sugar and 4 tbs water. Heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Set aside.

Whip 1 c cream with 2 tsp sugar just until it holds soft peaks. Fold in 3/4 cshredded coconut, set aside.

Use a serrated knife to cut the genoise dome, horizontally into 3 layers. Place the widest bottom layer cut side up on a plate. Sprinkle with the orange juice mixture. Spread almost 2/3 of the preserves over moistened layer. Top with almost 2/3 of cream and coconut filling. Moisten bottom side of second layer. Place it over filling. Repeat this way to reconstruct the dome, using the leftover orange juice mixture to moisten top and sides of the dome as well. At this point, you can wrap and refrigerate the cake, or freeze it up to a month.

Whip remaining 3/4 c cream with the remaining 1 tbs sugar until nearly stiff. Spread cream over dome to mask it evenly. Cover with dried large-flake coconut and a few candied orange zests for color. Rest in the refrigerator for several hours so that the dried coconut has time to draw moisture from the slightly under-whipped cream.

Genoise Dome

1 c unsifted cake flour
1/2 c plus 2 tbs sugar
6 egg whites, at room temperature
5 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla

Grease the inside of a stainless steel mixing bowl with solid shortening and dust generously with flour. Preheat oven to 375F. Sift the flour three times. With an electric mixer, whip the yolks on high speed for 30 seconds to combine. Add the sugar gradually and continue whipping until the mixture appears very thick, increased in volume, and pale yellow (about 2 to 3 minutes). Add the vanilla toward the end of whipping. The egg yolks should form ribbons that slowly dissolve on the surface when lifted with the beaters and allowed to fall down.

Whisk the egg whites on low speed until frothy. Increase the speed to medium, add 1 tbs sugar and whip until soft white peaks form. Add the second tbs of sugar and continue whipping until whites appear glossy and stiff but not dry (about 2 minutes).

Fold 1/3 of meringue to yolk mixture to lighten it. Then add another 1/3 of meringue and sprinkle half the flour and fold to combine, scraping sides as necessary. Add last installment of meringue and flour and fold just until smooth and incorporated. (The egg yolks will be thick thus making folding somewhat difficult.)

Pour into the prepared bowl and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown in color and springy when touched on the top. Let cool on a rack for 2 hours. Gently tilt and tap sides before unmolding the cake.

Candied Citrus Zest

1-2 bright-skinned oranges, lemons or limes
1/2 sugar
1/4 c water

Use a vegetable peeler or zester to remove the zest(colored part of the skin only) of the fruit of choice. Try to obtain as long and wide pieces as possible. Pile a few zest pieces on top of each other, and slice into fine julienne about 1 1/2-2 inches long. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir to mix sugar. Cover and leave to simmer for 30 seconds until sugar is dissolved. Add the julienned zest, cover and simmer for 2 minutes. Uncover and let the zest cool in the syrup. Remove from syrup and drain on paper towel before using. (I have to say that I forgot it in syrup until next day, and it was clumped together with dried sugar.)