Whipped Cream Cake with Caramel Whipped Cream Frosting and a Toasted Coconut-Pecan Filling
I know what you’re thinking…that’s not a very manly looking cake up there. And you’re right, it isn’t. In fact, it’s not even his birthday cake. My sweetie requested Angel food cake. I don’t think he understands how difficult making angel food cake is with three little monkeys jumping on the floor. But that’s besides the point, I’ll get to the angel food cake next week. This week I was killing time at Barnes and Noble drinking my favorite starbucks drink: a caramel macchiatto with an extra shot of espresso and extra whipped cream. Now you know what to bring me I was thumbing through a few baking books when this cake jumped out at me. A whipped cream cake with caramel whipped cream frosting. In case you don’t realize how awe struck I became you should know that I will actually order a cup of whipped cream and caramel because that’s how much I love the stuff. We’re talking pints of heavy cream and caramel in a cake!
Oh my. Do you know how hard it was to resist eating an entire layer while it was cooling?! I may have tried to bake them unevenly so that I could cut off the top for my own eating pleasure, just sayin’. This cake is super moist, so light that I almost ripped it when I was flipping it over on the cooling rack and has that simple (pure?) vanilla flavor that’s been unadulterated by acidity.
But I couldn’t stop there, I mean the cake has no butter! It needed a calorie boost. So I filled it with the toasted coconut pecan custard normally found in german chocolate cake. This filling is so dangerous that I recommend either making extra for yourself or leaving the house while it cools because it’s far too tempting to be left alone.
Whipped Cream Cake with Caramel Whipped Cream Frosting and Toasted Coconut-Pecan filling
Yields a 3-layer 8 inch cake
Cake recipe from The Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri, filling is my adaptation
*Read all of the steps before starting as the frosting and filling need time to cool. You may not want to make them in the order I have them here. You can make the frosting a day ahead of time and beat it right before you need it. Same goes for the filling.
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (or whipping cream)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
3 cups heavy cream, divided, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (whole or halves) pecans (this can be changed a bit, I’ve made this with only 1/3 cup when it’s all I had)
1 1/3 cups sweetened coconut flakes
6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Liberally butter and flour the bottom and sides of 3, 8 inch round cake pans and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl stir together the flour, 3/4 cup of the sugar, baking powder and salt.
3. Place the 1 1/2 cups heavy cream and vanilla in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl and whisk by hand), and whisk on medium speed to soft peaks. Remove the bowl from the mixer and whisk in the eggs and remaining 3/4 cup sugar by hand (I found it doesn’t fully incorporate when using the standing mixer-you’ll get better results by hand at this point). Add the dry ingredients in three additions, whisking only until each addition is completely incorporated.
4. Divide the batter evenly among the 3 cake pans and smooth out the batter to the edges. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, for about 16-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and springs back to the the touch or a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Let cakes cool in pan for about 15 minutes before inverting (and then turning upright) on a wire rack to cool completely.
5. For the frosting: In small microwave safe bowl, warm 1/2 cup of the heavy cream in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds. It should be hot to the touch. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar & water but DO NOT STIR. Place over medium-high heat & bring to a boil. Cook until mixture turns an amber color, but not too dark that it looks like the sugar is burning but definitely amber. This can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes just keep a close eye on it.
6. Remove from heat and add warm cream and butter. Stir gently (and carefully! it will bubble up as you’re doing this) until smooth & well combined. Let cool for 15 minutes. Pour the cooled caramel sauce into a large bowl (of a standing mixer is a ideal) and whisk in the remaining 2 1/2 cups of heavy cream and vanilla. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until completely chilled. For photos of making caramel sauce visit this post.
7. When you’re ready to frost the cake remove the bowl from the refrigerator (and plastic wrap from the bowl…) and beat starting on medium speed. Slowly increase the speed to medium high as the cream begins to thicken until you get to stiff peaks. Use immediately.
8. For the filling: Toast the pecans and coconut separately on a baking sheet in a 350 degree (F) oven until lightly golden and fragrant, 5-7 minutes for the pecans and 7-10 minutes for the coconut, stirring occasionally. Let cool slightly and then chop the pecans and place them in a medium size bowl with the toasted coconut. Add the salt and butter and toss lightly. Set aside.
9. Place the heavy cream, egg yolks and sugar in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium low heat and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat a little and continue to stir until thickened and the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon (170 degrees F on a candy thermometer). Pour the custard in the bowl with the pecans and coconut and stir until completely combined. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard and let cool completely. Custard will thicken as it cools.
10. To assemble: Place one of the cakes on a cake circle or directly on a serving platter and line the edges with strips of parchment paper (makes clean up easy!). If the cake is uneven, trim off the excess until you have a flat surface. Dollop half of the coconut pecan filling on the layer and smooth almost to the edge, leaving a little room. Place the next layer of cake on top of that and repeat. Place the final layer of cake on top. Brush off any stray crumbs with a pastry brush and then seal the cake in with the first coat of frosting. This frosting will not harden so you don’t have to refrigerate in between the crumb coat and final coat. Once you have the first coat of frosting on, frost the cake with the remaining frosting to your liking. I smoothed the sides and piped large circles on the top with a large open star tip. Serve immediately. If you have leftovers you can store them covered in the refrigerator but bring to room temperature before eating.