The subtle, nutty sweetness of grated coconut makes Edna Lewis's layer cake an all-time favorite.
Servings: Serves 8–10
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) butter , room temperature, plus extra for pans
  • 3 1/2 cups cake flour , plus extra for pans
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk , room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 8 large egg whites , room temperature
  • 12 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter , melted
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
To make cake: Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter and flour three 9-inch cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper. In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In another small bowl, mix together milk and vanilla; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Reduce speed and add the flour and milk mixtures in 2 or 3 batches, beginning and ending with flour.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Stir 1/3 of egg whites into batter. Fold in remaining egg whites until just incorporated. Pour batter into the prepared pans and bake until cakes are springy and edges slightly pull away from sides of pans, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on wire racks 10 minutes. Loosen sides with a knife and invert cakes onto racks; remove parchment paper and cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk egg yolks and sugar together until sugar dissolves. Add melted butter, stirring constantly until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 1 to 3 minutes; do not let mixture simmer or boil. Add pecans, raisins and coconut; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and add vanilla and bourbon; cool to room temperature before using. Spread 3/4 cup frosting between each layer of cake; use the rest for the sides and top.


Next Story