- 25 graham crackers, crumbled (about 3-1⁄3 cups)
- 1⁄2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 stick (1⁄2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk
- 1⁄8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Mocha whipped cream filling and frostiing
- 11⁄4 cups heavy whipping cream, well chilled
- 1⁄6 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 11⁄2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
- 1⁄2 teaspoon coffee (from your morning brew)
- 1 tablespoon Kalúha
- 1⁄4 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
- About 1⁄4 cup raspberries (optional)
1 Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350F. Prepare the cake pans.
2 In the food processor, pulse the graham cracker crumbs and coconut until very fine. Add the baking powder and pulse 6 to 8 times. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
3 With the mixer on medium-high speed, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually, beating until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
4 Add the egg yolks, two at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat for 1 extra minute. Blend in the vanilla extract.
5 Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add 1 cup of the crumb mixture along with 1⁄3 cup of milk and mix to blend in. Repeat until all the crumb mixture and milk are blended in. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 10 more seconds.
6 Set up the mixer with a clean, dry mixing bowl and whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on medium speed until frothy. Add the cram of tartar and kick the mixer up to medium-high. Beat until the egg whites reach the first peak stage. Do not overbeat.
7 Fold a quarter of the egg whites into the batter, taking about 5 full rotations of the bowl. Fold in the remaining egg whites, about 10 full turns.
8 Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, and smooth the surface with a spatula or wooden spoon.
9 Center the pans near the middle of the rack and bake for 25 or 30 minutes, or until the cake layers begin to come away from the sides of the pan and are spingy to the touch.
10 Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then unmold onto the cake rack to cool completely.
Filling and Frosting
11 Wash and dry your mixing bowl and whisk. Chill them in the freezer for 5 minutes.
12 Pour the cream into the chilled bowl and whip on medium-high speed for 1 or 2 minutes. Stir in the confectioners' sugar and cocoa, lower the speed to medium and beat until the cream begins to thicken.
13 Add the cofee and Kaluha. Continue whipping until the cream reaches the soft peak stage, then remove from the mixer. Whisk by hand until the cream is thick. Refrigerate until you're ready to use.
14 Fit the pastry bag with a no. 5 plain tube nozzle and fill the bag one-third full with the mocha whipped cream. Place the bottom cake layer on the serving plate.
15 Starting 1/2 inch from the edge of the cake, pipe a circle of cream around the layer. Fill the center with more cream, smoothing the surface with a large metal spatula.
16 Empty the remaining cream into the pastry bag. On the crown layer, pipe 1/2-inch dots, beginning at the outer edge. Each dot should touch the preceding one, forming a ring. Continue working toward the center of the cake until the entire surface is covered.
17 Put the 1/4 teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa in a fine-mesh strainer and gently tap it to sprinkle the cocoa across the top of the cake. Add raspberries, if desired, in a decorative pattern. Refrigerate for a least 1 hour, and leave in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
You can also apply frosting with a spatula and skip the fancy pastry bag stuff.
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Excerpted from All Cakes Considered. Copyright 2009 by Melissa Gray. Excerpted with permission by Chronicle Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.