Originally this Coconut-filled Lemon Cake was supposed to be a play off of a twinkie with a coconut-cream filling nestled in the middle of a tender, tangy lemon cake. Unfortunately some time during baking, the coconut meringue filling was absorbed into the cake batter and totally disappeared from view. But I didn’t dwell too long on the case of the missing meringue because this cake was so delicious with it’s tender, light crumb, bright tangy lemon flavors, and slightly crispy top. Plus, the coconut meringue flavor did reveal itself in each bite in a subtle, “I’m not quite sure what I’m tasting but it’s delicious” way.
I wasn’t as accurate as I should have been when portioning my cake batter, so I didn’t have quite enough cake batter to fully cover all of the coconut meringue that was supposed to sit in the middle of the cake. But when the cake baked up, the top had some nice swirls and patches of light, crispy texture due to the exposed meringue. So luckily my little “ooops” became an “ooooohhh”.
At first I was disappointed to see that my tunnel of coconut-meringue filling had disappeared into the cake batter during baking, but even though I couldn’t see the coconut meringue, I could taste it in each delicious bite.
Coconut-filled Lemon Cake
(From King Arthur Flour)
Makes 16 servings
2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (2 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon coconut flavor OR 2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups shredded or flaked sweetened coconut (if you only have unsweetened coconut, see this link for substitution instructions)
2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) all-purpose flour
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter
2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon salt*
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 (8 ounces) cup milk
finely grated rind of 2 lemons OR 3/4 teaspoon lemon oil
*Use just 1/2 teaspoon salt if you’re using salted butter.
1/3 cup (2 5/8 ounces) freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
- Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt in a large bowl till the mixture is soft and fluffy.
- Add the confectioners’ sugar, and beat at high speed till the mixture forms fairly stiff peaks. When you scoop some up in a spoon, it should hold its shape easily.
- Stir in the coconut flavor or vanilla.
- Toss the coconut with the flour, and add to the egg white mixture, stirring till thoroughly combined. Set it aside while you make the cake.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a a 9″ to 10″, 9- to 10-cup capacity bundt-style pan, or a 10″ tube pan.
- Beat together the butter, sugar, and salt, first till combined, then till fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl after you’ve added the first 2 eggs.
- Add the baking powder, then add the flour alternately with the milk, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until smooth. Stir in the grated lemon rind or lemon oil.
- Spoon about 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. You want to add enough to cover the bottom, and start to come up the sides; but not so much that you don’t have enough left over to cover the filling.
- Distribute the stiff filling atop the batter, centering it within the ring of batter so it doesn’t touch the sides of the pan. Pat it down gently.
- Dollop the remaining batter on top, again smoothing it with a spatula.
- Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
- While the cake is baking, make the glaze by stirring together the lemon juice and sugar. Set it aside.
- Remove the cake from the oven, and set it on a rack. After 5 minutes, run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen, and turn the cake out onto a rack. Place another rack on top, and flip it over, so it’s right-side-up.
- Poke the hot cake all over with a cake tester or toothpick.
- Stir the glaze to combine, and immediately brush it on the hot cake. Let it sink in, then brush on more glaze, continuing until all the glaze is used up.
- Allow the cake to cool before slicing.