Rich with almonds and coconut and incredibly moist, this three-layer cake is a true show-stopper. It takes time to make, but it's well worth the effort. In fact, it's so good that Yankee lifestyle editor Amy Traverso chose a variation of it as her wedding cake.
1-1/2 cups slivered almonds
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pans
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for pans
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons table salt
3 cups granulated sugar
8 large eggs, separated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
1-1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
Raspberry-Lime Curd Filling (see accompanying recipe)
Snow-White Icing (see accompanying recipe)
2 cups shredded sweetened coconut flakes
In a food processor, chop almonds to the texture of coarse meal. Set aside.
Lightly grease and f lour three 9x12-inch cake pans; set aside. Adjust oven rack to the center and preheat to 350°.
Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter and sugar, scraping bowl and beaters occasionally, until there are no lumps and mixture is light and fluffy, 4-6 minutes.
Add egg yolks, two at a time, mixing well after each addition; blend in vanilla extract.
Add f lour mixture 1 cup at a time, alternating with buttermilk.
Scrape the bowl; then blend in coconut and almonds.
In a clean bowl, whip egg whites to soft peaks; fold egg whites into batter in three stages.
Divide batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove cakes from oven and cool in pans 5 minutes. Flip cakes out onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and cool completely. If making ahead, wrap each cake individually and refrigerate.
To assemble cake, choose your prettiest layer for the top. Spread the tops of the other two layers with equal amounts of Raspberry-Lime Curd Filling; then stack the cake.
Frost generously all over with Snow-White Icing; then sprinkle all over with coconut flakes and top with raspberries.
Raspberry-Lime Curd Filling
1/2 teaspoon granulated gelatin
12 ounces frozen unsweetened raspberries
10 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup lime juice
Grated zest of 1 lime
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
In a small bowl, mix together gelatin and 1-1/2 teaspoons warm water; set aside.
Thaw raspberries. Puree in a blender; then strain to remove seeds and set puree aside.
Set up a double boiler and bring water to a boil.
In a separate bowl, whisk together raspberry puree, egg yolks, sugar, lime juice, and zest.
Transfer mixture to the top of the double boiler; cook until mixture starts to thicken, stirring continuously with a whisk.
When mixture resembles loose pudding, whisk in softened butter in three stages. Add gelatin and continue whisking 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and transfer mixture to a clean bowl. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the curd to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely cool, about 1 hour.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup vegetable shortening
5 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted to remove lumps
1/2 cup milk or light cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 lemon
In a bowl, cream together butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Scrape bowl and beaters.
Add confectioners' sugar in three stages; blend well and scrape bowl between additions.
Add milk or cream, vanilla extract, and lemon zest; blend well.