Gâteau d’Hélène | Coconut Cake
My dearest aunt Elise (she is French) used to make this cake for me every time I visited her in Lyon. She called it Gâteau d’Hélène. Basically, it's an American recipe for a layer coconut cake that my aunt decided to rename and make it a French one. Ever since then, Gâteau d’Hélène is my favorite cake for ANY celebration. Try it, and if you like a combination of coconut and lemon, it will become your favorite too!
- 325 grams all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 220 grams butter (at room temperature)
- 320 grams granulated white sugar
- 4 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 240 ml buttermilk (at room temperature)
- 3 large egg whites (at room temperature)
- 300 grams granulated white sugar
- 60 ml cold water
- 1 tbsp light corn syrup
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups dried coconut (shredded or flaked)
- Step 1In a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick (like yogurt).
- Step 2Remove from heat and stir or whisk the butter and lemon zest into the lemon curd. Cover the curd and refrigerate until cold.
- Step 3Preheat oven to 350 °F.In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Step 4Beat the butter until soft, then gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla extract.
- Step 5With the mixer on low speed, add buttermilk first, and then add the flour mixture. Mix just until combined.
- Step 6Evenly divide the batter and pour into the two 9 inch x 2 inch cake pans. To prevent the cake from sticking to the bottom of the pan, butter and flour them first and then line with parchment paper.
- Step 7Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out just clean.
- Step 8Cool the cakes in their pans for about 10 minutes, and then invert the cakes onto a greased rack. To prevent splitting, reinvert cakes so that tops are right side up. Cool the cakes completely.
- Step 9In a heatproof bowl, combine the egg whites, sugar, water, corn syrup, and cream of tartar. With an electric mixer, beat the mixture until the ingredients are well combined.
- Step 10Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Continue to beat, on medium-low speed, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then increase the speed to high and continue to beat for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft peaks.
- Step 11Remove from heat, add the vanilla extract, and continue to beat on high speed for another 1 to 2 minutes or until the frosting is thick. Let it come to room temperature, and then it's ready to use.
- Step 12Cut each cake layer in half, horizontally. Place one cake layer on your serving plate and spread with 1/3 of the lemon curd and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of coconut. Continue with the next layers.
- Step 13Frost the top and sides of the cake with the frosting and then sprinkle with coconut. Serve the cake immediately, or cover and refrigerate.
- Bon appetit!Your Gâteau d’Hélène is now done! Cut a piece of this wonderful coconut cake and drop me a line if you like it.
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