Blackberry Coconut Lime Naked Cake
Here is a finished naked cake in all its glory. Cox's Hinsdale bakery is more of a pastry shop, and she sells more cakes here. "The Chicago location is so strongly a cafe," Cox says, although she still sells whole cakes from the case and by the slice. Cox concocted this fruity spring flavor thinking it would be perfect for Easter, Passover, and Mother's Day celebrations.
Coconut Cake Ingredients
"This is basically my buttermilk cake but we add shredded coconut to the batter," Cox says. "It fits into our production line really well at the bakery in Hinsdale."
Creaming Butter and Sugar
The creaming of the butter and sugar is key to making a light and fluffy cake. "It should be a creamy, off-white color," Cox says. Creaming can be done by hand or with a paddle attachment in a mixer. If butter and sugar aren't creamed for long enough, it will be harder to incorporate the flour.
Blackberry Curd Ingredients
To make blackberry curd, which goes in between each layer of coconut cake, Cox uses blackberry purée, sugar, corn starch, butter, and eggs. The first step is to bring the purée, corn starch, and sugar to a boil.
Once the blackberry mixture is boiling, Cox takes it off the stove top to add the eggs. She tempers the eggs by adding a bit of the hot blackberry sauce first, before pouring the eggs into the pot. After tempering, Cox brings the mixture back to a boil until it becomes thick like a pudding, continually stirring it so it doesn't scorch on the bottom.
Finished Blackberry Curd
After straining, the blackberry curd is ready. Cox lets it sit in the refrigerator for eight hours to thicken it up.
Layers of Coconut Cake
Cox bakes the coconut cake for approximately 25 minutes in round cake pans, then carefully cuts each cake in half for the six layer cake.
Brushing Coconut Lime Juice
To moisten the cake and add coconut flavor, Cox brushes each layer of cake with a mixture of coconut milk, simple syrup, and lime juice.
Ice Cream Scooping Blackberry Curd
For portion control, Cox uses an ice cream scoop to determine how much blackberry curd to include between layers of coconut cake.
Spreading Blackberry Curd
"There are so many layers, so I don't need too much filling between each," Cox says. "I don't want it oozing out the sides too much." After adding the curd, she lets the cake firm up in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before adding a coconut lime icing on top.
Coconut Lime Glaze
Cox mixes coconut milk and lime juice with powdered sugar for the final glaze for this naked cake. "I want it thin enough to run down the sides a little," she says. "But thick enough that it stays on top."
Lime Zest Garnish
After the icing drips casually down the sides of the cake in a lackadaisical manner, Cox flicks some powdered sugar around the sides of the cake to make it even prettier. She then adds lime zest on top for extra color and a citrus contrast to the sweet coconut, followed by pieces of toasted coconut.
Sugared Flower Petals and Fresh Blackberries
Cox sugars rose petals and pansies by brushing them with pasteurized egg whites, then sprinkling them with granulated sugar. She dries them by hanging them of a wire with clothes pins or paper clips so they dry in pretty shapes.
Assembling and garnishing a cake can be the most fun part. Cox thought about using candied lime slices, but those ended up looking like pickles, so the more attractive option was fresh blackberries and light purple rose petals.