I promised a cake to a friend because of a competition we held at work, and when the time came around, she wouldn’t tell me what kind of cake she wanted. But I owed it to her, so I didn’t want to back out or forget. So since I didn’t know which cake to bake for her, I just baked three.
But I thought this through. Mixing up three different batters seemed like it would take up a lot of time. Obvi. So I made up a basic batter without any flavoring, divided it into three bowls, and then added separate flavorings to each one. And while the cakes were baking, I made up 3 different fillings for each cake. And then I made one vanilla buttercream frosting to top everything off. Game plan: coconut cake with coconut cream filling and vanilla buttercream frosting, lemon cake with lemon filling and vanilla buttercream frosting, and almond cake with chocolate filling and vanilla buttercream frosting. Hells yeah.
I started by mixing up the base. I sifted together 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. In a separate bowl, I mixed 2 cups white sugar, 3/4 cup butter, and 3 eggs with an electric mixer for about 1 minute. Then I alternately mixed in the flour mixture and 1 cup milk to the sugar mixture.
I divided this base into 3 bowls.
- Bowl 1: I added 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/3 cup coconut flakes.
- Bowl 2: I added 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest.
- Bowl 3: I added 2 teaspoons almond extract.
With my batters ready, I baked them at 350 F in batches, as my cake pans allowed. I used Wilton’s Mini Tasty-Fill Cake Pan Set. Sounds ridiculous, but it’s cool. It makes mini cake halves with a depression in the center of each one so that when you stack them, there’s a hollow center to add filling to. Of course, if you don’t have a smaller cake pan like this, you could make cupcakes and fill those. My small cakes baked 22 minutes or so. Cupcakes would probably take 18-20 minutes, but just keep checking with the toothpick test until they’re done.
While my cakes baked, I made the fillings.
- For the coconut filling, I made up a half batch of the same filling that I used in my Simpler German Chocolate Cake, except I omitted the pecans.
- For the lemon filling, I made a slightly different version of the original recipe I found here. In a saucepan, I mixed together 2 teaspoons lemon zest, 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon flour. I mixed that until it was smooth, and then I added 3 tablespoons unsalted butter and 3/4 cup sugar. While I brought that to a boil, I whisked 2 egg yolks in a bowl until smooth. I put a small bit of the lemon mixture into the eggs and stirred until smooth, then I added the egg mixture to the lemon mixture, stirring well. Do this part quickly so that the lemon mixture doesn’t boil for longer than a minute or so. Then I reduced the heat to low and stirred constantly for about 5 minutes. Then I removed it from the heat and let it cool. (Note: Don’t skip the step of stirring the eggs with a small amount of the lemon mixture first. That’s so you don’t cook egg chunks into your lemon filling.) (Other Note: I thought this was a little too thick. If I made this again, I would follow the original recipe more closely. I think I had too much sugar and not enough liquid.)
- For the chocolate filling, I melted 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter and 1/2 cup of a broken up Hershey’s Bar with Almonds in the microwave, stirring well every 20-30 seconds until smooth.
While my fillings cooled, I made the frosting. You can find the original recipe for Vanilla Buttercream Frosting at savorysweetlife.com.
Then it was time for assembly. I matched the cakes to their fillings and filled the center of each one. After I sandwiched them together, I frosted them all with the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.
So that the recipient would be able to tell what’s what, I topped each with something to represent what was inside. Coconut flakes on the coconut cake, chocolate bar bits on the almond-chocolate cake, and yellow and white sprinkles on the lemon cake. I stacked them all on one cake tray, and that was that. 1 cake batter 3 ways!