This cake takes time, don't even think this is a quick recipe. Bobby won a throwdown with this cake but remember he has a whole team!
2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature (for the pans), + 12 tbsp cold butter, cut into 12 pieces (for the cake)
2 1/4 cups cake flour, plus more for the pans
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites, at room temperature (reserve 4 egg yolks for the coconut custard)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
Whisk together the milk, egg whites, vanilla seeds and vanilla extract in a medium bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the 2 1/3 cups flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With mixer running on low speed, add the butter, one piece at a time, and continue beating until the mixture resembles moist crumbs. Add all but 1/2 cup of the milk mixture; beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 1 1/2 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add remaining milk mixture. Increase speed to medium and beat another 30 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl and mix for another 20 seconds. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans and smooth tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake at 350 degrees 22 to 24 minutes until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few crumbs attached. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the insides of the pans and invert cakes onto the wire rack. Remove parchment paper; allow to cool completely - around 45 minutes.
3/4 cup coconut custard (recipe below)
3/4 cup heavy cream, cold
Combine both ingredients in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form.
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out, bean and seeds reserved
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp coconut rum
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Combine the milk, coconut milk and vanilla bean and seeds in a medium nonreactive saucepan; bring to a simmer over low heat.
Whisk egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch together in a large bowl. Slowly whisk the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture. Return the mixture to the pan, set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened. Scrape mixture into a bowl, remove the vanilla bean and whisk in the rum and vanilla extract. Let the custard cool to room temperature; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours.
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup coconut custard
pinch of salt
Beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the coconut custard and salt; beat until buttercream is smooth.
COCONUT SIMPLE SYRUP:
1 tbsp granulated sugar
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups water
Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in the coconut, remove from heat and let sit for at least 30 minutes but up to 4 hours.
Strain the liquid into a clean saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until the mixture is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Let cool.
Coconut Simple Syrup (recipe above)
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted, for garnish
To Assemble Cake:
Using a long serrated knife, slice each cake in half horizontally into two cakes. Reserve one of the flat bottom layers for the top of the cake. Place another layer on a cardboard cake round (or cake plate), cut side up, and brush with some of the coconut simple syrup. Spoon 1/3 of the coconut filling onto the cake, and suing a small offset metal spatula, spread it into an even layer, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge of the cake. Repeat with two more layers. Brush the cut side of the reserved cake layer with the remaining syrup. Place layer, cut side down, on the top of the cake. Frost sides and top with the buttercream. Pat the toasted coconut onto the sides of the cake and sprinkle some on the top.