Hawaiian Lei Wedding Cake

Total Time:
9 hr 15 min
Prep:
1 hr 55 min
Inactive:
6 hr 45 min
Cook:
35 min

Yield:
50 servings
Level:
Advanced

Ingredients
  • Butter Cake (see Cook's Note):
  • 3 cups (6 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, softened, plus more for greasing the pans
  • 4 cups milk, at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 24 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 9 cups cake flour
  • 7 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Coconut-Rum Syrup:
  • 12 ounces cream of coconut
  • 1/2 cup white rum
  • Passionfruit Buttercream:
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 cups (8 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup passionfruit puree
  • Large pinch of kosher salt
  • American Buttercream:
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 cups (8 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Large pinch of kosher salt
  • Gum Paste Flowers:
  • Cornstarch, for dusting
  • 8 ounces prepared gum paste
  • Assorted pink, purple and yellow gel food colors
  • Vodka, for mixing
Directions
  • Special equipment: three 12-inch round cake pans, three 8-inch round cake pans, three 6-inch round cake pans, flower cutters, straws or dowels, a pastry bag fitted with a round number 10 tip and a 14-inch cake drum

  • For the butter cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 12-inch round cake pans, three 8-inch round cake pans and three 6-inch round cake pans with butter and line with parchment. Set aside.

  • In 2 batches, using half of the ingredients for each batch (see Cook's Note), whisk together the milk, vanilla and egg whites in a bowl and set aside. Mix the cake flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of stand mixer. Add the butter cubes and continue beating on low for 1 to 2 minutes. Add about half of the milk mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add the remaining milk mixture and beat for about 1 minute.

  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake until the cakes are light golden brown and bounce back when lightly pressed in the center, 12 to 15 minutes for the 6-inch pans, 15 to 20 minutes for the 8-inch pans and 25 to 30 minutes for the 12-inch pans. Let the cakes cool for about 5 minutes in the pans, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before assembling, 25 to 30 minutes.

  • For the coconut-rum syrup: Combine the cream of coconut and rum in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

  • For the passionfruit buttercream: Cream together the powdered sugar, butter, passionfruit puree and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Continue beating until thick and creamy.

  • For the American buttercream: Cream together the powdered sugar, butter, cream cheese, heavy cream and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Continue beating until thick and creamy.

  • For the gum paste flowers: Lightly sprinkle cornstarch on a wood board and roll the gum paste out very thinly. Using a flower cutter, cut out flower shapes. Place the flowers in the cups of a mini muffin tin that has been lightly dusted with cornstarch. Let dry for at least 2 hours or overnight.

  • Mix each gel food color with about 1 tablespoon of vodka until the desired color is achieved. Paint the dry flowers with the food-coloring paint, then let dry completely.

  • Cake Assembly:

  • For the 12-inch tier: Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the top of one 12-inch layer with the coconut-rum syrup. Spread the first layer with enough passionfruit buttercream to achieve a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Top with a second cake layer and repeat with the coconut-rum syrup and passionfruit buttercream. Top with the third layer and brush with the syrup. Stabilize the tier with straws or dowels. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or longer if possible.

  • For the 8-inch tier: Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the top of one 8-inch layer with the coconut-rum syrup. Spread the first layer with enough passionfruit buttercream to achieve a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Top with a second cake layer and repeat with the coconut-rum syrup and passionfruit buttercream. Top with the third layer and brush with the syrup. Stabilize the tier with straws or dowels. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or longer if possible.

  • For the 6-inch tier: Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the top of one 6-inch layer with the coconut-rum syrup. Spread the first layer with enough passionfruit buttercream to achieve a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Top with a second cake layer and repeat with the coconut-rum syrup and passionfruit buttercream. Top with the third layer and brush with the syrup. Stabilize the tier with straws or dowels. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or longer if possible.

  • Once the cakes are chilled, crumb-coat each tier with the American buttercream frosting. Chill each tier for at least 1 hour. After chilling, apply a final coating of the American buttercream frosting using a decorative technique or by completely smoothing the top and sides of the cakes. Chill the completely frosted tiers again.

  • Place the 12-inch tier on a 14-inch cake drum. Gently place and center the 8-inch tier on top of the 12-inch tier. Repeat with the 6-inch tier. Using more buttercream placed in a pastry bag with a round number 10 tip, pipe a decorative bead border along the bottom of each tier.

  • Once the cake is assembled, use buttercream frosting to affix the gum paste flowers to the cake in a cascading arrangement (or as desired).

Contestant/Competition Recipe: This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. The Food Network Kitchen have not tested it for home use and therefore cannot make any representation as to the results.

Cook's Note: The ingredients for the cake batter will not fit in the bowl of a stand mixer. Divide the cake ingredients in half and mix the batter in 2 batches.


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    This recipe is featured in:

    Spring Baking Championship