Inspired by Thomas Keller. He uses mayo in the batter which I've never heard of until now, but since I had coconut cream on hand I incorporated it with butter instead. The result was an unbelievably springy and moist cake enhanced by the fragrance of lemon zest and natural richness of coconut cream. Cover it in graham cracker frosting and this is one unique dessert for a birthday party or gathering! —Ellie Betzen
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. In a stand mixer bowl and a paddle attachment (or a beater with a large bowl), beat the egg yolks only with the 1 1/4 cups of sugar until fluffy, remembering to set the egg whites aside. Scrape sides as needed with a rubber spatula. Add melted butter, coconut cream, vanilla, milk, zest, and lemon juice, beating on high speed until well incorporated. Take the speed to the lowest setting and carefully add the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing just enough until the large clumps are gone. Set aside.
Quickly wash the stand mixer bowl and attach a whisk attachment. Make sure there isn't any fat residue as this can sabotage the peak-making process. Beat the egg whites on high speed with the 1 tbsp of sugar until solid peaks form. Fold the foam with a rubber spatula into the batter just enough, without over mixing. Place a cut-out parchment at the bottom of each pan and butter the sides. I prefer to use parchment because this creates a more desirable color and texture at the bottom. Evenly distribute the batter into the three pans and bake for approximately 23-25 minutes. Let it cool.
graham cracker frosting
For the frosting, beat the butter, coconut cream, confectioner sugar, whipping cream, graham crumbs, and salt until it's light and fluffy.
For assembling, place one cake layer on a flat surface with the domed side downward. Spread the frosting just short of about 1/2 inch from the edge. Pipe on some fruit filling of your choice (I like tart berry flavor) around the 1/2 inch edge. Place another cake layer and repeat the process. Add the third layer and frost the sides and top as desired. Store in an air tight container and refrigerate.