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Coconut Cake

Finally, a layer cake that I can show you the inside of! The struggle is real, man. I only ever make layer cakes for other people that have usually paid me for them, and you know, as a common courtesy, I don't cut into the cakes first. Although that might make them happy, it means I have to leave you guys hanging, which isn't fun. But smile, because it's your turn to be happy today! I made a coconut layer cake, just for YOU.

Coconut seems to be a pretty popular flavor this time of the year so I figured I'd go along with the trend. I looked through lots of recipes online before I found the one. I hate recipes that call for too much of one ingredient, especially when that ingredient is butter or egg whites. With this recipe, I found a very happy medium.

I also found a very moist, very fluffy, and very delicious coconut cake. I don't think I'll be trying any other other coconut cake recipes because this...this is top notch. Also, that 7-minute frosting? Perfect pairing. So many recipes online call for a cream cheese frosting but the original Southern coconut cake is actually made with a 7-minute frosting, AKA marshmallow frosting in more or less words. I thought it was odd at first, but it totally works. 

Also, can I just say that this particular frosting is a dream to work with. I obviously gave this cake a rustic look, but before that, I was able to smooth it out so nicely. I didn't even need to do a crumb coat!

And not only that, but it is the greatest canvas for covering your cake with coconut flakes. This is usually annoying and difficult with buttercream and whipped cream, but since the marshmallow frosting is so sticky, it's practically a magnet for the coconut.

Technically, you are supposed to cover the entire cake in coconut, since that's what really makes it a coconut cake. But my fam isn't too big a fan of the flakes, so I just kept them as an option on the side. Don't let them be an opton for you though. Toasted coconut flakes are amazing! Toasted shredded coconut would work just as well too :)

Coconut Cake

Yield: One 8-inch double layer cake
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4 eggs, room temperature
2 and 3/4 cups cake flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 and 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup canned cream of coconut
pinch of vanilla powder (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)*
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

For the frosting:
4 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of vanilla powder (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

Toasted coconut flakes or shredded coconut, for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 8-inch round baking pans with non-stick cooking spray, then line with parchment paper and spray again.

Separate egg yolks and whites. Place egg whites in a medium-sized bowl, then beat with an electric hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together sifted cake flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in another bowl using an electric hand mixer), cream together butter, sugar, and cream of coconut until light and fluffy. With mixer on low speed, add reserved egg yolks, one at a time, beating until combined. Beat in vanilla.

Add buttermilk and the flour mixture alternately in three additions, beating until just combined, and ending with the flour mixture. Remove from stand mixer, and using a spatula, fold in the beaten egg whites.

Divide the batter equally between the prepared pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let cakes cool in pans for 5 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare the frosting, add egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar the bowl of a stand mixer. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly, until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch. Attach the bowl to the stand mixer, fit with the whisk attachment, and starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, beat for 7 minutes until mixture holds stiff, glossy peaks. Mix in vanilla. 

To assemble cake, place one cake layer right side up on a cake board or serving platter. Spread a generous amount of frosting over the surface of this layer. Place the other cake layer on top, bottom side up. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.

To toast the coconut flakes, place them on a shallow baking pan in a single layer in a 350 degree preheated oven for about 5 minutes. Garnish cake as desired. 

Serve immediately, or store covered at room temperature.

*Note: You can also add in a teaspoon of coconut extract. 

Slightly adapted from Buttercream Bakehouse

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