Coconut Cake – Simple and Delicious

I saw a picture of a Coconut Cake on Pinterest and it looked so pretty.  My new thing is cakes.  I really enjoy making them.  It is like an art project for me (therapy too) 😉  So, I thought I would give it a try.  I used America’s Test Kitchen recipe. I wll be serving for dessert tonight.  Will let you know what the crowd thinks. I thought it was AWESOME!!

Coconut Cake

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1 large egg plus 5 large egg whites
3/4 cup cream of coconut (you can find this in the ethnic aisle of your grocery store) (The cream of coconut will need to be stirred together.  You will need most of the can.  Don’t discard the extra after you put in the cake.  You will need some for the frosting)
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
2 1/4 cups (9 ounces) cake flour, sifted
1 cup granulate sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter (cut into 12 pieces softened, but still cool)
2 cups packed sweetened shredded coconut

Buttercream Frosting


4 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
pinch of table salt
1 pound (4 sticks) (I KNOW!  Just try it.  I was scared too!!) – each stick cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
1/4 cup cream of coconut
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the Cake:

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with shortening/cooking spray and dust with flour.

2. Beat egg whites and whole egg in large measuring cup with fork to combine. Add cream of coconut, water, vanilla, and coconut extract and beat with fork until thoroughly combined.

3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on lowest speed to combine, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running on lowest speed, add butter 1 piece at a time, then beat until mixture resembles coarse meal, with butter bits no larger than small peas, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.

4. With mixer still running, add 1 cup liquid. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds. With mixer still running, add remaining 1 cup liquid in steady stream (this should take about 15 seconds). Stop mixer and scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then beat at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds. (Batter will be thick.)

5. Divide batter between cake pans and level with offset or rubber spatula. Bake until deep golden brown, cakes pull away from sides of pans, and toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes (rotate cakes after about 20 minutes). Do not turn off oven.

6. Cool in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes, then loosen cakes from sides of pans with paring knife, invert cakes onto racks and then re-invert; cool to room temperature. (They came out really easy.  Be sure to loosen sides with knife)

7. While cakes are cooling, spread shredded coconut on rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until shreds are a mix of golden brown and white, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times. Cool to room temperature. (I checked every 5 minutes.  It took 20 minutes to get a nice brown.  DO NOT get distracted.  It doesn’t take much for coconut to look golden brown to burnt.)

For the Buttercream:

1. Combine whites, sugar, and salt in bowl of standing mixer; set bowl over saucepan containing 1 1/2-inches of barely simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture is opaque and warm to the touch and registers about 120 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes. (It is pretty quick that the temperature reaches 120)

2. Transfer bowl to mixer and beat whites on high speed with whisk attachment until barely warm (about 80 degrees) and whites are glossy and sticky, about 7 minutes. (Took about 4 minutes for me) Reduce speed to medium-high and beat in butter 1 piece at a time. (I was thinking this is going to be a disaster when I was adding all that butter) Beat in cream of coconut and coconut and vanilla extracts. Stop mixer and scrape bottom and sides of bowl. Continue to beat at medium-high speed until well-combined, about 1 minute.  (You will have enough frosting for the entire cake. No worries.)

THIS FROSTING IS DELICIOUS.   If you fear the butter make a butter cream with confectioners sugar.  Use the cream of coconut for the liquid and coconut extract.  However, it is a piece of cake.  Just make it, just once 😉

To Assemble the Cake:

1. With a long serrated knife, cut both cakes in half horizontally so that each cake forms two layers. April 005

2. Put a dab of icing on a cardboard round cut just larger than the cake. Center one cake layer on the round.  (I put on the plate that I was going to use for serving.  I did place parchment paper down then put the first layer on top of the plate.  When I was done icing and sprinkling with coconut I carefully ripped away the parchment paper.)

3. Place a large blob of icing in the center of the layer and spread it to the edges with an icing spatula.

4. Hold the spatula at a 45-degree angle to the cake and drag it across the surface to level the icing. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with remaining cake layers.

5. To ice the sides of the cake, scoop up a large dab of icing with the tip of the spatula and spread it on the sides with short side-to-side strokes.

6. Sprinkle the top of the cake with coconut. April 013Then press the coconut into the sides, letting the excess fall back onto a baking sheet.

I tried a piece right after I made it.  April 014  This was not as hard as it seems.  Honest!  It was certainly worth the time.  Store in the refrigerator if you and your family don’t inhale the whole thing.  ENJOY this simple and delicious cake!!

One thought on “Coconut Cake – Simple and Delicious

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