i've had coconut layer cake on the short list of birthday cakes for a couple years now. when i was pregnant with baby winn - whose really a toddler now, so we'll just call him winn - the coconut craving hit me hard, and it's really never left. so why have i waited so long to make this cake? jason hates coconut. loathes it.
so you can imagine my surprise when not only did he want to try a piece of this cake, but he went back for a second slice. and this cake is no wimp, it's definitely for coconut lovers: a light cake spiked with coconut extract and coconut milk, sandwiched with light and fluffy whipped cream & cream cheese coconut buttercream, slathered with cream cheese coconut buttercream and covered in toasted coconut. my favorite part of this cake is the filling - it's so light, fluffy, and coconutty. and the cake itself is a great balance - definitely coconut, not too overwhelming, and the perfect level of sweet.
not feeling coconut? how about one of my past birthday cakes: cherry vanilla, baked's sweet and salty cake (chocolate cake with caramel ganache icing), and baked's aunt sassy cake [pistachio cake with vanilla honey buttercream].
coconut lover's cake
adapted from completely delicious, who adapted it from sky high: irresistible triple layer cakes
2 hours, serves 12+
for the cake
5 egg whites
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon coconut extract
3 cups cake flour
2 1/3 cups sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
for the buttercream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut milk or water
for filling & finishing
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted
- make the cake. preheat your oven to 350F. grease two 8 or 9 inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. set aside.
- mix the egg whites, milk, and coconut extract in a small bowl. set aside.
- with a mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. add the butter and coconut milk and cream until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. add the egg white mixture and mix until smooth.
- divide the batter among the two pans and bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. cool in the pan about 10 minutes, turn out, and cool completely on a wire rack.
- while the cake is cooking & cooling, make the buttercream. mix the cream cheese and butter until smooth. add the powdered sugar and coconut extract and mix until light and smooth, a couple minutes. if the buttercream is too thick, add the coconut milk or water and mix until smooth.
- to make the filling, beat the heavy cream to medium peaks. add 1 cup of the coconut buttercream, a couple tablespoons at a time, mixing after each addition, until combined. continue whipping to soft peaks.
- when the cakes are cool, slice them in half, making four cake layers.
- spread a layer of the whipped cream filling between each layer. frost the outside of the cake with the cream cheese buttercream and sprinkle the top and sides with the toasted coconut.
- store assembled cake in the refrigerator.