Moist Fluffy Coconut Cake

Posted on 12/12/2012 by layers_of_eli
A friend of Mike’s family recently recalled making Coconut Cake for her son year after year: painstakingly grating the fresh coconut, reserving the water to soak the layers, stacking the cake, slathering on the 7-minute frosting. Mike loves coconut cake and so I've been planning on making one for him forever. Finally, finally, I did it (minus the fresh coconut grating -- don't tell.)

Annnd it's like eating clouds. Coconutty, billowy, moist, delectable clouds. Actually, I think after having 8 (give or take a few) slices of this amazing coconut cake, clouds would be sorely disappointing.

Moist Fluffy Coconut Cake

Recipe by: adapted slightly from SAVEUR's associate food editor Ben Mims's grandmother, Jane Newson
Yield: 10-12 servings

What can I say? It's like eating clouds. Coconutty, billowy, moist, delectable clouds. Actually, I think after having 8 (give or take a few) slices of this amazing coconut cake, clouds would be sorely disappointing.

Cake Ingredients:
16 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
5 eggs

Frosting Ingredients:
4 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup fresh coconut water
3 cups freshly grated coconut

Note: This frosting isn't supposed to keep too well, so it's best to frost the cake the day it's being served. However, to spread out the work, you can make the layers in advance. Really, I should also admit that we ate this cake for days after I made it and it stayed delicious, so while I'm sure it's best to eat it the day you frost it, I wouldn't toss the leftovers (if there are any, that is.)

Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9″ cake pans (I use Wilton's Cake Release), line with parchment paper rounds, and grease the parchment paper as well. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate small bowl (or measuring cup), whisk together buttermilk, coconut milk, and vanilla. Finally, in a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale, light yellow, and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk mixture with the mixer on low speed before increasing the speed to high and beating for a few seconds to smooth out the batter.

Pour the batter evenly into the two prepared cake pans, bang on the counter to remove air bubbles, and smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake until a toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs, about 30-35 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 20 minutes before turning them out onto a rack to cool completely. Wrap the cake layers and freeze until firm to make them easier to manage (at least 30 minutes). Once firm, use a large serrated knife to carefully cut each cake layer in half horizontally to create four layers. Rewrap and refreeze these layers until you're ready to assemble the cake.

Make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment to beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together until soft peaks form. Let this sit while you boil the sugar, syrup, salt, and water together in a saucepan over high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and cook until a candy thermometer reads 250 degrees F, about 4-5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, drizzle in the hot syrup and add vanilla extract. Turn the mixer to high speed and beat until the frosting has stiff peaks and is only slightly warm, about 3 minutes.

Assemble the cake: Place one cake layer onto a platter or cake decorating turntable. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of coconut water over the cake layer and spread it around. Spoon about 1 1/4 cups of the frosting onto this layer and spread it thick, letting it spill a bit over the edges all around. Top with 1/2 cup of grated coconut. Continue layering cake layer, coconut water drizzle, frosting, and coconut. On top of the cake, drizzle the last 3 tablespoons of coconut water before covering the whole top and sides of cake with the remaining frosting. Spread it thick and billowy and use a cupped hand to lightly press grated coconut all over the surface of the cake -- it'll hide any frosting imperfections! Store cake in the fridge. Serve either chilled or after letting it sit out for about 20-30 minutes to take the chill off.

To see what this coconut cake has to do with a very fat cat, listen to me describe my favorite Thai food while obviously hungry, or see more cake photos, please head over to Willow Bird Baking!

x-posted to food_porn, picturing_food, bakebakebake, cooking
gunshotbeauty 12th-Dec-2012 06:01 am (UTC)
that looks amazing omg
layers_of_eli 12th-Dec-2012 02:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you :)
spracker 12th-Dec-2012 06:02 am (UTC)
There's either "love coconut" or "hate coconut" people. I am the "love coconut" people!

Also, I refer to homemade marshmallows as "fluffy clouds of deliciousness." Please tell me you've done yourself the favor of making some before? If not, um.... what are you waiting for? ;)
layers_of_eli 12th-Dec-2012 02:08 pm (UTC)
I'm a coconut lover too! And you're so right about homemade marshmallows -- I actually thought I didn't like marshmallows at all until I tried homemade!
superbadgirl 12th-Dec-2012 06:47 am (UTC)
I tend to distrust folks who don't like coconut, which is too bad for two of my sisters. ;)

Mmmm, coconut cake. Looks heavenly.
layers_of_eli 12th-Dec-2012 02:08 pm (UTC)
LOL! Love it. Thank you :)
spirited_lizard 12th-Dec-2012 09:05 pm (UTC)
I LOVE coconut, and this looks amazing! I bet it tastes exactly that, too. So, this is definitely going into my recipe folder! :D
layers_of_eli 13th-Dec-2012 12:53 am (UTC)
Hope you love it! :)
amles80 12th-Dec-2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
This looks incredibly amazing! I don't even know what to say. Except that it looks delicious - soft, white, fluffy! - and knowing that it's coconut... wow, I want this cake now! :D
layers_of_eli 13th-Dec-2012 12:53 am (UTC)
That's how I felt when I saw it! :) Thank you!
(no subject) - Anonymous
layers_of_eli 13th-Dec-2012 12:53 am (UTC)
I hope you love it! It's perfect for Christmas!!
mengchoo 14th-Dec-2012 02:55 pm (UTC)
I love coconut. Will definitely try this out. 16 tablespoon of butter-250g? THanks.
ms_moon21 17th-Dec-2012 04:43 am (UTC)
Thankyou for this great cake. I made it today and recieved so many compliments, it is amazing. I did not have the corn syrup to make the frosting but I made the icing with royal icing over the double boiler and it came out quite nice as well I will definitely make this again.
layers_of_eli 17th-Dec-2012 05:13 am (UTC)
You are so welcome! I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed it :)
spirited_lizard 19th-Dec-2012 07:57 pm (UTC)
Hi, me again. I wanted to print the recipe to try it out soon, but I have to change the measures from cups to gramm first. But one question, is there really so much sugar in there? I mean, 2 cups is like 450 gramm!? Or 2 1/4 cups would be over 500 gramm. That alone for the frosting. It just seems a lot. o.O
layers_of_eli 19th-Dec-2012 09:38 pm (UTC)
Yep, it's the same cooked-sugar technique used to make marshmallows. Trust me, it's not overly sweet :)
spirited_lizard 20th-Dec-2012 07:35 pm (UTC)
Alright then! Thanks! :)
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