I love coconut cake. With its moist pudding-like cake layers, thick fruity filling, smooth cream cheese frosting, and crunchy toasted coconut flakes, it's a wildly scrumptious dessert. A cake like this doesn't magically appear; it takes time to make, but the final result, a sublimely fluffy, crowd-pleasing confection, is worth the effort. While there are many variations, this one with a guava curd filling is my current favorite — I've made it twice within the past month! First for a birthday party and then for a barbecue, but on both occasions, the cake was quickly devoured. To impress your friends with this marvelous coconut cake, check out the recipe and read more.
For the cake
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 egg whites
For the filling
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup passion fruit or guava nectar or puree*
4 egg yolks
vanilla bean—split, seeds scraped
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
For the topping
2 cups large, unsweetened dried coconut flakes
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners' sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°. Line the bottom of three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt at low speed.
- Mix in the butter, coconut milk, water and vanilla until combined. Scrape down the bowl and beat at high speed until very smooth, 2 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, 2 minutes. Fold half of the egg whites into the batter until incorporated, then fold in the remaining whites until no streaks remain.
- Divide the batter among the cake pans. Bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on a rack for 15 minutes, then invert them and let cool completely, about 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, make the filling: In a saucepan, whisk the sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in the passion fruit nectar, egg yolks and vanilla seeds and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until thick, 6 minutes. Remove from the heat; whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until incorporated. Scrape the filling into a glass bowl, press a sheet of plastic wrap on the surface and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
- Set one layer on a cake plate. Spread with 1/2 of the filling. Top with another cake layer and the remaining filling. Cover with the third and final layer of cake. Refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, make the topping: Spread the coconut on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, stirring once, until lightly toasted. Let cool.
- Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, and then vanilla; mix until smooth.
- Frost the top and side of the cake and coat with the coconut. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
*The original recipe in Food & Wine calls for passion fruit nectar, but I could not find it anywhere so I substituted guava nectar.
- Cake, Desserts
- North American