April 20, 2014

Coconut Layer Cake ~ The Cake Slice Bakers April 2014

It is hard to believe that we are at the half-way mark of baking through Great Cakes by Carole Walter. This month the Cake Slice Bakers are making a Coconut Layer Cake, which seems very fitting for Spring.
We have certainly been having our share of springtime showers in my part of the world, but if there is a bit of a drizzle then we usually say it's just a little Hawaiian blessing. I am so glad to hear that everyone else seems to be thawing out after what has been a very long, tough winter. It is exciting when you see the first of the new produce hitting the farmers market or grocery store, and realize that BBQ weather is almost here.

It was perfect timing that I read a tip on Facebook a few days before I baked this two-layer cake, and it suggested weighing each pan after you have placed the batter into them to make sure that they have equal amounts and will bake evenly. Usually I just try to eyeball it, but this method worked perfectly.

You may have noticed from my photos that I did slightly adapt this cake.  I decided that a lemon curd filling would be a nice complement to the coconut cake - you can find my favorite recipe here.  Also, instead of just putting the coconut straight on the cake I toasted it first, as toasting gives it a nutty flavor and adds a slightly crispy texture.

This recipe produces a cake that has a lovely soft crumb, and the coconut/milk mixture in the batter is just the right hint of coconut so that it does not overwhelm the rest of the cake. I have never made a frosting that begins with a white sauce before, but it worked out really well.  It may have been a touch sweet for my taste, but my girls certainly enjoyed it.

Please scroll down below the recipe to find out more about the Cake Slice Bakers.

Coconut Layer Cake
(Printer Friendly Recipe)

Cake ~
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 2⅓ cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup (1⅓ sticks) butter
  • 1⅓ cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Frosting ~
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1⅓ cups shredded coconut
Cake ~
  1. In a small saucepan, scald the milk, take it off the heat and add the coconut. Cover and let steep for 30 minutes.
  2. Pour milk and coconut into the container of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until coconut is finely chopped.  Set aside.
  3. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350℉.
  4. Butter two 9" round cake pans, and line the bottom with parchment.
  5. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
  6. Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and put them in the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Soften on low speed for about one minute, then increase the speed to medium-high and cream until smooth and light in color, about 2 mins.
  7. Add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, taking about 6 to 8 minutes to blend it in well. Scrape the bowl occasionally.
  8. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  9. Blend in the vanilla.
  10. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour in 3 additions, alternating with the coconut/milk mix in two additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix just until incorporated, scrape down sides of bowl, and mix 10 seconds longer.
  11. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans, smoothing the tops, and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a tester inserted comes out clean.
  12. Remove from oven, allow to cool 10 minutes, then invert pans onto racks and let cool completely.
Frosting ~
  1. Place the flour in a small saucepan. Whisk in the milk slowly, beating the mixture until smooth and free of lumps.
  2. Heat the mixture slowly over low heat, stirring constantly until it comes to a boil and thickens to a thick white sauce.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and continue to whisk until the sauce is very smooth. Set aside to cool to tepid, about 5 to 10 minutes (the sauce should not be too warm when it is added to the butter, or the butter will melt - however, do not allow the sauce to become too cold or it will not blend smoothly into the butter/sugar mixture).
  4. While the custard is cooling, cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and place in the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the beaters or whip attachment. Soften on low speed, then increase the speed to medium-high and cream until light and smooth, about 1½ to 2 minutes.
  5. Reduce mixer speed to medium. Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time over 3 minutes. Then add the sauce 1 tablespoon at a time over 30 seconds. Blend in the vanilla and continue to beat for about 20 to 30 seconds or until the frosting is somewhat fluffy.
Assembling the Cake ~
  1. Place one layer of the cake on a plate, top side down.
  2. Cut four 4-inch strips of parchment paper and slide the strips under the cake to keep the serving plate clean.
  3. Spread the layer with frosting, leaving a ½-inch unfrosted border around the edge.
  4. Place the second layer on top, and using a long metal spatula, spread a thin layer of frosting around the sides of the cake.
  5. Cover the top of the cake with frosting, swirling it with the rounded bottom of a tablespoon.
  6. Re-coat the sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.
  7. Generously sprinkle the top and sides of the cake with coconut, pressing it gently into the frosting.
  8. Carefully remove the parchment paper, and gently brush away any excess coconut from the plate.
  9. This cake can be refrigerated, but bring it to room temp before serving. The cake will keep, covered, in the fridge, for up to 5 days.
Cake from Great Cakes by Carole Walter

The Cake Slice

You can check out all of the Coconut Layer Cakes made by my fellow Cake Slice Bakers by clicking here, or just click on the pictures below. Also, remember to come and join us on our Facebook page where we share not only each months cake but also baking tips and other goodies that have been baked by our members.


  1. Your cake looks absolutely beautiful. I have never heard of a frosting that starts out like this one, and now I definitely want to try it. I love the lemon curd filling you chose. Thank you for sharing your photos and the recipe, and I am off to Amazon to purchase a copy of this cookbook!

  2. That famous last crumb picture is back! Great tip on weighing each pan for the perfect layers! I toasted the flakes too for the topping!

  3. I just love love love that you added a lemon curd filling! pure genius :)

  4. That looks delicious Felice, I love the sound of the lemon filling it must have gone wonderfully with the coconut.

  5. The cake itself had great flavor and I loved the nutty texture but the frosting was my favorite part. It's been a long time since I've made this type of frosting and it was good to get a reminder of just how tasty it is. Lemon Curd must have been heavenly with this. Love your pics!

  6. Great tips, Felice! Next time I make layer cake, I'll whip out the trusty scale and weigh the batter. (It works like a dream for uniform cookies, too.) Bravo, too, for taking time to toast the coconut and adding flavor.

    Trust you and yours had a Happy Easter.

  7. Lovely, lovely cake! The filling sounds wonderful!

  8. Looks so inviting! Beautiful golden layers! Toasted coconut = YUM! Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful! Seems this is "THE" cake from The "Great Cakes" book

  9. Oh I bet the lemon went so nicely with the coconut!
    Love your last shot of the last little crumb.

  10. I love coconut cake so much! Love that you toasted the coconut and added the lemon curd.

  11. I love coconut in all ways. Lambing tons could become a staple for tea. Lovely.


Thanks for visiting my blog. I'd love to hear from you, so please leave a comment.