coconut layer cake

A.K.A white coconut cake with orange-lemon curd and raspberry preserves covered with cream cheese icing and toasted coconut, but that would be less catchy and to the point.


tis a very messy job

White cake is my sexuality. Just kidding, it’s chocolate, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t deliberately cut off more of the domed top than necessarily for a little (or a lot) taste test.

After the melty drama of my sister’s birthday cake, I decided to go a safer but no less delicious route this time. A coconut layer cake with not one, but two fruity surprises between the layers in the forms of lemon-orange curd and raspberry preserves.


Actually, I’m not sure mum (the intended recipient and birthday gurl) likes coconut cake. It’s a bet, but a safe one I hope. She does cook with coconut cream quite a lot, and enjoys drinking right out of one, so maybe this’ll go well. I’ll report back.

(Update: I think it went down okay; we were all too engrossed in TV to pay much attention to the taste and before we knew it the whole thing was gone. My sister sang happy birthday while I played the recorder, for some reason.)

I’m preparing the components in advance because a) uni results are released tomorrow 6am and a depressed baker equals shit cake; b) I’ve just finished binge-watching 4 shows and need to return to normalcy.


optional: sprinkle more desiccated coconut on top for a crunchy top

Like a lot of white cakes, this uses the reverse creaming method which is known for making the texture velvety and tender. In fact, with the addition of cake flour, this turned out so tender I had to be extra careful moving the layers around. Flavour-wise, I don’t have and therefore didn’t use coconut extract, but from what I sampled the cake had a pleasant mild coconut flavour, not too on-the-nose and artificial.


Coconut layer cake (makes a 5″ 3-layer cake)

For the coconut cake:
136g cake flour
136g granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
90g unsalted butter
95g unsweetened coconut milk, shaken
2 egg whites
45g milk
25g unsweetened desiccated coconut

For the cream cheese coconut frosting:
90g cream cheese
45g unsalted butter
150g icing sugar, sifted
~3 tbsp coconut milk

To assemble:
unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
1/4 of the citrus curd recipe
raspberry preserves or jam

Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F, and prepare a 5″ tin. To make the cake, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together into the mixing bowl. Cut the room temperature butter into small chunks. With the mixer on low speed, drop in the butter chunk by chunk until the mixture is a fine crumble (no visible butter). Trickle in the coconut milk and mix on medium speed until the mixture is smooth.

Lightly whisk the egg whites until frothy, then add the milk. With the mixer on low, drizzle in this mixture until batter is smooth. Scrape the bowl and paddle if you need to, then mix the batter on medium-high for about 30 seconds. Fold in the coconut.

Pour batter into prepared tin and bake for about 40 minutes. At the same time you can toast the shredded coconut for about 10 minutes until golden. Check the cake at 30 minutes to see if the centre is done. Once done, cool in the tin until okay to handle, then remove from tin and cool on a rack. Slice into 3 even layers.

To make the frosting, beat the toom temperature cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add the sifted icing sugar in several additions, beating well in between. Depending on the consistency, add the coconut milk a teaspoon at a time so that it’s not too runny and still holds its shape.

To assemble the cake, make sure all components are cooled completely. I like to freeze the cake layers as they’re then less likely to break apart. I brushed the layers with a little more of the coconut milk, which is optional. I spread the frosting on top of the first two layers, followed by curd and preserves. Depending on the status/stability of the cake, you may want to give it a thin crumb coat first, or just slather the frosting all over. Press the toasted coconut onto the sides (and top if you like) to decorate.


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