Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Creamy Coconut Cake

Coconut is one of my favourite foods/flavours yet I've never made an all out coconut cake until this one. Coconut cake filled with coconut custard cream and iced with coconut buttercream, and topped with more coconut. Mmm coconut. I know it seems like there are a lot of components, but the cream filling and buttercream are made with the coconut custard so it's not as much work as it seems. Or maybe I was just in coconut bliss so I didn't notice.

This cake is definitely a continuation of my love affair with Tish Boyle's The Cake Book. I think I want to make literally every cake in it. I made this cake for Christmas Eve dessert hence the snowman plate (and an indication of my back log of things to post about!)

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Coconut Lemon Bundt Cake
Matcha Coconut Madeleines
Chocolate Oatmeal Coconut Cookies
Coconut Cream Pie

Creamy Coconut Cake
Adapted from The Cake Book

I'll write out the original recipe but I halved it and made a 4 layer 5 inch round cake. I also omitted the 1 tbsp Malibu coconut rum (or dark rum) meant to go in the custard, and I didn't use the rum soaking syrup which was meant to be spread on every cake layer before the custard.

Makes one 9 inch cake, serving 12 to 16.

Coconut Cake Layers
Coconut Custard
Coconut Cream Filling
Coconut Buttercream

Coconut Cake Layers
3 1/4 cups (325 g) sifted cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 large egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup whole milk
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Grease the bottom and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans. Dust the pans with flour.

2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine.

3. Mix the coconut milk and milk. Set aside.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium-high speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. Gradually add the sugar and beat at high speed until light, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the vanilla extract. If you have a splatter shield for yourm ixer, attach it now (the milk tends to splash as you add it). Add the flour mixture at low speed in three additions, alternating with the milk/coconut milk mixture into two additions and mixing just until the flour is incorporated. Fold in the sweetened flaked coconut.

5. Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for 15 minutes.

6. Invert the layers onto the racks and cool upside down completely.

Coconut Custard
1 1/2 cups (360 mL) whole milk, or as needed
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup (66 g) granulated sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Combine the milk and coconut in a medium saucepan, and heat over medium heat until the milk is just under a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to steep for 1 hour.

2. Strain the milk through a sieve, pressing down on the coconut with a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Measure the milk; you should have 1 1/3 cups. If you have less, add a little more milk to make up the difference.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar and cornstarch; set aside.

4. Return the coconut-infused milk to the saucepan and bring it to a gentle boil. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk about 1/3 cup of the hot milk into the yolk mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan, place over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat, scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula, and whisk until smooth. Quickly strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Whisk in the vanilla extract.

5. Set the bowl containing the coconut mixture in a larger bowl filled about one-third of the way with ice water (be careful that the water doesn't splash into the coconut mixture). Stir the custard frequently until it is slightly chilled, about 15 minutes.

Coconut Cream Filling
3/4 cup Coconut Custard (see above)
3/4 cup (180 mL) heavy cream

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the 3/4 cup coconut custard with the heavy cream at high speed until the mixture is light and forms soft peaks. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Coconut Buttercream
1 1/2 cups (12 oz) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup Coconut Custard (see above)
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

1. In a clean mixer bowl, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and confectioners' sugar at high speed until very light and creamy, about 4 minutes. Add the 3/4 cup coconut custard, vanilla extract, and salt and beat at medium speed until blended and smooth.

Assemble the Cake
1 cup shredded coconut

1. Using a long serrated knife, trim off the domed tops of the cakes so that they are even. Cut each cake horizontally into 2 layers. Reserve one of the flat bottom layers for the top of the cake. Place another cake layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or flat serving plate. Spoon one-third of the filling onto the cake and, using a small offset metal spatula, spread it into an even layer, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge of the cake. Top with another cake layer. Top with another one-third of the filling. Repeat with another layer and the remaining filling. Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake.

2. Frost the sides and top of the cake with the buttercream. Pat the coconut onto the sides of the cake.


Chris said...

That is a lot of components, but then again it also is a supremely delicious looking cake! Even though it seems as if it was meant for winter what with all the white, I bet this would be a treat for any special occasion (or everyday for the coconut lover). I might try this with a couple different flavors because I'm not a coconut devotee. Perhaps musky spices or citrus?

VeggieGirl said...


Sara said...

Wow, this looks AMAZING. Yum!

slush said...

OMG that looks heavenly! So wish I could taste that right now. right now!

Anonymous said...

yummm i love coconut! that coconut custard sounds so good! gosh, this cake looks pretty complicated! but definitely worth the time!

Erin said...

This looks so good! I love coconut cake too!

fa said...

yum. yum. yum. yum. yum.
i can't stop drooling.

how much time does a cake like that take? it is truly gorgeous.

Steph said...

I've never made a coconut cake either.. mostly because of all the cream! Your layer cake looks so good and tall.

Helene said...

This is such a beautiful cake. I may not be able to comment for a while as I'm going on Holiday.

Ricki said...

Sounds extraordinarily good! Coconut is the HH's favorite, so I think I've just found his birthday cake!

Alisa - Frugal Foodie said...

Now that is a cake! Heavenly.

Elyse said...

That cake looks so good. Wow, those words don't capture how good the cake looks. Oh so many layers, and that coconut custard, and buttercream to top it all off? Oh, wow, I need this cake now.

CookiePie said...

Beautiful cake!! You can never have enough coconut, if you ask me :)

kickpleat said...

i also really, really, really love coconut! but man, that does look like a lot of work. there's some definite love in that cake :)

Ben said...

I've never made an all coconut cake either, but this one looks quite yummy. Can I have a slice please? :)

Grace said...

absolutely divine. this is a personal favorite, and i could take down the entire cake myself. :)

Anonymous said...

No rum! Why???? :) It looks so good. Coconut raspberry cake is one of the top 10 best cakes, but this one is pure coconut lovin'. It's like delish overload!

Katrina said...

Wowzer! That looks great!

Snooky doodle said...

wow this is my dream cake. I love coconut and this has got loads :) yummy

Claire said...

This looks like quite the undertaking, but a delicious undertaking. Yum!

Betsy said...

Wow, that looks 100% worth the effort, I want to eat it through the screen!

Usha said...

Cake looks beautiful !

Sarena Shasteen said...

This looks and sounds amazing! My husband's birthday is coming up soon and he loves coconut. Maybe I will surprise him with this one!

Anonymous said...

This looks so fabulous! The buttercream looks amazing.

Also my sister thinks your oreo brownies are amazing, she LOVES oreos!

Holler said...

That looks amazing! I would be scared to cut a cake like that to layer it, I am sure it would end in disaster, so I am extra impressed :)

Sarah said...

All I can say is OMG!!! :)))

Olivia said...

I was sold at "custard coconut"

rookie cookie said...

With this blog, I am:


Like I really like your blog. Nice work.

Parker said...

looks fantastic i just love coconut cake.

Bunny said...

This is beautiful, I don't care how many components there are , this would totally be worth making!

Cakespy said...

Swoon! I could easily lose myself in all of these layers of sweet coconutty delicious decadence.

Bellini Valli said...

This is like one of my all time favourites...coconut cream pie rolled into cake form.

Ingrid said...

Oh,holy cow, that looks marvelous! I'm lovin coconut.....that sounds so good!

Ha-ha, I have quite a few things to post that are NOT from yesterday but more like a month ago.

Flame Thrower said...

this looks absolutely, amazingly delicious! I must try it sometime.

The Food Librarian said...

Wow! This is a mountain of goodness!!!!!

Kevin said...

That coconut cake looks so light and fluffy and good!

Angela said...

Made this cake on the weekend. turned out amazing, but even better for breakfast the next morning! i made a few adjustments. i used the rest of the coconut milk from the cake recipe and substituted it for the milk in the custard. cause what do you do with a half can of coco. milk? substituted coconut flavouring extract for the vanilla extract throughout the recipe. used a plain cream cheese frosting instead of the buttercream frosting. toasted about 4 cups of coconut and covered the entire cake. I did not sieve the custard, i didn't think it was necessary. and finally the next time i make this cake, and oh yes there will be a next time soon! I will double the coco. custard recipe and just use the custard without the heavy cream to fill the layers. i think it will give the cake more texture.

eatme_delicious said...

Angela: Yummm your modifications sound amazing!! I love the sound of a cream cheese frosting on this cake. I never sieve my custards either.

Anonymous said...

I want to make the cake tomorrow and I've a question:
is it ok to use desiccated coconut (like this photo in the cake batter instead of flaked coconut?

Anonymous said...

I made these tonight for my Grandmas Birthday and I had a little trouble understanding the custard intructions it came out really runny but I don't usually bake things from scratch so I probably did something wrong.

eatme_delicious said...

Amanda: Sorry to hear the custard didn't work out for you. If it was too runny then it likely just wasn't cooked long enough. Custard can be a tricky thing!