Coconut 4-Layer Cake


Here is the best coconut cake we have ever tasted. The toasted coconut brings out the flavor while adding a crunchy texture. The buttercream frosting is lighter than you would expect where many coconut cakes have whipped cream frosting. This is a great cake for a spring time event such as Easter but we make it any time of year. Enjoy!

Coconut 4-Layer Cake

Coconut 4-Layer Cake

Recipe

Cake
1 large egg
5 large egg whites
3/4 cup cream of coconut
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp coconut extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour (9 ounces), sifted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
3/4 tsp table salt
12 Tbs unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 12 pieces, softened, but still cool
2 cups packed sweetened shredded coconut (about 8 ounces)

Buttercream
4 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
pinch table salt
1 lb unsalted butter (4 sticks), each stick cut into 6 pieces, softened, but still cool
1/4 cup cream of coconut
1 tsp coconut extract
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Add a cutout of parchment paper to the bottom of two 9-inch round pans then grease the pans with shortening and dust with cake flour, tapping out the excess.

2. Beat egg whites and whole egg in large measuring cup with fork to combine. Add cream of coconut, water, vanilla, and coconut extract and beat with fork until thoroughly combined.

3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on lowest speed to combine, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running on lowest speed, add butter 1 piece at a time, then beat until mixture resembles coarse meal, with butter bits no larger than small peas, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.

4. With mixer still running, add 1 cup liquid. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds. With mixer still running, add remaining 1 cup liquid in steady stream (this should take about 15 seconds). Stop mixer and scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then beat at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds. (Batter will be thick.)

5. Divide batter between cake pans and level with offset or rubber spatula. Bake until deep golden brown, cakes pull away from sides of pans, and toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes (rotate cakes after about 20 minutes). Do not turn off oven.

6. Cool in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes, then loosen cakes from sides of pans with paring knife, invert cakes onto racks and then re-invert; cool to room temperature.

7. While cakes are cooling, spread shredded coconut on rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until shreds are a mix of golden brown and white, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times. Cool to room temperature.

8. For the Buttercream: Combine whites, sugar, and salt in bowl of standing mixer; set bowl over saucepan containing 1 1/2-inches of barely simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture is opaque and warm to the touch and registers about 120 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes.

9. Transfer bowl to mixer and beat whites on high speed with whisk attachment until barely warm (about 80 degrees) and whites are glossy and sticky, about 7 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-high and beat in butter 1 piece at a time. Beat in cream of coconut and coconut and vanilla extracts. Stop mixer and scrape bottom and sides of bowl. Continue to beat at medium-high speed until well-combined, about 1 minute.

10. To assemble the cake cut each round in half using a knife or cake cutter. Spread about a 1/8 to 1/4 inch layer of buttercream on each layer stacking as you go. Spread remaining icing on the top and sides until fully covered. Lightly pack the toasted coconut on the top and sides of the cake.

(Note: Adapted from a recipe in Baking Illustrated.)

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