This amazing Coconut Layer Cake is a coconut hat trick - it's made with coconut milk, coconut oil, and coconut flour. And the frosting is a melt in your mouth fluffy ermine frosting make with coconut milk and the whole cake is covered with shredded coconut. This cake is a coconut lover's dream.
My mother's birthday is in April and every year we celebrate with a coconut cake - her favorite cake. This year we weren't able to have a party because of the stay at home orders so we all called her to wish her a happy birthday and I made her coconut cake and delivered a large slice for her to enjoy. Family members took the rest.
Coconut Layer Cake Ingredients
This coconut cake is from Serious Eats. Thank you Stella Parks for an amazing recipe. Every year when I make a coconut cake for her birthday I make some changes to the recipe. I love this recipe so much that it is now my go-to recipe for mom's birthday cake.
- All-Purpose Flour. I use Bob's Red Mill Unbleached Flour and weigh the flour to make sure I'm adding the right amount.
- Coconut Flour. I used Bob's Red Mill Coconut Flour. The flour has a grainy texture but adds a lot of flavor to the cake.
- Coconut Milk. Use full-fat coconut milk for this recipe. Coconut milk fat often hardens at the top of the can. To ensure the entire can is liquid and any coconut fat is melted, fill a container with warm water and place the can upside down in the warm water.
- Unsalted Butter and Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. The coconut oil and butter add flavor and makes the cake tender. Both should be at room temperature to ensure that they mix well into the batter. The coconut oil should be 70-72°F and the butter should be at 68-70°F.
- Eggs. Use large eggs, which weigh about 50 grams each. If using medium or jumbo size eggs, weigh the eggs to get 150 grams. Using whole eggs gives the cake a golden color. If you want an all-white cake, use 6 egg whites.
- Granulated Sugar. When this amount of sugar is used you have a high ratio cake. Sugar is used for sweetness, moistness, and structure.
- Baking Powder. Baking powder gives the cake rise and lift.
- Salt. Salt enhances the flavor of all the other ingredients
How to Make Ermine Frosting
Ermine frosting is the most amazing easy-to-make frosting. It's a cross between whipped cream and swiss meringue. It's light and fluffy and once whipped holds its shape really well. The other reason I love it is because since it is made with such a large amount of liquid it is easy to change the flavor by changing the liquid. The coconut flavor is really strong because of the 1-1/2 cups of coconut milk.
The frosting starts with a flour slurry that is cooked until it thickens. It contains the following ingredients.
- Flour and Cornstarch
- Coconut Milk
Once it is thickened, the slurry is cooled to room temperature, before it is added to whipped butter. The frosting is whipped for about 8 minutes on medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy.
The flour slurry can be made the night before and chilled. Once it is thoroughly cooked, put it in a heatproof bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill. Before combining it with the whipped butter bring it to room temperature, warm it slightly over a pan of simmering water and stir until it becomes more fluid and is about 68-72°F.
This frosting is so good, that if you have never made it before, I think it will become a new favorite.
Assembling the Coconut Layer Cake
When assembling the cake reserve 1 cup of frosting for decorations, 1/4 cup for just eating straight with a spoon, and use 1-1/2 cups for the center of the cake. The frosting really is that good, that you might as well just set some aside for tasting.
You always want to crumb coat layer cakes to prevent cake crumbs from getting into the final frosting layer. After the second layer is added to the stack, spread a thin layer of frosting over the sides and the top of the cake. The frosting should be thin enough that you can still see the cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then use the remaining frosting to frost the sides and top of the cake.
Either decorate the cake with the remaining frosting and then coat the sides and top of the cake with shredded coconut or vice versa depending on how you want the finished cake to look.
This cake is so amazing. If you love coconut you must make this cake, it's a coconut lover's dream. Please let me know if you make this cake and what you think of it.
Coconut Layer Cake
- 1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter melted
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 2/3 cups (340 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup (57 grams) coconut flour
- 2 1/4 cups (450 grams) plain or toasted sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 8 tablespoons (114 grams) unsalted butter room temperature, 60-65°F
- 2/3 cup (113 grams) virgin coconut oil creamy and soft room temperature, about 72°F
- 3 (150 grams) large eggs room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups (510 grams) full-fat coconut milk room temperature
Coconut Ermine Frosting
- 1 1/2 (300 grams) cups sugar
- 1/4 cup (35 grams) all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups (340 grams) full-fat coconut milk room temperature
- 24 tablespoons (342 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Prepare the Cake Pans
- Melt the butter in a small bowl, add 1 tablespoon of flour and stir together until it is smooth paste. With a pastry brush thoroughly coat the bottoms and sides of two 9-inch aluminum cake pans and line them with parchment paper.
For the Coconut Cake
- Preheat to 350°F (180°C).
- Place the all-purpose flour and the coconut flour in a medium bowl and whisk to combine and remove any lumps. If you don’t have coconut flour, replace it with an equal amount of all-purpose flour.
- Crack the three eggs into a bowl large enough to hold all three eggs.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine sugar, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract, butter, and virgin coconut oil. Mix on low speed to roughly incorporate, then increase to medium and beat until fluffy and light, about 5 minutes. Halfway through, pause to scrape the bowl and beater with a flexible spatula.
- With the mixer still running, add eggs one at a time, letting each fully incorporate before adding the next. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated, then add 1/3 of coconut milk and mix until just incorporated. Repeat with remaining flour and coconut milk, working in thirds as before.
- Scrape bowl and beater with a flexible spatula and resume mixing on medium speed for about 5 seconds to ensure everything is well combined. The batter should look creamy and thick, registering between 65 and 68°F on a digital thermometer. (Significant deviation indicates ingredients were too warm or too cold, which can lead to textural problems with the cake.)
- Using a flexible spatula, fold batter once or twice from the bottom up, then divide evenly between prepared cake pans (about 840 grams each, if you have a scale).
- Bake until the cakes are firm, pale gold, and begin to pull away from the sides of the pans, about 35 minutes.
- Cool cakes in their pans for 15 minutes, then run a butter knife around the edges to loosen. Invert onto a wire rack, peel off parchment, and return cakes right side up. Allow the cakes to completely cool, about 1 hour. (Covered in plastic, the cakes can be left at room temperature for a few hours.) Prepare the frosting.
For the Coconut Ermine Frosting
- This recipe makes 5 cups, enough for a 9-inch two-layer cake or an 8-inch three-layer cake.
- In a 3 or 4-quart nonreactive pan whisk together the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk the in the coconut milk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly and scraping the corners of the saucepan, until the mixture boils and is very thick, about 6-10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a wide bowl or glass pie plate and let cool completely, about 2 hours.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter (which should be between 65-68 degrees F) on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5-minutes. Turn off the mixer, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the cooled coconut milk-flour mixture. Mix on medium speed until combined. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
Assemble the Cake
- Reserve 1 cup of the coconut frosting in a smaller bowl for decorations. Place one cake layer on a cake board or plate. Use 1-1/2 cups of frosting for the center and evenly spread across the layer. Place the second cake layer on top. Crumb coat the cake by spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire layer of the cake to lock in the crumbs. This technique will prevent cake crumbs from getting mixed into the final frosting. Frost the cake with the remaining frosting.
- To coat the cake with the shredded coconut, place coconut in your hand. Hold the edge of your hand close to the bottom of the cake, tilt your hand up and lightly press the coconut into the frosting. Repeat to coat the sides of the cake .
Increase sugar to 1 3/4 cups, increase the flour to 5 tablespoons, increase the cornstarch to 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons, increase the coconut milk to 1- 3/4cups, and increase the butter to 30 tablespoons.