Coconut Cake With Fluffy Coconut Buttercream

What could be more heavenly than Coconut Cake? It’s as light as a cloud, coated with luscious buttercream and sprinkled with coconut flakes. It’s a beautiful Christmas or winter party cake because of its dazzling white look. And, despite its ease of decoration, it appears to be wonderfully attractive and exquisite.

Coconut cake on a pink cake stand.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 egg whites, room temperature
  • 3 ¼ cups cake flour, spooned and leveled, then sifted
  • 3 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • ¾ cup whole buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 can (14 oz) full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk (such as Thai Kitchen)
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract (or the seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean)
  • 2 tsp coconut extract

Buttercream

  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3-4 tbsp coconut cream (see note)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp meringue powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1 – 1 ½ tsp coconut extract
  • 1 bag (10 oz) natural, unsweetened coconut flakes

INSTRUCTIONS 

A slice of coconut cake on a white plate.

Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottoms of three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper circles, then gently coat the paper with nonstick spray.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 10 minutes, scraping the bowl regularly, until extremely light and fluffy and lighter in color.
  3. One at a time, beat in the egg whites, each for 10 seconds before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another 10 seconds.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate basin.
  5. Whisk together the buttermilk, coconut milk, vanilla bean/extract, and coconut extract in a separate basin.
  6. With the mixer on low, alternate adding the flour mixture with the liquid components in three additions, commencing and finishing with the flour. Scrape the bowl thoroughly with a spatula to incorporate any stray flour particles.
  7. Using a spatula, divide the batter between the two pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes on the middle oven rack, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Place the pans on a wire rack to cool fully before frosting, and cover loosely with a clean dish towel.

Buttercream

  1. For 1 minute, beat the butter in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until smooth. Incorporate the coconut cream.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, meringue powder, and salt to the mixer on low speed and beat until mixed.
  3. Increase the speed to medium high and whip for 4-5 minutes, scraping the bowl regularly, until the mixture is extremely light and fluffy. If necessary, add additional coconut cream, a tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is achieved.
  4. Remove the cakes from the pans after they have cooled. Remove the parchment paper from one cake and place it on a cake board or cake pedestal, bottom side up.
  5. Frost, fill, and stack all three layers of cake, then finish with a thin buttercream crumb coat. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes before serving.
  6. Finish icing the cake with a last coat of buttercream, smoothing it out but not perfecting it.
  7. Set the cake on a clean baking sheet to collect the coconut, then push handfuls of coconut up the edges and over the top, if desired, until the cake is thoroughly coated. Any coconut that falls to the ground can be scooped up and placed back in the bag.

NOTES

  • My cakes are baked at a high altitude (I live in Denver), so if you live at a lower altitude or at sea level, you may need to make a few little tweaks to get the right results.
  • The egg whites, buttermilk, and butter must all be at room temperature, as stated in the recipe below.
  • The ideal flour for this cake is cake flour. It produces a cake that is significantly lighter than all-purpose flour. After measuring the cake flour, sift it.
  • Sweetened, shredded coconut is superior than natural, unsweetened coconut.
  • When the cakes are taken from the pans, they are sticky to the touch. For easy release, line the baking pans with parchment paper.
  • Place a can of full-fat unsweetened coconut milk in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours, or overnight, to produce the coconut cream used in the buttercream. The cream and the water will separate, allowing you to drain the water and use only the cream. Remove the bottom of the cooled can by turning it upside down and removing it. Drain the coconut water and use it in another dish if desired. Solid coconut cream should fill the can halfway to two-thirds full. Allow the cream in the can to soften for several hours at room temperature before adding it to your buttercream. You may preserve the remaining cream for another recipe or make vegan coconut whipped cream with it.
  • Leftover cake should be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days in an airtight container or cake carrier.
Coconut cake on a pink cake stand.

Source: Curly Girl Kitchen

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