Sunday, March 8, 2020

Classic Coconut Cake

Coconut Cake, High Altitude Coconut Cake, High Altitude Cake Recipes, White Cake, White Velvet CakeWhat is more dreamy than coconut cake?  It's light and white and fluffy as a cloud, frosted in sweet buttercream and covered in coconut flakes.  It's simple to decorate but looks so beautiful and elegant.  Coconut cake is a Southern classic, and having been raised in the South (although Colorado has been my home for longer), I had to include it in my lineup of classic cakes recipes I've been working through this spring.

A coconut cake should begin with white cake, so I adapted my beloved White Velvet Cake recipe to use a whole can of coconut milk.  Coconut milk is creamy and rich, with a delicate sweetness and a really lovely flavor that's perfect for cakes.  I've often used it in many other cake recipes, just because I like the texture it gives the cake.  To boost the flavor a little more, I also added some coconut extract to the batter, in addition to vanilla bean paste.  The cake is so soft, moist, tender and rich, and perfectly flavored with coconut.




Coconut Cake, High Altitude Coconut Cake, High Altitude Cake Recipes, White Cake, White Velvet Cake

Coconut Cake, High Altitude Coconut Cake, High Altitude Cake Recipes, White Cake, White Velvet Cake

Coconut Cake, High Altitude Coconut Cake, High Altitude Cake Recipes, White Cake, White Velvet Cake

Coconut Cake, High Altitude Coconut Cake, High Altitude Cake Recipes, White Cake, White Velvet Cake




For the frosting, I whipped coconut cream into buttercream, which made the silkiest, fluffiest buttercream imaginable, which is no surprise, since coconut cream is known for making amazing coconut whip or vegan whipped cream.  Covering a coconut cake with shredded coconut is the classic look, and I opted for natural, unsweetened coconut which has a pure coconut flavor without excessive sweetness and a really great crunch.

Some people like to add other flavors to their coconut cakes, like lemon curd or pineapple.  And I've made a really wonderful Pistachio Coconut Cake, with more of a pound-cake-like texture that was rich and toasty and buttery.  But, this time I just wanted the flavor of the coconut to shine. I wouldn't object, though, to a filling of creamy coconut custard.






Coconut Cake, High Altitude Coconut Cake, High Altitude Cake Recipes, White Cake, White Velvet Cake

Coconut Cake, High Altitude Coconut Cake, High Altitude Cake Recipes, White Cake, White Velvet Cake

Coconut Cake, High Altitude Coconut Cake, High Altitude Cake Recipes, White Cake, White Velvet Cake

Coconut Cake, High Altitude Coconut Cake, High Altitude Cake Recipes, White Cake, White Velvet Cake

Coconut Cake, High Altitude Coconut Cake, High Altitude Cake Recipes, White Cake, White Velvet Cake

Coconut Cake, High Altitude Coconut Cake, High Altitude Cake Recipes, White Cake, White Velvet Cake





Baking Notes and FAQs:

  1. As with everything I bake, my cakes are baked at high altitude (I live in Denver), and to achieve your own perfect results, you may need to make a few slight adjustments if you live at a lower altitude or sea level.  Please read this post and this post for all of my baking FAQs.  There are many articles online that can offer advice on how to adjust your flour, sugar and leavening for various altitudes.
  2. As noted in the recipe below, it's important for the egg whites, buttermilk and butter to be at room temperature.
  3. Cake flour is best in this cake.  It makes a much lighter cake than all-purpose flour does.  Be sure to sift the cake flour after measuring.
  4. Natural, unsweetened coconut is preferable to sweetened, shredded coconut.
  5. The cakes are sticky to the touch when removed from the pans.  You must line the baking pans with parchment paper for easy release.
  6. To make the coconut cream used in the buttercream, place a can of full-fat unsweetened coconut milk (do NOT shake the can) in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours, or overnight - the cream and the water will separate, allowing you to drain the water and just use the cream.  Take the chilled can, turn it upside down, and remove the bottom of the can.  Drain off the coconut water, saving it for another recipe if you like.  The can should be about 1/2 - 2/3 full of solid coconut cream.  Let the can sit out at room temperature for several hours to let the cream soften up again, before adding to your buttercream.  Whatever cream you don't use, you can save for another recipe, or use it in a vegan coconut whipped cream.


Coconut Cake
printable


Cake.
  • 3 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 egg whites, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 can (14 ounces) full-fat unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract
Buttercream.
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3-4 tablespoons coconut cream (see note)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 1 10-ounce bag natural, unsweetened coconut

Cake.
Preheat the oven to 350 and line three 8-inch round cake pans with a circle of parchment paper.  Spray the paper with non-stick spray.

Sift the flour together with the baking powder and salt and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar for 10-12 minutes, scraping the bowl down every few minutes, until very light, fluffy and pale in color.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg whites, buttermilk, coconut milk, vanilla, and coconut extract, just to combine.  With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the wet ingredients, starting and ending with the flour, mixing just until you have a nice smooth batter.

Divide the batter between the cake pans.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until the centers are done, then set the pans on a wire rack, cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and cool completely.

Buttercream.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute until smooth.  Beat in the coconut cream.  With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar, meringue powder and salt and mix until combined.  Add the vanilla and coconut extract, increase the speed to medium high and whip for 4-5 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally, until very light and fluffy.  Add more coconut cream, a tablespoon at a time, if needed to reach the right frosting consistency.

Remove the cooled cakes from the pans.  Set one cake, bottom side up, on a cake board or cake pedestal, and peel off the parchment paper.  Repeat filling and stacking all three layers of cake, then frost the cake with a thin crumb coat of buttercream.  Chill the cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Finish frosting the cake with a final layer of buttercream, and smooth it out, but no need to make it perfect.  Press handfuls of coconut up the sides of the cake and over the top, until completely covered.  Use a bench scraper or icing smoother to run it around the sides of the cake, making them straight and smooth.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen

2 comments :

  1. I LOVE coconut cake but I have never made one! You’ve inspired me. My mouth is watering just reading this!

    ReplyDelete

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