This weekend I went looking for a cake that had lotsa coconut punch so that I could at last do away with all the coconut that’s been accumulating in my fridge. Since I’m not a big fan, I dnt usually see coconut as part of my usual baking ingredients and was therefore not very inspired as to what to do with it before it lost all its freshness.

I started by processing the coconut flesh into fine flakes after getting rid of the tough outer skin. Coconut is one hard nut to work with, something I learnt at my own expense. One second of carelessness that earned me a deep cut over my right thumb – all thanks to my razor sharp box grater. Being too stubborn to leave my baking halfway, I returned to the kitchen after successfully arresting the bleeding finger with a pressure dressing.

Among all the serch results for Coconut Cake on GoogleImages, the one that caught my eye was from A la Graham who adapted her recipe from The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook. The one thing that frightened me from making a full version of this cake was the shocking amount of butter the recipe called for; I ended up scaling the recipe for a single layer 9-inch cake. Usually I do not bother with frosting but was happy to have ventured out of my comfort zone to whip up the smooth, fluffy buttercream.

The assembled cake turned out to be quite beautiful though I believe it would have been improved with a second tier. Instead of cream of coconut, I used coconut milk which imparted subtle flavours to both cake batter and frosting. Guess it’s one of those cakes that I’d add to my baking repertoire for special occasions.




For the Cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour

3/4 cup cream of coconut

5 large egg whites 

1 large egg

1/4 cup water

1 tsp coconut extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tbs baking powder

3/4 tsp table salt

12 tbs unsalted butter, softened

For the Frosting

2 tbs heavy cream

1 tsp coconut extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of table salt

16 tbs unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup cream of coconut

3 cups confectioner’s sugar

2 cups sweetened shredded coconut


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and line with parchment paper two 9-inch round cake pans.
  • Whisk together cream of coconut, egg whites, whole egg, water and extracts. Set aside.
  • In a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, mix together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt until combined.
  • Increase the speed to medium and add the butter one piece at a time. Adding a new piece about every 3 seconds.

  • Keep mixing for a minute or two, until the mixture resembles a moist crumb.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the egg/coconut cream mixture to the flour/butter mixture and beat on medium speed for about 1 minute.
  • Reduce speed to low and add the rest of the wet mixture to the dry mixture and beat until combined and forms a nice batter.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 30-35 minutes.

  • Cool pans on wire rack for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen cake. Invert on wire rack.
  • Peel off parchment paper and flip right side up. To mke the frosting, stir together the cream, extracts and salt in a small bowl.
  • In a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the butter and cream of coconut on medium-high for about 30 seconds.
  • Reduce speed to low and slowly add the confectioner’s sugar and continue beating until smooth.

  • Add the cream/extracts/salt and beat medium-high until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
  • To toast the coconut, set oven to 325 degrees and sprinkle the coconut flakes onto a baking sheet, in a single layer.
  • Toast, stirring and checking frequently for about 6-10 minutes. It can burn really easy so keep an eye on it.
  • Take it out right when it starts to turn golden brown. To decorate the cake, set one cake on a cake plate.

  • You can line the edges of a plate with waxed paper strips to keep from getting frosting on the cake if you want.
  • Spread about 1 cup of frosting on the first layer, right up to the edges of the cake.
  • Set the other cake layer on top and frost with the remaining frosting all over the top and sides.
  • Sprinkle toasted coconut on the top and press it on the sides of the cake. Makes 10-12 servings.

Tastes as good as it looks!