Coconut Cake

Note: Make sure to use large enough cake pans for this. I use 8″ round pans that are 3″ high. 9″ are the preferred.

Coconut Cake
from Martha Stewart Living magazine

makes one 9″ layer cake

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature, plus more for pans
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups packed sweetened shredded coconut
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 large whole eggs
4 large egg whites
3 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

Frosting (recommended kinds–seven minute, coconut buttercream, chocolate, etc.)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two nine-inch cake pans with butter (or solid shortening, which I think works better) and dust lightly with flour–tap to get the excess out.

2. In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. Process 1 cup of shredded coconut in a food processor until finely chopped. Add to the flour mixture and stir to combine.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. (This will take about 5 minutes. Don’t skimp on this step–the butter and sugar will get very light in color and the sugar will almost “dissolve” into the butter.) Add eggs, egg whites, and vanilla–beat until well incorporated. Add the flour and coconut milk alternating three times–beginning and ending with the flour. Beat until combined, but being careful not to overbeat after the last addition.

5. Divide batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean–about 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool, about 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen the cakes. Invert onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

6. After the cakes have completely cooled, use a serrated knife to level off the tops of the cakes. Layer and frost cakes. Sprinkle frosted cake with remaining 1 cup shredded coconut and serve. (I like to lightly toast the coconut before sprinkling it on the outside of the cake. I also like to use a filling such as lime curd between the layers.)

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