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Jun 23, 2011 01:21 PM

Need coconut cake help...

I need to bake a cake for a coconut lover, who has nothing to say beyond "make it really coconutty and fluffy!" Any ideas for what at base would be a chiffon (probably) cake with a buttercream (base) icing? Also, if there is any way to do this using fresh coconut/coconut cream/juice/water and avoiding the sweetened, shredded, packaged coconut, I would be grateful. The prettier and more feminine looking the cake, the better. Thanks! :)

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    1. This is absolutely the BEST coconut cake I've ever made -- and I've been making them for nearly 30 years.

      Coconut Cake Layers

      From Perfect Cakes by Nick Malgieri

      1 ¾ cups bleached all-purpose flour (spoon into dry measure cup and level)

      1 ½ teaspoons baking powder


      9 Replies
      1. re: roxlet

        Roxlet, I think Chowhound ate your recipe!

        1. re: ursy_ten

          oops! Here it is again!

          Coconut Cake Layers
          From Perfect Cakes by Nick Malgieri

          1 ¾ cups bleached all-purpose flour (spoon into dry measure cup and level)
          1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
          ¼ teaspoon salt
          12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) of unsalted butter, softened
          1 1/3 cup sugar
          1 teaspoon vanilla extract
          1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
          2 eggs at room temperature
          2 egg yolks
          ½ cup Thai coconut milk
          1 cup (about ½ a 7 ounce bag) sweetened shredded coconut, finely chopped

          2 8” cake pans, buttered, floured, and with parchment on the bottom (the Wilton release works well here – that was all I used)

          1. Set rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350.
          2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl
          3. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer and beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until soft and light. Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest, then beat in the eggs an yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.
          4. Reduce the speed to low and add one third of the flour mixture, and then half of the coconut milk. Scrape down the bowl and repeat with another third of the flour, the rest of the coconut milk, and the final third of the flour. Scrape down the bowl and beater again.
          5. Use a rubber spatula to give the batter a final mixing, and then mix in the chopped coconut. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans.
          6. Bake the layers for 30-35 minutes until they are well-risen and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on racks for 5 minutes, then unmold onto racks to finish cooling.

          And this frosting:
          Flour Frosting

          1/4 cup flour
          1 cup sugar
          1 cup milk
          1 cup butter cut in cubes (My butter was cool and firm, but I could still leave an indent when I pressed my finger into it)
          1 tsp vanilla
          pinch of salt

          1. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar, flour, salt together. Add the milk and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally (I had to whisk constantly or else it started to stick and clump at the bottom) until the mixture has thickened into a paste and slightly bubbly at edges (You probably don't want it boiling because we all know how boiled milk tastes..)

          2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter; beat until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. If the frosting is too soft, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator to chill slightly: then beat again until it is the proper consistency.

          3. Add the vanilla and continue mixing until combined.

          1. re: roxlet

            Makes me happy just thinking about it.

            1. re: roxlet

              I was wondering, have you tried Cook's Illustrated's recipe for coconut cake? They recommend Coco Lopez sweetened coconut cream instead of coconut milk, because the fat content of the latter can vary wildly between brands. What brand do you use in Nick's recipe?

              1. re: ChristinaMason

                Malgieri recommends the Asian brand, I think, but I use whatever my husband has stocked the pantry with. I have never noticed any difference cake to cake. I love a lot of CI recipes, but sometimes I think that nit picking has become their raison d'

                1. re: roxlet

                  CI motto: No Nit Left Unpicked. Absolutely.

                  1. re: buttertart

                    so true. makes me want to scream" cooking can be FUN!"

                    1. re: magiesmom

                      I get a bit sick of the we did this we did that explanatory articles. Break your arm patting yourself on the back, why don't you?

              2. re: roxlet

                Sounds wonderful! I must make this for my sister, the coconut fiend. Thank you :)

            1. re: greygarious

              What a pity that my coconut obsessed mother is gone...she could have eaten this all by herself (and she was 5'1" and all of 105 pounds). Guess I'll have to make it in her honor! Thanks.

                1. re: raygunclan

                  For this cake, I doubled the recipe and used 3 9" pans and 11/2 recipe of the flour frosting.

                2. Here is a link to Alton brown's coconut cake. It is a chiffon cake, uses fresh coconut and even spritzs the cake with coconut water for extra flavor.


                  Another thing you could consider is the use of a lemon or pineapple curd filling.