My Happy Holiday Coconut Cake

Coconut Cake with Fresh Pineapple Filling

Coconut cake, sigh!!!  In our home, especially for my husband, no holiday meal is complete with a freshly baked coconut cake!

As a huge dessert lover myself, I love to bake. Watching and helping my mother in the kitchen has instilled in me a love for preparing great meals for my own family. My mom is both an excellent cook and an amazing baker. She bakes everything from scratch.  When I insisted on baking my first cake, she felt that my first serious foray into baking should start with a boxed cake – a Pillsbury Plus yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  She taught me how to add a little “extra” into the batter to make it taste even better and it did!  She proudly declared that I made the “best boxed cakes that she ever tasted!”  Those words, along with how quickly my dad and brother devoured my cakes, meant a lot to me.

Over the years my skills have graduated to baking from scratch.  The most requested cake in our home, especially around the holidays, is my coconut cake.  The recipe that I’m about to share is not completely my own. The cake recipe is something that I’ve discovered in a dessert book courtesy of the amazing baker, Dorie Greenspan.  The frosting and filling are very basic, traditional recipes that are used by many.  I just put them all together with some very minor tweaks of my own.

Now on to the recipe!  I hope that you try this wonderful coconut cake and enjoy it as much as we do!

Cake Recipe (courtesy of Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home To Yours”)

2 1/4 cups of cake flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1 1/4 cups of whole milk or buttermilk (I use whole milk)
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups of sugar
2 teaspoons of grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tbsp) of unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract (I omit this ingredient)
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl. Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one-third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.  Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.  Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

Pineapple Filling:

1 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup of fresh, crushed pineapples (you can also use an 8-oz can of crushed pineapples, undrained)
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Mix sugar and flour in a small saucepan.  Add remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened (takes about 5 minutes).  Let filling cool.  (Note:  I usually make my filling the day before, then cover and cool it overnight in the refrigerator.)

Seven-Minute Frosting:

2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon of light corn syrup
1/3 cup of cold water
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Combine all ingredients, except for the vanilla, on top of a double boiler. Use a hand blender to mix ingredients until they are smooth. Cook over boiling water, beating continuously for 7 minutes or until mixture holds a peak. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes or until thick enough to spread.

Frosting and Decorating Cake

After cake is completely cooled, spread a generous portion of Pineapple Filling over first layer and top with second layer. Spread a generous amount of the Seven-Minute Frosting on top and sides of the cake.  Sprinkle cake all over with Let’s Do Organic Coconut Flakes.

*If you prefer sweetened coconut flakes, please feel free to use it! However, keep in mind that the frosting is already very sweet!  The coconut flakes that I use is what gives the cake its beautiful look and texture.  I have not been able to find the sweetened version for  this type so here is a link to a recipe that can be used to make these flakes sweet:  Sweetened Coconut Flakes



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