Coconut contention is a “thing” in my house. My husband hates the stuff. But I love it, having inherited my grated-white fetish from my dad who has been known to keep a secret stash of Almond Joys in little wooden drawers around and about his flat. My best friend, Lisa, is also a coconut-nut. It’s to her this post is affectionately dedicated. In the search for the perfect coconut cake, I made lots of them, some with fresh coconut, others with packaged sweetened. The version I’m printing here is an adaptation that marries best elements of several vintage cakes. 1950s home-baker Mr. Ray Sharp gave us the idea of glazing cake layers with a syrup made from the fresh coconut milk before assembling and frosting them. But his Elegant Fresh Coconut Cake recipe didn’t bake the fresh coconut meat into the cake. Our version here does that, with nicely coconut-ty results. Because the glaze adds sweetness to the cake, we thought the traditional egg-white & sugar frosting would be too sugary. Mounds of lightly sweetened whipped cream, sprinkled with fresh coconut, work better. Don’t frost this cake until just before service. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Makes 2, 9-inch layers
- 1 fresh coconut, liquid reserved and coconut meat shredded
- 3 cups sifted cake flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 4 unbeaten egg yolks
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 2 cups grated fresh coconut
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup reserved coconut liquid
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 cup fresh grated coconut
- Make cake: Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside. cream butter and shortening with sugar until light and fluffy; add 4 egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. combine buttermilk with almond extract. Add alternately with dry ingredients to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients and blending thoroughly after each addition. Fold 2 cups fresh grated coconut into batter. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350. Whip four egg whites until stiff but not dry. fold into batter. Turn into two, 9-inch layer pans that have been well-greased and floured.
- Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.
- While the cake bakes, make coconut glaze: combine coconut liquid with sugar, lemon juice and almond extract in a saucepan. Simmer for 20 minutes.
- When cake is finished baking, remove from oven and paint coconut glaze over layers until completely absorbed. Cool.
- Whip cream. Sift confectioners sugar into whipped cream and mix in. Spread cream over bottom layer of cake. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the remaining fresh coconut. Top with second layer. Spread with cream again and top with remaining coconut.