This cake is the most delicious and moist coconut cake with a perfect pineapple filling that makes a wonderful dessert for any special gathering, but especially for my Mom’s birthday or Easter!
This cake has become an annual tradition – I make it every year for my mother’s birthday because she adores coconut much like my sweet husband. It is seriously the one of the moistest cakes ever. An entire can of Coco Lopez coconut cream in the cake batter gives it the moist, fluffy texture reminiscent of wedding cake. The filling is a simple pineapple one made from a can of crushed pineapple cooked down with sugar, cornstarch and butter.
What I love most about this cake is that there is no shredded coconut in the cake or frosting, but that sweetened and toasted coconut is only added to the sides on the outside of the cake, so I can enjoy the flavor of coconut with limited texture from shredded coconut. I can handle the toasted coconut better than just plain raw, so I actually do like this cake – a lot. Probably not as much as my mommy who requests it every year or my hubby who finishes it off. It’s a massive cake, so even at a party of 10-15 people about half of it was left. But nobody ever complained about leftover cake. Not really. 😉
My friend, Erin, came up with the cake idea. The cake is adapted from a recipe on Food Network, she crafted the filling and then took the basic buttercream from our Panache bake shoppe days adding coconut flavor to it! I added the coconut syrup, an extra umpf of coconut extract to the buttercream and the steps for how to stack and decorate the cake. Pro tip: make sure the cake layers and filling are completely cool before you start to stack the layers and construct the cake. If you are too impatient, like I can be, well frosting heals all baking wounds. Frosting and the fridge.
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
- 1 1/3 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Fine sea salt
- 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 (13.5-ounce) can sweetened cream of coconut, well stirred (recommended: Coco Lopez)
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut mixed with 1 cup toasted sweetened shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup simple syrup
- 2 TBS Trader Joe's coconut cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, packed in its own juice
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 sticks (1 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 4.5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s coconut cream (well-mixed)
- 1 1/2 tsp coconut extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 (8-inch) diameter cake pans with 2-inch high sides.
Pour the flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Use a whisk to stir together. This will get rid of any lumps and pseudo-sift the ingredients. In a separate large bowl, beat the sugar, butter and sweetened cream of coconut until fluffy and it resembles whipped cream, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir to incorporate all the ingredients. With the mixer on low speed, beat in 1/2 the dry ingredients, followed by the buttermilk, and the remaining dry ingredients, scraping down the sides in between each addition, just until blended.
Using clean, dry beaters, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt in another clean large bowl until the egg whites are stiff but not dry. Cook's Note: You want to get the most volume from your egg whites, that's why it is essential that the beaters and bowl are clean.
In batches, fold the beaten egg whites into the batter, being careful not to deflate the whites. Divide the cake batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Spread the batter with an offset spatula to level the batter in the pan. Bake the cakes until a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack, about 10 minutes. Gently run a small sharp knife around the pan sides to loosen the cakes. Turn the cakes out onto the racks lined with wax, parchment paper or even plastic wrap and cool completely. In the meantime, combine the simple syrup and coconut cream and set aside for brushing onto the cake layers later.
In heavy saucepan combine cornstarch, all of the sugar and salt.
Add pineapple with juice and mix well.
Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a bubbling boil, stirring constantly.
Once mixture comes to a boil continue stirring constantly for approximately 5 minutes, or until thickened and its looses it's "milky" look. Remove from heat and add butter, stirring to melt.
Let cool then store in refrigerator.
Beat butter on high speed for 1-2 minutes until fluffy. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until well blended. Add salt, vanilla, coconut cream and coconut extract. Add more coconut cream if buttercream is too thick. Consistency should be thick, but easy to spread.
If the cake baked up with a slight dome in the center, you can trim the dome off with a serrated knife to have a flat surface or just remember to place that cake layer dome-side down on the cake plate. Place the first cake layer onto a cake round set on a turntable. Using a large serrated knife, cut the cake layer in half into two layers by inserting the knife little by little as you slowly turn the cake until you cut all the way through the center. Gently set aside. Repeat with second cake.
Gently lift the top off and set it aside. Brush first layer with the coconut cream simple syrup mixture. Spread 1/3 pineapple filling onto cake layer. Top with second layer and repeat steps until all filling is gone and you've stacked fourth layer on top.
Frost with coconut buttercream. Coat sides with mix of sweetened and toasted coconut. The easiest way to do this is to carefully set the cake (on the cake round) on the palm of one hand, while you hold it over a baking sheet, pat and press the shredded coconut with your other hand onto the sides of the cake allowing the excess to fall bake onto the baking sheet.
To make the swirl on top make sure you have enough excess frosting on top. Using a small straight spatula, set it into the top of the cake 1/8-1/4 inch starting about an inch from the edge and spin the cake slowly making circles into the top.
Such a pretty cake, it will be the belle of the ball – the frosting on the cake – the perfect centerpiece for your Easter table this year. 😉
Enjoy! <3 K&R