Seven times. I had to bake this cake seven times to get it right and I’m super proud of how it’s FINALLY turned out 😄
This cake is everything anyone can dream of when thinking about a white or coconut cake. It’s SUPER soft, fluffy, moist, tender and rich and it’s just like biting into a deliciously flavoured coconut cloud. The cake is like a big, creamy pillow with a lovely scent of coconut and I’m just head over heels in love 🙂
Since this is such a wonderful cake, I really want to give you guys as many tips and pointers to help guide you all to making the most amazing coconut cake on earth. I don’t want to make this post too long either so let’s jump right in.
First of all, let’s talk white cake. I’ve been dying to find/create the most epic white cake since forever! I wanted it to have just the right cream like texture and be as authentic to white cakes as can be meaning using only all egg whites which is exactly what this cake is.
Now white cakes are easy to make but they can be tricky at times so I’m going to talk about some of the things I did to create this cake as well as some issues that people can face when making white cakes.
- The base of this cake uses cake flour. This is not plain/self rising/all purpose flour rather it’s a flour that’s very finely milled and has less protein than other flours. This produces a very light cake. If you can’t find cake flour, there is a great flour/cornflour substitute which works very well in most cakes but I had trouble with it here. The cake is so light that when I added cornflour, I ended up tasting it in the cakes which actually gave it a ‘paste-y’ feel 😯 so instead I used another technique of making cake flour which is just removing some of the plain flour after measuring. More on that in the directions 😉
- As far as the butter and sugars go we’ll be using the standard creaming method which just means that the butter and sugar gets whipped nice and creamy adding lots of air to the cake. Using this technique makes the cake super fluffy and light which is definitely the way to go here.
- I’ve omitted the egg yolks completely here which is a source of fat and to make up for this, I’ve added sour cream. Please make sure to use full fat sour cream and coconut milk because the cake needs the fat to build it’s structure.
- My technique of making the cake so airy is to whip the egg whites separately until soft peaks before adding to the batter.
Okay enough jibber jabber about that and let’s quickly go through the most popular issues that white cakes can cause:
- Dense or hard cake. This is one of the most common issues I’ve seen people complain about. This is caused when there is too much liquid in the cake that the flour can’t absorb it all causing the cake to be over saturated and heavy. I tried my best to make sure that doesn’t happen here so the batter is slightly thick and very fluffy.
- Cake sinking. This has a number of causes, a big one is opening the oven door too early. DO NOT open the oven door before 20 minutes of baking. Also make sure that your oven is well preheated before putting the cakes in. Under cooking the cakes can also result in sinking so make sure you cook it properly until a knife comes out with a few moist crumbs, no batter!, or clean.
- Flat tops. This is caused if your baking powder is old so make sure of the expiration dates. Another cause for this is if the egg whites haven’t been whipped properly to stiff peaks. See more about that here.
- Wet or dense bottom layer. This is a very annoying issue and one that many people have faced including myself. I know that this usually happens when A) there’s too much liquid in the batter or B) there’s not enough fat in the batter. I made sure that both of these wasn’t the cause. I realized that when I made the cake in a square cake dish it baked perfectly but when I made it in a round dish it had a thin wet layer at the bottom. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why and ended up thinking that this cake is just “shape-ist”. Then it dawned on me 😉 my square tin has higher sides so the amount of batter fit perfectly filling the tin just over half way. My round one has shorter sides and there was too much batter so the cake couldn’t cook properly. DO NOT over fill the cake tins so that the cakes cook up properly.
And finally, keep in mind that this cake may ever so slightly shrink from the sides. This is normal when baking an all egg white cake 🙂
Aight I’m done, at least for now I’ll talk more about all this in another post but for now, enjoy the most perfect coconut cake around. 🙂
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The Great Coconut Cake
Makes a 2 or 3 layered 8 or 9 inch cake
- 3 cups cake flour*
- 3 tablespoons cornflour/cornstarch*
- 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups (300gms) sugar, divided
- 3/4 cup (150gms) butter
- 1/4 cup (60mls) oil
- 1 cup (250mls) full fat canned coconut milk*
- 1/3 cup (80mls) full fat sour cream
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract (optional: use 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract)
- 6 egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups/300gms salted butter
- 4 1/2 cups/560gms icing sugar
- 3 – 4 tablespoons coconut milk
- Optional: splash of vanilla or coconut extract
Shredded coconut (1 – 1 1/2 cups) for topping and sides of the cake, sweetened or unsweetened (depending on preference)
- Preheat oven to 160C/325F. Grease and flour 2 round 9 inch cake pans or 3 round 8 inch cake pans.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, cornflour, baking powder and salt.
- In a separate bowl, add in the butter and whisk until creamy then gradually add in 1 cup/200gm sugar. Once the sugar has been added pour in two tablespoons of the oil and beat mixture until paled in colour and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Add in the remaining two tablespoons oil and the extracts and whisk to combine.
- Alternate in the sour cream and coconut milk with the dry ingredients in alternating batches starting and ending with the dry mix. Whisk until *just* combined. Set aside.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, add the egg whites and whisk (make sure your whisk is clean and dry) until foamy and opaque in colour. Slowly add in the remaining 1/2 cup/100gms sugar and whisk until soft peaks have formed.
- Once your egg whites are ready, gently fold them to your prepared cake batter. Once the egg whites are all folded in, the batter will be slightly thick and creamy (and delicious 😉😂).
- Divide batter between cake pans and bake for 25 – 28 minutes until baked through and a toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, don’t over bake. Cool cakes for 20 minutes in the cake pan then transfer onto wire racks to cool. I like to let them cool on the racks for about 15 minutes then place in an airtight container to cool completely.
For the frosting:
- Whisk butter on high until very light in colour and creamy, 8 – 10 minutes.
- Add in icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time whisking for about 30 seconds between each addition.
- Add in coconut milk until desired consistency is reached. Add in any extract if using.
Frost the cakes with the frosting. Using your hands, pat the shredded coconut all around and on top of the cakes. Store in an airtight container.
*If you have cake flour then use the stated amount and omit the cornflour. If you don’t have or can’t find cake flour, measure 3 cups (375gms) all purpose/plain flour then remove 6 tablespoons of flour. Continue with the rest of the recipe as written above.
*Canned coconut milk is required for optimum taste and texture. You can however use homemade coconut milk. Make sure to shake the coconut milk well before using.
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
- 3/4 cup (150gms) butter
- 1 cup (8oz) cold cream cheese
- 2 – 3 cups (250 – 375gms) icing sugar
- 1 – 2 tablespoons coconut milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or coconut extract
For the frosting
- Whip butter and cream cheese together until smooth and creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add in icing sugar in 1/2 cup increments whisking between each addition. Add in coconut milk and more icing sugar until desired consistency is reached.
- Add in vanilla or coconut to taste. Whisk in salt to taste to balance out the sweetness.
Updated on 30/11/2017.