Four-Layer Coconut Cake

Ever since trying the famous 12-layer coconut cake from Peninsula Grill in Charleston, I've had coconut cake on my radar.  Any time I've seen a recipe, I pin it or bookmark it. My mom and I pretty much drooled over the coconut cake at Peninsula, so I knew she would love a coconut cake for Mother's Day. Any holiday should be celebrated with cake. 

A full 12-layer cake sounded a little daunting, so I opted for a four-layer, 6 inch cake. This recipe uses spring form pans, which makes getting the cakes out the pan a snap, but if you don't have spring forms you can find 6 inch round pans at most craft or baking stores. 

Four-Layer Coconut Cake
serves 8-10, adapted from Momofuku For 2


For the cakes:
1 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup shredded coconut (I used Bob Mill's brand)
12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs, plus 2 large egg whites
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the Frosting:
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg whites
24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cubed
1 tsp. almond or vanilla extract
1/4 cup shredded coconut


For the cakes:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Parchment line two 6 inch spring form or round pans.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and coconut in a large bowl then set aside. Cream butter and sugar in an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and egg whites one at a time, beating after each addition. In a small bowl combine the coconut milk and vanilla extract. Turn mixer to low, add a third of the dry ingredients, then mix. Add half of the wet ingredients, then mix. Add another third of the dry ingredients, followed by the rest of the wet ingredients, then finish with the dry. 

Divide the batter evenly into your two pans. Bake for 45 minutes. Do a toothpick test to make sure your cakes are cooked through. Cool completely.

For the Frosting:
While your cakes are cooling, whisk egg whites and sugar in a double broiler (A metal bowl over a pot of simmering water). Continue whisking until you can't feel the sugar granules when you rub the mixture between your fingers. 

Transfer the mixture to an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on high until it turns white and doubles in size. Add the extract. Finally, add the butter cubes at a time. Add the coconut. It may take a while to come together but once it does, store in the fridge until you are ready to frost. (Because there is so much butter it can get kind of melty).

To assemble the cake:
Using a serrated knife, slice each cake in half. Layer one slice of cake topped with about 1/3 cup of frosting. Continue to layer and frost until you have four layers. (Make sure you save enough frosting to cover the whole cake.) Frost the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with a sprinkle of coconut around the edges! Keep in the fridge for a nice cold and firm cake until you are ready to serve!

Did anyone ever learn that "I'm a Nut" song at summer camp? With all this coconut talk its pretty much been stuck in my head the whole time while writing this post. 

"I'm a little coconut, sitting under a coconut tree. Everybody steps on me, that is why I'm cracked you see. I'm a nut, in a rut, I'm cra-a-zy."