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Coconut Cake with Coconut Buttercream

Bake this classic and delicious Southern treat from Cheryl and Griffith Day's "The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook" for your next celebration. It contains coconut simple syrup to help keep the cake moist and to add extra flavor.

Photography: Rob Tannenbaum

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, preferably aluminum free
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3/4 cup cream of coconut, such as Coco Lopez
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • Coconut Simple Syrup
  • Coconut Buttercream
  • 3 cups sweetened flaked coconut

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven with a rack set in the lower third. Butter and flour two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; set aside.

  2. Step 2

    Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom; set aside. In a large measuring cup or a small bowl, stir together cream of coconut, 1/4 cup water, vanilla, and almond extract.

  3. Step 3

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary.

  4. Step 4

    With the mixer on low, add flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the cream of coconut mixture and beginning and ending with the flour. Mix just until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.

  5. Step 5

    Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and smooth tops with a spatula. Tap firmly on work surface to remove air bubbles from batter. Transfer to oven and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes; remove from pans and transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

  6. Step 6

    Using a toothpick, poke several holes in each layer of cake. Brush cake layers with simple syrup; let stand at least 15 minutes to allow syrup to absorb.

  7. Step 7

    Trim the top of one of the layers so that it is flat. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a lazy Susan or serving plate. Place layer cut side down on serving plate. Using an offset spatula, spread the top of the layer with a large dollop of buttercream; sprinkle with 1/4 cup coconut. Top with second layer, right-side up, and frost top and sides with remaining buttercream. Sprinkle coconut over top of cake and press into sides. Remove parchment paper strips and serve. Cake can also be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Source
The Martha Stewart Show, April 2012

Reviews (11)

  • 30 Mar, 2013

    So to be clear: What temp does this bake at? And how much flour for the buttercream??????

  • 18 Feb, 2013

    Sorry to be the only wet blanket but I did not find this cake to be very good. Considering it has so much butter, sugar,extracts, and half a dozen eggs I had high expectations. It took 3 hrs to make and did not taste even half as good as a doctored cake mix. Would not consider making again. P.S. I am not a rookie baker

  • 3 Oct, 2012

    After making this cake in August, and raving about it here, I just wanted to add that it freezes and defrosts beautifully as well. Try as I did to eat the whole thing, I ended up cutting it into quarters and wrapping two of the quarters in saran wrap and foil and freezing it. I defrosted one quarter on the counter and the cake was as perfect as it was the day it was baked. The frosting was fine too. Still my favorite cake. Ever.

  • 3 Oct, 2012

    After making this cake in August, and raving about it here, I just wanted to add that it freezes and defrosts beautifully as well. Try as I did to eat the whole thing, I ended up cutting it into quarters and wrapping two of the quarters in saran wrap and foil and freezing it. I defrosted one quarter on the counter and the cake was as perfect as it was the day it was baked. The frosting was fine too. Still my favorite cake. Ever.

  • 8 Sep, 2012

    beautiful cake

  • 10 Aug, 2012

    This cake is FABULOUS! I had to make two adjustments to the recipe: I could not find creme de coco or coconut extract here in the UK, so I reduced a can of coconut milk and sugar to 1 cup and used that instead of the creme and the 1/4 c of water, and it came out to the right consistency. Also, I used Malibu rum in place of the simple syrup and coconut extract, and that worked really well too. I highly recommend this cake- it's dense, moist and not too sweet. I've already eaten too much of it : /

  • 27 Apr, 2012

    Thank you, Elizabetsy1 for your comment about the buttercream. I'm an experienced cook and yet I threw away three batches of the milk/flour mixture until I saw your comments and watched the video. I couldn't figure out what I did wrong and now I know it wasn't me! Frustrated that I wasted my time and ingredients.

  • 27 Apr, 2012

    Thank you, Elizabetsy1 for your comment about the buttercream. I'm an experienced cook and yet I threw away three batches of the milk/flour mixture until I saw your comments and watched the video. I couldn't figure out what I did wrong and now I know it wasn't me! Frustrated that I wasted my time and ingredients.

  • 23 Apr, 2012

    1. I just now noticed the previous comments concerning the oven temperature after I baked this cake. I luckily guessed that most cakes are cooked @ that temp. Whoever typed this recipe and put it on the website forgot that crucial part. I could have wasted my time, money, & efforts if I baked @ the wrong temp 2. The Buttercream frosting is wrong as well. It shows 1.5 cups of flour, but the video shows only 1/2 cup! This should be corrected on here immediately so noone else wastes their time & $

  • 18 Apr, 2012

    If you watch the video on line, Martha says the oven temperature is 350 degress.

  • 16 Apr, 2012

    I would love to try this cake, but there is no oven temperature given. Any help would be appreciated. Since the directions say to bake for 45-50 minutes I'm guessing that 350 degrees may be too hot. I'm thinking maybe 325 degrees but I'm not sure. I would hate to mess this up because of oven temperature because it would be a huge waste of a LOT of ingredients!