Coconut Cake

1 9-inch square layer cake

Toasted coconut curls give this classic layer cake from "Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook" a truly sophisticated presentation.


  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans

  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup packed sweetened, shredded coconut

  • 2 ⅔ cups sugar

  • 4 large whole eggs, plus 4 large egg whites

  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut milk

  • Seven-Minute Frosting

  • Fresh Coconut Curls, for garnish, toasted


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-9-by-2-inch cake pans; line bottom with parchment paper. Butter parchment and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Place shredded coconut in the bowl of a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Stir chopped coconut into flour mixture until combined; set aside.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed. Add whole eggs, egg whites, and vanilla; beat until fluffy and combined. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture, alternating with the coconut milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, mixing well after each addition.

  4. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans; smooth with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes.

  5. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack; peel off parchment paper. Reinvert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.

  6. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of the cake layers to make level. Place one layer on a cake plate, and spread top with 1 1/2 cups frosting. Top with remaining layer, cut side down. Using an offset spatula, spread remaining frosting over entire cake, swirling to cover in a decorative fashion. Sprinkle entire cake with coconut curls, bending and curling as desired. Cake can be kept refrigerated, covered with a cake dome, for up to 3 days.

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