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.


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

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, preferably aluminum free

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

  • ¾ cup cream of coconut, such as Coco Lopez

  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure almond extract

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 6 large eggs, room temperature

  • Coconut Simple Syrup

  • Coconut Buttercream

  • 3 cups sweetened flaked coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack set in the lower third. Butter and flour two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; set aside.

  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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

    Rob Tannenbaum
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