When the sun starts to shine and the crocuses and buds on trees start to bloom there seems to be a shift in the kitchenand it usually involves Coconut Cake. Almost as though the arc of the sun and length of daylight are somehow linked with my shopping lists. I spend a little more time lingering over the flowers and vibrant green vegetables looking for ways to invite the fresh light of spring into my kitchen. I start to crave light, fluffy, fresh and colorful foods. Right about now, as Easter approaches, my Coconut Cake makes it’s way to the baking line up. It is bright, light and fluffy. It might not be colorful but the bright white just looks and feels springy.
Just a side note: This recipe was originally posted in March of 2018. I love to make this cake in the spring it is true BUT we have been through a very cold -25 degree winter here in the midwest. It’s February and icey cold. This Coconut Cake has been proven to know no season, it is delicious in ANY weather.
This is the most moist cake I make.
It is actually wet it’s so moist yet the cake holds together perfectly. There is no frosting which may seem like a bummer but once you taste it you will realize that it just doesn’t need it. Not needing to make frosting makes this cake one of the easiest cakes I make. Easy, moist and delicious! Don’t get me wrong, I love a dense cheese cake and I’m definitely on team thick-frosting but the light fluffiness of this rich, sweet cake seems to satisfy without the heaviness. After a big holiday meal or any weeknight dinner it’s just the right amount of sweet.
The second step to this cake is adding a mixture of condensed, whole and coconut milks to the warm cake that’s been pierced with a wooden skewer. That’s when the magic happens.
When I first made this recipe I was confused by the baking powder being added at the end after folding in the egg whites. It seems more logical that it would be added in with the dry ingredients, right?
In the traditional methods where baking powder is mixed into the dry ingredients, it can be sifted or whisked evenly throughout the dry mixture which facilitates having it evenly distributed in the final batter. It would seem if you added the powder to a batter that was prepared except for it, even sprinkling it across the surface, it would be more difficult to evenly distribute throughout the entire batter. You then have to mix or beat the batter again to distribute the baking powder, which would develop additional gluten and lead to a tougher end product. Right!?
BUT, I think here in lies the wisdom of this recipe. The cake is light yet the thick crumbs hold together beautifully even after you add the liquid to the cooked warm cake. I think that adding the powder to the batter DOES toughen the glutens just a bit so that it will hold up to the sweet liquid added after it is baked. GENIUS!
Anyway you slice it the unique way of mixing this cake produces a beautiful texture I am proud to serve. This might look like a boring single layer cake with some coconut on top. I assure you it is so very much more. The texture is unlike any other cake I’ve ever made or even tasted. This Coconut Cake is delicious slightly warm but also as it is chilled the texture becomes slightly custard like yet it still has the crumb of a moist cake. You really have to taste it to appreciate it.
- 4 eggs*
- 1 1/2 cups of sugar
- 7 tablespoons of room temperature butter
- 2 cans of coconut milk (13.5 ounce cans) **
- 1 1/2 cups of flour
- 1 cup of whole milk, divided
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder
- 1 3/4 cups of sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup of grated sweetened coconut, for garnish
* Use the best eggs you can get. Here is where it counts to buy good organic free range eggs with beautiful orange yolks. I really does make a difference.
** When you open a can of coconut milk the solids are often sitting at the top of the can with the liquid just underneath. I like to put both cans of coconut milk into my blender and mix them well before adding it into the recipe.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Separate the egg yolks and egg whites then store the whites in the fridge.
- In a bowl, add sugar, butter, and egg yolks. Beat until the mix is smooth and fluffy.
- Add half of the coconut milk, then mix.
- Add flour and mix until incorporated. Stir in 1/2 cup of whole milk.
- In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whites into the egg yolk mixture.
- Add the baking powder and mix well.
- Grease and flour a 9″ springform baking pan. Pour mixture into the pan.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes.
- While the cake is baking, pour the condensed milk in a bowl then mix in the remaining ½ cup of whole milk and coconut milk.
- When the cake is ready, remove from oven. It will be golden brown and pull slightly away from the edges.
- While cake is still hot, pierce the top with a skewer several times, and pour the topping over the cake.
- Garnish with grated coconut.
Let me know if you made it and how you liked it.