Monday, February 2, 2015

Coconut Cake

I usually like to bake "healthy" desserts. Of course the word "healthy" is relative to what you consider it to mean. In my case it means baking without sugar (using natural sweetners such as honey and maple syrup) and without flour, or at least a more wholesome version of it like sprouted flour or spelt. However, for my husband's birthday he requested a coconut cake and he made sure to specify that he didn't want to be a "healthy" cake.

I was on a mission to make the most "unhealthy" cake I've ever made. I ended up asking expert friends and combining recipes to come up with this...

Here's how:
The anatomy of a cake: Cake, Filling, Frosting.

1) For the cake portion: I used the buttermilk cake recipe from I've tried many of her recipes and they always come out great. I recommend watching her video to learn technique.
2) For the filling: I used Dorie Greenspan's Pastry Cream recipe (see below for recipe). However, I used this technique ---> (click here for technique)
3) I used a portion of the pastry cream to fill the cake, after mixing with lemon curd. And the other portion was used to make the frosting.
4) I sprinkled each layer of cake with coconut milk to give it more of a coconut flavor and to moisten it.
5) To frost the cake: I used's German Butter Cream recipe which you can find at this link with awesome pictures!

I know it sounds confusing, but it really isn't. I promise! :)

-Prep your pastry cream the night before you make the cake so you don't have to work so hard in one day.

-Follow's cake recipe, it won't fail you. Bake for the least amount of time it takes to achieve the golden color you see in the video so it doesn't dry out.

-After your cake is cooled and sliced start having fun with filling and frosting!

-Reserve a cup and a half of pastry cream to use for making the German Butter Cream. Use the rest to fill the cake. Before you do that though make sure you mix your pastry cream with at least 1/2 cup of lemon curd. You can add less of the lemon curd or more to your liking

-To fill cake: Start off by sprinkling 2-3 tablespoons of coconut milk on each layer (make sure you get the full fat version). Then spread a portion of the lemon curd/pastry cream mixture and finally sprinkle with unsweetened shredded coconut.

-Finally frost your cake with's delicious German Butter Cream. (I added 3/4 cup of butter to the 1 1/2 cups of reserved pastry cream).

-Leave cake at room temperature until you're ready to serve then store the leftover in an airtight container in the fridge.

Buttermilk Cake:
2 1/2 cups white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated white sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature (if you don't have buttermilk substitute with 1 cup whole milk plus 1 tablespoon vinegar added to it, mix and let stand for 10 minutes before adding)

-In a mixing bowlsiftor whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

-In bowl of electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.Scrape down the sides of the bowl.Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

-With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture (in three additions) and buttermilk (in two additions), beginning and ending with the flour.  

-Evenly divide the batter and pour into the prepared pans, smoothing the surface with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for about 27 to30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out just clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center.  

-Place the cakes on a wire rack to cool, in their pans, for about 10 minutes. Then invert the cakes onto a greased rack. To prevent splitting, reinvert cakes so that tops are right side up. Cool completely before filling and frosting.

Dorie Greenspan's Pastry Cream (modified)2 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, seeded6 large egg yolks 1/2 cups sugar1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
-Please refer to for his awesome technique.


  1. This was delicious Dana and just like something you would buy at a bakery/restaurant!

  2. Will try to prepare it, looks delicious !