Coconut Layer Cake
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour, not self-rising, plus more for pans
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Coconut Cream filling (see below)
  • 11 ounces (about 3 3/4 cups) flake coconut
  • Seven-Minute Frosting (see below)
  • Preheat oven to 350° F or 177 °C. Arrange two racks in the center of the oven and line the bottom of three 6-by-2-inch buttered cake pans with parchment paper.
  • Dust the bottom and the sides of the cake pans with flour, and tap out any excess.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-low speed until fluffy (1 to 2 minutes). Gradually add superfine sugar, and keep beating until the mixture is fluffy and light in color for around 3 minutes.
  • Gradually pour in egg yolks, beating on medium-low speed between each addition until the batter is no longer slick. Beat until the mixture is fluffy again, about another 3 minutes.
  • Add flour mixture and sour cream to the batter alternately, a little of each at a time, start and end with the flour mixture. Beat in vanilla and divide the batter between the prepared cake pans.
  • Bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Rotate the pans in the oven, if needed, for even browning.
  • Transfer cake pans to wire racks to cool, about 15 minutes.
  • Remove cakes from pans, and let cool completely on racks with tops facing up.
  • To assemble, remove parchment paper from the bottoms of cakes.
  • Split each layer in half horizontally with a serrated knife.
  • Set aside the prettiest dome as it will be used for the final layer.
  • Place another domed layer, dome side down, on the serving platter. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of flake coconut over the cake.
  • Spread a generous 1/2 cup coconut-cream filling (see recipe below) over flake coconut. Repeat sprinkling and spreading process on the remaining layers until all but the reserved domed layer are used.
  • Top cake with the reserved domed layer. Transfer cake to the refrigerator to firm for 1 hour.
  • Remove from the refrigerator, and frost the outside of cake with seven-minute frosting (see recipe below). Sprinkle remaining flake coconut all over cake while frosting is soft; do not refrigerate. Cake can be left out at room temperature for several days.
  • Makes 3 six-inch layers
Coconut Cream Filling
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 ounces (1 1/2 cups) flake coconut
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Unsalted butter, for wrap
  • Place egg yolks in a large bowl; whisk to combine; set bowl aside.
  • Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk.
  • Cook, stirring, over medium heat until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Whisk 1/2 cup hot milk mixture into the reserved egg yolks to temper.
  • Slowly pour warm yolks into the saucepan, stirring constantly.
  • Cook slowly, stirring, over medium-low heat, until mixture begins to bubble, 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Stir in coconut and vanilla.
  • Transfer filling to a medium mixing bowl.
  • Lightly butter a piece of plastic wrap, and lay it directly on top of filling to prevent a skin from forming.
  • Chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
Seven Minute Frosting:

Cake should be prepared before making this frosting

  • 2-3/4 egg whites
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup and 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Put egg whites, sugar, water and syrup in top of double boiler.
  • Beat until mixed well.
  • Place over rapidly boiling water.
  • Beat constantly with electric beater while it cooks for 7 minutes or until it will stand in peaks when beater is raised.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add vanilla and beat until cool, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • The frosting should be thick and shiny.
  • Use immediately.