Cupcakes are cute. But cakes command attention in a way that cupcakes just can’t muster. Sort of like that scene in “Bull Durham” where Kevin Costner calls Susan Sarandon cute and her response is “Cute? Baby ducks are cute, I HATE cute! I want to be exotic and mysterious!” I think a lot of cupcakes feel that way.
Nothing against cupcakes. It’s just that there’s a time and a place for everything. Steph, the blogger at Momofukufor2, seems to share this sentiment, having conjured this stunning layer cake from what was a recipe for a cute cupcake. It elicits oohs and aahs from us every time we see it. She’s quick to offer up a kind word for the cuter cupcake incarnation, though. “This recipe bakes up great as cupcakes as well, but I find cake so much more festive.” So do we, Steph. So do we.–Renee Schettler Rossi
LC Hey, How'd You Get Those Chic Coconut Curls? Note
Notice those crazy coconut curls on the cake in the photo above? (How could you not?!) The graceful ribbon-like lengths lend a little ooh la la to cakes and cupcakes alike. How’d we get ‘em? Easy. We bought ‘em. Just look for natural coconut flakes at your local health-food store. Or search for those key words online (or, even easier, click here).
Coconut Cake Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 1 H, 15 M
- 2-layer 9-inch cake or 24 cupcakes
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup packed unsweetened shredded coconut
- 3/4 cup coconut milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg whites
- Seven-Minute Frosting
- Flakes or shreds of unsweetened coconut
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F (176°C). Line two 9-inch springform or cake pans with parchment circles cut to fit. If not using springform pans, butter and flour the pans.
- 2. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and shredded coconut. Set aside.
- 3. Combine the coconut milk and vanilla. Set aside.
- 4. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and egg whites and mix well. Add a third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, switch to a spatula, and stir just until incorporated. Then add half the coconut milk mixture and stir just until incorporated. Repeat, adding half of the remaining flour mixture, then the remaining coconut milk mixture, and ending with the remaining flour mixture. Do not overmix.
- 5. Divide the batter evenly among the two pans. Bake until the top of the cake springs back when pressed lightly with a fingertip and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean, 25 to 40 minutes (if making cupcakes, figure about 20 minutes). The cake will not color appreciably, so don’t rely on its hue as an indication of doneness. Cool the cakes completely in the pans on a wire rack.
- 6. Working with one cake at a time, place the wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert the cake onto the rack. Then carefully invert it again so it’s right side up. Repeat with the remaining cake. Using a serrated knife, carefully slice off the mounded portion of one or both cakes to create a flat surface.
- 7. Place a trimmed cake on a cake stand or platter. Spread a generous portion of the Seven-Minute Frosting over the top. Place the second cake on the first and very thinly coat the top and sides of the cake to seal in the crumbs. This is called a crumb coat. Then go ahead and generously slather the cake with the rest of the frosting. Quickly sprinkle some of the flaked or shredded coconut over the top of the cake. Gently press the rest of the coconut onto the sides. Behold!
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:
Testers ChoiceTesters Choice
Apr 18, 2011
This is a great coconut cake! I made it into cupcakes (I was able to make 18 cupcakes using a No. 16 scoop), and they were really good. The cupcakes were done at 30 minutes. The frosting is wonderful, and makes just enough for the 18 cupcakes. We loved them.
Apr 18, 2011
These were light, moist, and mildly coconutty. I made the recipe as cupcakes, and the recipe yielded 20 cupcakes that baked for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. I also rotated the pans once during baking. There was a nice balance of texture with the airy, marshmallow-like frosting and crunchy coconut flakes. I used the shaved, unsweetened coconut for both the garnish and the recipe, but I didn’t want large coconut shavings in the cupcakes themselves so I ran the flour and coconut through the food processor. The cupcakes were delicious, eliciting excellent reviews from my coworkers.
Apr 18, 2011
I made cupcakes with this recipe, yielding 30 small cupcakes at 2 inches in diameter. They baked for 20 minutes, and I rotated the pans halfway through. Overall, this recipe is easy to put together, including the Seven Minute Frosting—which more accurately should be named the Ten Minute Frosting, if we’re being picky. (The frosting recipe can frost about 45 cupcakes of this size.) The sponge was moist, sweet, and full of coconut flavour, and the icing was sticky, like marshmallow fluff. I’m not sure if this is how the frosting was supposed to turn out, but I thought it was delicious, if messy to work with and store. I topped the cakes with toasted coconut for a touch of colour.
Apr 18, 2011
This recipe attracted me because it contained both coconut and coconut milk—a double whammy of one of my favorite flavors. I made this recipe as cupcakes and wasn’t disappointed. Usually I expect 24 cupcakes (my cupcake pan is on the small side, holding about 1/3 batter per cupcake) from a two layer recipe, but I only got 18 this time. They didn’t gain much color even though they were perfectly baked, moist, light, and tender, so don’t look for browning as a guide. It was hard to wait for them to cool to frost and taste. In fact, my husband didn’t. The cupcake—I grabbed a bite—was delicious warm, but it was even better cooled and frosted. The frosting recipe was also just right. Once the sugar dissolved, it took only about 3-1/2 minutes for the frosting to billow into marshmallowy whirls, so maybe it wasn’t exactly “Seven Minute” icing. I especially liked this frosting because unlike some others I’ve tried, it wasn’t cloying. There was plenty to generously ice the cupcakes which I then dipped in a little more coconut. They didn’t really need that, but hey, why not?
Apr 18, 2011
These cupcakes got an enthusiastic two-thumbs-up review in our house, and that says a lot. As a lifetime coconut cake devotee, I’ve also turned my husband and kids into aficionados, and I definitely seem to have surrounded myself with friends who share our enthusiasm. Needless to say, I’ve tried many, many recipes for coconut cake in my hunt for the perfect one. Martha Stewart’s recipe will forever be my go-to coconut cupcake recipe. These cupcakes were perfect: sweet, but not cloying, dense and coconutty, yet not heavy or overwhelming, and perfectly frosted. I loved them, my kids loved them, and all of my coconut cake-addicted friends loved them. I went out and promptly bought the Martha Stewart Cupcakes book. I’m so excited to have found the holy grail of coconut cupcake recipes at last.
Coconut Cake Recipe © 2009 Adapted from Martha Stewart . Photo © 2010 Momofukufor2. All rights reserved.