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This sweet southern scratch-made Coconut Cake with coconut buttercream frosting is moist, tender, melt-in-your-mouth perfection. 

Southern-style Coconut Cake with Coconut Buttercream {from Scratch}
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Last summer, I caught an unexpected bug: the Cake Baking Bug! Specifically, a yen to bake up rich, decadent, double- and triple-layer Southern-style cakes. Traditional, old-fashioned, fancy-pants cakes with layers and frosting and everything. No boxes, no preservatives, no shortcuts. Just Cakes. From Scratch.

I have no idea where this cake-baking urge came from. To begin with, I’m not particularly a cake person: sure, I’ll take a piece if it’s offered, but cake is way down on my list of preferred indulgences. Also, I’m about as Southern as Santa Claus. But mostly, I’ve always considered myself to be more of a Cook than a Baker.

Southern-style Coconut Cake with Coconut Buttercream {from Scratch}

From my perspective, bakers are, of necessity, meticulous, methodical recipe-followers who measure everything with the slice of a knife. Bakers are good at following rules. Me: not so much. I tend to measure with my hands and throw in extra ingredients and leave out others, and bend a recipe until it comes out the other side as something altogether different than it was when it started. I mean, I can follow recipe if I really want to, but I rarely want to.


Coconut Cake
  • 3 cups cake flour measure AFTER sifting
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 large egg whites room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar divided
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 ½ cups full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk (NOT coconut cream!)
Coconut Buttercream Frosting
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter softened
  • 2-3 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • 5-6 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 2 cups flaked, sweetened coconut


Cake Layers

  • Position oven rack in the center (or just below center) of the oven.Preheat oven to 350°F [175°C].Grease and flour three round cake pans. Line pans with parchment paper for easy release and clean-up.NOTE: 8″ or 9″ cake pans will work for this cake. (They must, however, all be the same size!)
  • Measure sifted cake flour, baking powder, and salt; sift together three times. Set aside. 
  • Combine sour cream and coconut milk in a small bowl and set aside. 
  • Using an electric mixer with a large mixing bowl, cream butter and 1 cup of sugar together until light and fluffy.Add coconut extract and mix to combine. Add flour mixture alternately with coconut milk and sour cream mixture, beating after each addition.Remove bowl from mixer and set aside. 
  • [DO NOT begin this step until you have completed the previous step.]In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy.Add ½ cup sugar gradually, beating until meringue will hold soft peaks. 
  • [Do this step by hand. Do not use a mixer.] Carefully fold beaten egg whites into batter.  
  • Pour batter evenly into the three prepared cake pans.Bake layers in preheated oven: 22-25 for 9″ cake pans / 25-30 minutes for 8″ cake pans – or until a toothpick or skewer comes out clean.(If your oven cooks unevenly, carefully rotate pans on rack at the 15-minute mark.)
  • Allow cakes to cool in their pans over wire rack for 10 minutes.Carefully tap out onto wire rack to cool completely.Wrap and chill layers in refrigerator for at least an hour (or up to a week if you need to).

Coconut Frosting

  • Using an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high until light and fluffy.Add coconut and vanilla extracts and salt and mix to thoroughly combine. 
  • Slowly add powdered sugar, mixing well after each addition. 
  • Add coconut milk, one tablespoon at a time time, beating on medium-high until fully incorporated. 

Cake Assembly

  • Once the cake is completely chilled, trim the layers.
  • Spread the top of the bottom layer of cake with frosting.Add the middle layer and frost top. Add the top layer. 
  • Apply a crumb coat to the entire cake. (A crumb coat is a thin layer of frosting that covers the top and sides of a cake.)Return the cake to the refrigerator for another 15 minutes.
  • Frost the entire cake with a generous layer of frosting.Sprinkle flaked coconut over top and sides of cake before the frosting sets.

By uvu44

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