Tropical Coconut Cake

Spring DessertsThis decadent Tropical Coconut Cake is layered with luscious pineapple curd and covered with a creamy white chocolate-and-coconut frosting.

Tropical Coconut Cake
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
  • 1½ cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 2⅓ cups sugar, divided
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 3¾ cups cake flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • Pineapple Curd (recipe follows)
  • Creamy Coconut Frosting (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: toasted coconut, white chocolate curls
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • ½ teaspoon pineapple extract
  • 2 (4-ounce) bars white chocolate,* chopped
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon coconut extract
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with baking spray with flour.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter and 2 cups sugar with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extracts.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition.
  4. In another medium bowl, using clean beaters, beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Add remaining ⅓ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter in thirds. Spoon batter into prepared pans.
  5. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 27 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks. Spread Pineapple Curd between cake layers. Spread Creamy Coconut Frosting on top and sides of cake. Garnish sides of cake with toasted coconut, if desired. Top cake with white chocolate curls, if desired.
  1. In a medium heavy saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add pineapple, lemon juice, and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until very thick, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat; gradually whisk in butter until melted. Stir in pineapple extract. Let cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  1. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine white chocolate and cream. Microwave on high in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until melted and smooth (about 1½ minutes total). Let cool completely.
  2. In a large bowl, beat white chocolate mixture, butter, sour cream, and coconut extract with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until combined.
*We used Ghirardelli White Chocolate Premium Baking Bars.

KITCHEN TIP: A toasted coconut garnish lends extra flavor and texture to this tropical-themed cake. To toast, place shredded coconut on a baking sheet in a thin layer. Bake at 350° until light brown, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring about every 30 seconds.

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May June 2022 cover of Southern Lady