Coconut Cake with Strawberry Filling and Coconut Buttercream
filling and frosting:
Cook's Note: Below, I've provided Option A and B - Option A for the way I made the cake as you see in the pictures, and Option B for a simpler, classic looking coconut cake with no decoration other than coconut. (This recipe makes a lot of cake - enough for about 22-25 people; the recipe can easily be cut in half.)
Bake the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350.
Option A - Spray the bottoms only of three 8-inch pans and three 6-inch pans; line with circles of parchment paper then spray the paper as well.
Option B - Spray the bottoms only of six 8-inch pans; line with circles of parchment paper then spray the paper as well.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cake mix, coconut, coconut milk, eggs, vanilla and coconut extract. Mix on low for 30 seconds to combine, then on medium for 2-3 minutes.
Divide the batter between the pans; if using 6-inch pans, only spoon half as much batter into those as you do into the 8-inch pans.
Bake until golden and a toothpick comes out clean, about 17 minutes for the 6-inch pans and 22-25 minutes for the 8-inch pans. Place the pans on wire racks, cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and cool completely in the pans.
Make the Buttercream:
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the butter on low for 30 seconds. In a separate bowl, combine the powdered sugar with the meringue powder; add by spoonfuls to the mixer while it's mixing on low. Add the vanilla, coconut extract and milk, then increase the speed to medium and whip for 4-5 minutes until very light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as needed.
Assemble the Cake:
Remove all the cakes from their pans; using a knife or a cake leveler, level the tops of each cake, reserving the scraps for another use, such as Cake Truffles.
Option A - For the tiered cake pictured above, you'll be starting with the 8-inch cakes on the bottom, then adding the 6-inch cakes on top. You may not need the third 6-inch cake; I ended up only using 2 of them.
Because this cake was going to be picked up by someone and transported via car to a birthday party, I had to make sure it was very stable. After stacking the 8-inch cakes, I inserted 4 wooden dowels (I simply used wooden grilling skewers that I cut to length with clean wire cutters) through the layers, then placed a 6-inch plastic cake board on top. (I poked a hole through the center of the cake board, so that after the cake was stacked, I could further reinforce it with a long dowel straight down the center.) I then stacked the 6-inch cakes on top of the cake board, then finished by inserting the long skewer down the center, through the hole I'd poked, all the way to the bottom of the cake. This ensured that the cake would not topple or collapse.
Place the first layer of cake, bottom side up, on a 10-inch cake board set on top of a lazy susan. Spread a thin layer of jam over the cake, then place the next layer of cake on top, making sure it's even and level. Repeat filling and stacking the cakes, following the instructions above for reinforcement.
When the cake is assembled, frost all over with a thin crumb coat of buttercream, then place in the refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes. Finish frosting the cake.
- At this point, I took the buttercream leftover from frosting the cake
and tinted it various shades of pink, yellow and green, for the flowers
and leaves that you see above.
Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen