Lemon Coconut Layer Cake


This experiment has been in the back of my mind for awhile now but it wasn’t until I saw a particular tweet that caught my eye, bringing it all into my present. The cake of the month at Dufflet (@tourdedufflet) right now is! (wait for it)….. LEMON COCONUT LAYER CAKE! Yeah, how did you know? 

I’ve had it. I really like it! I’m used to light cakes that are practically guilt-free…this cake is more on the dense side and it’s so delicious. If I can’t make it down to Dufflet, I might as well try making my own version! :D

Not so easy. Before you copy this recipe down please note that I didn’t get my prefect cake! I have a few ideas why (substitution / measurements) so you may need to make a few tweaks of your own to get it just right.

Coconut Cake
makes three layer 6-inch cake
1½ cup + 2 tbsp     flour
¾ tsp                      baking powder
⅜ tsp                      baking soda
⅜ tsp                      salt
1¼ cup + 1 tbsp     sugar
¾ cup                     butter, softened
¾ cup                     sweet cream of coconut (ie. Coco Lopez)
3                             large eggs, separated
¾ tsp                      vanilla
¾ cup                     buttermilk

  1. Preheat oven to 350oF. Butter & flour three 6-inch pans.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt in a bowl.
  3. Beat sugar, butter and cream of coconut until fluffy, 4-5 min.
  4. Beat in egg yolks. Add vanilla.
  5. On low, alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk in batches until just combined.
  6. In another bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff, but not dry peaks. Gently fold in egg whites into the batter.
  7. Bake until golden and cake tester/toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, around 30 min. Cool in pan for 10 min.
  8. Turn out and cool completely.
  9. Frost layers with desired frosting. Sprinkle sweetened shredded coconut on top and press into sides. Chill a minimum of 3 hours. Slice and serve!

This little project spanned one late night and the following morning. Baked the cake, frosted it the following morning, ate some when I got home from practice! :D 

 The usual creaming action. Funny little story: so I told my boyfriend I’d be baking and naturally he asked me what specifically…”I’m recreating my birthday cake!” What followed next was a horrible horrible reaction (poor choice on his part haha). He actually busted out laughing! 

“Carmen, nobody bakes their own birthday cake! You’re such a loner!” (insert me crying here. nah I’m just kidding!) To clarify, I did not bake my own birthday cake!! The legit Dufflet version was my birthday cake, bought by an awesome friend! Also, I could not find cream of coconut at any of the stores near me that evening (NOTE! cream of coconut coconut cream) so I used coconut milk. I tried spooning the thicker parts to use…

When I was younger, I’d watch, mesmerized as my mom would whip the egg whites for her angel food cakes. Amazing. I always think back to those times when I'm working with egg whites. :)

Gently, emphasis on gently—fold the egg whites into the batter in as few strokes as possible to incorporate air and make the batter light. 

Not gonna lie, I feel so pro using my new-ish 6-inch round pans. (even though they’re only from Honest Ed’s). I should probably feel shame but no matter, I love the sound when they clank! 

With the recipe above, it’s slated to make only two 6” cakes but I found that I had enough for three. 

Rather than a lemon buttercream in Dufflet’s version, I went for my lemon curd because I figured the flavour would pop more and stand out from the coconut. 

Next up, my version of cream cheese frosting. It’s nothing special, pretty much a butter-reduced traditional cream cheese frosting with whipped cream to lighten it up. 

I whip the cream & cream cheese frosting separately so I can get maximal fluffiness ;)

And here's the cream cheese frosting. 

Had some leftover 7-minute frosting so I just used it up to make two mini-cakes. On the left is my sketchy attempt at the cute cake boards you see at bakeries cut from a certain water filter refill box… Don’t judge, I was just having fun!!

Under the broiler…the tips burnt too much since they’re higher. A kitchen torch would’ve meant an even golden browning on the frosting. 

No matter. It’s now time for the main event, building the cake! I don’t have any sort of cake turntable or stand so I resorted to using my stand mixer. It looks so questionable but it worked! The layers turned out relatively leveled. 

Here I am working on the 4th layer. So what I did was one layer of cake followed by a thin layer of lemon curd and a piped layer of the cream cheese whipped cream frosting.

The final step with the shredded coconut was a challenge. I ended up placing the cake (inverted cake pan and all) on a wire rack sitting on a rimmed baking sheet and literally threw fistfuls of shredded coconut at the sides. Pressing it on wasn’t so much an option if I didn’t want to get frosting all over me. 

Dundundun!! The grand reveal. Don’t be too impressed because I wasn’t. I knew the cakes hadn’t risen fully (due to the combination of probably too much liquid and/or not enough rising agents in the batter) so it was dense. 

I only hoped that the frosting, lemon curd, and actual taste (texture aside) of the cake would save me. 

And it did! To my overall surprise, it tasted good. I’m definitely accomplishing my quest for “cream of coconut” next time because I’m fairly confident that will make a world of difference since I didn’t get much “coconut” taste from having substituted in coconut milk. 

The next day, I brought a quarter of the cake for my guys to try after pool practice. Success. :D I guess that’s all that matters—if the people you bake/cook for enjoy your offerings! You can keep your admittance of failure to yourself and just try again harder the next time. 
This cake was so much fun to make!! It doesn’t quite compare with the original Dufflet Lemon Coconut Layer Cake. However, I’d like to believe that I’m onto something here with the whole lemon curd + frosting spiel. <-- Don’t burst my bubble yet please! :)

3.5 out of 5 NOMs