Coconut cake

Butter and cream cheese should be at room temperature for smooth icing.

  • Preparation Time35 mins
  • Cooking Time50 mins
  • Serves10
  • DifficultyMedium

For the coconut cake

340g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
420g plain flour, plus more for dusting the pans
400g granulated sugar
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
240ml milk
115g sweetened desiccated coconut

For the icing

450g cream cheese, at room temperature
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp pure almond extract
450g icing sugar, sifted
170g sweetened desiccated coconut
1) Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Grease 2 (23cm) round cake tins, then line them with parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.

2) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy.

3) Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond essences and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.

4) In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in 125g of coconut with a rubber spatula.

5) Pour the batter evenly into the 2 tins and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the centre of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

6) For the icing, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond essence on a low speed. Add the icing sugar and mix until just smooth (don't whip!).

7) To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with icing. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and ice the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.

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