Coconut Buttermilk Cake

4 large eggs

2 egg yolks

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

3 cups cake flour

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted

2 cups sugar

4 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (that’s not a typo there’s a lot of baking powder in this cake)

1/2 tsp. salt

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

White Chocolate Buttercream (recipe below)

1 cup toasted coconut chips

1/2 cup coconut milk

How to make it:

1. Toast the coconut in an ungreased pan at medium heat.    It will probably take about 4 minutes.  As soon as any of the coconut starts to brown immediately remove from the heat.  Continue to stir until the coconut stops browning.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°.  Line the bottoms of three 8 or 9 inch round cake pans with parchment paper.  Spray the sides of the pan with cooking spray (I highly recommend Baker’s Joy).

3. Put the eggs and the egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl, add the vanilla and 1/4 up of the buttermilk.  Whisk to blend.

4. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl; whisk to blend.  Add the butter and the remaining 1 cup buttermilk to these dry ingredients and with the mixer on low, blend together.  Add the coconut.  Raise the mixer speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

5. Add the egg mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing only until thoroughly incorporated.  Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.

6. Bake the cake layers for 28 to 32 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake begins to pull away from the side of the pan.  Let layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then carefully turn out onto wire racks, peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely.

7. To assemble the cake: Place one layer flat side up.  Brush with coconut milk.  Spread about 3/4 cup of frosting over the layer to the edge.  Repeat with the next layer.  Place the last layer on top and and use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake.  Don’t worry about it looking neat: to finish the cake cover the entire thing with coconut chips.

Note: When I assembled my cake I only used two layers.  I sliced each layer in half and ended up with a four layer cake.  I used the remaining layer and one cup of reserved frosting to make Coconut Cake Truffles.  The cake truffles (I’ll post the recipe later this week) are one of the most popular things I’ve ever brought into work so if you have some time you might want to reserve a layer to make a batch.

White Chocolate Buttercream:

3 sticks unsalted butter, very soft

2 tbsp. milk

9 ounces of high quality white chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm

1.5 tsp. vanilla extract

2 3/4 cups confectioners sugar

In a medium bowl, beat the butter until creamy, about 3 minutes.  Add the milk carefully and beat until smooth.  Add the melted chocolate and beat well.  Add the vanilla extract and beat for 3 minutes.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until creamy and of desired consistency.

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