Coconut Cake with Silk Meringue Buttercream is light, fluffy and perfect for a spring dessert! Not overly sweet like many of its counterparts, each bite of this version tastes like paradise.
coconut cake with silk meringue buttercream

Unsurprisingly, the girl who cannot make “30 minute meals” in thirty minutes is also inept at 7 minute frosting.

You know, the foolproof, “frosting-for-dummies” frosting that everyone and their three year old cousin can make?

Yeah. That one.

I’m just not that into it.

Or it’s just not that into me. (Probably the latter. But don’t tell my baking ego.)

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Let’s just say the few (twenty) times that I’ve attempted it, I’ve ended up with a liquidy not frosting-like mess and had to frantically run to the store for heavy cream so that I could make whipped cream, which is basically the best friend a girl can ask for in a frosting emergency.

Yes, I count buttercreams, whipped creams, and icings among my besties. Don’t judge.

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Anyways, this frosting alone has kept me away from coconut cake baking all these years because I was convinced you just couldn’t have one without the other.

Oh how wrong I was.

Leave it to Rose Levy Beranbaum, author of The Cake Bible, to set me straight.

She claims that 7 minute frosting is “too sweet” for her (ironic, being that she lives and breathes in shades of sugar).

I don’t really know what this “too sweet” nonsense is, but if it precludes me from having to fail at another 7 minute frosting, I am down.

Instead, Rose uses a silk meringue buttercream to frost her coconut masterpiece, which is basically a mash-up of an Italian meringue buttercream with coconut custard. It is rich, subtly sweet and melts on your tongue, perfectly complimenting the fluffy coconutty cake layers it sandwiches.

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And yes, I do grasp how ludicrous it is that a triple component frosting comes more naturally to me than one with four ingredients.

So it is, people. So it is.

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I highly recommend this cake for your Easter or spring celebration festivities. The cake itself is light and fluffy like a good coconut-infused angel cake should be, and while the frosting is a little bit of work, it is pretty simple once you break it down. Plus the finished product tastes like paradise. So there’s that.

Coconut Cake with Silk Meringue Buttercream
 
Coconut cake is light, fluffy and perfect for a spring dessert! Normally frosting with a seriously sweet marshmallow frosting, this recipe trades in that version for a buttery, silky meringue buttercream.
Yield: 1 9-inch double layer cake
Ingredients
For the cake
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1⅓ cups canned coconut milk
  • 1½ tsp vanilla
  • 1½ tsp coconut extract
  • 4 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 16 tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
For the creme anglaise
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • ½ cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
For the Italian meringue
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup plus 2 tbsp sugar, divided
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
For the silk meringue buttercream
  • 4 sticks butter, room temperature
  • Recipe for creme anglaise
  • Recipe for Italian meringue
  • 3 cups sweetened dried coconut
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line the bottoms of two 9x2-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Spray with baking spray.
  2. For the cake, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites, coconut milk, vanilla, and coconut extract until combined. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low for 30 seconds. Add in the butter. Mix on low until the dry ingredients are combined with the butter, and then mix on medium for a minute.
  4. Starting on medium-low speed, mix in the egg white mixture in three parts, beating for 30 seconds after each addition. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surfaces.
  5. Bake the cakes for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then invert them onto parchment-lined cooling racks. Let cool completely.
  6. For the frosting, first make the creme anglaise. First combine the sugar and yolks in a medium heavy saucepan. In a separate saucepan, bring the coconut milk to a boil. Slowly pour it into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Stirring continuously, bring the mixture almost to a boil over low heat, about 170F. Pour through a fine-meshed strainer into a medium bowl and push it through the strainer as needed. Cool, stirring occasionally. Stir in the vanilla and coconut extra.
  7. If storing in the fridge before using, cover with plastic wrap so that it doesn't form a skin.
  8. For the Italian meringue, place the egg whites in the bowl of a very clean stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  9. In a heavy saucepan, stir together ⅓ cup of sugar and the water. Heat on medium-high, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and stop stirring.
  10. Beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tarter. Raise the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form. Beat in the remaining 2 tbsp sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
  11. Cook the sugar until it reaches 248F. Transfer to a glass cup or bowl immediately.
  12. Add the syrup to the egg whites immediately. Pour in a bit of the sugar syrup and beat on high for 5 seconds. Add the remaining syrup in three additions, microwaving as necessary in between to keep the sugar liquid. Lower the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Transfer the meringue to a bowl.
  13. In the bowl of the stand mixer, now beat the butter with the whisk for 30 seconds on medium speed. Gradually mix in the creme anglaise until smooth. Add in the Italian meringue and beat until incorporated and fluffy.
  14. When the cakes are cool, place one layer face down on a serving plate. Spread a little over a cup of frosting on top. Add the second layer. Frost the tops and the sides with buttercream. Pat the coconut onto the cake so that it sticks to the sides. Sprinkle the top with coconut as well.
Notes
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 slice

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84 Responses to Coconut Cake with Silk Meringue Buttercream

  1. hahaha I once broke my buttercream on my BIRTHDAY! Frosting and cake is tough for me…but so, so, tasty!

  2. Beautiful! Such a pretty spring cake. Coconut is one of my favorite flavors but I don’t bake coconut goodies nearly often enough…. Your cake looks so darn good.

    • MAXIE says:

      Since this is an all white cake I would tint some of the coconut for the top and sides a nice pastel color for spring and put on the cake. and then make again for the holidays use a mixture of red and green. Looks great.
      Have a great time enjoy.
      Chef Maxie

  3. I’ve actually never tried the 7-minute frosting, is that weird? And you can’t ever go wrong with any form of meringue buttercream. Especially not two forms!

  4. Coconut cake is my weakness. This is beautiful and looks soooo good, Joanne!

  5. This cake is gorgeous, coocnut-y perfection! And, this buttercream sounds amazing!

  6. Love coconut cake. Wish I had the patience to bake more :)

  7. Oh girl, I always take way longer to make something than the time listed on the recipe. I’m the slowest cook ever! I agree that 7 Minute Frosting can be a tad sweet. This silk meringue idea sounds incredible though. If only I could convince the rest of my family to like coconut! Oh well, I can make an entire cake just for me, right? :)

  8. You had me at coconut, my dear. You had me at coconut.

    And that meringue buttercream. Yowza!

  9. What a beautiful cake Joanne – this would be perfect for any Easter celebration or Spring gathering!

  10. Johlene says:

    Saw this on G+ Sweets and I loved it.. I´m a huge fan of coconut and what I love about this coconut cake is that you used silk meringue buttercream..delish!! Happy Easter
    Johlene
    xoxo

  11. Shashi says:

    Oh good golly – this cake IS fantastic! That silk meringue buttercream sounds mouthwatering! Any chance this cake will be on the virtual bake sale on Monday? :)

  12. debbie says:

    What a delicious looking cake. I will take any frosting as long as it’s not too sweet. Coconut is one of my favorites too!

  13. Coconut cake!!!!! (Happy scream) lol! I’ve actually never tried that frosting, I figured Swiss meringue was enough to master. No need to torture my soul further.

  14. I’m a coconut fan from way back. This looks amazing!
    Hey maybe you’re interested. I started a coconut obsession board on pinterst. I’ve just recently turned it into a group board. Interested in being a contributor? I’d love to have you! Let me know.
    http://www.pinterest.com/carmelmoments/coconut-obsession/

    Have a ‘GOOD’ Friday Joanne!
    A sacrifice of love was made for you today.

  15. Want want want!!!! Soooo beautiful and delicious!! YUMMMMMM!

  16. Laurel says:

    Can you recommend a thermometer. Would a meat thermometer work for temperature of the melted sugar? Thanks

  17. I saw your cake on Google Plus and I couldn’t wait to get the recipe. Your cake looks so amazing, light and moist! Coconut Cake is one of my favorites! Just beautiful!

  18. If I can get the Italian meringue to work with fructose I am so going to try this frosting!

  19. Well hello gorgeous coconut cake… I’d like to eat you now.

  20. That is basically the most gorgeous cake I’ve seen in a long time. Yes, that frosting does look and sound amazing, but every single thing about it looks like perfection (oh my gosh, the crumb looks perfect). Will you please bake and send me one for Easter, as I am far too lazy to make one. ;)

  21. This is a stunner, Joanne. Love the meringue buttercream.

  22. So beautiful! I’d probably have to put a bit of rum in it somewhere.

  23. sandra says:

    wow – this one is truly angelic. I love the flakes hanging out all over it, like wings.

  24. Pam says:

    I actually don’t like super sweet frosting. The cake looks moist and delicious and that frosting – yummy!

  25. oh my goodness, this looks amazing! i am going to have such a hard time choosing my birthday cake next week. yum!

  26. cheri says:

    Hi Joanne, don’t feel bad I have never been able to make jello from a box oh well! But this cake turned out perfectly, the frosting sounds lovely. You are such a great baker, every week it’s something fantastic!

  27. Eileen says:

    Ooh, INteresting. I am the opposite of a frosting person — can you remember the last time I posted a frosted cake? I can, because it was never — but somehow I still feel the need to try this one out. Coconut and meringue and creme anglaise: nom nom nom. :)

  28. Shannon says:

    holy moly. i’m in love with the idea of this coconut-based silk buttercream! how luscious :)

  29. Deena kakaya says:

    I love the title of this recipe, sounds as decadent as it looks. The Indian in me adores coconut and the British in me swoons over a good, preferable large hunk of beautiful cake. X

  30. I am the same way with frosting… and especially putting it on the actual cake. Can. Not. Do. It. Well. Good thing I have people like you in my life to make prettier cakes that I can drool over. :)

  31. I can’t make 7 minute frosting either. I always make Italian meringue too – so yummy! Love coconut cake! Pinned!

  32. Megan says:

    I was just going to say I love Swiss or Italian meringue buttercreams after your 7-minute frosting troubles. Glad you find a good one!

  33. bellini says:

    This steps it up a notch Joanne. Happy Easter.

  34. This sounds so heavenly good!~ :) Coconut with Italian meringue buttercream? …Girl, this is making me hungry! Beautiful cake!

  35. I can’t imagine a richer, more elegant cake, all the different elements sound amazing…I believe you when you say it tastes like paradise!

  36. Um….that frosting sounds cray. Like….SO GOOOOOD! And I love that this is a coconut infused angel food cake!!!! The perfect cake for Easter (or a Tuesday….:P)

  37. chloe says:

    It’s like you read my mind – I was looking for a coconut cake recipe for my son, Raffa’s first birthday party in about a month! :) Sounds delish!

  38. gloria says:

    Look really delicious Joanne!

  39. Sammie says:

    What a beautiful cake! I’m so tempted to make this now too!! And yes.. sometimes trying out new frosting recipes kinda scare me a little. But I’m down for this!

  40. Veronica says:

    I trust Rose when it comes to frosting and this looks HEAVENLY!

  41. Tracey says:

    I’ve made this coconut cake before, but wimped out at the silk meringue frosting because it just seemed like too much work. So I went with seven minute frosting instead, which is one of things I CAN do. Might have to revisit the silk meringue buttercream again because it sounds so divine.

  42. Kate says:

    I’m awful with 7 minute frosting.

  43. This is like the yummiest coconut cake I’ve ever laid eyes on! That buttercream frosting is making me drool.

  44. My icing skills are fearful, but my mouth and stomach are saying YES.

  45. I agree that seven minute frosting can be too sweet. Especially if paired with a sweet cake. I love coconut cake! Love it! It is synonymous with Easter dessert in my opinion. Love this, pinning the heck out of it!

  46. Barbara says:

    The Cake Bible truly lives its name…even Maida Heatter says so. (and she’s MY bible on all desserts) Must confess I never thought 7 minute frosting was too sweet once it was on the cake, but am fascinated by this frosting combo. Next time, I’m going to try it. Love all that coconut!

  47. whoa, Joanne! This is one of the most impressive cakes I’ve seen. The cut slice honestly looks like something you might have ordered in a restaurant. A posh restaurant. Extremely Easter-worthy!

  48. You crack me up! I always have problems with frostings more complicated than your average buttercream. I don’t know if I don’t whip things enough, or if they’re not at the correct temperature, but more times than not it’s a disaster.

    Anyhoo, I adore coconut cake! My aunt makes it every year for Easter, but we call it lamb cake because she makes it in the shape of a lamb. Funny (and sort of not funny) side note — my aunt and her husband used to be REALLY heavy smokers, so the cake would sometimes faintly taste of smoke. Oddly enough, it wasn’t THAT off-putting, but I definitely enjoyed the cake more when they both stopped smoking!

  49. Wow! Your cakes never cease to amaze me :) This looks like the ultimate coconut cake!!

  50. Foodiewife says:

    Don’t despair on the 7-minute frosting. I can make it, but by the next day is dissolves and melts into the cake. So frustrating. I’ve made three different coconut cakes, and adding coconut milk is the way to go. You are becoming quite the cake baker, woman. This looks luscious.

  51. Monica says:

    This is such a beauty – so heavenly! The buttercream sounds amazing, with that coconut creme anglaise which just has me going “woah!” :)

  52. Such a beautiful cake! Coconut cake is one of my favorites. I’ve never heard of silk meringue buttercream but I’m intrigued now and want to try it out!

  53. I don’t even like coconut and this sounds amazing. I’ve never tried the 7 minute frosting, and it sounds like I shouldn’t bother.

  54. Wow. This cake looks worth the effort! I rarely make cake, but I should try more often. This looks great!

  55. Christine says:

    Haven’t thought of coconut cake in ages. My mom used to make it every Easter in one of those lamb cake molds. Yours looks very luxurious!

  56. Damn, this looks BANGIN. I’m actually the opposite and have a good feeling that I would probably fail at any meringue buttercream. But 7 minute frosting is a walk in the park. Let’s trade cakes!

  57. That looks absolutely divine! I recently discovered meringue buttercream and I’m in love!

  58. YES 7 minute frosting is ALL LIES
    LIES
    yep
    This cake looks divine and I can’t decide what’s better: that crumb of the glorious frosting…. so good oh my!

  59. Johanna GGG says:

    mmm coconut – I grew up making a quick frosting but don’t do it often these days so I can do it but there are so many better ways to finish a cake – and I do love to complicate a cake too – I love the blondness of your cake and the hairy coconut finish – very elegant

  60. Yum, that looks so light and dreamy. I love it. The icing sounds delicious.

  61. This coconut cake looks delicious! So moist, and the icing sounds perfect!! What a great cake for spring and Easter!

  62. This cake looks so soft, delicate, fluffy, and delicious. You may count buttercream as your bestie, but I’m pretty certain this cake is going to be mine!

  63. There’s a perfect cake for Easter!

  64. This cake looks wonderful. I am sad to say that I am the only one in my family that will eat coconut, so I never make recipes with coconut in them. I don’t know how people can’t like coconut.

  65. I’m actually thinking of tackling an Ombre cake for Trevor’s birthday next week. EEP. Want to do it for me?

  66. Brooke says:

    Coconut cake (or coconut anything!) is always a favorite of mine. This looks so light and fluffy and just pure delicious! I’ve had my own icing woes in the past. I made a cupcake icing a few weeks ago that turned out more like a drizzle. Fortunately cupcakes don’t care if they are iced or drizzled and it still tasted great!

  67. danielle says:

    Looks amazing! And what a wonderful cause.

  68. This is some serious piece of coconut cake. I love coconut so I know this would be right up my alley. Loving the fact that you made the cake and angel cake too.

  69. grace says:

    this is phenomenal. coconut is my favorite food in the world right now and this cake looks perfect. wonderful work, joanne!

  70. Susan says:

    This looks spectacular, Joanne! The frosting sounds so good too. I’m always on the look-out for less sweet frosting recipes and, yes, I’ve done whipped cream in a pinch too.

  71. This looks super delicious! I always take longer to make food than recipes predict. I think it’s because I like to savour the looking experience :)

  72. This coconut cake looks perfect, Joanne! I’d really love to have a slice – coconut is one of my favorite dessert flavors.

  73. Daniela says:

    My son just got bananas when he saw the picture, he LOVES sweets with coconut and this cake looks fantastic!

  74. Juliana says:

    Wow Joanne, this coconut cake just look perfect…like all the layers…love the texture of it!
    Have a wonderful week :D

  75. My most favorite cake is coconut cake. I’m drooling over this recipe. So fluffy and delicious. Pinned it

  76. Pat says:

    What an awesome looking cake! I love coconut and have not ate a coconut cake in ages. Thanks for sharing. :)

  77. The first coconut cake I ever made changed my mind forever about coconut. I didn’t like it before then, just made it for a friend by request and I ended up loving it too! I need to make one again been too long.

  78. elly says:

    This looks insanely delicious. INSANELY. It might be the birthday cake I make for myself.

  79. Reeni says:

    Helloooo gorgeous! I can see how delectable it is – soft and tender plus I love the sound of the buttercream, one I never heard of but needs making.

  80. I’ve never made silk meringue buttercream, but it looks and sounds fantastic! And I’m a total sucker for coconut. Mmm…

  81. I’m going to make these soon, but maybe I’ll do cupcakes so I can share with the neighbors!

  82. Courtney says:

    I love coconut everything – desserts, drinks, savory foods, whatever. I’ve never seen a frosting like this one, and I’ve made a lot of frostings (that was my main job back when I worked at a cupcake shop). I cannot wait to try this one because it looks like the frosting of my dreams.

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