Caribbean Coconut Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Making this beautiful dessert takes extra time, but is worth the effort. The sponge cake layers are drizzled with a coconut-sugar-rum syrup then filled with a rich coconut filling. Spread extra filling on the top and sides of the cake and decorate with sprinkled coconut and candied cherries.
Recipe type: Dessert | Butter Layer Cake
Serves: 10 to 12
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rum
Filling and Topping:
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon coconut milk, divided
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2⅓ cup shredded or flaked sweetened coconut, divided
  • 12 candied cherries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a 9 inch round springform pan; Grease only the inside bottom of the pan with shortening.
  1. In a small mixing bowl, add flour, cornstarch, and baking powder; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine egg yolks, water, sugar and lemon zest; beat with an electric mixer until mixture is pale and creamy, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl and using clean beaters, beat egg whites until stiff. Using a balloon type whisk or large rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, and then fold in the flour mixture.
  4. Bake: Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with the back of a large spoon. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a long toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place pan on a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes then remove cake from the pan and place the cake on the wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
  1. In a small heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat, combine coconut milk and sugar; stir constantly until boiling and sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in rum. Set aside to cool.
Filling and Topping:
  1. In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks, 4 tablespoons coconut milk, and cornstarch together with a wire whisk 1 to 2 minutes until a light color. Set aside.
  2. In a medium heavy saucepan over low heat, combine remaining coconut milk and 6 tablespoons sugar; heat and stir constantly until almost boiling. Remove from heat.
  3. Temper the eggs: very slowly, in a thin stream, pour about ⅓ of the hot milk mixture into the beaten eggs while quickly whisking the two together. Tip: The technique used to blend uncooked eggs with a hot liquid is called tempering. Tempering slowly warms the eggs so they are closer to the temperature of the liquid they will be added to, preventing the eggs from scrambling. If you simply poured the eggs into the hot milk they would immediately start cooking and you would have chunks of cooked egg in the mixture.
  4. Return the egg mixture back to the rest of the hot milk, return to medium heat and heat until it gently boils, stirring constantly so the mixture does not burn. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Set aside to partially cool.
  5. In a medium bowl and using clean beaters, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold remaining sugar into the egg whites. Fold egg whites into the partially cooled egg mixture, and then fold in 1⅓ cups coconut. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  1. Using a long kitchen knife, split cooled cake horizontally into 3 layers. Tip: place toothpicks around the cake to mark where to cut. CaribbeanCoconut-Cake-cutting cake layers Caribbean Coconut Cake Splitting Cake Layers
  2. Spread about ¼ of the filling over the bottom layer. Place the second layer on top, sprinkle with half of the syrup; let soak in and then spread with ¼ of the filling. Place the 3rd layer on top, sprinkle with the remaining syrup and let soak in. Spread top and sides of cake with remaining filling.
  3. Sprinkle the top and sides of the cake with 1 cup coconut. Decorate top of cake with candied cherries.
  4. Cover and Refrigerate until ready to serve. Refrigerate Leftovers.
Adapted from: Wolter, Annette, Teubner, Christian, Best of Baking, Fisher Publishing, 1980
Recipe Notes
Pan: 9" Round Springform Pan Prep: Greased Bottom Only Oven Temp: 375° Storage: Cover and Refrigerate

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