Coconut Cake with 7-Minute Frosting

Total Time:
1 hr 40 min
1 hr
40 min

1 cake

  • 1 coconut, see Cook's Note
  • For the cake:
  • Vegetable oil, for cake pan
  • 14 1/4 ounces cake flour, plus extra for pans, approximately 3 cups
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh coconut cream
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 16 ounces sugar, approximately 2 1/4 cups
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup coconut water
  • For the 7-Minute Frosting:
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 12 ounces sugar, approximately 1 3/4 cups
  • 1/3 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Grated coconut from 1 coconut, approximately 8 to 10 ounces
For the 7-Minute Frosting:

Cook's Note: To open a coconut: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the coconut onto a folded towel set down in a large bowl. Find the 3 eyes on 1 end of the coconut and using a nail or screwdriver and hammer or meat mallet, hammer holes into 2 of the eyes. Turn the coconut upside down over a container and drain the water from the coconut. Store the water in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Place the coconut onto a 1/2 sheet pan and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. The coconut should have cracked in several places. Using an oyster knife or other dull blade, separate the hard shell from the brown husk. Using a serrated vegetable peeler, peel the brown husk from the coconut meat. Rinse the coconut meat under cool water and pat dry. Break the meat into 2 to 3-inch pieces. With the grater disk attached to a food processor, grate the coconut.

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil 2 (9-inch) cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Oil the parchment paper and then flour the pan. Set aside.

Place the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.

Combine the coconut milk and coconut cream in small bowl and set aside.

Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, cream on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and gradually add the sugar slowly over 1 to 2 minutes. Once all of the sugar has been added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Turn the mixer back on to medium speed and continue creaming until the mixture noticeably lightens in texture and increases slightly in volume, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the coconut extract.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture to the butter and sugar in 3 batches, ending with the milk mixture. Do not over mix.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the batter, just until combined. Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bang the pans on the counter top several times to remove any air and to distribute the batter evenly in the pan. Place in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake is light golden in color and reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.

Cool the cake in the pans for 10 minutes then remove and transfer to a cooling rack. Once the cakes have cooled completely cut across the equator of each to form 4 layers. Place the 1/3 cup coconut water into a small spritz bottle and spray evenly onto the cut side of the 4 layers. If you do not have a spritz bottle you may brush the coconut water on with a silicone pastry brush. Allow to sit while preparing the frosting.


Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium to maintain a steady simmer. In the meantime, place the egg whites, sugar, coconut water, cream of tartar and salt into a medium size-mixing bowl. Place the bowl over the simmering water and immediately begin beating with an electric hand mixer set to low speed. Beat for 1 minute and then increase the speed to high and continue to beat for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and beat in the coconut and vanilla extracts for 1 minute. Allow the frosting to sit for 5 minutes before using.

Place approximately 3/4 cup of the frosting on the first layer of cake, sprinkle with 1/2 cup coconut and top with the next layer. Repeat until you reach the top layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake and sprinkle with the remaining coconut. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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4.5 187
This is the perfect cake. I have zero bad things to say about it. Love it. Love everything about it. I use the frosting recipe for any other cake that I make, substituting out the flavourings with things like anise for biscotti, lemon for bundts... Can we have a sixth star? (PS... Always use cake flour, or your cake will dry out. Also, plenty of people below should note that dry and wet ounces are different. 14 oz in a measuring cup is, indeed, less than 3 cups. Alton's recipes almost always mean weighing out dry ingredients on a scale which, I assure you, is closer to 3 cups. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Truly is one of the best, but I get stumped because these measurements are shady. 14 1/4 oz is approximately 3 cups? (So they say!?) 14 1/4 is not even 2 cups. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have made this cake several times in the last five years and it has only failed me once - when I had a bad coconut and didn't realize it. This cake is amazing and SO delicous. It is a labor of love, especially the first time you make it, but worth every minute. It has become our family's special occasion cake and was even our main cake at our rehearsal dinner when we got married. AMAZING!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
The best coconut cake I have EVER made!! My favorite cake and this recipe is my go to Coconut cake recipe! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was a great recipe..First time making all of this from scratch and it was excellent. The frosting (a first time for me) was very good and smooth, did taste like a marshmallow but I like that. All said and done 5 stars and I'll be making this again for sure. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I was looking for a seven-minute frosting recipe, and this one has been foolproof. Works every time, has a great marshmallow-like flavor, and holds up without weeping. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This has to be the best cake I've ever had! I did not change ANYTHING and it came out perfect. I will say for those who failed at making this cake, don't blame Alton Brown. If something is missing from the recipe on this website, it is not his fault. I would recommend in the future you just watch his episodes of "Good Eats". He tells you how to make all his recipes step-by-step. None of his recipes have failed me... I'll miss you Alton! item not reviewed by moderator and published
On the whole I liked it. I had to bake the cake longer than called for to have it set properly (oven calibration?, I think I let it go an extra 4 minutes, my issue is that I felt the icing was too sweet, it overpowered the rest of the flavors. I may try it again with another type of frosting. It did make quite the impression though. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Delicious! When I first saw this episode, I laughed and said who would go through all of these homemade steps? Well, then we decided to take the challenge and the results are amazing. This cake is a whole lot of work, but you can spread the tasks out and then pat yourself on the back afterwards. Coconutty goodness! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this to take to my girlfriend as her mothers day present.her favorite cake is coconut.spent all afternoon in the kitchen.followed this recipe to the letter.was totally embarrassed when she served the cake after our barbeque.she could hardly get a knife through was so very dry.DO NOT MAKE THIS CAKE.there are five stars for rating this does not deserve even 1. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Dry measure is different than wet measure. One cup of liquid is eight liquid ounces. In this recipe, 14.5 oz will fill almost three dry cups. Experiment foe yourself with different ingredients such as flour, nuts, dried fruit, peanut butter. First fill the measuring cup with the product, then weigh it. White sugar will weigh less than brown sugar. Every kitchen should have a scale ready to use. item not reviewed by moderator and published

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