Is there anything prettier than a coconut cake? Tall and snow white, sprinkled with shredded coconut, it looks just as scrumptious as it is. This cake gets even prettier when you cut a slice and see the beautiful bright yellow layer of passion fruit curd in the middle.
I love the texture and beauty of the shredded coconut on the outside of a coconut cake, but I don’t like to put the coconut shreds into the filling or bake it into the cake. I’ve found that coconut inside the cake makes it hard to cut neat slices. Besides, the coconut rum syrup and coconut milk in the frosting add plenty of coconut flavor. You could certainly toast the coconut for the finish if you prefer the look and flavor of toasted coconut. I prefer to leave it snow white.
The passion fruit curd is a nice foil for the rich cake and frosting, and of course the tropical flavor is perfect for this cake. If you love coconut/chocolate together, this cake would be delicious with a layer of chocolate ganache instead of the curd.
To keep the passion fruit curd from oozing out of the cake, use a pastry bag fitted with a star tip to pipe a “dam” of the icing around the rim of the layer. You can use this trick to keep any soft cake filling (such as pastry cream, jam, ganache or fruit curds) from leaking out.
I use my vanilla butter cake as the base for this cake. I prefer thinner layers of cake and frosting so I split the 2 cakes to make a 4 layer cake. I always trim off the browned edges because I don’t like the way they look and the crust on the cake does get gummy. I also cut off the domed top of the cake. You can get detailed instructions of how to prep cake layers in my How to Build a Perfect Layer Cake video. Of course, if the brown edges and domed top don’t bother you just skip trimming the cake all together.
You could also make filled cupcakes from this same recipe. Bake the vanilla cake in a cupcake pan. Use the tip of a small serrated knife to cut a small hole (about 1″ around) in the middle of each cupcake. Don’t cut all the way through to the cupcake paper. Sprinkle a little of the coconut syrup into the hole, fill the hole with passion fruit curd and top the cupcake with the coconut cream cheese frosting. Sprinkle with coconut.
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