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Snow White Coconut Layer Cake

To make a Snow White Coconut Layer Cake I doused my super-popular Velvety Soft White Cake with plenty of coconut rum syrup. The cake is filled and iced with a special coconut-rum frosting. This cake is as delicious as it is pretty.

a Snow White Coconut Layer Cake against a black background

I posted a recipe for Dreamy Coconut Cake the very first year I was blogging. I still love the pairing of coconut cream cheese frosting and tangy passion fruit curd. It’s a delicious flavor combination that I also used to make Coconut Macaroon Easter Eggs.

I was considering updating the fairly awful photos in the Dreamy Coconut Cake post, but, ya know, I just felt like creating an old fashioned Coconut Cake recipe. This time I decided to use my Velvety Soft White Cake as the base for a white coconut cake.

How to turn White Cake into White Coconut  Cake:

  • To get coconut flavor into the cake without changing the velvety texture, I added coconut milk to the syrup. When the syrup is brushed onto the layers it infuses the cake with a delicious coconut/rum flavor.
  • I don’t put shredded coconut into the cake batter or between the layers because I don’t like the texture inside the cake.
  • If you want more shredded coconut you can sprinkle some on each layer as you build the cake.
  • Of course a little (optional) rum make everything taste better. (Remember, alcohol enhances other flavors!)
  • I found a bottle of Coconut Rum in the back of the liquor cabinet. I bought it years ago for a specific recipe and appreciated the opportunity to use it up, since no one in the house is going to drink it. Frankly, I like the flavor of dark rum better. You can use whichever rum you prefer, or none at all.

Coconut ermine frosting is the perfect filling for white coconut layer cake :

Instead of pairing the cake with cream cheese frosting, I made a version of Ermine Frosting.

Ermine frosting is an old fashioned recipe that I’ve recently rediscovered. Ermine frosting is not as buttery as Italian Meringue Buttercream, and not as sweet as American Buttercream.

The frosting starts with a pudding base. Then you add that base to whipped butter. For plenty of coconutty flavor, I used coconut milk for the pudding base.

a slice of White Coconut Cake against a black background a slice of Snow White Coconut Layer Cake on a glass plate with a fork

 

With the white cake, layers of white frosting and a coating of white coconut flakes, a slice of this snow white cake is very striking to see.

Now that you’ve made this recipe what should you do with the extra yolks? Check out this collection of recipes that use extra yolks for some great ideas.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please consider giving it 5 stars.

velvety soft white cake

Velvety Soft White Cake

Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

It is possible to make velvety, soft white cake from scratch. How you mix the cake makes a big difference. By using the reverse creaming technique you'll get a white cake with a tender and moist crumb.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (9oz, 252g) cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 oz, 336g) granulated sugar, 1/2 cup set aside.
  • 1 cup (8 oz, 224g) sour cream at room temperature, divided
  • 2 sticks (8 oz, 224g) unsalted butter at room temperature (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
  • 6 fresh large egg whites (7 oz, 196g), at room temperature (do not use pasteurized egg whites or they might not whip up properly)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two 8" cake pans (don't use non-stick pans) with a circle of parchment paper or butter and flour the bottom of pans only. Do not butter and flour the sides of the pan.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt with 1 cup granulated sugar. Mix the dry ingredients on low speed for 30 seconds to distribute the leavening. With the mixer on low speed, add half the sour cream and toss in the butter a tablespoon at a time.
  3. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. With the mixer running on low speed, add the remaining sour cream and vanilla.
  4. Increase the speed to medium and beat about 3-4 minutes until the batter lightens in texture and becomes aerated. If your using a hand mixer this may take an extra minute or two. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure there are no pockets of unmixed batter.
  5. In another bowl, whip the egg whites on medium high until they form soft peaks. Turn the mixer to medium low and slowly add the other 1/2 cup sugar. Turn the mixer to medium and whip the whites to full peak.
  6. Fold the whites into the base in 3 parts, folding just until there are no streaks of egg white. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 pans and spread so it's level.
  7. Bake 25-30 minutes until the center of the cake springs back when lightly pressed or a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Cool at least 20 minutes in the pan and then turn out onto a cooling rack.

**The cake will "settle" a bit as it cools. That's fine.**

  1. Trim the brown edges off the cake, split each cake into two layers
  2. Fill and ice with vanilla Italian Meringue Buttercream or your favorite icing.

Notes

Room temperature butter is between 65°F and 70°F. It should be slightly pliable but not soft and melting.

The assembled cake can be kept at room temperature for several days (unless it has a perishable filling).

Un-iced, the cake can be wrapped in two layers of plastic wrap and frozen for several months.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Snow White Coconut Layer Cake

Snow White Coconut Cake

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Bake Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Velvety white cake is flavored with plenty of coconut rum syrup and is filled and iced with creamy coconut-rum frosting. This cake is as delicious as it is pretty.

Ingredients

  • 1 Recipe Velvety Soft White Cake baked in two 8" cake pans and cooled to room temperature.

Coconut Rum Syrup

  • 1/3 cup (3 oz, 84g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 130 ml) water
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz, 30 ml) dark rum or coconut rum (optional)
  • 1/4 cup (4oz, 112g) coconut milk

Coconut Rum Frosting

  • ½ cup (2.5 oz, 70g) all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups (12 oz, 336g) sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups (12 oz, 360 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz, 30 ml) dark rum or coconut rum (optional)
  • 1 ½ cups (12 oz, 336g) unsalted butter, room temperature

Finish

  • One 7 oz package (196g) sweetened coconut flakes

Instructions

Syrup

  1. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium high heat until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove the syrup from the heat. Add the rum and coconut milk and cool to room temperature. The syrup can be made several days ahead and refrigerated

Make the frosting

  1. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a small saucepan, whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in the coconut milk until smooth. Heat the mixture over medium low, whisking constantly, until it begins to boil.
  2. Continue to cook and stir for 2-3 minutes until it thickens to a pudding-like texture. Immediately remove from the heat. Transfer to a small bowl, stir in the vanilla and the rum, cool to room temperature.
  3. Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the pudding, a tablespoon at a time, until completely incorporated. Switch to the whisk attachment and whip the buttercream until it’s light and fluffy.

Assembly

  1. Trim the browned edges and slice off the domed top of each cake layer. Split each cake in half horizontally so you have 4 layers.
  2. Set aside one half of the frosting for icing the cake, use the rest of the frosting for filling the cake.
  3. Place the first cake layer on the serving platter and brush generously with the coconut-rum syrup. Scoop 1/3 of the filling onto the layer and spread evenly. Repeat with the syrup and filling for the next 2 layers. Place the last layer on the cake and brush with syrup.
  4. Use the reserved frosting to ice the cake with a thin "crumb coat", then refrigerate until firm. Use the remaining icing to frost the top and sides of the cake. Coat the entire top and sides of the cake with the coconut flakes.
  5. Serve at room temperature. Leftovers should be refrigerated.

Notes

The cake should be stored in the refrigerator. Take it out 1-2 hours before serving so it can come to room temperature before serving.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

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KAthy

Thursday 28th of November 2019

Is it canned full fat coconut milk or coconut milk from the diary section?

Eileen Gray

Thursday 28th of November 2019

I used unsweetened canned coconut milk.

Melodi

Sunday 23rd of June 2019

I only have 9 inch pans. Will it work?

Eileen Gray

Monday 24th of June 2019

Yes, the layers will just be a bit shorter and the cakes will probably bake a little faster.

Lauri M.

Monday 2nd of April 2018

OH MY GOODNESS!!!! This is AWESOME!!!!!!! cake. Made it for Easter and just thinking about it makes me taste it in my mouth making me want to eat the rest of it. Took it to family and they said hands down it is a keeper. Love the fact that I could slip in my other baking while the syrup and frosting starter cooled. I used rum in the syrup and coconut rum in the frosting. Instead of coloring the coconut, I left it white, putting it up the sides of the cake and just along the top rim about an inch wide. I then accented it with pastel sprinkles. I even mixed them in on the sides of the cake and it looked so Eastery. Everyone needs to try this recipe! Thank you, Eileen!

Eileen Gray

Monday 2nd of April 2018

Wow, that sounds really pretty. I love this cake too. I'll admit that I gave away the entire cake but kept one slice for myself because I like it so much. I'm so glad you liked it.

Kay!

Tuesday 27th of March 2018

Beautiful and it's really making me hungry! Love the frosting idea also. How would I make a double layer 12x18 sheet cake using this recipe? I have an event coming up and would love to try this. Thanks for your help!

Eileen Gray

Tuesday 27th of March 2018

Hi Kay. A 12x18 is a half sheet size pan. One batch the of the white cake should fill a half sheet pan. I would suggest you double both the cake and icing recipes to make a 2 layer 1/2 sheet cake.

Lauri M.

Friday 23rd of March 2018

Hi Eileen, can you color the coconut for this cake? And how do you do that? It's a week away from Easter and I thought it might look nice with some color. Thank you.

Eileen Gray

Friday 23rd of March 2018

Hi Lauri, I don't see any reason you can't tint the coconut. I would put the coconut in a bowl and squirt a drop of gel food color onto the coconut. Start with less than you think you need since you can always add more. Use your fingers to toss the coconut and distribute the color. Use your fingertips to rub the color in. Depending on the effect you're going for, you could also tint the icing. I tinted some crystal sugar green for St. Patrick's day using this exact technique. Gel color would work best since liquid color might make the coconut too sticky. If you make the cake I'd love to see a photo!