Best Coconut Cake Recipe For Stacking

Baking By Prima Updated 18 Dec 2014 , 5:27pm by zirarzirar

Prima Posted 19 Dec 2012 , 3:27pm
post #1 of 23

I'm planning a three tiered cake for a New Year's Eve party.  One tier will be german chocolate inspired with dark chocolate cake & coconut pecan filling & chocolate ganache (or perhaps some toated pecan buttercream).  I'd love to make a second tier out of coconut cake (filling still to be decided).  However, I'm having difficulty locating a coconut cake recipe that is dense enough to hold up to stacking without turning out "muffiny".  Does anyone have a great recipe? 


Also, I want to cover the cake in fondant, and I usually make MFF fondant.  Anyone know if I can replace the milk in the recipe with coconut milk, & add some coconut extract?


Thanks everyone.

22 replies
BakingIrene Posted 19 Dec 2012 , 3:41pm
post #2 of 23

You can stack any kind of cake including a sponge cake.  The tiers sit on the supports that you MUST build in.

So any kind of coconut cake can be stacked as long as you use correct support inside it.  Most coconut cake tastes better with a sprinkle of coconut rum or coconut simple syrup on the layers after baking.  That restores the delicate fragrance that baking cooks out.


You can use coconut milk for the fondant but remember that it will add some fat, so skip the shortening and go easy with the powdered sugar, until you have a kneadable consistency.


For your fillings, remember to make them a little stiffer, and use a heavy dam of buttercream or ganache.

Prima Posted 19 Dec 2012 , 4:16pm
post #3 of 23



Thank you for your reply.  I always use supports for my cakes.  However, when I use a cake recipe that is especially moist or delicate, I find I have trouble torting & stacking the individual layers.  I am usually fine once I get the layers assembled & crumb coated, but the assembly of the delicate layers gives me trouble.  I was concerned that I would have the same problem with a moist coconut cake recipe.  This was the reason I was looking for something perhaps a little more stable or dense.  If I do opt for a traditional coconut cake recipe, in your opinion, would freezing the layers help solve this problem?  And the coconut rum sounds delicious, but this is for an alcohol free family, so I may opt for a coconut or almond simple syrup.


Thanks again for your advice.

BakingIrene Posted 19 Dec 2012 , 4:47pm
post #4 of 23

I hate to say this, but...using a white cake mix (or homemade equivalent) with Thai-style coconut milk in place of both water and oil makes a fabulous cake. I add a small amount of coconut extract.  The can needs to be at room temperature and you need to shake it very well before opening.  I add a full 2 measuring cups canned milk per 18 ounce mix.  


Adding flaked coconut to the batter makes the cake more crumbly--but if you process the coconut with the flour to a fine powder, it won't be a problem. Yes I LIKE coconut cake, and to me the crumbliness is part of its unique nature.


The coconut simple syrup would then do the rest of what you would like.  Again, you could use 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar to make this. Simmer and cool before adding 1/2 teaspoon extract.


And for delicate layers, I bake them 1" deep on parchment paper.  I start with the paper side up, and I take the parchment off after I get each layer in place. 

Prima Posted 19 Dec 2012 , 5:03pm
post #5 of 23

Ahhh, that's a great idea to bake 1/2 layers.  Why hadn't I thought of that? 


Thanks for the suggestion for the cake mix.  I try to bake 100% scratch, as I don't like the chemical taste I get from box mixes.  But I am not one of those who is adamently opposed to doctored mixes.  I'll continue my search for a great scratch recipe, but I may try out the doctored mix on my kids & see what they think.


Thanks again!

BakingIrene Posted 19 Dec 2012 , 5:21pm
post #6 of 23

Check out the make-your-own mixes like


I skip the salt, nobody has ever noticed


YES I have done the coconut milk sub in this recipe, it works very well.

LisaPeps Posted 19 Dec 2012 , 7:35pm
post #7 of 23

ACouldn't you doctor a white chocolate mud cake? Replace the water (and possibly some of the fat) with coconut milk and add some shredded coconut. White chocolate tends to intensify other flavours so it should lend itself well to the the coconut and the density of a mud cake should help with the crumbling issue. You could still add a simple syrup afterwards.

BakingIrene Posted 20 Dec 2012 , 1:51pm
post #8 of 23
Originally Posted by LisaPeps 

Couldn't you doctor a white chocolate mud cake? Replace the water (and possibly some of the fat) with coconut milk and add some shredded coconut. White chocolate tends to intensify other flavours so it should lend itself well to the the coconut and the density of a mud cake should help with the crumbling issue. You could still add a simple syrup afterwards.

White chocolate mudcake is on my list of try-it recipes.  Sometime after I have recovered from the holiday baking...


I would try it with the coconut milk before I tell somebody else to do it...I have put the coconut milk into other recipes and it works so well that I feel safe in  sharing the tip.  It would be nice if somebody else has already done this experiment and can say how it turned out. 

LisaPeps Posted 20 Dec 2012 , 2:07pm
post #9 of 23

AI made the suggestion as the dark chocolate mud cake recipe I use has coconut milk in it. It's called a suggestion as its something she could try if she wanted to, I didn't say you MUST make this recipe. Just like you made a suggestion, doesn't mean she has to take your advice and it doesn't mean your advice is sound.

BakingIrene Posted 20 Dec 2012 , 2:34pm
post #10 of 23

I feel a lot safer making experiments in the kitchen than sharing them.  I have had the desperate phone calls too many times, from friends who used my substitutions and who figured that I was just throwing something together, and so could they.


I am very wary of sharing recipes for that reason.  I felt safe in posting a fruitcake recipe because I had given it to a non-baker who follows directions, and it turned out well.  I found that using coconut milk in those dry-mix recipes works well. But other posters on Cake Central have also described those dry mixes as indestructible.


I didn't mean any reflection on other suggestions.  I only know how big a disaster some people can make from a simple substitution...

bittersweety Posted 20 Dec 2012 , 4:48pm
post #11 of 23

AWhen I make coconut cake I just take my vanilla cake recipe (which is stellar) and I replace half the vanilla extract with coconut extract and Jamal add in about a cup of shredded coconut into the batter. super yum and the perfect density

bittersweety Posted 20 Dec 2012 , 4:50pm
post #12 of 23

ANot sure what word was autocorrected to Jamal.....?

Prima Posted 20 Dec 2012 , 5:28pm
post #13 of 23

Wow, thank you all for the wonderful suggestions.  I think the idea of a white chocolate coconut mud cake sounds delicious.  I can picture this filled with fresh raspberries & raspberry curd, then covered in white chocolate ganache.  Yum yum.


I will of course try this before hand.  I think I will try a version this weekend, and if it works, I'll feed it to my family as a christmas eve treat!  So far, I've found a couple recipes, I just need to decide which one to try.


I also found Jennifer's (FromScratchSF) recipe for white cake, which has substitutions for coconut.  Her recipe has really good feedback, so I think I will try this one, as well. Here is the link to her recipe:


So it looks like I'm off to do some head to head baking!

SweetHeartTart Posted 20 Dec 2012 , 5:52pm
post #14 of 23

These are all great recommendations, but personally, when I'm dealing with a moist cake, I like to freeze my layers.  It's just easier to torte, fill and crumb coat (zero crumbs and mess doing it this way, by the way!).  Then I put it in the fridge to let it settle for a little while and carry on as usual. Hasn't let me down yet :)

Prima Posted 1 Jan 2013 , 8:49pm
post #15 of 23

I wanted to thank everyone for all your help.  The cake turned out great, and everyone loved it at the New Year's party.  I ended up doing a 2-tier, rather than 3, because we had tons of other desserts.  The bottom tier was german chocolate with toasted coconut & pecan filling, covered in chocolate ganache.  The top tier was coconut with raspberry filling & white chocolate ganache.  The whole cake was covered in coconut fondant (coconut milk & coconut extract worked wonderfully!)


Here is a link to the finished cake from my gallery:


Thanks again!


cakegal1195 Posted 1 Jan 2013 , 9:07pm
post #16 of 23

oh, it is pretty!  which coconut recipe did you end up using?

cakegal1195 Posted 1 Jan 2013 , 9:10pm
post #17 of 23

oh, it is pretty!  which coconut recipe did you end up using?

Prima Posted 1 Jan 2013 , 9:19pm
post #18 of 23

Thanks!  I ended up using Jennifer's white cake recipe from her blog.  I found it had the best overall coconut flavor and a delicate crumb, which was what I was after.  I substituted coconut milk for the buttermilk & sour cream, and added coconut extract.  The link to her recipe is below:

yste Posted 18 Dec 2014 , 5:04am
post #19 of 23

ADid you use egg whites or yolks for bratkos recipe

AAtKT Posted 18 Dec 2014 , 11:11am
post #20 of 23

While this is an old thread, I have her recipe and have made the coconut version... It is delicious... 

I did use the all egg white version for it since I wanted it to be nice and white, but I didn't use any coconut extract, just the coconut milk and a little bit of finely ground coconut... 

I paired it with that traditional german chocolate cake icing (the one with coconuts, pecans, and caramel)...

Worked out beautifully...

yste Posted 18 Dec 2014 , 11:32am
post #21 of 23

AWow! Thanks for your response. Did you try her chocolate version too? How much cocoa did you use or did you change the amount of cocoa?

yortma Posted 18 Dec 2014 , 2:24pm
post #22 of 23

Jennifer Bratko's version of the chocolate cake is wonderful, as is the white cake.  I use Guittard cocoa rouge as she suggested.   It has replaced my prior favorite as my now go to chocolate cake recipe.  

zirarzirar Posted 18 Dec 2014 , 5:27pm
post #23 of 23

I support your saying....good job

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