Over the weekend, we celebrated my mother-in-law’s birthday by getting up bright & early for the Livestrong 5k…then rewarded ourselves with a decadent brunch, fresh-squeezed mimosas and this sky-high coconut cake. There’s something so festive about a really tall birthday cake, and since there were only four of us, I made a multi-layered 6-inch confection that turned out cute as a button. I’d love to make this cake again during the holidays, since the airy 7-minute frosting looks just like tufts of snow. Follow the jump for more pics and the recipe!

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 large egg whites
  • Seven-Minute Frosting (I used this recipe)
  • 2 1/2 cups (7 ounces) shredded sweetened coconut, lightly toasted in 350 oven for about 5 minutes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter and flour the pans, tapping out excess flour. (I used two 6-inch pans, and used the extra batter for mini cupcakes!)
  2. In a small bowl, sift the cake flour with the baking powder and salt. In a small pitcher, combine the milk with the coconut milk. In a medium bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat until smooth. At low speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the milk mixture; beat until smooth.
  3. In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites at high speed until firm but not dry. Stir one-third of the beaten whites into the batter until smooth, then fold in the remaining whites until no white streaks remain.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and smooth the surfaces. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Peel off the parchment paper.
  5. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut each cake into 2 even layers. Place one cake half on a serving plate, right side up. Tuck 4 wide strips of wax paper under the cake to cover the plate. Spread the seven-minute frosting on top. Repeat with remaining layers, then spread frosting liberally over and around the cake. With your hands, press the coconut onto the side of the cake. Sprinkle the rest of the coconut on the top. Let the cake stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

*recipe adapted from food & wine.

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