• Kevoulee Sardar

My take on Bon Appetit's Baking School Coconut Cake

For the last five week's or so Bon Appetit released a five-part installment highlighting the baking prowess Claire Saffitz. Claire demonstrated how to make three beautiful cakes, a birthday cake, a coconut cake, and a carrot cake.

The coconut cake, with a coconut milk soak, caramel coconut filling and enrobed in Italian meringue piqued my interest and so began the Google search for the recipe... but alas, there was none.

So, I began rewatching the videos, estimating quantities, and researching meringues, fillings, and white sponges made through the reserve creaming method, and this is what I came up with.

Disclaimer: For the caramel coconut filling a greater amount was made than what is necessary. I have stored the surplus in a jar in the fridge. Also, I used a mixture of both weights and cups, but I will rework the recipe soon.

This is the first attempt, but the cake is light and delicious, filling with toasty notes from the caramel and nutty texture, and the meringue, not too sweet but glossy and pretty. Please give it a try and let me know what you think.

For the cake

- 360 g  cake flour

- 360 g castor sugar

- 15 g baking powder

- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

- 1/2 tsp salt

- 225 g butter 

- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

- 1 tsp almond extract

- 280 g full-fat milk room temperature

- 85 g vegetable oil

- 3 extra large eggs room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 180º C and prepare three 8 inch tins, lined with butter and a circle of baking paper

2. Place 113g of the milk and oil in a separate bowl and mix to combine

3. Add remaining milk, vanilla extract, almond extract, and room temperature eggs in a separate bowl and beat until combined.

4. Measure out the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt and place into a third bowl or mixer bowl.

5. Using a paddle or with a hand mixer on low, add chunks of softened butter. The mixture should resemble coarse sand.

6. Add milk/oil mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes with a stand mixer, or 4 min with a hand mixer.

7. Add milk/egg mixture in three parts, mixing well and scraping between additions.

8. Bake the cakes two on a top shelf and on a slightly lower rack 25-30 minutes. Using a toothpick or cake tester, check the cake for doneness.

Toasted Coconut Caramel

- 2 cups castor sugar

- 2 cups cream

- 1 cup coconut oil

- 1/2 tsp salt

- 2 cups toasted desiccated coconut

1. Add half the quantity of sugar to the pan and heat until the sugar begins to dissolve.

2. Sprinkle remaining sugar and swirl the pan to incorporate.

3. Keep an eye on the sugar, as it begins to caramelise, it needs to get to a medium brown colour.

4. While still on the heat, add the cream to the pan. It will begin to bubble violently.

5. Continue to stir with a whisk, there may be some caramel that hardens, but this will melt.

6. Stir in the salt and gradually add chunks of the coconut oil.

7. When the caramel cream mixture is of the same consistency, add the toasted coconut and remove from heat.

8. Spoon into a bowl and cool to room temperature. Once at room temperature, the caramel will be a thick, spoonable consistency.

Coconut Milk Soak

- 1 cup coconut milk

- 2 Tbs castor sugar

- 1/2 tsp salt

- 1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Add all the ingredients together in a small pan and heat until the sugar dissolves.

2. Then remove from heat, pour into a bowl and cool to room temperature

Italian Meringue

- 6 egg whites

- 1 tsp cream of tartar

- 1 tsp salt

- 1 1/2 cups castor sugar

- 1/2 cup water

- 1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Combine sugar and water in a pan over medium heat.

2. Stir continuously until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil.

3. When the mixture boils, check the temperature using a sugar thermometer.

4. The mixture needs to reach a temperature of 115 °C or softball.

5. Beat together egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in a bowl using an electric stand mixer or hand mixer, until soft peaks form.

6. When the sugar mixture has reached 115°C, slowly drizzle sugar mixture into egg whites while the mixer is running on medium speed.

7. Increase speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form.

8. Spoon mixture into a large piping bag.


- 3/4 cup of toasted flaked coconut

1. On a turntable, halve each cake, so that there are 6 layers.

2. Some layers will be thicker than others.

3. The thicker layers can be placed towards the bottom of the stacked cake.

4. For each layer, brush over the coconut milk soak, then pipe a boundary of Italian meringue and then spoon over the caramel coconut filling.

5. Continue until all the layers form part of the stacked cake.

6. Some of the meringue boundaries will spill out the sides of the cake.

7. The cake does not need to be dirty iced.

8. Pipe the meringue around the cake and spoon the remainder over the top of the surface.

9. Smooth the concentric circles of icing with a spoon.

10. Using a blow torch, torch the meringue and top with toasted flaked coconut.

7,582 views3 comments

Recent Posts

See All