Baked Sunday Mornings: Easter Coconut Sheet Cake

Matt and Renato's Easter Coconut Sheet Cake from Baked Occasions could have been called the quadruple-coconut cake because it includes four forms of coconut: coconut oil, coconut extract, cream of coconut, and sweetened shredded coconut. In other words, if you don't like coconut, this is not the cake for you.

The sheet cake is straightforward. You beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add coconut oil; mix in an egg, egg yolk, coconut extract and vanilla; alternately add the sifted dry ingredients (cake flour, baking powder, and salt) and liquid ingredients (cream of coconut and milk); fold in sweetened shredded coconut; and fold in egg whites that have been beaten with cream of tartar until they form stiff peaks. You spread the batter into a parchment-lined 9-inch by 13-inch pan and bake. The baked cake had a deeply golden top was quite domed in the middle.

The coconut frosting is a Swiss meringue buttercream. You whisk egg whites and sugar in a bowl over a double boiler until warm; take the bowl off the heat and beat the mixture until cool; slowly add butter; and add cream of coconut, coconut extract, and salt. I wanted mimic the frosting design of the cake pictured in the cookbook, so I divided my frosting into four parts and dyed them different pastel colors.
I actually happen to have four large round pastry tips, and a huge supply of pastry bags (I buy them in rolls of 100), so I was able to put each color of frosting into a separate bag and alternate between bags to pipe out curved rows of dots. My first few rows of frosting were quite skimpy because I was afraid that I would run out of frosting -- it's very difficult for me to judge how much frosting is in a bag and how much surface area it will cover, especially when it's being piped instead of spread. I ended up with enough frosting to cover the cake (including going back to add supplemental blobs to some of the skimpier dots of frosting).
I chilled the cake overnight and cut it immediately after taking it out of the fridge. That was a mistake -- the frosting was hard and the cake did not cut as cleanly as I had hoped. Unfortunately, I was in a rush to get to work and I didn't have time to let the cake come to room temperature. But after the cake had warmed up a bit, the frosting was creamy and soft -- very buttery and very rich, with a strong coconut flavor. I loved the dense coconutty cake, and my husband Tom says this is one of his favorite cakes of all time.

And certainly the pastel color scheme screamed Easter. But this cake would be just as good -- maybe even better -- if it was frosted in single color with more shredded coconut sprinkled on top. I'm a sucker for anything coated in coconut (like these coconut cupcakes, lamingtons, these teacakes, this strawberry-coconut cake, these coconut cookies, and these coconut-caramel cluster bars) -- not just for the flavor, but for the chewy texture. Still, this was a gorgeous and great-tasting cake.

Recipe: "Easter Coconut Sheet Cake" from Baked Occasions by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.

Previous Post: "The Perfect Wedding Cupcake: Auntie Em's Coconut Cupcake," September 7, 2009.


Susan said…
Just gorgeous! I will definitely have to make this one up but am not sure I have the patience to decorate is as lovely as you did.
Robyn said…
Your cake looks so pretty!!! I love the pattern and colours! I didn't have enough round tips so I used ziploc bags - not ideal. Definitely investing in a few more round tips now!
Anonymous said…
Beautiful-- I love your rainbow! And I applaud your diligence-- the rows are so exact. I had the opposite cutting problem-- I was trying to photograph it before the sun went down (my indoor lighting is terrible), so it was still a touch warm, and consequently the cake was very soft and difficult to cut. Oh well, we enjoyed it all the same! :)