We’re getting so old. Georgia and I recently graduated from high school and one of our very best friends Sophie turned 19 yesterday. In honor of her birthday, we created a delightful white chocolate coconut cake with pineapple filling, inspired by her request for something “coconutty.” Coconut, white chocolate and pineapple combine to create the loveliest birthday cake ever. It’s perfect for a summer party because it tastes like you’re on a tropical vacation.
One of the best parts of this cake is the dried pineapple “flowers” on top. I’ve seen this little trick on various food blogs and was excited to try it for myself. Pineapple flowers are just so pretty, and easy to make. Basically, all you have to do is cut the sides off a pineapple then scoop out the “eyes” (those little black things) and slice the pineapple really thin. Then, pop the slices in the oven for an hour or so. And voila! You’ve got edible flowers. For a great step-by-step lesson on how to make dried pineapple flowers, check out Annie’s Eats.
We chose to fill the cake with a pineapple filling–which is actually called pineapple curd. But I have been told not to use this word because it sounds disgusting. I assure you, readers, that pineapple curd is merely pudding, made from egg yolks, sugar and pineapple juice. It’s seriously delicious.
This cake is a bit involved, but it’s completely worth it. Did I mention it looks really pretty?
White Chocolate Coconut Cake with Pineapple Frosting
Adapted from Eating Well
It’s best to prepare this in advance; store in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
6 large egg yolks
3 6-oz cans of pineapple juice (2 1/4 cups)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat about 5-10 minutes, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and cool. For a smoother filling, pass the filling through a fine-mesh sieve before storing. To avoid forming a film, place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the filling.
White Chocolate Coconut Cake
Adapted from La Mia Vita Dolce
14 oz good-quality white chocolate
2 3/4 cups cake flour
2 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 2/3 cups (1 400 ml can) coconut milk
3 tablespoons milk
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 large eggs at room temperature, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 350. Line the bottoms of 2 8- or 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper, then lightly coat the paper and sides with cooking spray and flour.
- Melt the chocolate the microwave, cooking on 30-second intervals and stirring in between, until melted. Set aside to cool.
- Sift together flour, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together coconut milk and milk until fully combined.
- With an electric mixer, beat the butter until soft, about 1 minute. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 more minutes.
- Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk mixture. Begin and end with the flour mixture. Add the melted chocolate and shredded coconut and beat to combine.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy, then add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Gradually increase the speed and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Using a large flexible spatula, fold 1/3 the egg whites into the cake mixture. Repeat twice more, but do not overmix.
- Divide the cake batter evenly between the 2 baking tins. Tap them lightly against the counter to ensure there are no air bubbles.
- Bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, for 45 minutes. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and allow to cool in pans 10 minutes.
- Run a thin knife around the sides of the cake and invert onto the wire racks, tops facing up. When the cakes are completely cooled, place the layers in the freezer for 30 minutes. This makes it easier to cut.
Adapted from La Mia Vita Dolce
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup water
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
- Combine sugar, corn syrup, salt, water and egg whites in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from heat and beat on high until glossy and stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.
- Beat in vanilla extract.
To assemble the cake:
- With a long serrated knife, trim the darker pieces off the cake (sides and bottom of 1 layer). Cut each layer in half horizontally to create 4 individual layers.
- With a pastry brush, brush the cooled simple syrup (combine 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan, cook over medium heat and stir constantly until the sugar is fully dissolved) on the cut sides of the cakes and refrigerate 5 minutes.
- Prepare the cake by spreading pineapple filling between each layer. Spread frosting on sides and top of cake, then top with pineapple flowers.