It happened. Just the other day. I was driving downtown to grab my online grocery order with the girls in tow when we noticed it. The leaves were turning yellow. Yes…fall had officially fallen. Spotted amongst the vast valley of green trees, were several autumn yellow beauties standing tall and proud.
And seeing as it’s September, this should come as no surprise but I won’t lie that when I spotted those golden leaves, my heart sunk a teeny tiny bit. Summer, that sweet season of freedom, late nights, and lakeside days, has come to a close. In an attempt to bolster my spirits and convince my children that not all things fall are fretful, I decided to bake up my first official “autumn” cake. I hope this Salted Maple Coconut cake is a tasty foray into fall for us all.
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I recognize that coconut is one of those dividing flavours. People tend to either love it or hate it. Clearly, you can tell which side of the coconut fence I’m on. I’ll take a quick moment to implore you coconut nay-sayers out there. This cake uses coconut milk and not a single shred (pun intended) of desiccated or shredded coconut will be found so if coconut is a texture hang-up for you, give this recipe a shot!
Let’s also chat about coconut milk. Don’t waste your time, your money, or your tastebuds on anything other than full-fat coconut milk. It’s far and above superior. Creamy, rich, and full of true authentic coconut flavour. You’ll use canned full-fat coconut milk in both the cake layers and the pastry cream filling.
A Fews Swaps and it’s Coconut Cake Time
Starting with the cake layers, this recipe is a basic vanilla cake with a few simple swaps. Coconut milk for milk. Coconut yogurt for greek yogurt. And a teaspoon of coconut extract (if you have it) for that extra coconut boost. Bam! Delicious, soft, and fluffy coconut cake layers.
Pastry cream is a thing of beauty. It’s rich and smooth and feels so very indulgent. Coconut milk makes for an easy and totally tasty swap for the traditional milk the recipe calls for. And the best part about using coconut milk is that it’s dairy-free. Hip-hip-hooray!
Pastry Cream Time!
The trick to making a velvety smooth coconut pastry cream is tempering your eggs so as not to scramble them. Slow and steady and never over anything higher than medium heat. Make sure to store leftover coconut pastry cream in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 or 4 days. But believe me when I say leftovers will never last that long because you’ll find yourself finding any and all excuses to eat a spoonful here and there.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare three 6-inch round cake pans.
In the bowl of a stand mixer cream butter, sugar, and vegetable oil on high for 2 minutes with the whisk attachment.
Add egg whites and mix on high for 2 minutes.
Add coconut yogurt, vanilla extract, and coconut emulsion and mix on high for 2 minutes.
Combine all the dry ingredients into the mixer and mix on low
While the mixer is on low slowly pour in the coconut milk and mix until combined. Be careful to not overmix the batter.
Divide batter between three 6 inch cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
Cool in pans for 10 minutes and then invert on a cooling rack to fully cool.
COCONUT PASTRY CREAM FILLING:
In a medium pot bring coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla extract to a boil over medium heat.
While the coconut milk mixture is warming, mix together the egg yolks, whole egg, cornstarch, and salt in a heat-proof bowl. Whisk together until it is thick but smooth without any lumps. Set aside.
As soon as the coconut milk mixture comes to a boil remove it from the heat and slowly pour half of it into the egg mixture while continually whisking. This is tempering the eggs.
Pour the tempered egg mixture back into the pot while continually whisking and bring it back over medium heat. The mixture should start to thicken in 1-2 minutes.
Allow it to come back to a boil, while still whisking, and boil for another 1-2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add in the butter. Mix until fully melted and smooth.
Strain the coconut pastry cream into a shallow dish and directly cover the surface with plastic wrap.
Allow to fully cool to room temperature before filling the cake.
SALTED MAPLE BUTTERCREAM:
In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter, shortening, and maple butter on high speed with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.
Add the icing sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and maple emulsion and mix on low until combined.
Turn the mixer up to medium and let mix for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary.
Place one leveled layer of coconut cake on a cake board or plate. Top with approximately 1 cup of buttercream.
Pipe a buttercream border along the edges and fill with 1/2 cup of coconut pastry cream filling.
Repeat with remaining layers and apply a thin coat of buttercream all over the cake. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Cover the cake with another layer of buttercream and smooth sides.
Decorate as you please. I smoothed the sides of the cake and then, with my Ateco cake comb, I ran it around the bottom half of the cake to create some texture. The top is decorated with Wilton 1M piped buttercream swirls and Dare Maple Cream Cookies between each swirl. Enjoy.