The ultimate cake for coconut fans. Made with both coconut milk and shredded coconut, this gluten-free coconut cake is packed full of real coconut flavor. Filled with tangy lemon curd, guava filling, and covered in a light whipped cream cheese frosting, it’s coconut cake heaven!
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Food Network: The Big Bake Inspiration
Old news by now, but I was given the very exciting opportunity to appear on an episode of Food Network: The Big Bake. My girlfriend, Fabulous Cakes by Jenn, invited me to team up with her and try our hand at a reality baking competition. And my oh my did we have fun.
Gluten-Free Coconut Cake
The main cake flavor I created for the show was inspired by our tropical take on the episode theme Reindeer Games. Everyone knows that beach volleyball-playing reindeer love some coconut cake. I paired moist coconut cake layers packed full of shredded coconut with zesty lemon curd, a smooth almost floral guava filling, and covered it all with tangy whipped cream cheese frosting. Tropical cake deliciousness!
How to Make Gluten-Free Cake Layers
The biggest feedback I received from the judges during the competition was that the shredded coconut absorbed some of the cake moisture causing the crumb to be a bit tight. After receiving this feedback, I immediately went to my kitchen and started to problem-solve.
First, and most important step to a moist gluten-free coconut cake, is to soak the shredded coconut in coconut milk. Open up that can of full-fat coconut milk and pour it over the shredded coconut in a bowl and let that soak for an hour. Allowing the coconut to absorb the coconut milk lends extra moisture and coconut flavor to the cake layers.
If you are making this cake gluten-free, take note that the gluten-free flour blend contains xanthan gum. If it does not you will want to add 1 tsp of it to the dry ingredients. Xanthan gum acts like glue or a binder for gluten-free baking and holds everything together.
Without it, you will end up with crumbly cake layers. If you are not gluten-free, feel free to use regular cake flour but go by the cup measurement and not the gram measurement as gluten-free flour and cake flour differ in weight.
Lemon Curd Filling Tips & Tricks
Who doesn’t love lemon curd? That zesty lemon punch makes your mouth pucker in the very best of ways. Allowing the true zing of lemon to shine through, my recipe calls for very little sugar. I strongly recommend keeping it tart as it will complement the sweet coconut cake layers. Freshly squeezed lemon juice will transform this easy lemon curd from delicious to OMG amazing! Trust me, it’s worth the extra effort.
How To Make Guava Filling
Have you ever tried guava? It’s simply divine. A sweet almost floral flavor, it pairs beautifully with coconut and lemon. Using guava paste as the base, I created a wonderfully silky and smooth guava filling that will totally rock your world.
Cut the guava paste into chunks, combine it with the water, lemon juice, sugar, and salt, and heat it over medium heat until it begins to boil. Reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer. The guava paste chunks will begin to break up and melt into a smooth consistency. Sometimes I’ll grab the potato masher and mash up any remaining pieces to speed the process up a bit. You will know the guava paste is ready when there is no gritty/grainy texture left.
Transfer the guava filling to a shallow container and place plastic wrap directly on the surface. Allow the filling to fully cool to room temperature before using. If you make this the day before, it will sometimes require a gentle re-heating ever so slightly to bring it back to a spreadable consistency. Again, allow it to cool to room temperature before using it in the cake.
How To Fill And Stack A Dairy-Free Cake
Cream cheese frosting, especially dairy-free cream cheese frosting, is notoriously soft. Seeing as how this gluten-free coconut cake has two different fillings, the fridge is going to be your best friend while filling and stacking this cake. Most cakes I frost with room-temperature buttercream, however, I encourage you to keep this frosting a tad on the colder side while using it.
Cover the base cake layer with a layer of cream cheese frosting and then pipe a generous buttercream ring around the border. Fill the bottom layer with the lemon curd filling. Top with the second cake layer and crumb coat those bottom two layers to give extra stability. Please place it in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes or freezer for 5 minutes. Take the cake out after it’s chilled and repeat with the remaining layer and guava filling. Do a quick overall crumb coat and get it back into the fridge as fast as possible.
The key to working with soft frostings and fillings is to keep it as cold as possible. Chilling the cake frequently as you fill and stack, allows the frosting to firm up and give extra support. So don’t be shy with the fridge.
A final coat of cream cheese frosting, smoothed with a Wilton cake comb, and this gluten-free and dairy-free coconut cake is ready to be devoured. For an extra splash of fun flavorful flair, I added some guava filling on the top along one edge, a light dusting of shredded coconut, and some fresh guava chunks. Chefs kiss.
The Best Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Coconut Cake
Packed full of tropical coconut flavor, this gluten-free and dairy-free coconut cake was a total hit with The Food Network judges and I think it will be a hit for you as well. Filled with zesty lemon curd and smooth guava filling and covered with the most delicious tangy cream cheese frosting, this coconut cake is a must-bake for every coconut lover.
Fun And Tropical Inspired Baking Recipes
Needing a dose of summer tropics? I bet these delicious recipes will whisk you away someplace warm.
- Pina Colada Cake
- Sangria Cupcakes
- Orange Blossom Cake
- Key Lime Pie Cookies
- Key Lime Pie Cake
- Blackberry Mango Scones by Cookie Dough Diaries