F@$*k Layer Cakes: The Coconut Joy Cake

IMG_0656 (1)For all of you who have written and told me you are not so into layer cakes this post is for you.  Over the last couple of months I’ve tried to figure out the appeal of this popular American cake. Tall, showy and BIG layer cakes are celebrations of excess. Sweet cakes that make a statement.  Which is fine if that is what you are looking for and you have 16 of your besties over in need of a sugar fix or wanting to celebrate a something momentous.

In truth I’ve thought on many occasions: why not just split one cake in half, fill it and save yourself all the trouble?  Create a confection that is much more suited to the kind of dinner parties most people have.

I called this cake Coconut Joy as a riff on the popular chocolate bar Almond Joy.  The thing about Almond Joy’s is, to me, the Almond part of it always seemed secondary to the Coconut part of it.  So I decided to make a coconut chocolate cake that’s infused with rum and coconut syrup, filled with a luscious white chocolate and coconut layer then covered in chocolate. You need to start this cake the day before. It has several steps, don’t worry they are all easy and fool proof.

The cake above was one of the first version I made so I topped it with almond truffles and whip cream, as I developed the recipe I gave up altogether on the almonds and now top the cake with toasted coconut flakes.

For what this cake lacks in layers it makes up for it in taste and relative simplicity (only 1 cake pan!)

Coconut Joy Cake

Pre-heat the oven to 325 F

Line the bottom of a 9″ springform pan with parchment paper. Do not oil the pan!

In a medium bowl whisk together:  1/2 Cup of sugar, 1 Cup All Purpose Flour, 1 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder, 1/2 Teaspoon Salt.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add: 1/3 Cup Coconut Milk, 1/4 Cup Unflavored Oil (like Safflower), 4 large Egg Yolks, 1 Teaspoon Rum, 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract medium speed stir together until pale yellow and well combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until well incorporated. 

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment add: 4 Large Egg Whites (at room temperature) and 1/4 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar beating until foamy, slowly add 1/4 Cup of Sugar continue to whip until thick, glossy and form stiff peaks.

Gradually add 1/3 of the egg whites to the batter, once they are thoroughly incorporated gently fold in the rest of the whites, using a spatula until they are just combined, trying to be as gentle as possible.

Place in a the middle of the pre-heated oven and baked for about 45 minutes.  You can check in at the 40 minute mark, the cake should be nicely brown and spring back when you touch the middle.  Spray a wire rack with cooking oil.  Remove the baked cake from the over and turn upside down onto the rack and let cook for 30 minutes. Run a metal spatula around the cake pan and remove the cake but turning it upside down onto the rack.  Let cool until room temperature.  Then, with a serrated knife cut in half.

While the cake is baking make the filling.

In a large bowl add 8 ounces of coarsely chopped white chocolate.IMG_0646In a medium sauce pan add 1 Cup of Heavy Cream heat cream just until it starts to boil. Pour over the white chocolate, let it sit for 30 seconds then slowly whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours.  When ready to use whip the white chocolate ganache until it forms soft peaks (by hand or in a standing mixture with the whisk attachment – don’t over whisk), fold in 2 Tablespoons of good quality amber rum, 2 1/4 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut and an 1/8 Teaspoon Salt.IMG_0647Place back in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the cake.

To make the coconut syrup, in a small bowl add: 1/2 Cup Coconut Milk, 3 Tablespoons of Sugar,  and a pinch of Salt over medium heat stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and add 1 Teaspoon of Amber Rum.

To assemble the cake wrap the sides of a 9″ springform pan with plastic wrap long enough to cover the top of the cake.  Place a parchment round in the bottom of the pan.IMG_0648Generously brush both each cut side of the cake with the coconut rum syrup, place the first half into the pan, cut side up.IMG_0649Spread the coconut mixture evenly over the cake.IMG_0651 Top with the other half of the cake, brunch the top of it with the remaining coconut rum syrup.  Cover with the plastic wrap and chill for 4 hours or preferably over night. IMG_0652Make the chocolate glaze. In a medium bowl add:  4 ounces of 60-70 % Chocolate coarsely  chopped. In a sauce pan over medium heat 2/3 cup of Heavy Cream and 2 tablespoons of un-salted Butter, when the butter has melted and the cream had just come to the boil pour over the chocolate what 3o seconds then gently whisk to combine.  Stir in 1 teaspoon of Amber Rum. Cool for an hour in the fridge or longer, you want it to be thick and spreadable.

When the cake is chilled remove from the pan and flip upside down on to a serving dish.  cover the area around the cake with parchment paper, so after you have iced it you can remove the paper and have a clean plate not one smudged with chocolate.

Ice the cake and top with large lightly toasted coconut flakes.


If you wanted extra chocolate you could make this a chocolate cake by reducing the amount of flour by 3 Tablespoons and adding 3 Tablespoons of Dutch Processed Cocoa powder and use Buttermilk instead of the Coconut Milk.


About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note: urbanfoodguy@gmail.com
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