Intermediate - This cake is great for intermediate cake bakers. The cake recipe is simple, but the process of making frosting and assembling the cake will require more time, and a little experience for best results. US based cup, teaspoon, tablespoon measurements. Common Measurement ConversionsThis cake can be sliced as shown here, and can serve up to 28 people (1 x 2 inch cake pieces), as they are very tall cake slices. To make this cake as a 2 layer cake, change the number of servings on the recipe card to 8, and follow the recipe with 2 cake pans instead of 3. This cake will still serve 12 people, but with shorter cake pieces.
16.9ozcake flour / pastry flour4 cups, measured by spoon and level method
Wet ingredients (all at room temperature for best results)
9.5ozsour cream1 cup + 2 tbsp
7ozcoconut milkabout ¾ cup (from a can, and not coconut cream)
¾cupunsweetened desiccated coconut
2tspclear vanilla extract
1tsplemon extract or almond extract
12ozunsalted butter3 sticks, softened
17.6ozwhite sugar 2 ½ cups
9egg whites from large eggsroom temperature
Coconut syrup (optional)
7ozwhite sugar1 cup
1cupcoconut milkfrom a can (and not coconut cream)
Lemon Swiss meringue buttercream
10egg whites from large eggsseparated while cold, and then brought to room temperature
21.8ozwhite sugar3 cups + 2 tbsp
½tspsea salt(generous 1/2 tsp)
30ozunsalted buttersoftened to about 68°F (7 ½ sticks)
Prepare the cake pans - line the bottom of three 8 inch cake pans and butter and flour the sides. For best results you can use cake baking strips for white sides. Baking strips need to be soaked in cold water ahead of time (at least 15 minutes). After 15 - 30 minutes of soaking, wrap the prepared cake pans with the soaked baking strips and set aside until needed.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Sift all the dry ingredients together and set aside. This includes the cake flour, baking powder and baking soda.
In another bowl or jug - combine the sour cream, coconut milk, desiccated coconut and the flavor extracts. Stir to combine and set aside until needed.
Place the butter, salt and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. With a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar mix together until light, creamy and fluffy. This can take about 5 - 10 minutes depending on the texture and temperature of the butter and the ambient room temperature.
Whisk the egg whites separately until slightly frothy. This is to break up the egg whites and to make them loose. They do not have to be whisked into a meringue.
Add the whisked egg whites to the butter-sugar mixture. Mix for 2 - 3 minutes until the egg whites have completely incorporated into the butter.
Next, add in the rest of the wet ingredients and mix until well incorporated. If the mixture becomes grainy, do not worry. This can happen if the ingredients are at different temperatures, but it will come together after the dry ingredients have been added.
Gently fold in the sifted dry ingredients. Be careful to NOT OVER-MIX the dry ingredients.
Divide the cake batter equally between the 3 cake pans. Use an ice cream scoop to evenly divide the batter.
Use an offset spatula to spread the batter evenly in the cake pan. Knock the pans on your kitchen countertop 2 - 3 times, firmly but not too hard, to knock out any air bubbles stuck in the batter.
Bake the cake pans in the preheated oven for about 25 - 35 minutes, rotating once, halfway through the baking time. Baking time is 25 - 30 minutes without cake strips, and up to 35 minutes with cake strips.
The cake is done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean, or when the surface of the cakes are just starting to be springy to the touch.
Remove the cake layers from the oven and let them cool for 5 - 10 minutes. While the cake is still warm, gently remove the cakes from the pans and keep them on cooling racks.
While still warm, soak the cakes with the coconut syrup, using a squeeze bottle (about 3 - 4 tbsp per cake layer).
Let the cakes cool completely.
While the cakes are cooling, you can make the Swiss meringue buttercream (you can also make this the day before too).
Coconut syrup - this can be made a day ahead, or just before the cake is being made.
Place the sugar and coconut milk in a saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 2 - 5 minutes and then remove from the heat.
Let the syrup cool down completely. Store the syrup in a squeeze bottle until needed. You can use the syrup while warm or at room temperature.
Swiss meringue buttercream - can be made ahead of time.
Use the recipe here to make the lemon Swiss meringue buttercream. Use the quantities given in this recipe, and add the lemon extract in place of the vanilla extract.
Frosting and decorating the cake
Once the cakes have cooled down, they are ready to be frosted. If needed, trim and level the cake tops to make them evenly flat.
Place a cake layer on your cake turntable (or platter). Measure and place about ½ - ¾ cup of Swiss meringue frosting on top of the cake and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly. Leave a small margin along the edge of the cake.
Place the second cake layer on top and repeat with an equal amount of frosting.
Place the final cake layer on top, with the bottom side facing up (this is to create a flat surface on top). Place about ¾ - 1 cup of frosting and spread the frosting along the top and sides of the cake, filling any gaps between cake layers. Make sure the frosting is spread very thin, over the top and sides, to create a flat surface and straight sides. This will be your crumb coating (which catches and seals in any loose crumbs).
Let the frosting “set” in the fridge or in a cool place for about 30 minutes.
Once the crumb coating is “set”, apply another thin layer of white frosting. It doesn’t have to be smooth, but make sure it’s as even as possible.
Next, in four bowls - place 1 to 1 ½ cups of frosting each. Color one bowl with a deep blue color. Color the second bowl with a lighter blue color and the third bowl with a pastel blue color. You can use the same blue color, but add fewer drops of blue coloring to match the gradient. Keep the final bowl plain white.
Using a small spatula, take small dollops of the blue frosting and create spatula strokes of the buttercream on the white cake surface. Alternate between the different blue colors and white to create a blue and white spatula painted cake. Read the post for more tips on how to do this.
Place the remaining frosting on plastic wrap, and roll it up to create a tube of frosting with all the remaining colors. Cut one end of the tube of frosting. Place this inside a pastry bag, which is attached with a large closed star piping tip. When you squeeze the pastry bag, you should now get blue and white swirls of frosting coming out of the piping tip.
Pipe large swirls of white and blue frosting on the top of the cake. Read the post for more tips on how to do this.
Decorate with matching sprinkles.
This recipe is for a 3 layer cake. If you want to make a 2 layer cake, change the number of servings to 8 in the recipe card and follow the recipe. A 2 layer cake will still serve 12, but the slices will be shorter. Here's an overview of the workflowDay one morning- Make the coconut syrup (can be done the day before too).Day one morning - Make the Swiss meringue buttercream.Day one afternoon/evening - Bake the cake layers and allow them to cool overnight.Day two - Frost and decorate the cake layers.Swiss meringue buttercreamFollow this recipe for Swiss meringue buttercream for detailed tips on troubleshooting and perfecting SMBC. SMBC can be stored in the fridge or freezer if you make it a few days (or even weeks) ahead of time.Please read the notes in the current post for details on how to create a spatula painted cake and the blue and white swirls on top. Change the colors to match any event, or to match your preferences. You can also keep the cake pure white.