Nick Malgieri
Nick Malgieri

Coconut Raspberry Layer Cake

This is a great combination—white cake layers, lemon buttercream, raspberry preserves and fluffy, white coconut. It's a perfect old-fashioned layer cake.

Makes one 9-inch cake, about 12 servings


2 1/4 cups cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup (about 4 large) egg whites

Frosting and Filling

1/2 cup (about 4 large) egg whites
1 cup sugar
20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup strained lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup seedless raspberry preserves
1 7-ounce bag sweetened shredded coconut

Two 9-inch round pans, 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep, buttered and lined with buttered parchment or wax paper

  1. Position rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt onto a piece of parchment or wax paper and set aside.
  3. Use an electric mixer at medium speed to beat the butter and sugar until light, about 3 minutes. Beat in the lemon zest, and extract. In a bowl, whisk together the egg whites and milk. Add a third of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and beat until smooth. Scrape down bowl and beaters. Beat in half the milk and egg white mixture until incorporated, then beat in another third of the flour mixture. Scrape bowl and beaters. Beat in remaining liquid until absorbed, followed by remaining flour mixture. Scrape well after each addition.
  4. Divide batter between prepared pans and smooth top evenly. Bake in preheated oven until well risen and a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Cool layers in pans for 5 minutes, then invert onto racks to cool. Peel off paper. If prepared in advance, double wrap layers in plastic wrap and chill for up to several days or freeze.
  5. To make the buttercream, combine egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk over a pan of simmering water until egg whites are hot and sugar is dissolved. Whip by machine until cooled. Switch to paddle and beat in butter until smooth. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla.
  6. To assemble cake, cut each layer into two horizontal layers. Place first layer on a cardboard and spread with a third of the jam and a quarter of the buttercream. Place another layer on and repeat. Place another layer on and repeat again. Place the last layer on and spread the entire outside of the cake with the last quarter of the buttercream. Adhere the coconut all over the outside of the cake.
  7. Serve at cool room temperature. The cake can be covered lightly and refrigerated for up to two days. Bring to room temperature before serving.