For an extra special Easter holiday dessert, I made an egg-shaped White Chocolate Coconut Cake, but you could leave it as a sheet cake or make individual egg-shaped cakes just as easily. Everyone will love your creativity and get in the spirit!
This is a really lovely, gently flavored cake that lends itself to many different flavorings. You could use just vanilla, try some lemon or orange oils, or other flavorings depending on the season and your personal preferences.
I cut out a template of cardboard and then used that guide to make two identical layers of the cake. I have a slender serrated knife that is about 6-inches long and perfect for sawing unusual shapes in baked cakes. It isn’t a fancy expensive knife, but it works better at so many tasks than knives costing 10 times as much!
One of the tricks to beautifully frosted cakes is the “crumb coat.” You start by putting your cake layers together with frosting between each layer. Then put a very thin first coat of frosting all over the top and sides of the cake and smooth with an offset spatula. It is OK if parts of the cake are showing through. Carefully place it in the refrigerator and let chill for 15 to 20 minutes or until firm to the touch. The thin layer of frosting (only about 1/8-inch thick) helps trap any loose crumbs. Once cooled and set, return the cake to your work surface and finish applying the final frosting to the entire cake.
Another trick is to use coconut or chopped nuts pressed against the sides of the cake which helps hide any mistakes you may have made while frosting. This gives you more leeway and is particularly helpful if you are a beginner at decorating cakes.
Break up the coconut so there are no clumps. Take a handful of the coconut and gently press your palm against the sides of the cake, pressing the coconut into the soft frosting. Excess will fall alongside the cake and you can use it to fill in any holes. Continue going around the cake until the sides are fully covered. Then sprinkle coconut over the top and lightly press it into the frosting.
If you do a lot of gluten-free baking, you may want to consider buying a wonderful product from Authentic Foods called Dough Enhancer. It helps cakes stay moister longer and in the case of gluten-free, also helps guard against dry and crumbly cakes. I think it adds a wonderful creamy texture to cakes and I use it often if I am not adding almond or hazelnut meal to the batter.
Children will love to help you decorate this White Chocolate Coconut Cake and they can go crazy with the candies and coconut. If you wanted to get even more inventive, you can tint your coconut green and create a grass-like surface for a pretend Easter egg hunt on the top of your cake.
I hope you wake up on Easter Sunday to a basket filled with your favorite treats and all the eggs hidden for you to find. And don’t forget to make this White Chocolate Coconut Cake for the occasion. Happy Chocolate Monday!
Did you enjoy this recipe? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you!
Key Ingredients for White Chocolate Coconut Cake:
- Cake flour or gluten-free flour blend, baking powder, salt
- White chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, buttermilk
- Powdered sugar, heavy cream, coconut extract (optional)
When you are whipping egg whites, there can’t be any grease in the bowl, on the beater, or even a little yolk in the whites. Make sure your bowl and beater are freshly washed and dried before starting. With the power of a stand mixer, you’ll have beautiful, pillowy egg whites in no time!
Tear up a sheet of parchment paper into strips about 3-inches wide and arrange them overlapping on your serving platter so that the entire surface is covered. Place the bottom layer of the cake in the center and assemble and frost the cake. When you are done spreading the frosting and applying coconut if using, gently remove the parchment strips. Your platter will be clean and photo ready!
How to make White Chocolate Coconut Cake:
- Make the Cake: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring often until completely melted then remove from the heat
- Cream the butter and sugar together until lightened in color then beat in the egg yolks, scrape the bowl and beater; pour in the melted white chocolate and vanilla, beating on low speed until smooth
- Add the dry ingredients to the batter, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients; stir in the coconut extract
- In a clean bowl, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks; gently stir 1/3 of the whites into the cake batter, lightening it, then fold in the remaining whites until there are no white streaks
- Pour batter into a buttered and floured 9×13-inch baking pan and place in the center of a 350°F oven; bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, then remove from the oven, set on a wire rack, and cool completely
- Make the Frosting: Once the cake has cooled, in a small saucepan melt the white chocolate and keep warm on low heat; beat the butter with your mixer until smooth and fluffy, scrape the bowl and beater and add the powdered sugar, mixing until smooth
- Add the vanilla and 1 tbsp of the cream, beating on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes until light and fluffy; beat in the melted white chocolate until completely incorporated, adding a little more cream if needed to get a good spreading consistency
- Smooth the frosting over the cooled cake with an off-set spatula, making swirls or other decorative patterns; sprinkle the top with the nuts and coconut if desired … alternately follow the directions for making the egg-shaped cake
PRO Tip: How to fold ingredients together
Folding is gently combining two mixtures by dragging a rubber spatula straight down through the center to the bottom of the bowl, and rolling it back up one side, dragging what was on the bottom to the top. Turn the bowl 1/4 turn and repeat until the two mixtures are completely incorporated and no streaks remain. This is typically done to mix beaten egg whites into another substance while not deflating the egg whites any more than necessary. Usually, you will mix in 1/3 of the whites to lighten the mixture and then fold in the remaining whites. The mixture will lighten in color and consistency.
A secret to beautifully frosted cakes is the “crumb coat.” You start by putting your cake layers together with a fairly thick layer of frosting between each cake layer. Then put a very thin first coat of frosting all over the top and sides of the cake. Carefully place it in the refrigerator and let chill for about 15 to 20 minutes. The thin layer of frosting helps trap any loose crumbs. Once cooled and set, return the cake to your work surface and finish applying the frosting to the entire cake.
If you want to apply coconut or chopped/sliced nuts to the sides of the cake, place some in the palm of your dominant hand and gently press it against the frosted cake side. Work your way around the cake, refilling your palm as you go, until the entire surface is fairly well covered. If there are any large empty areas, fill in with more coconut or nuts.
Recommended Tools (affiliate links; no extra cost to you):
- Kitchen scale
- Mixing bowls
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- 9×13-inch baking pan
- Medium saucepan
- Stand mixer
- Small saucepan
- Off-set spatula
I often add almond or hazelnut meal to cake batters for the extra flavor, nutrition and texture. In this case, I think the cake benefits from the silky smooth texture of a rice flour/tapioca starch/potato flour blend. It suits the creaminess of the melted white chocolate.
Be sure to use gluten-free flour when you are buttering and flouring the baking pan! You can use more of your blend or an individual flour if you have some on hand.
You can adjust any recipe to gluten-free by using 120 grams per cup of my favorite gluten-free flour blend. If you are using another brand of gluten-free flour, whisk the mix, spoon it lightly into a measuring cup until mounded, level off the top with a straight edge, and weigh the flour left in the cup. Use that weight as your standard per cup of that specific flour. Commercial blends such as Pamela’s, Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1, or King Arthur Measure for Measure are all good choices.
- 2-1/2 cups (300 g) cake flour or gluten-free flour blend (See Note)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp Dough Enhancer, optional (Authentic Foods is gluten-free)
- 8 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup (2 sticks; 227 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups (400 g) sugar
- 4 eggs, separated (whites in one bowl, yolks in another)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract or paste
- 1 cup buttermilk*, at room temperature
- 1/8 to 1/4 tsp coconut extract, optional
White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 2 oz (57 g) white chocolate, chopped finely
- 1/2 cup (1 stick; 113 g) butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups (227 g) sifted powdered sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract or paste
- 1 to 2 tbsp heavy cream
- Slivered almonds, optional
- Sweetened coconut, optional
- Butter and flour a 9x13-inch baking pan. Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center of the oven.
- Make the Cake: In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk briskly until thoroughly blended. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan bring 2 inches of water to a simmer over medium heat. Place a heatproof bowl over the saucepan and add the white chocolate. Melt the chocolate, stirring often until completely melted. Remove from the heat.
- In the bowl of your standing mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium until creamy and lightened in color (this is called creaming). Beat in the egg yolks until completely incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom. Pour in the melted white chocolate and vanilla, and beat on low speed until completely smooth. Add the dry ingredients to the batter, alternating with the buttermilk. Start and end with the dry ingredients. Stir in the coconut extract.
- n a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold 1/3 of the beaten whites into the cake batter. This lightens the batter making it easier to fold in the remaining whites. Add the rest of the beaten egg whites and fold in until no white streaks remain.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Leave the cake in the pan until completely cool.
- Make the Frosting: In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt the white chocolate stirring often. Reduce heat to low and keep warm.
- In the bowl of your standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stop the motor, scrape the sides and bottom of bowl and add the powdered sugar. Gently beat the sugar into the butter until smooth. Add the vanilla and 1 tbsp of the cream; beat on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes until light and fluffy. With the motor running, beat in the melted white chocolate. If you want a thinner consistency add another tbsp of cream.
- Decorate the Cake: Using an off-set frosting spatula, smooth the frosting over the top of the sheet cake. Create swirls with the tip of the spatula if desired. Sprinkle the top with the almonds and coconut if desired.
- * To make a buttermilk substitute, combine 1/2 cup half and half with just short of 1/2 cup heavy cream. Add enough white vinegar to make 1 cup total liquid. Let sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally. The acid in the vinegar will sour the milk and cream and thicken them to a consistency similar to buttermilk.
Cake recipe adapted from The Southern Junior League Cookbook
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 486Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 309mgCarbohydrates: 75gFiber: 2gSugar: 42gProtein: 10g
How To Make an Easter Egg Cake
Bake the cake as directed above and let cool completely. Use a knife or plastic spreader to run around the edges of the cake. Flip cake out of pan onto a parchment paper-covered cutting surface. The easiest way to do this is to place the parchment on top of the cake, top with a baking sheet or cutting board and holding all of them together, invert the cake pan. Cut cake in half, creating two 9 x 6-1/2 inch rectangles.
Create an egg-shaped pattern using cardboard that fits within the 9 x 6-1/2 inch rectangle. Mine was 5-1/2 x 7-3/4 inches. Place the pattern on top of one of the cake pieces and using a thin, sharp, serrated knife slowly cut out the shape being careful not to move the pattern as you cut. Repeat with the remaining cake layer.
Make the buttercream frosting (tint lightly with food coloring if desired) and spread a fairly thick layer on top of one of the egg-shaped cakes. Place the second cake layer on top and finish frosting the sides and top of the cake. (You can also do a crumb coat as described above.) Sprinkle the top and sides with the coconut and/or almonds if desired, or you can use seasonal candies if you prefer.
You can nibble on the extra cake that you cut away to make the egg shapes, or combine them with a little extra frosting to make cake pops!
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