A mouth-watering dessert that tastes so decadent due to the moistness of the cake and Italian meringue. No high-fat icing here! Just beaten egg whites and sugar without butter and cream. To toast the coconut, brown it in a skillet over high heat for approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

Cake

1¼ cups (310 mL) granulated sugar
¾ cup (185 mL) light coconut milk
⅓ cup (80 mL) vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1½ tsp (7.5 mL) pure vanilla extract
1¼ cups (310 mL) all-purpose flour
1½ tsp (7.5 mL) baking powder
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
2 Tbsp (30 mL) toasted coconut
2 large egg whites
¼ tsp (1 mL) cream of tartar

Icing

3 large egg whites
¾ cup (185 mL) granulated sugar
¼ cup (60 mL) water
¼ tsp (1 mL) cream of tartar
3 Tbsp (45 mL) toasted coconut

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Spray two 9-inch (23 cm) round cake pans with cooking oil.
To make the cake: Beat 1 cup (250 mL) of the sugar, the coconut milk, oil, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl, using a whisk or electric mixer.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and coconut in another bowl, mixing well. Stir the dry ingredients into the coconut milk mixture by hand, mixing just until combined.
Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar in a clean bowl until foamy. Gradually add the remaining ¼ cup (60 mL) sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Stir one-quarter of the egg whites into the cake batter. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Divide the mixture between the prepared pans.
Bake in the center of the oven for approximately 15 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans on a rack.
To make the icing: Combine the egg whites, sugar, water and cream of tartar in the top of a double boiler over simmering water (or use a glass or metal bowl over a saucepan). Beat the mixture with an electric mixer for 6 to 8 minutes or until it thickens and soft peaks form. Remove it from the heat. Beat for 1 minute or until stiff peaks form. Stir in 2 Tbsp (30 mL) of the toasted coconut.
When the cakes are completely cooled, place one cake layer on a platter. Spread approximately one-quarter of the icing overtop. Place the second layer on top of the first and ice the top and sides with the remainder. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbsp (15 mL) toasted coconut.

Rose’s tip

Italian meringue will not “weep” the way regular meringues do, meaning they exude excess liquid from the egg whites. This icing holds well for a couple of days.

Health tip

Light coconut milk, now available, has 25 percent of the fat and a fraction of the calories of regular coconut milk.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Make ahead: Make the cake a day in advance and keep refrigerated.

Makes 14 servings.

Nutrition information per serving

Calories 270

Protein 3.7 g

Carbohydrates 63 g

Fiber 2.2 g

Total fat 7.5 g

Saturated fat 2.2 g

Cholesterol 30 mg

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