Coconut Layer Cake with Italian Meringue Icing

I used to avoid coconut desserts entirely but now that light coconut milk is available, I’m always looking for ways to use it. To toast the coconut, brown it in a skillet over high heat for approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking oil.

2. For the cake, beat 1 cup of the sugar, the coconut milk, oil, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl, using a whisk or electric mixer.

3. 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.

4. Beat the 2 egg whites with the cream of tartar in a clean bowl until foamy. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup 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.

5. 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.

6. For the icing, combine the 3 egg whites, sugar, water and cream of tartar in the top of a double boiler over simmering water (or use a heatproof 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 of the toasted coconut.

7. When the cakes are completely cooled, spread one-quarter of the icing over 1 cake layer. Place the second layer on top of the first and ice the top and sides with the remainder. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbsp toasted coconut.

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup light coconut milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3 Tbsp coconut, toasted

Nutritional Analysis per Serving

Calories 270
Protein 3.7 g
Fat 7.5 g
Saturated Fat 2.2 g
Carbohydrates 63 g
Cholesterol 30 mg
Fiber 2.2 g

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Make Ahead: Store cake layers at room temperature for up to 3 days, well wrapped, or freeze for up to 2 weeks.

Serves 14