With warm weather upon us—not to mention cookout season—there’s nothing more fun than having a few knock-out dessert recipes up your sleeve, nothing too rich and nothing too heavy. And if you ask us, coconut cake always makes a perfectly tropical complement to any dessert buffet table.
Here are four of our favorite coconut dessert recipes for summer. They’re new and interesting, but they don’t stray too far from all the things that turned traditional coconut cake into a classic favorite.
Between the fluffy coconut cream cheese frosting and a cake batter infused with coconut milk, coconut extract, and shredded coconut, that lightly sweet signature flavor can be found at every turn in these cupcakes. They’re a coconut cake lover’s dream, and since they come in delightfully miniature single-servings, they make a perfect traveling dessert for picnics, potlucks and cookouts.
Fresh Coconut Cake from The Cake Ladies
Using freshly grated coconut is the key to updating this much-loved Southern classic. Cracking and grating fresh coconut requires extra time and attention, but the rich, pure-white, raw coconut is worth every minute of hard work. The Cake Ladies, the authors and matriarchs of this recipe, happen to know a thing or two about much-loved Southern classics, being a group of Southern women themselves. This Fresh Coconut Cake, among others, can be found in Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition.
These shortcakes possess that lovely light coconut flavor of a traditional coconut cake, with the obvious twist of a more dense batter, and the addition of layered fresh fruit and whipped cream. We love these shortcakes with the tropical combination of mango, kiwi, raspberries and a sprinkling of macadamia nuts, but the possibilities are endless. And that means any fruit combination you can dream up, and beyond.
Halekulani Hotel Coconut Cake
This light, creamy sponge coconut cake comes to us all the way from the majestic Halekulani Hotel on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, where it’s been the signature cake for years. The cake’s three layers are bound together with coconut pastry cream, then topped with more cream—fresh whipped cream, this time—and a final sprinkling of shaved coconut for good measure. It’s a real beauty, folks.
—By Alissa Harb
For more ideas on cooking with coconut…