Originally published on Food and Fond Memories on June 5, 2013 by sandyaxelrod 0 Comments (Edit)

A very tall cake with toasted coconut on the outside sitting on a cake stand.

A Towering Coconut Cake

As Julia Child once said “A party without cake is just a meeting.” So here is a cake you can make that will insure that you’re not only hosting a party, but a great one. Twelve layers of sweet coconut deliciousness. I had been looking for a reason to make the spectacular Coconut Cake from the Peninsula Grill in Charleston, South Carolina. It’s Bobby Flay’s favorite cake! And I was shocked when Bobby actually beat Robert Carter in a Throwdown. I had the pleasure of enjoying a slice several years ago after a fabulous dinner at the restaurant.

A slice of coconut layer cake on a black plate with a fork sitting on a turquoise print tablecloth.

A Slice of Heaven aka Towering Coconut Cake

Two other couples, along with Steve and I, like to take turns making dinner for each other. When it’s our turn, being the control freak that I am, I choose to make the entire meal from start to finish. But our friends Ros and Richard had been asking me for the recipe for the coconut cake which is in the Bobby Flay’s Throwdown cookbook that I have. So when it was their turn to host dinner I asked if I could bring anything and they responded with dessert. So I thought it was the perfect opportunity to make the cake and bring them the recipe. And even though I am a devoted Bobby Flay fan I chose to make the Peninsula Grill cake because it looks so awe inspiringly tall. Six layers tall to be exact, twelve if you count the filling!


A towering cake of coconut deliciousness.
Author: Robert Carter
5 cups heavy cream
3 cups granulated sugar
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
9 cups sweetened flaked coconut
Cooking spray
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
5 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
Combine the cream, sugar and butter in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Mix the cornstarch, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water together in a small bowl, and slowly add to the boiling cream mixture, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add the coconut. Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 and up to 12 hours.
Preheat oven to 325F. Spray three 10-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line bottoms with parchment paper.
Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of an stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl, and mix until creamy.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a separate bowl.
Mix the cream, vanilla and coconut extract together in a third bowl. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and wet ingredients to the batter in three additions, starting and ending with the dry.
Divide the batter evenly among the 3 pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and let cool for 10 minutes in the pans. Then remove from the pans, remove the parchment and let cool completely, about 2 hours.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the filling just until soft and creamy.
Trim off the domed top of each cake and slice each layer horizontally. You will have 6 layers. Brush the top of one layer with simple syrup. Spread 1 1/2 cups of filling evenly on top. Continue with the remaining 5 layers, stacking them on top of each other and brushing each layer with simple syrup before spreading with filling. Leave the top of the cake bare. Refrigerate the cake until firm to the touch, about 4 hours.
Combine the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high until light and fluffy, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat for 30 seconds. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar on low speed. Then raise speed to high and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Ice the top and sides of the cake with the frosting, and pat the toasted coconut around the outside. Chill for at least 2 hours before slicing.
Combine 3/4 cup sugar with 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
The cake, filling and frosting are relatively easy to make but a bit time consuming. The key is making the filling and cake layers a day ahead. Then the day of your party all you have left to do is make the frosting and assemble the cake.