Photo by Nick Simonite

“The most important things is that the inside of the cake must be moist and delicious. Follow directions, but don’t worry too much about looks. A cake leveler is great, but this cake is so nostalgic, it’s the comfort food of desserts. It does not have to be perfect.”

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24 servings

  • 3¼ cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1½ cup granulated sugar, separated
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder 
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 5 large egg yolks 
  • ¼ cup canola oil 
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ cup unsalted butter, melted 
  • ⅓ cup egg whites ,¼ cup granulated sugar 
  • Coconut Buttercream
  • 1¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature 
  • 9 cups confectioners’ sugar 
  • 15-ounce can sweetened cream of coconut 
  • 2 tablespoons sweetened coconut flakes

Chef’s Note: Before icing the cake, be sure it is completely chilled. Chef Elizabeth Chambers often stick it in the freezer for a bit before icing it.

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees and grease an 18×13-inch sheet pan.
  2. In large bowl, combine flour, 1¼ cups sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk together buttermilk, yolks, oil, and vanilla. Slowly incorporate melted butter.
  4. Pour dry ingredients into creamed butter mixture and mix on low until combined. Set aside.
  5. In large bowl, whisk egg whites, slowly incorporating remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar until egg whites peak. Fold peaked whites into batter and mix on low until mixture comes together.
  6. Pour batter evenly into greased cookie sheet. Bake for 45-60 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack. Once cooled, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until ready to frost.
  7. While cake is cooling, make buttercream by beating butter in large bowl until smooth. Slowly incorporate confectioners’ sugar. Add cream of coconut and coconut flakes to mixture and beat for 3 minutes or until fluffy. Evenly spread buttercream over cooled cake.

  • from Chef Elizabeth Chambers of Bird Bakery, San Antonio, Texas

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