Thomas Keller's Coconut Cake

I love coconut cake and I have baked so many recipes over the years. I always tend to stick to the recipes that are less dense or lighter in texture. This recipe by Thomas Keller produces a light texture and a very light meringue filling.

For the Cake:


  • 2 C AP flour 

  • 1/2 C shredded coconut

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • 1  tsp. kosher salt

  • 1 C sugar

  • 3 eggs separated

  • 11/4 C mayonnaise

  • 3/4 C coconut milk

  • 1/2 C plus 1 tbsp. buttermilk

  • 2 tsp. coconut extract

  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the Meringue

6 egg whites

1 2/3 C sugar

3 C sweetened shredded coconut


  1. Heat the oven to 325 F OR 170 C. Grease three 9” cake pans with butter and line with parchment paper.

  2. Whisk flour, shredded coconut, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside.

  3. Place sugar and egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment; mix until fluffy.

  4. Add mayonnaise, coconut milk, buttermilk, coconut and vanilla extracts; mix until combined.

  5. With the motor running, slowly add dry ingredients until batter forms. Transfer batter to a bowl and set aside.

  6. Clean stand mixer bowl and add egg whites; replace paddle with whisk attachment.

  7. Whip whites until soft peaks form; fold into cake batter.

  8. Divide batter between prepared pans, smoothing tops with a rubber spatula; drop pans lightly on a counter to expel large air bubbles.

  9. Bake until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

  10. Let cakes cool for 20 minutes in pans; invert onto wire racks and let cool.


Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in a bowl until medium stiff peaks form, 5-7 minutes; set aside. Bring sugar and 1/4 C water to a boil in a 2-qt. sauce pan fitted with a candy thermometer; cook, without stirring, until temperature reaches 250, 4-5 minutes. with the mixer on low, slowly drizzle hot syrup into egg whites until combined. Increase speed to high; beat until meringue forms stiff peaks, about 3 minutes more.

Assemble the cake:

Place one cake layer on a cake stand and spread 3 cups meringue over cake; sprinkle with 1/4 cup coconut. Repeat with second layer. place remaining layer on top; cover top and sides with remaining meringue and cover outside of cake with remaining coconut, pressing lightly to adhere. chill cake 30 minutes to firm meringue; serve chilled or at room temperature

Rola Jordan