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The Perfect Coconut Cake

The Perfect Coconut Cake
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This recipe and photos were provided by Sally Roeckell of Table and Dish and were originally published at

When the sun starts to shine and the crocuses and buds on trees start to bloom, there seems to be a shift in the kitchen. Almost as though the arc of the sun and length of daylight are somehow linked with my shopping lists. I spend a little more time lingering over the flowers and vibrant green vegetables looking for ways to invite the fresh light of spring into my kitchen. I start to crave light, fluffy, fresh and colorful foods.

Right about now, as Easter approaches, my Coconut Cake makes its way to the baking line-up. It is bright, light and fluffy. It might not be colorful but the bright white just looks and feels springy, especially after our long winters.

This is about the most moist cake I make. It is actually wet, it’s so moist, yet the cake holds together perfectly.  There is no frosting, which may seem like a bummer, but, once you taste it, you will realize that it just doesn’t need it. The lack of frosting makes this cake one of the easiest cakes I make.  Easy, moist and delicious! Don’t get me wrong, I love a dense cheese cake and I’m definitely on “team thick-frosting,” but the light fluffiness of this rich, sweet cake seems to satisfy without the heaviness. After a big holiday meal it’s just the right amount of sweet.

The second step to this cake is adding a mixture of condensed, whole and coconut milks to the warm cake that’s been pierced with a wooden skewer. That’s when the magic happens.

When I first made this recipe I was confused by the baking powder being added at the end after folding in the egg whites. It seems more logical that it would be added in with the dry ingredients, right?

In the traditional methods where it is mixed into the dry ingredients, it can be sifted or whisked evenly throughout the dry mixture which facilitates having it evenly distributed in the final batter. It would seem if you added the powder to a batter that was prepared without it, even sprinkling it across the surface, it would be more difficult to evenly distribute throughout the entire batter. You then have to mix or beat the batter again to distribute the baking powder, which would develop additional gluten and lead to a tougher end product.  BUT, I think here-in lies the wisdom of this recipe. The cake is light yet the thick crumbs hold together beautifully even after you add the liquid to the cooked warm cake. I think that adding the powder to the batter DOES toughen the glutens just a bit so that it will hold up to the sweet liquid added after it is baked. GENIUS!

Any way you slice it, the unique way of mixing this cake produces a beautiful texture I am proud to serve.

Coconut Cake


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 3 1/2 ounces of room temperature butter
  • 1.6 cups of coconut milk (26 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of whole milk, divided
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups of sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup of grated sweetened coconut, for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Separate the egg yolks and egg whites, then store the whites in the fridge.
  • In a bowl, add sugar, butter, and egg yolks. Beat until the mix is smooth and fluffy.
  • Add half of the coconut milk, then mix.
  • Add flour and mix until incorporated. Stir in 1/2 cup of whole milk.
  • In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whites into the egg yolk mixture.
  • Add the baking powder and mix well.
  • Grease and flour a 9″ springform baking pan. Pour mixture into the pan.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • While the cake is baking, pour the condensed milk in a bowl then mix in the remaining ½ cup of whole milk and coconut milk.
  • When the cake is ready, remove from oven. It will be golden brown and pull slightly away from the edges.
  • While cake is still hot, pierce the top with a fork several times, and pour the topping over the cake.
  • Garnish with grated coconut.

Enjoy! Share your creations using #Heinens or #HolidaysWithHeinens on social media.

slice of coconut cake

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The Perfect Coconut Cake

The Perfect Coconut Cake

Heinen's Grocery Store

By Heinen's Grocery Store

In 1929, Joe Heinen opened the doors of a small butcher shop on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio, aiming to establish himself as the city’s purveyor of quality meats. As customers came into Heinen’s new shop for their meat purchases, they began asking him to carry groceries as well. Joe added homemade peanut butter, pickles and donuts and by 1933, business had grown enough to include a line of produce and canned goods. Heinen’s Grocery Store was born.

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