Let Them Eat: Coconut Layer Cake with Chocolate Glaze

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[Photograph: María del Mar Sacasa]

Instead of being that girl who comes sweeping into her dinner party cool, collected, with perfectly coiffed hair, I usually work myself into a lather in my two-sizes-too-small kitchen. I get flustered and sweat more than any lady should. But this lovely coconut layer cake is everything I am not. Uncomplicated, graceful, offhandedly pretty.

I looked at a number of coconut layer cake recipes and found quite a few that had most of the coconut flavor in the filling rather than the cake. But what drew me to this one, originally published in Gourmet in 1999 (courtesy of the now closed Shubox Café), was the cream of coconut in the batter.

I added sweetened coconut flakes to really underscore the coconutness, and used cake flour instead of all-purpose for that feather-light texture.

The filling is cream cheese frosting flavored with cream of coconut and chopped dry roasted macadamia nuts. Quite luxe, no? It could really have gone all over the cake, but I thought a bittersweet chocolate glaze would add a sharp flavor contrast. Plus, it looks patent leather-sleek; a perfect contrast to the white cake.