12 oz [340 g] cream cheese, slightly chilled

3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp [195 g] unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup [120 g] powdered sugar, sifted after measuring

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup [200 g] granulated sugar

1/4 cup [60 ml] water

3 egg whites

For The Best Cake I’ve Ever Had

5 egg whites

1/2 cup [120 ml] milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups [250 g] cake flour

21/3 cups [475 g] granulated sugar

41/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup [225 g] unsalted butter, at warm room temperature

1 cup [240 g] unsweetened coconut milk

21/2 cups [200 g] sweetened flaked coconut

TO MAKE The Best Cake I’ve Ever Had / THE CREAM CHEESE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING : Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer and beat on medium speed until slightly fluffy and smooth.

Add the butter 2 Tbsp at a time, mixing until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until fluffy. Set aside at room temperature.

Combine the granulated sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage, 240°F [115°C] on a candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, put the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. When the syrup is ready, turn the mixer to medium-low speed and begin beating the egg whites.

Slowly add the hot syrup to the whites, taking care not to pour it directly onto the beater, or it may splash out of the bowl and burn you. When all of the syrup is incorporated, raise the speed to medium-high and beat until the egg white mixture has cooled to body temperature and a stiff meringue forms.

With the mixer on low speed, begin adding the cream cheese mixture by the spoonful. When all of the cream cheese mixtures has been incorporated, raise the speed to medium and whip until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate while you make the cake

TO MAKE THE CAKE: Preheat the oven to 350°F [180°C]. Butter the bottoms of three 8-in [20-cm] round cake pans or coat with cooking spray. streak the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment and butter the paper

Put the egg whites in a mixing bowl and whisk slightly. Add the milk and vanilla and whisk to mix thoroughly; set aside.

In another bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat on low speed to mix well and break up any lumps, about 30 seconds.

Add the butter and coconut milk and, with the mixer still on low, beat to combine. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about two minutes.

Add the egg white mixture in two or three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing just long enough to incorporate between additions. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in their pans for 10 minutes. Then turn them out onto cooling racks and allow to cool completely.

Place a cake layer, flat-side up, on an 8-in [20-cm] cardboard cake round. Cover this layer with 1 cup [400 g] of the buttercream frosting, spreading it evenly right to the edge. Sprinkle 1/2 cup [40 g] of the coconut over the frosting.

Add the second layer of cake and repeat with another 1 cup [400 g] frosting and 1/2 cup [40 g] coconut. Top with the final layer of cake and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting.

Place the remaining 11/2 cups [120 g] coconut on a large baking tray. Pick up the cake and hold it on the palm of 1 hand over the tray. Using the other hand, scoop up some of the coconuts and press it onto the side of the cake.

Continue to do this, rotating the cake slightly each time, until the sides are completely coated. Set the cake on a serving plate and sprinkle any remaining coconut over the top. Chill for at least 1 hour to allow the frosting to firm up before slicing


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