Strawberries are my favourite fruit because they remind me of Strawberry Shortcake cartoons and I am literally still five years old. The combination of strawberry and vanilla bean in this cake is timeless and made even better with a subtle hint of coconut. This cake recipe is adapted from My Name is Yeh and then I added strawberry swiss meringue buttercream into the mix.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 large egg
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup coconut milk
1 small vanilla bean, scraped
1/4 cup melted coconut oil (lukewarm or cool, but not hot)
1/2 tsp coconut extract
Strawberry swiss meringue buttercream
2/3 cup granulated sugar
5 ounces egg whites (about 4 to 5 eggs)
1 lb salted butter, room temperature and cut into 1″ cubes
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons strawberry preserves
Toasted coconut flakes and strawberries (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 6″ cake pans, line the bottom with parchment and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, lemon juice, coconut milk, coconut extract, coconut oil and scraped vanilla bean. Make sure the coconut oil isn’t too hot or it will cook the egg. Stir the wet ingredients into the the dry ingredients until combined.
Pour the batter into three cake pans and bake for 23–24 minutes, or until a fork or comes out clean. Cool cakes on a rack for 10 minutes and then revert onto rack.
Heat sugar and egg whites in a heatproof glass or metal bowl fitted tightly over a saucepan of 2″ water. Whisk constantly until the egg white mixture reaches 140–150 F. The sugar should be dissolved and the mixture very warm, but the water shouldn’t reach a boil — that is too hot. Remove from stove. Beat using a whisk attachment in a stand mixer for about 10 minutes, until stiff peaks form.
Incorporate butter slowly into the meringue, adding one cube at a time. If using a stand mixer, beat on medium speed with a paddle attachment. The buttercream will look like it’s curdling — you’ll think you’ve made an atrocious error and will be tempted to throw it all away! Just keep going and the frosting will emulsify into heavenly silk. Add vanilla.
Spread the buttercream evenly between each layer of cake and garnish with additional buttercream and rosettes, toasted coconut and strawberries.