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The Perfect 1st Birthday Cake Recipe

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

Photography by Photographed by Lauren Godfrey

It’s time to celebrate, mama! Not only has your babe hit his or her first year milestone, you’ve kept that kid (and yourself) alive and thriving for a whole year. We think that calls for a glass of champagne (or three), as well as a big, fat slice of cake. Here to provide the perfect, gluten-free, refined-sugar-free recipe is Lauren Godfrey, the talented lady behind the yummy and good-for-you food blog, Golden. “Coconut is the star here, as it lends its luscious flavor in three different ways—coconut sugar, coconut milk, and sweetened shredded coconut,” says Godfrey of her cake recipe, which she adapted from the Flour cookbook. “It’s the lovely brown coconut sugar that gives this cake not only its subtle sweetness, but its caramelized appearance. Coconut sugar can have a lot of texture right out of the package, so I recommend using a spice grinder or blender to powder the sugar, which makes it blend in more easily with the other ingredients.”

frosted cake1

The Ingredients:
Triple Coconut Cake
2 1/4 cups gluten-free flour (Godfrey used Glutino)
1 2/3 cups powdered coconut sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cups room temperature butter, cut into chunks
6 egg whites
1 cup organic coconut milk
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut (*see recipe below)

Coconut Frosting
2 cups powdered coconut sugar
6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups room temperature butter, cut into chunks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2/3 cups coconut milk

*Sweetened Shredded Coconut
2 cups shredded coconut
1/4 cup powdered coconut sugar
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp + 2 tsp water
Most sweetened, shredded coconut is made sweet through refined sugar, but it’s super simple to make your own using unrefined coconut sugar. Just add shredded coconut and sugar to a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add oil and water and mix well to combine. Keep mixture in the bowl, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes or until the coconut absorbs all of the liquids.

sliced cake1

Cake directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare two cake pans (8″ or 9”). You can use butter and flour or a parchment circle, or all of the above!

Add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment and mix ingredients on a low setting. Once well mixed, add the butter in stages and mix on low until combined with the dry ingredients and the mixture has a crumbly appearance.

In another bowl, mix the egg whites, coconut milk, and half of the sweetened shredded coconut until well combined.

Add half of the wet mixture to the flour mixture and beat until well combined. Add the remaining wet mixture and beat until the combined ingredients are well mixed and the batter appears fluffy. Split the batter between the cake pans.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Take care not to over cook. Cool cake pans on a wire rack until they are cool enough to handle. Turn cake out of the pans, place onto a wire rack, and let cool completely.

Frosting directions:
Using a whisk, combine the powdered coconut sugar and egg whites until well combined. Using a double boiler, or bowl placed over (but not touching) simmering water, continually whisk the sugar/egg mixture until it’s hot.

Add hot sugar/egg mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and using the whisk attachment, whisk on high speed for about 7 or 8 minutes, or until it appears to be meringue-like and is no longer hot. Decrease the speed and add the butter in stages. Once all butter is added, increase the speed until well combined. This could take up to 5 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients and whip for a couple more minutes or until well combined. You can keep it at room temperature for a couple hours or until the cake is cooled, but quickly whip the frosting once more, just before you use it.

Assembly directions:
If you have a revolving cake stand, use it! But if not, find a suitable platter and place one of the cooled cakes onto the platter. Add some frosting and use an offset spatula to evenly spread it to the edges. Place the second cake with top-side down on top of the frosted lower cake. Using the offset spatula, add a thin layer of frosting to the cake. Put the cake in the fridge to set the frosting, and once it has set add the remaining frosting to completely coat the cake.

Take remaining 1 cup of sweetened shredded coconut and gently press it into the frosting to completely coat the top and sides of the cake.

The cake will keep for up to 3 days, and tastes best at room temperature. Just add a candle, then make a wish!

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