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  • Writer's pictureHeather Green

The Most Decadent Coconut Kahlua Cake for My Birthday!!!

Updated: Sep 27, 2022

Today is my BIRTHDAY!!!!! I’m turning the big 35 and I wanted to do a knockout kind of cake that embodies everything I love. When I found this recipe I knew I had to make it. It has a delicious coconut sponge cake that is soaked in Kahlua and wrapped in a French Frosting made with coffee extract and semi-sweet chocolate chips. It has everything I love, tropical coconuts, Kahlua, and chocolate. What can go wrong!


This is cake is not the easiest to make, but if I can do it, you can too. Just try to see the whole cake in segments. You can totally make the sponge, that’s easy. The frosting is a bit more difficult and also “sets” in the fridge, so that has to be done after the sponge, and the ganache is a classic element that isn’t too difficult to make. So my perspective is that you have two easy things coupled with one difficult thing and with a little finesse this is definitely do-able. So let’s take a deep breath and get started!

The Most Decadent Coconut Kahlua Cake for my Birthday, by

  1. For Coconut Cake Layers:

  2. 1 1/4 cup (285 g) unsalted butter, softened

  3. 1 1/2 cups (300g) white granulated sugar

  4. 6 large eggs

  5. 1 tbsp (3 tsp) coconut extract

  6. 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) whole-fat coconut milk

  7. 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour

  8. 1 tbsp baking powder

  9. 1 tsp baking soda

  10. 1/3 tsp salt

  11. For French Buttercream:

  12. 5 egg yolks

  13. 1/3 cup (80 ml) water

  14. 1 cup (200 g) white granulated sugar

  15. 2 cups (450 g) unsalted butter, softened

  16. 1/8 tsp salt

  17. 1/2 cup (90 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

  18. 2 tsp coffee extract or emulsion (I couldn’t find this available, so instead I added 1 tablespoon of instant coffee granules to 2 tsp of warm filtered water. Mix water and instant coffee until all coffee granules have dissolved and it’s ready to be used)

  19. For Chocolate Ganache:

  20. 1 cup (180 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips

  21. 1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy cream

  22. 1 tsp shortening, if needed

  23. 1/4 cup (60 ml) Kahlua liqueur, or espresso; for soaking

The Most Decadent Coconut Kahlua Cake for my Birthday, by

1.) Preheat the oven to 350F. Line three, 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and grease the sides with butter or a baking spray.

2.) In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar for 2 minutes using a hand mixer, until light and fluffy. Add the coconut extract and begin adding 1 egg at a time, mixing well after each addition. Pour in the coconut milk.

3.) In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift the dry ingredients into the cake batter and then mix, mixing just until the flour is incorporated.

4.) Divide the cake batter evenly between the three pans. Bake in preheated oven for 28 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the layers from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled, level the top of each layer using a serrated knife.

For French Buttercream: Wait to do this until your cakes are cool because this frosting will need to be used immediately and will harden if placed in the fridge.

1.) Place the egg yolks into a stand mixer bowl (if you don’t have a stand mixer like me, you can do this with a hand mixer) and whisk on medium-high speed for a few minutes until thick and pale. Meanwhile, combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat the sugar, not stirring, over medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 238F/115C, about 5 minutes.

2.) Keep the mixer running at medium speed and pour the hot syrup in a slow and steady stream into the egg yolks. Once all the sugar syrup has been added, turn the mixer up to high speed and whisk for 5 to 7 minutes, until the mixture is thick and pale in color. It also needs to be just lukewarm to touch. Begin adding the butter, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing for about 15 to 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl often to get all the butter mixed in well. The buttercream will start to thicken as more butter is added.

3.) After adding the butter, add the melted chocolate, salt, and coffee extract. Mix again for a few minutes until a uniform and fluffy frosting forms. DO NOT PUT THIS IN THE FRIDGE!!! It will harden and then you’ll have to wait for it to “thaw” before you can use it. Assemble your cake with the directions below and then it will be safe to put in the fridge.

The Most Decadent Coconut Kahlua Cake for my Birthday, by

  1. To assemble the cake: Make sure the cake layers are completely cooled. Use a pastry brush to soak each layer generously with Kahlua coffee liqueur or espresso. Spread a generous amount of buttercream between the layers, then frost the top and sides. Smooth down the buttercream with a flat spatula. If desired, press toasted coconut into the sides of the frosting before it sets. Set the cake into the refrigerator while preparing the chocolate ganache.

  2. For Chocolate Ganache: Heat the cream in a measuring cup until steaming hot. Add the chocolate chips and shortening (if desired, for shinier ganache) and let the chocolate stand for 5 minutes. Use a small whisk to blend the chocolate and cream together until a smooth ganache forms. If the chocolate isn’t melted after 5 minutes, place the ganache into the microwave and heat for 30 seconds. If the ganache is too thick, add a tablespoon of cream; too thin, add more chocolate chips.

  3. Pour the ganache over the edges and the top, letting the chocolate drip down the sides of the cake. Garnish the top with coconut truffles, pirouette cookies, macaroons, chocolate malt balls, and any remaining buttercream. I used decorating tip #8ft.

  4. Keep cake refrigerated if not serving the same day. For best results, remove the cake from the fridge at least 1 hour prior to serving; this will allow the layers and buttercream to soften.

  5. Servings: 12-16

I hope you enjoy this cake. It was the first three-layer cake I’ve ever made and I’m really proud of if. My hope for this next step of my life kind of starts with this cake. I want to try and succeed at building bigger and taking risks that end up becoming delicious accomplishments in my life. I also hope that this recipe has inspired you to take a risk and try your hand at making something decadent for yourself. If you do end up making this, let me know in the comments below, or if you put it on social media, please tag me so I can take a look! Thank you all for reading this, and I wish you an absolutely wonderful day!

-Heather Autumn

The Most Decadent Coconut Kahlua Cake for my Birthday, by

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