Coconut Nest Cake

Positioned alongside this timely arrangement, a whimsical Coconut Nest Cake adds sweet allure to the festive tableau. Buttercream frosting—tinted a familiar robin’s egg blue and decorated with flecks of artfully applied chocolate—emulates the crisp shell of candy eggs, and the tiny speckled treats top a mound of toasted coconut.

Coconut Nest Cake
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
  • Cake:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons coconut extract
  • 3½ cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole buttermilk
  • 8 egg whites
  • Frosting:
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 to 3 drops blue gel food coloring
  • Silicone basting brush
  • ⅓ to ½ cup chocolate-flavored candy coating, melted
  • 3 cups sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
  • Chocolate quail and robin eggs
  1. For cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Line three 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper; spray sides of pans with baking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Beat in coconut extract.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer at low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Transfer batter to a large bowl; set aside.
  4. Clean bowl of stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into batter in thirds. Divide batter among prepared pans.
  5. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to let cool completely.
  6. For frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, butter, lemon zest, and salt until creamy. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth. Tint frosting blue with food coloring, as desired.
  7. Spread frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. To add chocolate speckle design, dip silicone basting brush in melted candy coating. Holding the brush approximately 6 inches from cake, use thumb to flick bristles and splash small drops of chocolate onto cake.
  8. Arrange half of toasted coconut to form a nest at center of cake. Carefully fill nest with candy eggs. Decorate cake with remaining coconut and additional candy eggs.

For more recipes perfect for celebrating the holiday of rebirth, see “Easter on the Lawn” in the March/April 2020 issue, available on newsstands and at

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