You will need two of each size of cake layer for the tiers; make the batter in separate batches. Batter amounts for each 2-inch deep pan: 6-inch, 2 1/2 cups; 8-inch, 3 cups; 10-inch, 6 cups; 12-inch, 8 cups; 14-inch, 15 cups; 16-inch, 22 cups; and 18-inch, 24 cups.
Photography: Gentl & Hyers
Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Spring 2004
- 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
- 7 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), plus more for dusting
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk
- 6 tablespoons milk
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 16 large egg whites
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper; butter linings, then dust pans with flour, tapping out excess. Set aside.
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl; set aside. Stir milks together; set aside. Put butter and all but 2 tablespoons sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; cream on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in four batches, alternating with milk mixture and beginning and ending with flour. Mix until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Set aside.
Change to whisk attachment; beat egg whites in a clean bowl until soft peaks form. With mixer on medium-high speed, gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Beat on high speed until peaks are stiff and glossy, about 30 seconds.
Gently fold egg whites into batter with a rubber spatula. Divide among prepared pans. Smooth tops with an offset spatula. Firmly tap pans on work surface to release any air bubbles.
Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean and cakes are golden and firm to the touch, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely in pans on wire racks before unmolding. Refrigerate, wrapped well in plastic wrap, until ready to assemble cake, up to 3 days, or freeze for 1 month.