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Layered Pastel Coconut Pound Cake


Here, we put the notion of icing on ice, relying instead on unadorned pastel layers for graphic appeal. Coconut pound cake, tinted with gel-paste food coloring, serves as the foundation while white fondant and passion-fruit curd rests on top (the curd is also between each layer).

  • Servings: 75
  • Yield: Makes about 7 cups batter

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Spring 2007


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
  • 1/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising), plus more for dusting
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup pure extra-virgin coconut oil, softened
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cream of coconut, such as Coco Lopez
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Yellow, peach, orange, and pink gel-paste food coloring
  • Tropical Passion-Fruit Curd
  • 1 pound rolled white fondant


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter cake pans. Dust with sifted cake flour; tap out excess. Set aside. Sift flours, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a bowl; set aside.
  2. Put coconut oil into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until smooth. Mix in butter. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the sour cream; mix until just combined, scraping down sides as needed. Transfer to a large bowl; set aside.
  3. Put sugar, eggs, cream of coconut, and vanilla into the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on high speed until very thick and pale yellow, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from mixer, and gently whisk one-third of the sugar mixture into the flour mixture. Fold in remaining sugar mixture in 2 batches. Divide batter among prepared pans; smooth tops. (If tinting, divide batter among bowls, and stir in desired food coloring before pouring into pans.)
  4. Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes on wire racks. Unmold; let cool completely.
  5. To assemble: Refrigerate layers until cold. Trim 6-inch layers to 3/4 inch of 1 1/4 inches high. Trim 8-inch layers to 1 1/4 inches high. Stack layers, spreading 1/4 cup curd between the 6-inch layers and 1/2 cup curd between the 8-inch layers. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate overnight. Spread 1/4 cup curd on the 6-inch cake tops and 1/2 cup curd on the 8-inch cake top. Roll out fondant to less than 1/8 inch thick, and cut out an 8-inch square and three 6-inch squares. Top each cake with a corresponding-size fondant square. Before serving, trim edges of cakes and fondant. Transfer curd to a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip (such as Ateco #3). Pipe a thin border of curd around fondant, then pipe surface to cover. Use a small offset spatula to spread curd into a smooth, level layer.

Cook's Notes

We made 8-inch and 6-inch cake layers, either 1 1/4 inches or 3/4 inches high, as shown in the photo.

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