I intended to post before holidays, but with the Easter marathon of the Russian kulich-baking, pascha-making, and egg-dying I simply couldn’t find time. I hope you all had wonderful holidays.

This cake is for serious coconut lovers, since it has a pronounced coconut flavor. It will also please everyone who is fond of buttery crunchy streusel topping – there’s plenty of yummy crumbs piled over the top. Fragrant and sweet pineapple vanilla jam not just tastes great, but also keeps the cake moist for days. In other words, the cake is worthy of baking. I used egg whites here instead of whole eggs since I was trying to get rid of the whites, left over after yolk-rich Easter baking and cooking.

Makes one 8-inch or 9-inch cake, about 12 to 16 servings

For the pineapple vanilla bean jam: use this recipe, the whole amount

For the coconut streusel topping:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ½ stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup finely shredded unsweetened lightly toasted dry coconut

For the cake batter:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp pure coconut extract
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp; 4 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup finely shredded unsweetened lightly toasted dry coconut

Make the streusel topping:

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the cubes of cold butter and work them into the flour using a pastry blender or your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Mix in the coconut. Cover and refrigerate until needed, up to a couple of days.

Make the cake batter, bake the cake:

Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F. Generously butter an 8-inch 3-inch deep springform pan (you can use a 9-inch pan as well (there is enough batter and filling)), but reduce the baking time). Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper. Dust with some flour, knocking off the excess. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine the coconut milk, lime juice, coconut and vanilla extracts. Set aside.

In the bowl of the stand mixer or in a large bowl using a hand-held electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar beating on medium-high speed until well combined, pale in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the lime zest. Add the whites, dribbling them gradually, while still beating. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the flour mixture and the coconut milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with the flour, until just combined. Stir in the toasted coconut. Transfer about a half of the batter into the prepared pan. Spread the pineapple filling on top of the batter leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Top with the remaining batter (place the batter in dollops over the filling, starting near the edge to prevent the filling from the contact with the pan sides), then gently smooth the top. Crumble the refrigerated topping over the top of the cake. Place the pan onto a baking sheet and slide into the oven.

Bake the cake until nicely brown and a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1hr. 20 min. to 1hr. 30 min. (less, if baking in the 9-inch pan). If the top browns too quickly, cover it loosely with a piece of aluminum foil (it is usually required after 45-50 minutes or so of baking). Cool the cake on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then unmold. Cool completely on the rack.

Store at room temperature under a cake dome. The cake stays fresh, moist and delicious for several days.