May 3, 2018 - Written by: Nancy Pollard
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This coconut cake became justifiably famous at the original Majestic Cafe in Alexandria when it was opened by Chef Susan Lindeborg.  Valerie Hill was the pastry chef. and adapted this coconut cake for the restaurant. And the flavor builder in this cake is the Coconut essence from Grasse, France which we used to carry at La Cuisine.  Add just a half teaspoon of it to the cake batter and you will taste the difference.  

Valerie Hill's Coconut Cake
Yields 10
this is the original recipe that was featured in Majestic Cafe (when it was a groundbreaking restaurant in Old Town Alexandria) and later at Johnny's Half Shell in Washington DC
  1. 337.5 grams or 1.5 cups Caster Sugar
  2. 1 teaspoon Coconut Essence
  3. 1/2 teaspoon Nielsen MasseyVanilla Paste
  4. 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt 141.8 grams or 10 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
  5. 226 grams or 2 cups pastry flour
  6. 2 teaspoons Bakewell Cream Baking Powder
  7. 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  8. 3 large eggs, separated
For the Glaze
  1. 125 ml or 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  2. 50 grams or 1/4 cup superfine sugar
  3. 1/2 teaspoon coconut essence
  1. Preheat oven 350F; grease and flour 2 9x2 inch round cake pans
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together thoroughly (make take more than once)
  3. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
  4. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition
  5. Mix flavorings into coconut milk and add to yolk mixture, alternating with flour mixture.
  6. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into batter.
  7. Pour into pans and bake about 25 minutes or until tester inserted into center comes out clean.
  8. Cool in pans 10 minutes, then invert on a rack to cool.
  9. Make a glaze by heating coconut milk with the sugar until sugar is dissolved.
  10. Add coconut essence.
  11. Brush tops and sides of cooled cake layers with glaze and allow to stand for 30 minutes before frosting.
  12. Frost with White Mountain, Seven Minute or any fluffy white frosting and cover with unsweetened grated coconut.
  1. We sold a divine coconut essence from France, which is available commercially to the trade, but not in small amounts for individual consumers. There are organic and pure coconut extracts available online and you can choose from one of those.
Adapted from Robin Gourley's Cakewalk cookbook
Adapted from Robin Gourley's Cakewalk cookbook
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