All images & content are copyright protected. DO NOT use images without prior permission. To republish recipe, link back and use proper attribution such as “adapted from HeDoesXrayIDoFood.com”. Thank you.This delicate, fluffy layer cake isn’t only light in density, but also in calories and fat. The smooth, creamy, marshmallow-like frosting coupled with the perfect texture of sweetened shredded coconut is the ideal pairing to a coconut scented chiffon (sponge) cake. Each slice comes in at 235 calories, in stark contrast to the classic cake’s nearly 750 calories per serving.
Southern Desserts; an American Treasure
When I reminisce on my time living in the “Deep South” the recollections that rise to the top are often food related. One the fondest of those memories is undeniably the classic Southern Coconut Cake I bought at a little shack on the side of the road outside of Tallahassee, FL. I was on my way back from a weekend trip in the “shallows” of Keaton Beach, FL. when I stopped at a humble roadside shop. There I was greeted by the two “Grannies” who baked the cakes each morning and sold their jams & pickles from their female owned store. They appreciated the sweet tooth of this California-girl and I walked out with several slices of 10-layer coconut and caramel cakes that taught me about Southern baking. Their time, tradition, and love was present and distinct in every morsel.
The capital of Florida is affectionately called “Southern Georgia”. Tallahassee earned the moniker because of the many “peaches” that hail from the state to the north to live and work in the small city. Those Georgians bring a richness of culture and food which very much contributes to the Southern Comfort and hospitality that is so cherished in this region of the country. But, that richness in cuisine often means an accompanying abundance of calories, fat, and sugar. None of those things are disguised in dishes like tasty battered & fried Gator Po’boys, deep-fried Oreos, and fried sugar-blanketed beignets. (Are you sensing a fried pattern?) That’s just the way it’s is done down there. My stomach, and health conscious diet, couldn’t withstand those regional dishes. So, this California Girl had to figure out how to slim down the Southern Classic Coconut Cake. The results are heavenly and a triumph in my undertaking.
In the mood for coconut? Try my Light Candied Pineapple & Coconut Cupcakes, around 300 Calories each!
White Lily Flour, truly the best:
I purely use White lily all-purpose flour when I’m baking because of it’s a finer, lighter texture. It has a cake flour like texture with a bit more strength, making it the sole choice when making biscuits or Southern goodies. White Lily all purpose flour is easily found at your local grocery store if you reside in the South and neighboring states. However, the further North and West you go, the tougher it can be to locate. Thankfully, 5 lb bags can be ordered online from the Smucker’s site, and a few other online retailers. (Just give it a Google.) If you aren’t able to get your hands on this Southern kitchen staple, simply substitute cake flour for this delicate chiffon cake recipe.
How to crack an egg. Yes, there is a method
Always crack your eggs on a flat surface, such as your counter top. Although our mothers smacked them on the edge of the mixing bowl, there are drawbacks to that method. It pushes the shell inward and can puncture your yolk and drive pieces of shell inside you’ll be fishing out afterward. When separating your eggs, it’s essential to have the shell halves as much intact as possible.
Be sure that your mixing bowl is clean and free of any butter or oil residue from earlier baking. Any bit of fat left behind will keep your egg whites from whipping up into a meringue. That includes any yolk, which is pure fat, that can fall in when separating your eggs. A pinch of cream of tarter helps tremendously in guaranteeing whipped fluffy whites.
Whip it Real Good
Because chiffon/sponge cakes get their fluffiness from the air incorporated into the egg whites, they’re relatively delicate when warm as compared to butter-based cakes. As odd as it seems, cooling these cakes upside-down in their pan is the only method to protect them from sinking in as they cool. Because you didn’t grease the sides, the cake won’t drop out of the pan. So, don’t worry.
Need some more lower fat, lower calories cake ideas? Try these:
Low Fat, Low Calorie
*Southern Style Coconut Cake*
Wet: All room temperature
- 3 tbsp Coconut oil, in liquid form
- 2 large egg yolks
- 5 tbsp light coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp coconut flavor
- 3 egg whites
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/8 tsp cream of tarter
- 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp cake flour (or White Lily)
- 1/4 tsp table salt
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup sugar
“Fake” 7 Minute Frosting:
- 7 tbsp (1/4 + 3 tbsp) sweetened coconut
- 7 tbsp (1/4 + 3 tbsp) unsweetened coconut
- Measure out all of your wet ingredients and allow them to come to room temperature.
- Grease ONLY THE BOTTOM of a 10″ cake pan with coconut oil, and dust it with a thin layer of flour. Set aside
- Add the coconut flavor to the measured coconut milk. set aside.
- In a large bowl sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Whisk in the 1/3 cup of sugar to combine.
- With the beaters of your hand mixer on medium low, or by hand (see note below) stream the oil into the flour/sugar mixture slowly, followed then by the egg yolks. Pour in the coconut milk mixture and beat/stir until combined. Set aside.
Chef’s Note: I don’t recommend using your stand mixer for this because its so easy to do by hand. If you use the bowl of your stand mixer, and you don’t have a second, you’ll have to move this mixture to a different bowl and wash and dry this one VERY well so that you’ll be able to whip your whites successfully. Its kind of a pain. So, I recommend either using your hand mixer in two separate bowls, or waiting to use your stand mixer for the egg whites and do this part by hand. But, its up to you!
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, or another large bowl with your hand mixer, use the whisk attachment to whip the whites until they reach soft peaks. (add in site here that shows soft peaks, stiff peaks, etc). While still mixing stream in the sugar and cream of tarter. Whip to stiff peaks. Here’s a great article on how to know when your whites are at each stage: How to whip egg whites (without screwing it up)
- ONLY BY HAND, using a flat spatula and making large circles, fold in the whites, gently. You don’t want to deflate your meringue.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake immediately at 350 for 23-28 mins, or until the top is lightly golden and the center springs back when pressed lightly.
Chef’s Tip: Resist the urge to open the oven before about 15 mins of baking. It can cause your cake to sink. So, just be patient!
- Carefully set up to cool UPSIDE DOWN using two small bowls or cups to keep it lifted up. Once completely cool, take a pairing knife and run it all along the edge. Gently flip the cake out.