Coconut Vanilla Bean Layer Cake

Fluffy coconut cake soaked with a coconut simple syrup and adorned with spirals of pastel vanilla bean buttercream.  Instead of weighing down the subtle coconut flavor with thick slabs of frosting or muting it with vibrant tropical flavors, the semi "naked" frosting allows the coconut cake to be the star!

Coconut Vanilla Bean Layer Cake
Coconut Vanilla Bean Layer Cake
Coconut Vanilla Bean Layer Cake

There’s a reason why beauty stores sell sea salt spray to create perfectly beachy waves at home.  What I didn’t know until this morning is that you can get some pretty good, natural-looking curls after an evening of beach volleyball in a sand/wind storm.  Had the power not gone off at 9pm when we got home last night I would have certainly washed my hair, but none of this is really even relevant to my story…

Brett and I will have been married 7 years this July.  After knowing each other for nearly a decade and multiple careers, moves, and children later (fur and human), I think he sometimes knows me even better than I know myself – our entire relationship being summed up in one game of recreational volleyball.

Brett and his co-workers signed up for a rec league a couple months back.  Long story short, last night was the playoffs and with my mom in town to babysit, I was invited to play as one third of the females needed in the co-ed division.  Brett knows how at times I crave other adult human interaction, how much I enjoy silly things like rec sports, but also how I get incredibly anxious over new situations.  I’m an adventurous introvert – constantly forcing myself out of my comfort zone while loathing the anticipation of trying something unfamiliar but secretly wanting to be in on all the action. 

Coconut Vanilla Bean Layer Cake
Coconut Vanilla Bean Layer Cake

All day yesterday he reassured me that yes – it was still okay for me to tag along, that he warned the other players to not set their expectations for me too high (per my request), and that it would be fun.  He humoured me when I asked what to wear (pants you can bend over in, haha) and reminded me to drink water (because he knows I tend to forget). He gave clear instructions, including a pick-up time that was 15 minutes earlier than normal knowing how I am always running a bit behind but also hate being late.  And after 9 years together, I am in no way offended by his anticipation of me running late because he also knows I can respectively hold my own in front of his co-workers in a casual yet competitive setting.

On the other hand, I know him pretty well, too.  Even though I was hesitant at first, I trusted Brett when he said that I would have fun and that there would be nothing for me to worry about (he was right).  I know his own competitive nature and could tell that he was purposefully serving into the wind when we were behind, making it nearly impossible for the opposing team to return the ball (even if nobody else picked up on his strategy).  But Brett is also sensitive and compassionate, so I also knew how bad he felt for the girl who kept leaving a hole open for him to serve into once we were ahead as he tried to quiet his competitive spirit for the sake of the playful nature that this rec league was all about.  I knew that he would still find me beautiful even with sand in my ears, eyes, nose, and everywhere else.  And that he would, without question, let me have the first shower when we got home while he put Everett to bed after missing him all day.  Most importantly, I knew that no matter what position I was in, both in the game and in real life, he always had (and has) my back.

Anyways, it’s not Father’s Day nor is it our anniversary, but I just wanted to share this little slice of our life.  Because, why not?  Things just click right now.  We’ve finally found somewhat of a rhythm between work, family, and play.  And while we still love a spontaneous date-night in or adventure with our son, we can mostly anticipate each other’s moves and thoughts and it really makes for a happy, healthy, and productive situation right now - not in a mundane way, but it a nurturing, intimate, I-know-you-better-than-I-know-myself-sometimes kind of way.  

Coconut Vanilla Bean Layer Cake

Does this all have anything to do with this cake?  No, not really – except that when I told Brett it would take me only an hour to decorate and photograph it, he knew it really meant three.  And knowing how much Brett despises shredded coconut, I intentionally left it out of the cake and only to create the delectable coconut simple syrup.

What goes well with coconut? More coconut! I found that many coconut cake recipes are paired with lemon or vibrant tropical flavors. For this cake, I wanted to make sure that the coconut remained the star and wasn’t weighed down by other overly sweet or tart ingredients. The cake layers themselves are made with creamy coconut milk then brushed with coconut simple syrup. The coconut simple syrup adds great depth to the otherwise subtle cake layers without the use of coconut extract. Trust me, it tastes like heaven! I first considered a coconut cream cheese frosting, but a simple yet pure vanilla bean buttercream ended up being the perfect match.
— Tessa Huff for The Cake Blog

For the full recipe, head on over to The Cake Blog