Vanilla Rum Coconut Cake
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 sticks butter ½ pound
2 cups sugar divided
8 egg whites
FROSTING AND DECORATION
2 cups butter
3 boxes powdered sugar 12 ounces each
¼ to ½ cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon dark rum
Sugar Fondant Starfish
For cake: Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper rounds, then grease and flour the paper.
In a bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a glass measuring cup, combine milk and vanilla.
In a mixer fitted with paddle, cream butter and 12⁄3 cups sugar until fluffy. Alternating flour mixture and milk mixture, add to batter one-third at a time. Mix until just blended.
In another clean bowl, with a whisk, beat egg whites until frothy. Slowly whisk in remaining 1⁄3 cup sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter.
Divide batter evenly among cake pans. Bake until lightly browned and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans.
For frosting: In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, combine butter, sugar, and rum on low speed. Increase to medium and beat until creamy and fluffy. While still beating, add coconut milk, a little at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
To assemble, with a long serrated knife, slice cake rounds in half horizontally for a total of 6 layers. Place a cake layer down and spread with ½ cup frosting. Continue stacking and frosting the layers. Frost the top and sides of the cake and, using a small palette knife or spreader, decorate with your best ocean wave swirl. Decorate the top with fondant starfish.