Coconut milk adds a nutty richness to this simple, foolproof cake. Serving it straight from the pan ensures that all the sweet soaking liquid is absorbed into the cake and makes for easy dinner-party transportation. A splash of brandy is traditional, but feel free to play around with flavored liqueurs like Grand Marnier or your favorite high-proof amaro. Be sure to use full-fat coconut milk, and to thoroughly shake the can before opening it to incorporate the milk with any solidified cream. Store the cake in the fridge for as long as possible, and when you arrive at your destination, swirl the whipped cream over the top and dust generously with ground cinnamon.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch pan with vegetable oil. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder until evenly incorporated.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, combine the egg whites and sugar and beat until stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, making sure each one is fully incorporated before adding the next.
- With the mixer on low, alternate adding the flour mixture and a total of ½ cup (4 oz.) of the coconut milk, making sure each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next.
- Pour into greased pan and bake until puffed and golden brown, and a fork inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the remaining coconut milk, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and brandy. Whisk until sweetened condensed milk has fully dissolved. Set aside.
- Once the cake has cooled slightly, use a chopstick or skewer to poke holes all across the cake, with a hole about every half inch or so. Slowly pour the reserved milk mixture onto the surface of the cake, covering every inch and giving the liquid time to absorb as you pour. Refrigerate until cold, 4 hours or up to overnight.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream and confectioners' sugar to stiff peaks, about 4 minutes. Swirl the whipped cream over the surface of the cake and garnish generously with ground cinnamon. Serve chilled.
Alex Testere is a writer, editor, and illustrator based in Brooklyn. He spends most of his time cooking and thinking about his houseplants.