This cake is made from choux pastry, the same dough used to make éclairs. It's easier to make than you might think, and the end result is irresistible. Prep and Cook Time: 1 hour, plus cooling time. Notes: Unsweetened flaked coconut is available at most natural-food stores.
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces, plus more for buttering pans
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut (see Notes)
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons strawberry or raspberry preserves
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 400°. Butter 3 large baking sheets and set aside.
In a medium pan over medium heat, melt 1/2 cup butter with 1 cup water; bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and immediately add flour, sugar, and salt all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball that pulls away from sides of pan, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Add eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously to fully incorporate each egg before adding the next. The mixture will appear to separate at first; keep stirring until dough comes together into a smooth paste.
Divide dough evenly among the 3 prepared baking sheets. Using a spatula, spread dough into 8-in. circles.
Bake pastry layers 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° and bake until browned, 10 to 15 minutes. (Pastry may be baked in batches.) Transfer layers to cooling racks and set aside. Meanwhile, spread coconut on a baking sheet and bake at 350° until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, beat cream to soft peaks. Add powdered sugar and beat to combine.
Spread each pastry layer with 1 tbsp. preserves, then top each with 1/3 of the whipped cream and 1/3 of the coconut. Stack the circles and slice with a serrated knife.