I have an ongoing list of cake flavors I want to make, and this Golden Milk Cake recipe has been on it for two whole years! I just love golden milk lattes and thought a layer cake version would be a fun flavor to try in cake form. So when I was killing time on baby watch in my final weeks of pregnancy, I decided to break out the turmeric and get a little creative in the kitchen. Not only did I learn some surprising things in the testing process, but the end result was so tasty and timely for Fall baking. Whether you’re a turmeric tea lover or just looking for something different than your average tea cake, this one’s for you!
The thing I love most about a golden milk latte is the spice blend, so I made sure to incorporate a good amount of spice in this recipe with turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger. And since my milk of choice for a golden milk latte is always coconut milk, I decided to use it as the liquid in this cake and the buttercream. Not only did coconut milk complement the flavor profile perfectly, it added a great amount of moisture to the cake without making it dense at all. I usually add sour cream to my cake recipes for moisture, but with the coconut milk, this recipe doesn’t need any extra moisture! From the taste to the texture, this Golden Milk Cake is exactly what I was hoping for.
Let’s talk about the color of this cake, because I learned some science-y things about that in my recipe testing. In my first trial, I used baking powder and baking soda as leavening agents, and while the cake rose beautifully and tasted great, the color was reddish orange instead of the classic turmeric yellow color I was envisioning. It looked like a sweet potato cake!
After doing a little research, I realized that when turmeric comes into contact with alkaline (or base) solutions like baking soda, it turns the end result red. Being the perfectionist I am, I just couldn’t settle for a Golden Milk Cake that was not a golden yellow color, so I tweaked the recipe to omit the baking soda and include more baking powder. The result: a tasty Golden Milk Cake that is perfectly turmeric colored!
One important side note about turmeric though: it can stain things. Be careful not to get it on your clothes or kitchen towels!
I decided to fill and frost this Golden Milk Cake with Coconut Buttercream just because the sweetness of the coconut pairs so perfectly with the spices in the cake. Like I mentioned before, coconut milk is my milk of choice when it comes to an actual golden milk latte, so incorporating the flavor of coconut was a no-brainer for me. If you’d rather use my Vanilla Buttercream recipe, I’m certain that it would be a great flavor pairing as well. But trust me, the Coconut Buttercream takes this cake beyond.
Since I love the color of turmeric so much, I tinted some of the Coconut Buttercream with a custom mix of Americolor Dijon + Lemon Yellow + Orange until I ended up with the perfect turmeric hue. Then, I used it to create an ombrè of color that goes from turmeric to white, piped an open star border with Wilton Tip 6B, and sprinkled some turmeric over the top for an extra pop of color. Any way you end up decorating this cake, I can assure you that it’s delicious if you’re a golden milk latte lover like me! Enjoy!
Golden Milk Layer Cake
Inspired by one of my favorite Fall treats: the golden milk latte! Layers of moist, fluffy golden milk flavored cake (spiced with turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger), filled and frosted with decadent coconut buttercream.
Golden Milk Cake
- 2 3/4 Cups (290g) cake flour, sifted before measuring
- 2 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 Tbsp ground turmeric
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 Cup (226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 3/4 Cups (360g) granulated white sugar
- 3 whole eggs, room temperature
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 Cups (296ml) full fat coconut milk
- 2 Cups (452g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 7 Cups (840g) powdered sugar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp pure coconut extract
- 3 Tbsp coconut milk, room temperature
- 1/4 tsp salt
Make the Golden Milk Cake
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare three 6-inch or two 9-inch cake pans by spraying the sides with a cooking spray (Baker's Joy is my favorite) and fitting a wax or parchment paper circle to the bottom of the pan. Alternatively, you can grease and lightly flour the pans.
Sift the cake flour and then measure by spooning and leveling it in your measuring cup. Add the cake flour, baking powder, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer (a handheld mixer works fine too!), cream the butter for on high for two minutes until it's light and fluffy. Add in sugar and continue to mix on medium-high for another two minutes, scraping down the bowl and paddle as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix for one minute on high, scraping down the bowl and paddle once more.
With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Then, add the coconut milk slowly and mix until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and give it a few stirs to make sure there are no lumps (without over-mixing). The batter will be slightly thick, but pourable.
Pour batter evenly into prepared cake pans (no more than 2/3 of the way full) and bake for 35-40 minutes. They're done when they spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for five minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack for an additional few hours of cooling. Make sure they're entirely room temperature before applying any frosting.
Make the Coconut Buttercream
With a hand mixer or paddle attachment on your stand mixer, cream the butter on medium-high until it’s creamy and light (almost white) in color. About 7 minutes.
With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar a few cups at a time, scraping down after each addition and making sure each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next one.
Add vanilla extract, coconut extract, coconut milk, and salt and mix on medium-low for another two minutes until fully incorporated.
Once the Golden Milk Cake layers have cooled completely, fill and frost with Coconut Buttercream. To create the design pictured, tint one cup of buttercream a deep yellow color with the food color gels of your choice (I used a mix of Americolor Dijon + Lemon Yellow + Orange until I ended up with the perfect turmeric hue). Mix a lighter yellow shade by combining the darker yellow with some uncolored buttercream and create a messy ombrè by adding the darkest yellow on the bottom third of the cake, followed by the lighter yellow until finally adding the uncolored buttercream to the top third and top of the cake. Keep adding and smoothing until you like what you see.
Pipe a star border around the top of the cake with the uncolored Coconut Buttercream using Wilton Tip 6B, then sprinkle with ground turmeric.
Make Ahead Tips:
- The Golden Milk Cake layers can be made ahead and stored, wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to two days. Alternatively, you can store the wrapped cake layers in the freezer for up to 2 months before thawing and frosting.
- The Coconut Buttercream can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. When you’re ready to use it, bring it back to room temperature and re-whip in your stand mixer to bring back to smooth buttercream consistency.
To Make As Cupcakes: fill cupcake tins no more than 2/3 of the way full and bake at 350ºF for 15-17 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Yields about 36-40 cupcakes.
Did you make this cake recipe? I want to know how it went! Let me know in the comments below and feel free to tag @sugarandsparrowco in a photo on Instagram to show me – I love to see what you create with my recipes!