I first made this coconut cake for Easter; then I made it for Mother’s Day and then for my American Literature students, and, most recently, for the 4th of July. People who say they don’t like coconut, like this cake. It is dense, moist, and delicious. It’s perfect for Easter, was great for Mother’s Day because my former sister-in-law (who loves coconut) came over, and was a big hit with my American Lit. class – so how did I make the leap to 4th of July? Each year I enter our local city bake-off; I have always baked a pie, and I have always placed either 2nd or 3rd. I’ve run out of pie ideas, so I decided to enter something different. Since everyone loves this coconut cake, I thought I would make that, but I had to find a way to make it festive, since the bake-off is part of our 4th of July celebration. I decided to dye the coconut flakes red and blue. I think the result was very festive and patriotic, and the judges agreed because I won 1st place overall (of the three categories). Because I made the cake late the night before the bake-off, I didn’t take any photos in process; I think I may have some from previous preparations, and I will post them if I come across them. In the meantime, I wanted to get the recipe posted since it has been requested by many.
- 2 ¾ Cups Flour
- 1 tsp. Baking Powder
- ½ tsp. Baking Soda
- ½ tsp. Salt (plus a pinch)
- 1 ¾ Cup Sugar
- 1 Cup Unsalted Butter (softened at room temperature)
- 1 Cup of Sweetened Cream of Coconut (found with adult beverage mixers)
- 4 Large Eggs
- 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup Buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Grease and flour two high sided (at least 2 inches) 9 inch round cake pans.* In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1/.2 tsp. salt until well blended. Add sugar, butter and sweetened cream of coconut to a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Use an electric mixer to beat ingredients until fluffy. Separate the eggs and add the yolks to the mixture (reserve the whites) along with the vanilla – beat until combined. Add about ½ of the dry ingredient mixture followed by ½ of the buttermilk – mix until incorporated, and repeat until all dry ingredients and buttermilk are all incorporated. Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and whisk until stiff but not dry. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until combined.
Divide the cake batter between the two pans and place on a baking sheet or piece of foil (in case of overflow). Place in the center rack of preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes – or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. The cakes will be slightly browned, but do not allow to overbrown. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Run a knife along the rims of the pans to loosen the cakes and turn out onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
*If you don’t have high sided cake pans, fill cake pans about 2/3 full and use extra batter for cupcakes (you should get about 5 extra cupcakes).
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 -8 oz. Packages of Cream Cheese – softened to room temperature
- ½ Cup butter – softened to room temperature
- 2 Cups Powdered Sugar
- ½ Cup Canned Sweetened Cream of Coconut (remainder of can used for cake)
- 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
- 4 Cups Sweetened Coconut Flakes*
In a medium size mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer until fluffy. Add butter and beat until incorporated. Add sugar, cream of coconut and vanilla and beat until well blended. Frost the bottom layer of the cake (use about 1/3 of the frosting) and sprinkle with about 1 cup of the coconut flakes. Add top layer to cake and frost with remaining frosting – being sure to cover sides as well as top. Cover top and sides with remaining coconut flakes.
*Coconut flakes can be dyed festive colors by simply putting coconut flakes in a Ziploc bag and adding a few drops of food coloring. Mix until well combined.