Okay, so this is the section of this post where I spend four to five paragraphs writing about what I love about this coconut cake. I will use all my big kitchen science-y words so that I sound really professional and Cake Boss-like. I will tell you of how my love for baking was inspired by my Mamaw (great-grandmother). I will tell you that she made the best cakes and didn’t even like cake. Or pie (how were even related?).
But this isn’t a food blog and I am not professional baker. I am just a gal who loves sweet eats and bakes her feelings. I have no desire to write a novel about cake. And should you ever make one of these recipes, do so at your own risk, I make up so many recipes…I am literally winging it in the kitchen most times. Coconut cake is a favorite of my husband’s. He often asks for it for his birthday, Father’s Day, holidays, any day that ends in “day.”
I know a lot of coconut cakes use icing, and this is still so very good, but I’m not an icing type of gal (unless it’s on an oatmeal cookie) and I LOVE cream cheese frosting, so how could I not top this cake with a cream cheese frosting (plus coconut).
If you make this, let me know….unless you don’t like it, then you probably messed up somewhere…try again.
Alright, friends, let’s get after it.
¾ lbs. Unsalted butter for the sophisticated folks. 3 sticks unsalted butter for the rest of us. Room temperature, y’all. I mean nuke it a lil bit in the microwave if you want, but don’t melt it.
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs Room temperature, guys.
1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract (or bourbon, works the same and adds a little something different). If you use bourbon, save some to sip on a little later, optional, of course.
1 ½ tsp pure almond extract (or more bourbon) you could also use coconut extract.
3 cups cake flour for the sophisticated folks. All-purpose for the rest of us (sift the all-purpose flour for sure, toss a coin on the cake flour…it’s supposed to already be sifted, they be lying though).
1 tsp baking powder (check y’all expiration dates..I don’t know why I mention this cause my cakes come out the same with or without baking powder, do what you feel is best…take the risk or don’t).
½ tsp baking soda (see above for expired products)
½ tsp kosher salt (table salt is just fine…but if you have kosher, use that)
1 cup milk (or coconut milk…I prefer milk because of its higher fat content…that sounded real professional, right?)
4 ounces shredded coconut (this is really an estimate, grab a handful and when it’s time, sprinkle til the ancestors tell you to stop).
Directions for batter
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream your butter and sugar. You could do this separately (creaming the butter, then adding sugar, and creaming some more…but why?). If you have a mixer, y’all work those speeds out, all mixers ain’t created equal.
- In a small bowl, separate your egg whites from your yolks. Add yolks to butter/sugar mixture. Mix/blend/stir. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. There’s Google for what a stiff peak is, or just whip it until your wrist begs for mercy. Set aside.
- Add your extracts. Mix. Take your sip of bourbon (optional).
- In a separate bowl, add your sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix.
- Add half of your flour mixture to the sugar mixture. Mix. Then add half of the milk. Mix. Then add the rest of the flour mixture. Mix. Then the rest of the milk. Mix.
- Add your egg whites. Mix.
- Add the coconut. You know what’s next, mix.
- Butter and flour 3 8-9 inch cake pans. This can be a sheet cake as well, but y’all gotta eyeball the cook times, cause I don’t know it. This could also be a really good bundt cake, but my gosh bundt cakes take forever to bake. But y’all make whatever, it will be good regardless.
- Bake 20-22 minutes. Something like that.
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, y’all.
8 ounces full-fat cream cheese, room temperature.
5 cups confectioners sugar for the sophisticated, powdered sugar for the rest of us.
2 tablespoons coconut milk (this is a must for flavor, you could use regular milk though)
½ tsp vanilla extract (or….you guessed it, bourbon)
½ tsp coconut extract
⅛ tsp (this is half of ¼ tsp; seriously i didn’t have a spoon this small, so had to rely on grade school math…or hell, throw a pinch or dash in there and hope for the best, I believe in you).
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut (probably measure this one out for sure, too much coconut makes it too hard to spread around)
Optional: lemon curd (found in the jam and jelly aisle at the supermarket)
Directions for frosting
- Cream your butter and cream cheese.
- Add your powdered sugar one cup at a time, unless you’re feeling really bold and wanna add more, go for it, I say. Stir until well blended.
- Add coconut milk, extracts (or bourbon), and salt. Mix.
- Add the coconut and mix.
- Optional: if you are going to use the lemon curd, reserve half of the frosting and mix it with the lemon curd. This will be your filling for the cake.
Assembling the cake
- Make sure your cakes are completely cooled. They will break when handled if not, and broken cake is still edible, but it’s ugly.
- Remove your cake from the pans and level them off (cut off tops to make them more even).
- Frost the first layer (with the optional lemon curd frosting or regular frosting). Layer another cake on top, frost (with optional lemon curd frosting or regular frosting). Put last layer on. Frost with regular frosting (not the curd one).
- Sprinkle more coconut on the cake. Top and sides. I can’t tell you how much coconut you will be using for this cake, there’s coconut in the batter, in the frosting, and on the cake itself. Get you a couple of large bags. I don’t usually use all of this, but hell, sometimes…I do.
- Bake at your own risk, friends.