February 16, 2022

Coconut Cake to Cure a Sweet Tooth

If you have people in your house who don't like desserts that are "too sweet," then you might not want to make this. We love it and make it a couple of times a year-- for a birthday, or Easter, or just when a hankering for something sweet is strong. The cake is moist and rich, with so much butter and and sugar in it (it is from a Barefoot Contessa cookbook) and five whole eggs. The frosting I prefer with it and included below is not the cream cheese frosting that the original recipe calls for, but just a favorite simple, sweet, vanilla one. Lots of coconut in the cake and on top provide texture, fun, and coconutty flavor. Enjoy!    

Coconut Cake
slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home

3 sticks unsalted butter
2 C sugar
5 large eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 t almond extract
3 C flour 
1 t baking powder 
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t kosher salt
1 C milk
4 oz. sweetened shredded coconut 

Vanilla Coconut Frosting:
(Barefoot Contessa cake recipe comes with a cream cheese frosting. I use this simple vanilla frosting instead, from an unknown source-- a photocopy from an old cookbook.)

1/2 C butter
1lb. + 1 C confectioner's sugar (about 5 C)
2 t vanilla
1/8 t salt
4 - 5 T milk
6 oz. sweetened shredded coconut 

For Cake:
Preheat oven to 350. Grease two round 9-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper, then grease again and lightly dust with flour. 

In mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. 

With mixer on medium, add eggs one at a time, scraping down bowl once during mixing. 

Add both extracts and mix well. 

In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk in three parts. Mix until just combined. 

Fold in coconut. 

Pour batter evenly into the two pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 30 - 45 minutes, till tops are brown and a cake tester comes out clean. 

Cool in pans for a bit, then turn out onto baking rack to finish cooling. 

For Frosting:
Cream butter, 1 cup confectioner's sugar, vanilla, and salt in large mixer bowl. 

Add remaining confectioner's sugar alternately with milk, beating to spreading consistency. 

To assemble, place one cake layer on a plate, top side down, and spread top with a little less than a third of the frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side down, and frost top of that with another third (or less) of frosting. Use remaining frosting to frost the sides. (This recipe never seems to completely hide every bit of cake, but the coconut helps, plus when you eat it there is plenty of sweet frosting to go around flavor-wise, so it seems like the right amount!) 

Sprinkle the top with coconut and press more on the sides. 

Serve at room temperature, but store in the fridge. 

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