Have you ever had a dessert that was so completely ugly but it was so good that it didn't even matter? Or a beautifully plated masterpiece that was dry and lackluster that it made you resent it's good looks? Yeah well this "coconut" cake falls into the second category.
Coconut is put into quotations because I don't think a yellowish cake with a handful of shredded coconut folded into it constitutes a coconut cake! This cake had it's ups and down. It was gorgeous, there's no doubt about that. I was even impressed with myself because it looked so ethereal. It was so white and cloud like. It had a good amount of coconut on and in it and the frosting was good. But then again it's hard to screw up cream cheese frosting.
It's down sides were that it was HEAVY and DENSE and dry and didn't taste like coconut. It had almond and vanilla extract in it which was good but that's what the cake tasted like--not coconut. I think this cake could have been benefited from some coconut milk or cream of coconut, maybe even coconut extract. It was just lacking something, which is pretty sad when it contains 3 sticks of butter and 5 eggs! I read the reviews on this cake and a lot of people really loved it while all the others agree with me and didn't. Make it and let me know what you think.
And did I mention this was for my in-laws 38th wedding anniversary. I had every intention of making a different cake but she kept hinting that she really wanted a coconut cake. No one really had any comments about it- good or bad, but I knew it was NOT a hit when my MIL didn't want to take any home with her. And sadly, I didn't blame her. A good portion of this went in the trash. I'll have to redeem myself on their 39th!
- 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp., plus more for greasing the pans
- 2 cups sugar
- 5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup milk
- 4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.
Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until just smooth (don't whip!).
To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.
Happy 38th Anniversary N&B!