Thursday, May 1, 2014

Coconut Cake

April is a month of many cakes for us.  Both the clever boy and Mr. Clever Mom have birthdays in April, only 3 days apart.  Yes, I agree it was very thoughtful of me to provide Mr. Clever Mom with a son for his birthday last year!  It is a gift that keeps on giving! 

Though I often make a coconut cream pie for Mr. Clever Mom (his absolute favorite) I decided to try a new recipe this year - for Coconut Cake!  This is a Barefoot Contessa recipe, and we all agreed that it was DELICIOUS!

The layers were wonderfully moist, and the frosting!  Oh, my lands!  The frosting was just spectacular!  I will definitely be using this frosting recipe for other cakes...  It is the perfect blend of a cream cheese frosting and buttercream frosting.  Heaven!

I had one brilliant idea for this cake (in my humble opinion), once it was already in the oven, of course.  While the recipe calls for milk in the cake, next time I will try using coconut milk!  Take the coconut flavor to an entirely new level!!  Mmmm.   

Coconut Cake
adapted from the Barefoot Contesssa

3/4 lb. (3 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for buttering pans
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk - try using coconut milk!
4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

For the frosting:
1 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 lb. confectioners sugar, sifted
6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, and line with a circle of parchment paper.  Butter the parchment paper and then dust the pans lightly with flour.

Cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer, using a paddle attachment.  The mixture will get light and fluffy, which will take about 3-5 minutes.  Turn the mixer down to medium speed, and add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl down once during mixing.  Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.  If the mixture looks somewhat curdled, don't worry.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Turn the mixer to low speed and alternatively add the dry ingredients and milk to the batter in three parts - beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix until JUST combined.  Do not overmix.  This is the undoing of a good cake!  Fold in the 4 ounces of sweetened coconut with a rubber spatula. 

Pour the batter evenly into the two prepared pans.  Smooth the top with a spatula.  Bake in the center of the oven for 45-55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool in the pans on a rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out of their pans and back onto the rack to finish cooling.

For the frosting:
Combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and almond extract in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Mix on low speed. Slowly add in the confectioners sugar, a little at a time to avoid a powder-coated kitchen!  Mix just until smooth.  Don't whip!

To assemble, place one layer of cake on a flat serving plate, top side down.  Spread frosting over the top of this layer.  Place the second cake layer on top of the first, top side up, and frost the top and sides.  Sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides.  Serve the cake at room temperature.
Printable Recipe

Since we ended up having a lot of cake in our house at once, this cake stayed in the refrigerator longer than I would prefer.  And guess what?  Many days later, it was STILL delicious and pretty moist!  Amazing! 

My coconut cream pie cannot be beat, but this coconut cake is a definite winner.  If you have a loved one that loves coconut, you must give this a try.  The Barefoot Contessa knows what she is doing with this cake!  It is divine!

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