Coconut Cake

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Normally Mike appreciates variety on the menu, but he is really stuck on this cake. He wants this cake for every birthday and, honestly, every celebration of any kind. He acts like he hardly ever gets this, similar to how a young child will lament that Christmas is always ages away.

 I found this family favorite in a book called Pie in the Sky by Susan Purdy. The coconut cake is a version of the 1-2-3-4 Cake. Another version offered for this recipe is the Santa Fe Spice Cake. All excellent. This is a unique cookbook because the author has taken her wonderful recipes for sea level to four other altitudes and developed and tested them  to perfection. This was the only cookbook I used for baking while we lived in Colorado. Other frequently used recipes from this book are Highland Currant Scones (I use this as my master scone recipe and make my own variations depending on what we have on hand- we make ours with whole grain pastry wheat) and Pike's Peak Apple Pie. The recipes are tested at sea level, 3,ooo feet, 5,ooo feet, 7, ooo feet, and 10,000 feet. 


Coconut Cake

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 Tbs. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup lightly packed, shredded sweetened coconut

1/2 pound (two sticks) butter

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 tsp. coconut extract

1 cup whole milk

Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat to 350. Line two 9-inch round cake pans with waxed paper, then grease pans. In medium bowl whisk  flour, baking powder, salt, and coconut together; set aside. 

In large bowl of electric mixer cream butter and sugar until well blended. Scrape down bowl and beater. Beat in eggs  2 at a time, along with the vanilla and coconut extract, beating well then scraping down bowl. 

On lowest speed, slowly add dry ingredients, alternating with milk. Once batter is blended, increase the speed and beat for about one minute, until smooth and creamy. 

Divide batter evenly between the two pans; smooth the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden, nicely risen, and springy to the touch. Cake tester should come out dry. Cool in the pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. 

Run a knife around the sides to release cakes, then top with plate and invert. Remove pan and peel off waxed paper. Cool completely then frost. 

Coconut Icing

Garnish: 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

3 ounces cream cheese (not low-fat), softened

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 tsp. coconut extract

1 lb. box powdered sugar, sifted (about 5 1/4 cups)

3 Tbs. milk, or as needed

Preheat oven to 375. Spread the coconut on a cookie sheet and bake 6-10 min., tossing occasionally, until evenly golden brown. Let cool. 

Cream butter and cream cheese until completely smooth. Add the exctracts and about 2 cups powdered sugar. Beat until smooth. Add remaining sugar and milk and beat until spreading consistency. Add a few more drops of milk if needed. 

Frost cake then sprinkle with toasted coconut.

For my friends in Colorado, make the following changes:

Instead of milk, substitute 1 1/2 cups buttermilk. 

Use 2 Tbs. baking powder, 3/4 tsp. salt.

Subtract 2 Tbs. sugar.

Use 5 eggs.

Place oven rack in lower third of oven, bake 22-27 minutes. 

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Without the toasted coconut.

The toasted coconut makes a pleasant crunchy contrast to the smooth icing.
© Being Fruitful, 2012