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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Artery Clogging Coconut Cake

This weekend I tried my hand at baking my first ever, completely from scratch, cake. I took the new KitchenAid mixer out of the box for the first time since receiving it at a wedding shower last year and got to work.

After reading some reviews online, I slightly adapted the Barefoot Contessa's Coconut Cake Recipe as my guide. The link shows her recipe but I changed out a few things that I'll list here. (Warning: With as much butter that is in this recipe, you'd think Ina Gardner took a page from Paula Dean's cookbook!)

Substitutions: I used coconut milk instead of regular milk, more vanilla/less almond extract, cake flour instead of regular flour, adjusted baking time, and toasted the coconut topping instead of using it as is.


  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 3 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting the pans
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
For the frosting: (this made way too much frosting for my cake, but I guess I could have used some more between the layers.)
  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon imitation coconut extract
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted (I used a bit more to thicken it)
  • 6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut (PLEASE NOTE: I preferred the color and texture of toasted coconut for this part, so I baked it on a baking sheet at 325 degrees for about 12 minutes. Mine was already sweetened, but here are instructions for sweetening and toasting your 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 35-45 minutes (she suggests 45-55 and that is too long!), 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.

For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, almond and coconut 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 toasted coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides.

Serve at room temperature.

Enjoy! But with over a pound of butter and a pound of cream cheese, don't enjoy TOO often ;-)
Happy end of your Birthday Week, Dave!


andrea July 28, 2009 at 2:01 PM  

Sounds delicious! I love my mixer {we got black}, I have the same MS cake plate...all three round ones in fact {and all three square} I love cake plates!

Where did you get those cool cooling racks? Love that they stack!

Anonymous July 28, 2009 at 3:49 PM  

so yummy! I just licked my screen, but it has no flavor. :(

Stephanie July 28, 2009 at 5:52 PM  

Thanks! Andrea, I have 2 of the 3 round ones, but they always were out of the 3rd!

The racks are "Wilton Indulgence Three-Tier Cooling Rack" from Bed Bath & Beyond... another awesome shower gift!

Colleen MacDonald July 29, 2009 at 10:45 AM  

Oh my LORD! That looks amazing!

Livinia Redlips May 17, 2010 at 5:08 PM  

What did you think of the cake? I made it too and it was too dense, or something.

Stephanie @ kitschicagoan May 17, 2010 at 5:13 PM  

@Livinia Redlips: We liked it but it was a bit dense. And I liked the toasted coconut for color, but I think it would have tasted moister if I kept it untoasted.


About Me

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I'm a St. Louis native, but I have been living in Chicago since 2005 and am loving every windy minute of it. I enjoy cooking (more-so eating), home decorating and really anything creative. I'm a supporter of DIY & handmade goods, a fledgling foodie and a connoisseur of kitsch. I spend my days filling online shopping carts, emptying them and repeating the process all over again. Most of all I love spending time with my husband, Dave, our first child, Claire and my dog, Louie.

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