I made this lovely cake for my birthday back in early July. I had never made a coconut cake before, but I like coconut and I was up for trying something new. Since there are only two of us in the house I decided to halve the recipe and bake the cakes in two 6-inch round pans. While I'm sure we could have polished off a three-layer 8-inch round cake, we had just returned from a trip to Austin where we ate everything, so a little moderation wasn't such a bad idea. This cake has a great coconut flavor, and the coconut milk keeps the layers from baking up dry. If you can't find unsweetened coconut you can definitely use sweetened coconut for the topping.
SOUTHERN COCONUT CAKE
Recipe adapted from Completely Delicious
INGREDIENTS - CAKE
5 large egg whites
1/2 cup (118 ml, 4 fl oz) whole milk
1 tablespoon coconut flavoring
3 cups (340 grams) cake flour
2 1/3 (470 grams) cups sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (237 ml, 8 fl oz) unsweetened coconut milk
INGREDIENTS - FROSTING
12 ounces (340 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
5 1/2 cups (683 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
1-3 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk or regular milk
1 1/2 teaspoon coconut flavoring
1 cup (85 grams) unsweetened coconut
1. For the cake - Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour three 8-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper.
2. Put the egg whites in a bowl and whisk slightly. Add the 1/2 cup milk and coconut flavoring and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the
flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and coconut milk
and combine on low speed until moistened. Increase speed to medium and
beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of
the bowl as needed. Add the egg white mixture in 3 additions, scraping
down the sides of the bowl and mixing just long enough to incorporate
the batter among the prepared pans and bake for 28-30 minutes or until a
toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to
cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto cooling racks
to cool completely.
5. For the frosting - Beat
together the butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar on medium high
speed until light and creamy. Add the coconut flavoring and enough
coconut milk (or regular milk) to reach a spreadable consistency. Mix
the coconut on a sheet pan. Toast in a 350 degree oven until golden,
checking every 2 minutes. Watch it carefully, the coconut will burn
fast. Let it cool completely.
7. Frost the cake and cover the frosted cake with the toasted coconut.