I’ve only been to the South a few times but I must say they have some of my favorite foods down there. Not only is the food spicy and flavorful but the desserts are always so rich and moist. And this coconut cake is no exception.
To be honest, growing up I was never a fan of coconut. I thought it was awful and questioned why anyone would put it on a cake. But this, my friends, reminds me that taste buds do change.
I made this cake a couple weeks ago for a crawfish boil at my dad’s coworker’s house and it was a HIT. So when my cousin’s rehearsal dinner came up, I thought why not make it again?!
The cake has freshly toasted coconut flakes covering the sides, which perfectly go with the sweet cream cheese frosting. I prefer to use unsweetened coconut so it’s not too sweet and focuses more on the coconut flavor. (I also made some sugar cookies with buttercream frosting to go along side, using a recipe from Jenny Cookies, started right near where I live. That recipe is on her website and in an awesome cookbook she put out on the ultimate dessert tables and how to make em.)
Anyway, please do make this cake. It is SO good. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
- 2 sticks salted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 3 8 oz. packets of cream cheese
- 2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla sugar
- 8-10 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened, thin, shredded coconut (optional)
- 3-4 cups unsweetened coconut flakes, like Bob's Red Mill, for decorating
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 8" round, cake pans with nonstick baking spray.
- Cream together butter and sugar in a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time and add in vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder (making your own self-rising flour).
- Add in flour mixture and coconut milk, alternating between the two, starting and ending with the flour mixture until just mixed.
- Pour evenly into each cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about 5-8 minutes then cool on wire rack.
- Cream the cream cheese on high until smooth with the paddle attachment. Mix in vanilla. On low speed add in the powdered sugar (it was a slightly different amount each time I made this, add until desired sweetness).
- Mix on high for about another 2 minutes or until fluffier. Mix in shredded coconut on low.
- Once the cake is cool, spread frosting between layers, on top, and around the cake (if it's warm and the frosting is not holding/flows down, refrigerate for about 8 minutes then re-smooth).
- Spread coconut flakes on a baking sheet and put in the oven on the broil setting for about 8 minutes or just until flakes are lightly toasted (keep an I on them! Once they start toasted, they toast quickly!)
- Press coconut flakes into sides and on top of cake as desired, and extra to decorate the plate.
- Refrigerate to store.