Ina’s Classic Coconut Cake

To say that I”m a chocolate cake fanatic is an extreme understatement.  For some reason, I’m just drawn to rich dark desserts that ooze with chocolate and the like.  Vanilla just isn’t my thing.   I’m not sure why, I love the smell and I do like the taste (really, of any dessert), but if I had my druthers I would bake something chocolatey.

Not so today, I just got it in my head that I needed a bright and cheery dessert for a New Years Day dinner at my sister in-laws.   And I had coconut on the brain.  Now, I’m not a huge coconut fan, unless they are in these snacking favourites, but I just needed to make something…well…different.  So the search began for a fantastic Coconut Cake, something coconutty but not too sweet.  A look through some of my favourite cookbooks and I quickly settled on Ina Garten’s Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

I made just a small 6 inch version as a test batch and then an 8 inch contour version for the dinner.  I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.  I must say that it’s pretty darn good and will be on my ‘make again’ list.  This is a fairly dense cake and the icing compliments it so well.  I do love a good cream cheese icing every now and then.

I needed to glam it up a bit with the pineapple flower.  These are so easy to make and look stunning on desserts.

It doesn’t take long before the cake is gone… and oddly enough, there are only two of us in the house at the moment, the baker and the photographer.  You know what that means…we had cake for lunch!

Thank you for all of your support in 2011.  I can’t say how much your comments and feedback mean to me.  I have so enjoyed this year of blogging and meeting new blogging and baker friends alike.  I get my inspiration from so many of you!  We sure have whipped up some sweet things on this journey.  Lets see what 2012 has to bring!


Coconut Cake

*recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Coconut Cake Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them parchment paper.

1.   In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.   Set aside.  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. 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.

2.  With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk 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.

3.  Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for appox 4o minutes,  until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

4.  For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until just smooth (don’t whip!).

5.  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 coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.

Garnish with a pineapple flower.


Filed under Cake, Uncategorized

14 responses to “Ina’s Classic Coconut Cake

  1. How rich and decadent. As a person from the Caribbean, I lovvveeee coconut. Coconut everything. This cake looks just beautiful and I bet it’s super delicious.

    Happy New Year!

  2. P

    Beautiful cake and I’m lovin’ that pineapple flower. Very nice touch. All the best to you in 2012!

  3. This cake sounds wonderful. Happy New Year!

  4. Mel

    Thank you for this recipe. I am going to bookmark this and hopefully to bake this soon.

  5. Tiletia

    This recipe is awesome!! I just made it and tweaked it a bit by doing 1/2 cup coconut oil in place of 1/2 cup butter, used coconut bakery emulsion for 1tsp of the vanilla, 1/2 tsp butter emulsion for the almond (i am out of almond right now), and added just a tad of nutmeg. I also ground my coconut finer. It is baking right now. Not sure if it will rise but the batter was To DIE for 🙂 I am actually using it for cupcakes and eventually cake pops.
    Thanks for your blog. I will be back later to see your other recipes…have a blessed day!

  6. Just stumbled across your blog and I love it! Following you now 🙂 Lots of beautiful sweet things and this coconut cake reminds me of the piña colada cake I made few weeks ago. Your coconut cake look a lot lighter than my very dense cake. And how did you get those shredded coconut to stick on the sides of the cake? I had trouble with them.

    • Miss P- Thanks for checking me out! I also took a sneak at your Pina Colada Cake- YUM! To answer your question, I used a thick layer of cream cheese icing underneath all that coconut. There was coconut everywhere in my kitchen when I was done! lol


  7. Anna Kuhlman

    Sooo good. My friends loved this cake!!!!!

  8. Thanks for the recipe
    it’s look amazing 🙂

  9. Cindy Pfluger Long

    Hi Renee,
    Your cake looks outstanding. Please share how you did the fun pineapple garnish! Thanks in advance. Cindy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s