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!
*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.