Easter, like most holidays in my family include lots of good food and family in one place. After we’d all dressed up in our Easter Sunday best (flower dresses for all the ladies; I’m disappointed people aren’t wearing easter hats like they used, too) for the Sunday service, we headed to my Grandmother and Grandaddy’s house for lunch. My contribution was this coconut cake that had been tempting me for over two weeks. And when I realized Easter was right around the corner I had an excuse to bake a layer cake! Although this cake was full of mistakes, it still tasted good, and pressing coconut on top of the icing makes those mistakes disappear in a heart beat. See look you’d never know that I had to stick toothpicks into the cake to keep the top layer from sliding off (I should have cut off the top of the bottom layer to make a flat surface, but I had already put on the middle layer of icing, so it was too late) , or that my cream cheese butter cream frosting was a little melt-y (the sudden surge of heat that week, made my softened butter a lil too soft), and kept wanting to slide down the side of the cake. Lots of sliding all around it seems. I stuck the cake in the fridge while we were at church hoping to remedy the avalanche of frosting.
Here was my full plate for lunch. I love that each portion of food makes me think of a different family member. My grandmother is famous in our immediate family for her spiced peach Jello; my brother’s girlfriend Niki, quickly became famous in my book for her pineapple casserole; my mom’s broccoli casserole is so good its been co-opted by other members of the family that this was the first time she’s made it in several years; and my great Aunt Barbara always brings something healthy and tasty like this bean salad. Of course all of this wonderful goodness is washed down with sweet tea. I mean we are in North Carolina after all!
I wasn’t fast enough to get a before picture. This was what was left after the first go around.
Ina Garten’s Coconut Cake
I found this recipe here. The cake is like a pound cake, and the frosting not overly sweet.
I’ve also been eying a coconut cake recipe from Sky High Cakes that I found here.
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature (save butter paper to grease the pans!)
2 cups sugar
5 xl eggs (at room temp.)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt (i’m not sure how much the kosher part really matters)
1 cup milk
4 oz. shredded coconut
2 8oz packs (1 lb.) cream cheese at room temp.
2 sticks butter (1/2 lb.) at room temp.
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 lb. (1 box, usually) powdered sugar
6 oz. shredded coconut, toasted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 9-inch cake pans.
For cake, cream butter and sugar with a mixer in a large bowl, until light yellow and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mix well, and scrap down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add vanilla and almond extracts, mix well.
In a separate medium-sized bowl whisk or sift together baking powder, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, alternately mix in the dry ingredients and milk into the sugar-butter-egg mixture; begin and end with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined, and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Fold in the 4 oz of coconut (un-toasted).
Divide batter between the two cake pans, and smooth out the top. Bake in center of the oven 45-55 minutes, until tops are brown, and center is set. Cool on baking rake for 30 minutes, turn out of pans, and cool completely.
While cake is baking you can also toast the coconut for the outside of the cake. Simply spread the 6 oz. of coconut on a baking sheet, and put in oven with the cakes. Let bake 5 minutes, then check every few minutes until at least 1/3 is browned. You can stir and bake longer at least once, if you like because the corners and edges tend to brown faster. Remove and let cool.
For frosting, combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract in a bowl with a mixer on low. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
To assemble cake place one layer on serving plate. If the top is not flat go ahead a flatten it out by cutting horizontally across the top with a serrated knife. Cover top with a layer of frosting. Place the second layer on top, and frost the top and sides. Sprinkle toasted coconut on top, and gently press it onto the sides. Best served at room temperature.