I have baked several Coconut Cake recipes over the years but one of my favorites is Ina Garten's recipe for its rich taste and perfect texture. It is always a crowd pleaser. For this recipe I use Unsweetened Shredded Coconut instead of Sweetened to reduce the sugar content. I also use Pure Vanilla Extract but if you want a whiter cake use Clear Vanilla Extract. You can also substitute the Almond Extract and use Coconut Extract, but I find the combination of Vanilla and Almond Extracts a perfect one. I baked this cake for a family gathering while on vacation. I hope you give this recipe a try.
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
2 cups Sugar
5 Extra Large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Almond Extract
3 cups All Purpose Flour, plus more for dusting the pans
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Coarse Salt
1 cup Milk
1/2 cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
Strawberry Preserves (or any filling you prefer)
1 pound Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 teaspoon pure Almond Extract
1 pound Confectioners'/Powdered Sugar, sifted
6 ounces Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
Heat oven to 350°F.
Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them with parchment paper. Grease again and dust lightly with flour.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
Add the eggs into a small bowl; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs one at a time and incorporate. Scrape down the bowl once during mixing.
Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.
With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
Turn off the mixer and fold in the shredded coconut with a spatula and combine.
Pour the batter evenly into the two cake pans and smooth the tops with a knife.
Bake in the center of the oven for 35 to 45 minutes, until the tops are browned, and a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes with tops down onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extracts on low speed.
Add the confectioners'/powdered sugar and mix until just smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Assemble the Cake
If your cake has a dome on top use a serrated knife to cut it off to an even top.
To assemble, place one layer on a flat serving plate or cake turntable, top side down, and place parchment paper around the edges for easy clean up.
Spread with preserves, filling or frosting.
Place the second layer on top with the top side down, and generously frost the top and sides.
To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with the shredded coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides.
Serve at room temperature.
Ina Garten, Coconut Cake recipe: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/coconut-cake-recipe-1947027