This year I baked my own birthday cake. I have to admit, I didn’t mind one bit! I knew exactly what I wanted. I’d been dreaming about this cake that I’d spotted on Pioneer Woman some time ago, but never justified making, because it contained coconut. Lots and lots of it- in the batter, in the frosting, and even more on top! And Dustin despises coconut. And usually, I try to please him. But this was my birthday. The one day a year I could make whatever dessert I wanted and not feel guilty for not thinking of him. So I made this beautiful coconuty cake for my family who was coming to celebrate, and mostly for me!
I give him credit, because even when he claims to dislike an ingredient, Dustin is usually willing to try at least one bite of anything. Well the silly thing is, Dustin turns out to not only like this cake, but to absolutely love it! As do the rest of us, but that was more expected. He even said it was one of the best cakes I’d ever made! That from a coconut hater.
We all agreed that this cake is incredible. Soft and moist in the middle, with three layers separated by coconut and pecan studded cream cheese frosting (that is sweetened with a generous portion of powdered sugar), and topped with golden toasted coconut. It was one of my best birthday cakes ever. (A close competitor with last year’s German Chocolate Cake– another one of my favorites!)
Coconut Cream Cake
For the Cake:
1 stick salted butter, room temperature (I used unsalted and added 1/2 tsp. salt)
1 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
5 whole egg, separated
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
For the Frosting:
2 packages (8 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick salted butter, at room temperature (you can add a pinch of salt if you use unsalted butter)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
6 cups powdered sugar
1 cup chopped pecans (could be toasted for extra flavor)
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
several squeezes fresh lemon juice (about half a lemon, optional but highly recommended)
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted (for topping the cake, optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour 3, 9-in. round cake pans.
2. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, cream butter, oil, and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in egg yolks, vanilla, and coconut.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt (if using).
5. Alternate adding the buttermilk and dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the egg whites.
6. Pour evenly into the three prepared pans. Sprinkle the top of each with 1 Tbsp. sugar.
7. Bake in preheated oven for 16-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan to cool completely.
8. To make the frosting, in a large bowl cream butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and lemon juice. Add the powdered sugar slowly, beating until smooth and creamy. Stir in the pecans and coconut. Store in the refrigerator until the cake has cooled completely and is ready to frost. Sprinkle the top of the frosted cake with toasted coconut (optional) and serve.
Makes 1 9-in. round, 3-layer cake.
(Adapted from Pioneer Woman)