Spring is in full effect. The bunnies are hoping around and the flowers are in full bloom - not to mention my herb garden is flourishing right now. With the change of seasons comes a change in desserts.
For Easter, I decided to make a simple yet classic cake (and one of my favorites) - Coconut Cake yumm... My family has deep ties to coconut. My Bajan grandmother, lovingly known as "Gram" brought her famous Sweet Bread recipe with her from Barbados. My dad, aunts and uncles recall the smell of fresh cut coconut and warm bread baking in the morning. Gram made enough of it to feed the block - but that's another intro for another recipe. Today we're going to focus on the classic cake: A light spongy cake, covered with a delicious frosting and loads of coconut. This is one I haven't made in years, so why not try a new recipe. I hopped on the web and searched "the best coconut cake ever", picked the one with the highest ratings and gave it a shot.
The recipe just happens to be published by one of my favorite cake artists on YouTube. So, my family and I gave it a try...while the cake had a lovely flavor, and a nice texture, it was a little on the drier side. My mom explained it perfectly "A couple years ago I would've loved this cake, but I've been spoiled by the pudding you put in your cakes that now this seems too dry for me". Cakenista's that's it! It's lovely however it's missing that UMPH, that body-ody if you will. So I'm going to tweak the recipe a bit and give you guys my own version.
Give it a try, and don't hesitate to let me know what you think!
Coconut Custard Cake Recipe
3 cups (450 g) cake flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 cup (170 g) unsalted butter softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1/2 tsp rum extract
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) canned coconut milk
1/2 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
1 box of vanilla pudding (3.4 oz)
5 eggs divided (room temp)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar see notes
2 cups (200 g) shredded coconut
2 cups (500 g) unsalted butter (softened)
2 cups cream cheese chilled
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (310 g) powdered sugar
1 pinch salt
1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Spray the bottom of three 8-inch cake pans with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. To a large bowl, add the cake flour, salt, vanilla pudding and baking powder. Use a whisk to combine and break up any clumps. Set aside.
3. To a separate bowl, add the butter, half of the granulated, sugar and all extracts. Use an electric hand mixer to whip until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and vegetable oil, and mix until combined - about 5 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and mix until a batter forms - set aside
4. To a large mixing bowl ( I prefer a standing mixer with whisk attachment) add the egg whites and whisk for 10 seconds until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and whip until soft peaks form. While the mixer is on high speed, add the remaining 2/3 cup of sugar a little at a time. Continue whipping for 2 minutes until stiff glossy peaks form.
5. Give the egg yolks a quick stir and add to the egg whites, carefully folding to incorporate.
6. Add half the egg mixture to the batter and fold through until well combined. Add the remaining egg mixture and repeat.
7. Split the batter between the cake pans and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Once baked, allow to cool in the pan.
Cream cheese frosting
1. Add the softened butter and cream cheese to a large mixing bowl. Set mixer to whip on high medium speed until well combined and lump free. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue mixing for 1 minute.
2. Add the powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Turn the mixer to low speed and continue mixing dry ingredients are incorporated. Continue beating on high speed until the frosting is fluffy and pale, about 8 minutes.
1. Add a bit of frosting to the center of your serving plate and place down the first layer of cake. I used a store bought coconut custard but if you don't have this spread 1/4 of the frosting on top of the cake and lightly sprinkle with coconut flakes. Add the next layer of cake and repeat until you put on the third layer of cake.
2.Pipe frosting around the sides of the cake and smoothen out with a spatula.
3. Cover the entire cake in coconut flakes and use leftover frosting to pipe shell borders. I finished my cake with gold flakes and a few malt chocolate easter eggs on top.