Thursday, May 1, 2014

Baking Hack Redux: Coconut Layer Cake with Fluffy Coconut Frosting

This is a rerun. A very, very good rerun. This cake is wonderful. But still a rerun, and I have a reasonably good excuse: I haven't been posting in quite a while because my sweet, brave husband died much sooner than expected from pancreatic cancer back in late February. Been a very hard couple of months. I have lost my blogging mojo; I have lost my zest for many things, but I am putting one foot in front of the other, and really want to get back to cooking and blogging. So I thought it would be a great idea to sign myself up for BlogHer's May challenge to post to my blog every day in May. The topic we're writing around...and on, is "Nourish". Because if anything, this blog nourishes me  in so many ways, and I hope it does you, too. Holy Crap. What was I thinking. Of course I totally forgot until just now, and it's May 1st at 7 PM. So, here I am whomping up an oldie but goodie, and will get myself in gear earlier tomorrow. Promise.  Luckily this cake is SO good, I feel no guilt whatsoever.


Cake Hack: Coconut Layer Cake with Fluffy Coconut Frosting
I will admit, that one of the best coconut layer cakes I ever ate was from Joanne Chang's"Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe". I will also admit that while delicious, it is not the fastest, least messy recipe, either. In a weak moment, a few months ago, I promised my friend Matt a coconut birthday cake, completely forgetting the fact that his birthday comes when I am frantically getting the garden ready for the growing season. I had to come up with a cake that wouldn't take a half day to make since I needed some of that day to fool with raised beds and irrigation systems. It also had to be a wonderful cake since Matt is a fine cook / chef. Luckily he's no food snob, but he sure knows merely "good" from good.
Yes, I am making excuses for this cake hack. But this cake is good, really good, and as long as you don't go all food-snotty on me I'll share the recipe, because there are things like cake mix, and marshmallow fluff in it. You don't need any excuses to make it, not even a birthday. Just make it because it's Monday and you survived the weekend. Make it and hold your head high.


Coconut Layer Cake with Fluffy Coconut Frosting

For the cake:

1 16.25 oz. box white cake mix
cooking spray
1-1/4 cups canned coconut milk, full fat
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
3 egg whites
1-1/2 tsp. natural coconut extract

For the frosting and filling:

16 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
14 oz. tub of marshmallow fluff, minus 1/4 cup
2 tsp. natural coconut extract
1 14 oz. bag of sweetened, flaked coconut


1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF or to the temperature recommended on your cake mix box. Spray 2 round cake pans (8" or 9") with cooking spray and set aside.

2. Mix the cake according to the package directions, substituting the coconut milk for the water or other liquid, the coconut oil for the vegetable oil, and after adding the egg whites, add the coconut extract. Beat on low speed with a hand mixer until just blended. 

3. Pour the batter into the pans, dividing it evenly between them, and bake until it just springs back when touched. Use the box instructions as a guideline, but mine was done in about 30 minutes. cool in the pans for 10 minutes, and then turn the cakes onto a rack to cool completely

4. When the cake has cooled completely, place the softened cream cheese into a medium mixing bowl, and with an electric hand mixer whip the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the coconut extract, and then gradually add the marshmallow fluff a few spoonfuls at a time until the frosting is of a spreadable consistency.

5. Remove about 2 cups of the frosting to another container, and mix in 1 cup of the flaked coconut. This is the filling for between the layers. Cover both bowls and chill for about an hour.

6. Set one cake layer, domed side down on a cake plate and spread the filling evenly over the top. Place the second layer, flat side down on the filling and covert the cake with the frosting. Once the cake is completely iced, carefully press palmfuls of flaked coconut around the sides of the cake...feel free to do the top, too, if you wish. Store covered at room temperature for up to 24 hours, or or covered and refrigerated for up to 3 day, although it won't last that long. Serves 8 more or less...