I’ve always loved Easter. Before Jon and I were even married, I made him dye easter eggs and did a little basket up of goodies for the two of us. So, now that we’re a family of four, we have even more fun getting into the holiday. The boys had a great time at an egg hunt last weekend, and we’re looking forward to dying eggs tomorrow. One of the things that really makes my Easter dinner table special is this coconut cake. I’ve been making it for as long as I’ve made him dye eggs, and it’s never let me down. Cook’s Illustrated is like that.
The one thing qualm I had about the recipe was the frosting, too sweet for my taste. So, I changed things up a bit and went with a coconut buttercream instead. I think it has a little more depth of flavor, and held up a little better under the pressure of all that delicious coconut piled on top. The cake gets a heavy dose of coconut flavor with the addition of cream of coconut (leftovers make fabulous Piña coladas) and coconut extract. I used those two ingredients in the frosting as well, and it really came out nice.
Have a happy and blessed holiday, and here’s hoping that the Easter bunny leaves you plenty of chocolate. Enough that your younger brother doesn’t can steal some out of your basket and you don’t mind. Happy Easter, everyone!
For the cake:
1 large egg
5 large egg whites
3/4 cup cream of coconut
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces, softened, but still cool
2 cups packed sweetened shredded coconut
For the frosting:
1 cup butter (2 sticks) softened
5 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/4 cup cream of coconut
or the cake: adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with butter and dust with flour. Beat egg whites and whole egg in large measuring cup with a fork to combine. Add cream of coconut, buttermilk, vanilla, and coconut extract and beat with fork until thoroughly combined.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on lowest speed to combine, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running on lowest speed, add butter 1 piece at a time, then beat until mixture resembles coarse meal, with butter bits no larger than small peas, 2-2 1/2 minutes.
With the mixer still running, add half of the liquid ingredients. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds. With mixer still running, add remaining liquid mixture in steady stream (this should take about 15 seconds). Stop mixer and scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then beat at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds. (Batter will be thick.)
Divide batter between cake pans and level with offset or rubber spatula. Bake until deep golden brown. Cakes pull away from sides of pans, and toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes, then loosen cakes from sides of pans with paring knife, invert cakes onto racks and then turn them right side up again. Cool to room temperature.
For the frosting, add butter and extracts to mixing bowl. Cream on medium speed until combined and lightened, scraping bowl and paddle as needed. Add powdered sugar, milk, and cream of coconut. Mix until light and creamy; adding an additional milk if needed for desired consistency.
To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.
Source: highly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated’s New Best Recipe