new year, new coco


So I have been a bit MIA – travel, bored, uninspired. But it’s a new year, and tomorrow, a new hope – as all eyes will be on DC for the inauguration of Barack Obama.  Who isn’t swept up in this whirlwind of excitement when history will be made? I know our household is pretty stoked, and rather than weather the freezing masses in DC, we plan to watch it all unfold in a toasty home with some good eats. We’ll be making Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, a nod to one of the culinary accomplishments of the city that sends us their own Mr. Smith.  And for dessert, I was inspired by Obama’s childhood in Hawaii for a cake full of tropical flavor.  So for a sweet ending to a memorable election, here is a luscious coconut cake – moist, fluffy and rich – that looks and tastes just as I imagine a bite out of cloud nine would.

Coconut Layer Cake

Bon Appétit, December 1999

2 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 and 3/4 cups sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup canned sweetened cream of coconut (not coconut milk)

4 large eggs, separated

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

4 cups of sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter and cream of coconut in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in dry ingredients and then buttermilk, each just until blended.

Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites until stiff. Fold beaten egg whites into batter.

Divide cake batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool.


Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

adapted from Bon Appétit, April 2003

2 8-oz packages of cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup canned sweetened cream of coconut (not coconut milk)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond or coconut extract (optional)

Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar, then cream of coconut and both extracts. Chill until firm enough to spread, about 30 minutes.

Frost top of one layer of cake, top with coconut to cover.  Place second cake on top and frost generously on top and all sides. Top with coconut and press coconut into sides.


4 thoughts on “new year, new coco

  1. twilight at morningside

    alohalicious! those dreamy coconut flakes match the fluffy snow that has been swirling around all inauguration eve here in CT!

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