Once upon a time I made a coconut cake. Once upon a time, it didn’t live up to my hopes or Greg’s dreams.
This weekend, I finally turned things around and learned how to make the most delicious coconut cake in the world. Hands down.
I mentioned yesterday that Greg’s mom and I spent Saturday doing what girls do best: shopping, drinking chai tea lattes and baking. Part of the plan when she initially told me they were coming in town was to bake a coconut cake for a belated birthday cake for Greg.
The coconut cake recipe that Greg’s mom uses was passed down to her from her grandmother and I am so excited I now know the secrets to making Greg’s all-time favorite dessert. Win for Greg, therefore win for me!
Here we are hard at work in the kitchen, putting to good use my Kitchen Aid hand mixer AND stand mixer.
This triple layer cake is no joke. One of my favorite parts is that instead of spreading icing between each layer, a special mixture of fruit and nuts forms a delicious filling.
It was getting late by the time we finished baking and layering the cake so we decided to wait to ice until after dinner. It ended up working out perfectly, because we were so full from the mac and cheese that I needed that extra time spent icing the cake to digest a little!
I tried to get creative and decorate with the pecans, but wanted to keep it simple too.
As you can tell, I was very excited about this one. I already knew it was going to be 100 times better than my first coconut cake attempt.
Boy, were my instincts right. I have had the famous coconut cake a few times before and love that I can now make it for myself…although it may take me a few more times on my own to perfect it. I couldn’t have done it without Greg’s mom who coached me through the whole thing.
This is one dangerously good dessert. I could go on and on eating it all day and night.
Triple Layer Coconut Cake
For the cake-
2 boxes white cake mix
8 egg whites (depending on the box recipe)
1 1/4 cup water (depending on box recipe)
1 1/4 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup vegetable oil (depending on box recipe)
For the frosting-
2-16 ounce containers whipped vanilla frosting
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 teaspoons imitation coconut extract
1/3-1/2 cup powdered sugar
For the filling-
Juice of 2 medium oranges
Juice from 1 small can crushed pineapple
2 tablespoons crushed pineapple
2-3 tablespoons coconut milk
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
For the topping-
1 1/2-2 cups shredded coconut
1/3 cup pecan halves
1. Prepare cake according to package directions, except replacing half of the water with coconut milk (as reflected in ingredients above). Coat three 8-9 inch round cake pans with cooking spray and divide batter evenly into the pans. Bake as directed on box.
2. While cakes are baking, prepare frosting in a stand mixer. Blend first three ingredients, then add powdered sugar to thicken as needed. Frosting should slowly drip off spatula when lifted. Set frosting aside.
3. Prepare the filling by adding all ingredients to a small saucepan. Turn to medium heat and bring mixture to a light simmer, stirring constantly. Add more fruit juice or shredded coconut to taste. Once thickened (about 8 minutes) remove from heat.
4. To layer cakes, lay a knife horizontally across the rim of one cake layer. Slowly cut across the top to make a flat surface. Do the same for the remaining two cakes.
5. Poke holes in the surface of the bottom layer with a toothpick (this allows the juicy filling to soak in!). First, spoon the juice from the filling mixture across the layer, then add the “thicker” part of the filling consisting of the pineapple, shredded coconut and pecans. Lay another cake layer on top and repeat this step. Lay final layer on top and ice the cake.
6. Sprinkle shredded coconut all over the cake and garnish with more pecans as desired.