Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Ina's Coconut Cake

Today is my Grandma's Birthday. My mom had us over for dinner and to celebrate and she asked me to make the cake. Now I know that my Grandma loves cakes made from scratch so I set out to find a yummy one that she would love. I also know that she loves Hawaii and the flavors of the Islands, so I decided to go with coconut. When I found Ina Garten's recipe, I had to try it out since every recipe Ive ever tried of hers has been awesome. Well, I was not disappointed. This makes a great, buttery, moist cake with a pretty light texture.

I did make some changes to the recipe based off other's reviews. Instead of using 3 sticks of butter, I used 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce in place of one of the sticks. I cut the sugar from 2 cups to 1 1/2. I also used buttermilk instead of regular milk and coconut extract instead of almond (in the cake and the frosting). Also, mine was done after 35 minutes, I think the original 45-50 minutes would have been way too long. This turned out perfect with just enough coconut flavor. I will be making this many more times.

Coconut Cake (inspired by Ina Garten)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure coconut extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup butter milk
  • 4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

For the Frosting

  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure coconut extract
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Beat in the applesauce until well mixed. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and coconut extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the butter milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 35 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until just smooth (don't whip!).

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.


Kelsey said...

The cake looks wonderful. I really like the changes you made and will definitely consider them is I ever get to make this cake.

Erin said...

What a beautiful cake! It really looks great. I love coconut cake and really want to try Ina's version but haven't gotten around to it yet. Maybe this post will inspire me :)

Joelen said...

This looks like a great cake, especially for the spring!

USA Kiwi (aka Kylee) said...

That looks lovely - I bet the flavours were awesome.

Did your grandmother enjoy it?

bensbaby116 said...

Sounds great! I've never made a coconut cake before. I'll bookmark this recipe in case I want to someday. Thanks for posting!

Patty said...

Your coconut cake looks absolutely fabulous! Great job!

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