Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Springtime Coconut Cake

Who's ready for spring?  I know I am.  The calendar says it's here, but there are several inches of fresh snow on the ground that beg to differ.

Enough is enough -- if I can't have spring outside, I'll have it inside with this delicious coconut cake.  It smells and tastes of warm days in the sun.  It's sure to brighten even the snowiest of spring days.

Springtime Coconut Cake

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened, your choice)
1 cup buttermilk or soured milk*
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons coconut extract or flavoring
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, melted**
2 cups sugar
5 eggs

* make soured milk by placing 2 teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar in measuring cup and filling with milk to make 1 cup.
** can use an additional 1/2 cup of butter instead of coconut oil, but using virgin coconut oil enhances the coconut flavor of the cake

Heat oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease or spray a 9x13 cake pan.  Set pan aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and shredded coconut.  Mix well, then set aside.

In small bowl, combine buttermilk, vanilla extract and coconut extract.  Set aside.

In separate large bowl, with electric mixer, cream butter and coconut oil with sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg is added.

In same bowl, alternate between additions of flour mixture and milk mixture until all ingredients have been added and batter is light and fluffy.  Spoon into prepared pan and spread evenly.

Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and place cake, in pan, on cooling rack.  Cool completely.

Frost with coconut butter cream frosting (below).  Sprinkle cake with additional shredded coconut and decorate with pastel jelly beans if desired.

(If you prefer to make a 2-layer cake, spread batter into two prepared round cake pans.  Bake as above, but begin checking cakes after 30 minutes in the oven.)

Buttercream Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons coconut extract or flavoring
4 cups powdered sugar, preferably sifted
2-3 Tablespoons milk

Combine butter, extracts and powdered sugar until combined and smooth.  Add milk gradually until desired consistency is reached.

Makes about 3 cups of frosting.

*This makes an "off-white" or light creamy yellow frosting.  I do not use vegetable shortening in my cooking or baking, but if you prefer a whiter frosting, you may substitute 1/2 cup of shortening for 1/2 cup of the the butter.
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