Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Barefoot Contessa's Coconut Cake

I love a good coconut cake. Grandma Alice (my neighbor's mom) makes one of the greatest. But hers calls for coconut cream and I have a hard time finding it and when I do I have a hard time not using it in a chichi drink or on pancakes. And her recipe is a bit labor intensive. I am anti-labor intensive.

So when I found this wonderfully simple recipe for a coconut cake (and I had all the ingredients until I looked for confectioner's sugar, of course) I just had to give it a try. I knew it would be great since it comes from the Barefoot Contessa. I decided to whip it up for our favorite neighbor, Charlie Mahuna, on his 86th birthday.

One of my favorite cooking blogs is The Sisters Cafe. I can't remember how I found it, but I did and I'm happy about it. So click here to see their coconut cake post! YUM!

Coconut Cake
from Barefoot Contessa At Home

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup milk
4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp pure almond extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted (I used just 3/4 of a box and it seemed sufficiently sweet)
6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans, then line with parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour. (I used pam AND I forgot to dust lightly with flour. Fortunately everything turned out just fine)

2. 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. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed , add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned. (I got all excited and forgot to wait for the light yellow and fluffy stage but I think it didn't matter much. On a much prouder note I happened to have extra large eggs and I'm pretty damned proud of it, thank you Costco)

3. 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 milk to the batter in three parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula. (I used unsweetened coconut for this part)

4. Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and 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. (I used 8 inch pans so I guess the cake is just a tad higher than it would have been had I used 9")

5. 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!). (I used 3/4 box of confectioner's and I thought it was plenty sweet. I'm not a fan of too much sweet in my cream cheese frostings)

6. To assemble , place on 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.


I thought it was good. Everyone said it was Good. Kalena said it was rich (yeah, 5 sticks of butter rich). I loved the frosting but I am cream cheese frosting lover. When I started cutting it, the top started sliding off. Ugh. I think I put too much frosting in between the two layers maybe or maybe because I used a smaller cake pan. I don't know. I need to improve my baking/frosting skills.


  1. It looks fabulous. I love Ina!! Her recipes are delicious!

  2. beautiful looking cake. and i love cream cheese frosting , too.

    5 sticks of butte! wo nelly.



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