This super moist coconut cake with whipped cream cream cheese and toasted coconuts has won over the family, young and old alike. It’s not very sweet, but so aromatic and even the family members who typically don’t like cake saved a second piece for later.
This cake is dedicated to and was made for my dad on his birthday. Typically, when I bake for my parents I try to make something that would be familiar to them. I want something they know and love. And you can find coconut is many Lao desserts. So I felt, I am way past due for a coconut cake. Of course, it can’t be too sweet otherwise they won’t like that either. And this cake hit the mark! Even dad complimented it and that doesn’t happen often.
This is also a great base for a pandan cake…just substitute the pandan extract for vanilla extract and voila! I tried it as pandan coconut cupcakes for mom’s birthday recently and it worked great!
- To help get that moist and fluffy cake, cream the butter with sugar before adding the oil. It still yields a moist and fluffy cake as is like what I did in the video, but if you half the recipe for say…cupcakes, you may want to cream the butter and sugar until white in color and no longer grainy from the sugar. With less ingredients and volume, this step seems to be more impactful.
- Coconut extract – the McCormick brand coconut extract that I had was a few years old. I ended up using Caravalle brand coconut essence which I also had in the pantry. Use whatever you have on hand. It just needs to provide a hint of coconut. You’re still going to add coconut flakes inside and outside the cake. There will be no shortage of coconut flavor. I’ve also seen recipes that just use vanilla and almond extract. Don’t over think this.
- There are many ways you can get the toasted coconuts onto your cake after frosting. You can take a handful and pat them on. I like sprinkling them with one hand and simultaneously patting them with the other hand. Make a rain baby!
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick or ½ cup unsalted butter (115 g)
1 cup sugar
½ canola oil
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
4 large eggs (room temperature)
1 1/3 cup whole milk
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- Preheat oven 350F.
- Grease 3 9-inch pans, line with parchment or wax paper.
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, oil and sugar. Beat on medium for several minutes until mixture turns lighter in color and no longer grainy.
- Continue to beat. Add extracts. Then slowly add eggs, one at a time. Remember to scrape your bowl. Add a third of the flour mixture, half of the milk, then third of the flour mixture, other half of the milk and finally ending with the flour mixture. Make sure to scrape your bowl in between each addition. Mix until smooth. Add sweetened coconut flakes and mix only until just combined or fold in by hand.
- Evenly distribute the cake batter amongst the 3 pans. Bake for 20-24 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in pan for 10-15 minutes before turning onto cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting
1 ½ package or 12 oz cream cheese
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 – 1 ½ cup confectioner’s sugar (I used about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or coconut if preferred)
2 cups sweetened coconut flakes (toasted and cool)
- In stand mixer, whip cream cheese with a little bit of the cream cheese with a little bit of the confectioner’s sugar until smooth. Add extract. Then slowly add heavy whipping cream and the rest of the confectioner’s sugar. Cream until you get stiff peaks with deep tracks in the frosting.
- Assemble the cake by filling layers with frosting and frosting the cake with the rest. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Cover the outside of the cake with toasted coconut flakes.