When I was a wee little girl I spent a great deal of time at my great-grandma Mary’s house while my mom worked two jobs to support me and my sisters. Grandma Mary had a serious sweet tooth and her house was always filled with candy bars and mini pecan pies and one of my favorites, Pepperidge Farm Coconut Cake that she would buy from the frozen section of the grocery store. I would slice off a section and savor its sweet cool coconut flavor. (No wonder I was a chubby kid!) My palate has matured some since those days and the frozen, boxed delight doesn’t hold the same value that it used to, but I still love coconut cake!
This recipe makes a super moist coconut cake that is far from the common cottony fluff of many coconut cake recipes. It has layers of coconut flavor and is not excessively sweet so it pairs beautifully with buttercream and a layer of toasted sweet coconut.
This cake gets its moisture from vegetable oil and coconut milk. The oil creates a light tender crumb and a neutral flavor that lets the coconut shine through. The coconut milk adds liquid and fat for moist tenderness and also provides an earthy, warm, natural coconut aroma.
I used a combination of all-purpose and cake flour for a tender but sturdy texture and a light crumb.
I added a touch of coconut extract to boost the coconut presence and filled it with coconut buttercream. I added a crunchy aromatic sprinkle of toasted coconut which contrasts with the soft texture of the cake and adds a sweet nutty flavor.
I hope you give this delicious cake a try and start forming your own nostalgic memories of coconut cake.
- 2 cups (14 ounces or 397 grams) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (177 ml) vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoons coconut extract
- 10 ounces (284 grams) all purpose (plain) flour-2 cups
- 4 ounces (113 grams) cake flour (*see end of recipe for substitution)-1 cup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 cups (473 ml) canned coconut milk, shaken
- Preheat oven to 350 F (177 C) and spray three 8-inch (20 cm) round cake pans with Baker’s Joy or grease and flour.
- Combine sugar, oil and eggs in a mixer bowl and beat with the flat beater 30 seconds until combined. Stir in extracts.
- Sprinkle in dry ingredients followed by coconut milk and beat for 2 minutes. Scrape bowl half way through mixing time.
- Pour into prepared pans and bake for about 25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan and then turn out to a cooling rack. Cool completely, if using immediately, or wrap in two layers of plastic wrap if using later. Frost the cooled cake with your buttercream of choice (I used Swiss Meringue Buttercream with 1 ½ teaspoons coconut extract added) and top with a layer of toasted sweetened coconut (optional).
- *If you do not have access to cake flour use 4 ounces (113 grams) self-rising flour reducing the baking powder to 1 ¼ teaspoons and the salt to ¾ teaspoon.