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Leilah was moving up the hill last summer and I was hanging around the old house. Page came over from next door, nothing compares to the excitement of change when you are kid. It was good to have her there; it took Olivia’s mind off having to leave her pink room. I asked Page if she liked coconut and she said yes so I handed her a slice of my coconut cake with the “oh so subtle vanilla flavour”. “It’s a good cake – she said - but I can’t taste the coconut” Kids will always let you know. The recipe originates from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman. The same cake showed up as “classic coconut” and “southern coconut” on various blogs, and even some magazines published it. Agreeably it was a good cake, but the coconut was barely discernible and several days later not at all. I thought what was the point of all that coconut? I already had a vanilla cake recipe.

Then I set to rework the recipe and the result is as coconut-y as it can get. I replaced the buttermilk with full fat coconut milk. The buttermilk also serves as a leavening agent, so I added a teaspoon of white vinegar. I also added 2 tsp of coconut extract to enhance the flavour. I replaced the vanilla extract in the frosting with 1-1/2 tsp of coconut extract. It’s a coconut cake. 

2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup full fat coconut milk
2 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp white vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
5 large egg yolks
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1-1/3 cups unsweetened medium coconut

3 1/3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 tsp coconut extract
1 240g [8oz] package of full fat cream cheese
1 cup unsweetened large flaked coconut for decoration

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Fully line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
  • Whisk flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl.
  • In a small bowl combine the coconut milk, coconut extract and the vinegar.
  • Beat the sugar and butter until light and very fluffy.
  • Add egg yolks one by one, beating after each addition.
  • Add flour mixture gradually and alternately with the coconut milk mixture.  
  • Using clean and dry beaters beat the egg whites in a large, clean bowl until stiff peaks form.
  • Add 1/3 of egg white mixture to batter; fold into batter just to blend.
  • Fold in remaining egg whites in 2 additions.
  • Gently fold in the coconut.
  • Divide batter between the prepared pans.
  • Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
  • Cool cakes in pans on racks for 10 minutes.
  • Run small sharp knife around sides of cake pans.
  • Invert cakes onto racks.
  • Carefully peel off parchment.
  • Cool cakes completely.
  • Meanwhile prepare the frosting:
  • Beat the sugar, butter, and coconut extract in a large bowl until fluffy.
  • Reduce speed and begin to add the cold cream cheese 1 tablespoon at the time, beating to combine after each addition. Do not beat on high speed once the cream cheese has been added; just beat enough to blend it into the butter mixture.
  • Place one cake layer with flat side up, on a plate.
  • Spread with 1 cup frosting.
  • Place the second layer, flat side up, atop of the frosting.
  • Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of the cake.
  • Sprinkle the coconut on top of the cake.
  • Cover and refrigerate.
  • Let cake stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.



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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!