coconut cake

What better way to celebrate a gathering with friends than with a cake and this one is a definite hit with both adults and kids. A slightly sweet, cream cheese frosting dusted aggressively with flakes of coconut hide any imperfections in the cake, while still enticing you to dig right in.

3 sticks plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
3 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut, divided

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract  
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom and sides of 2 9-inch round cake pans with 1 tablespoon butter. Cover bottom of each with parchment paper, and butter top of each piece of parchment. Dust lightly with flour, shaking out excess and set aside. 
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine remaining 3 sticks butter and sugar on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down bowl as needed. Add vanilla and almond extracts and mix until everything is combined (mixture may look curdled but that’s ok). 
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low and add 1/3 of flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of buttermilk. Add another 1/3 of flour mixture, followed by remaining buttermilk. Add remaining 1/3 flour mixture and mix until just combined. Using a spatula, fold in about 1/2 of coconut. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Rap once on counter to release air bubbles and bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in middle of each comes out clean. (Start checking after 35-40 minutes; if tops are getting too browned, carefully tent with a piece of aluminum foil.) Allow to cool in pans for about 30 minutes, then remove and cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.
  5. Meanwhile, make frosting. Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts until well combined. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar, in small amounts, until just combined and creamy. Set aside (or chill until ready to use).
  6. Assemble cake. Place 1 cake on a serving plate (or pedestal), top side down. Spread an even layer of frosting over top. Place second cake on top, top side up. Spread another even layer of frosting over top. Continue with remaining frosting, frosting entire top and sides of cake. Decorate sides and top of cake with remaining coconut. Serve at room temperature.

Serves 12.