Coconut Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

I’ve adapted this cake from a basic white cake recipe and a coconut cream cheese frosting recipe.

I doubled the frosting recipe and was able to make two 9-inch round cakes with frosting in the middle, on top, and on the sides.  I still had enough left over to make a 9 x 13 inch cake.  I would recommend using the frosting recipe as is for a 9 x 13 inch cake or multiplying it by 1.5 for 2 9-inch round cakes.  I like having ample frosting.  (who doesn’t?)

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 tbsp butter (I use the Irish unsalted butter which you can find at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and sometimes Costco.  It has a richer flavor than other butters)
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
  • 3 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar (I’m partial to C&H Sugars)
  • 2 tsp coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups Angel Flake (sweetened) coconut
  1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet.  Add coconut; stir constantly over low heat until golden brown.  Important: Toasting the coconut is kind of  a pain in the ass, but it is required if you don’t want the cake to be way too sweet.  Spread coconut on a paper towel to cool.
  2. Cream 2 tablespoons butter with the cream cheese; add coconut milk and beat in sugar gradually.  Blend until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes)  I use a kitchenaid hand mixer for this task and it gets the job done.  
  3. Blend in vanilla; stir in approx 1/2 the coconut.  You can mix in all the coconut into the frosting and just frost it or you can reserve about 1/2 the coconut to spread around the cake.  I like to have enough toasted coconut to place on the tops and sides to give the cake a uniform look.
  4. Stack and sprinkle on remaining Coconut.

Coconut Cake

The cake part of this is a basic white cake recipe with 1/2 cup of coconut milk substituted for part of the milk.  It gives the cake a light coconut flavor without overpowering and without being too sweet.

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1  1/2  cups sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees Depends on your oven temp – if your oven runs hot, go lower.  if your oven runs cold, go higher.  
  2. Butter (or Crisco) the bottom of two 9-inch round or one 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan.  Line bottom with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  4. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
  5. Combine egg whites, coconut milk, milk, and vanilla extract.
  6. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to teh butter mixture then add half the milk mixture.  Continue to alternate beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Scrape the bowl and beater often.  beat on a low speed until just incorporated.  You want to avoid over-developing the gluten in the flour and thus making a chewy cake.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and smooth top with a rubber spatula.
  8. Bake cake(s) about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean.  (The cake will take longer if you are using a 9 x 13 inch pan.  For the 9 inch rounds, check after 15 minutes.
  9. Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack, remove paper, and let cool completely before frosting (about 20 minutes)

Pineapple Chicken Bake

I cooked the recipe below and it turned out quite good.  Though the recipe says that there is enough sauce for 6 chicken breasts, I wasn’t expecting it fill up the bottom of the pan.  I flipped the chicken breasts halfway through cooking to make sure all sides were getting equally cooked in the liquid.  I didn’t have cornstarch on hand so I used Arrowroot instead.  The sauce wasn’t terribly thick.  I also wanted to use some whole almonds I had on hand so I ended up grinding them rather than using sliced.  It created more of a nutty topping and worked.  I used Whole Foods 365 brand pineapple chunks and they were tasty and went well with the recipe.  I was a little concerned about the amount of curry powder that was called for, but I followed the recipe.  It wasn’t overpowering at all and the curry powder and tabasco gave the chicken a nice kick.

Recipe source: America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

Recipe title: Pineapple Chicken Bake

Serves: 4

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 oz each), trimmed
  • 1 (20 oz) can pineapple chunks in juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsps curry powder
  • 1 tsp Tabasco
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  1. Adjust an ove rack to the upper position and heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper.  Lay the chicken in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish coated lightly with vegetable oil spray
  2. Drain the pineapple chunks, reserving 1/2 cup of the juice.  Whisk the pineapple juice, honey, vinegar, soy sauce, curry powder, and Tabasco together in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Simmer, whisking often, until the mixture has thickened, about 8 minutes.
  3. Quickly dissolve the cornstarch in water, then whisk into the honey mixture.  Stir in the pineapple chunks.  Pour the pineapple sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with the almonds.  Bake until the chicken registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 15 to 18 minutes.