Baking,  Books,  Fiction,  Party Food,  Recipes,  Sarah

Grandma Luella’s Coconut Cake Recipe

I was Really Into this book, The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy Reichert. I loved Lou, fell in love with Milwaukee & can’t wait to read more from Amy. Also, this book features a hell of a recipe for Coconut Cream Cake. This cake is so delicious that it deserves a full post of it’s own.

I made this cake twice in a week- we LOVED it! The recipe is listed below. I also found a new addiction after making this cake. I toasted extra coconut & it makes a perfect late night snack. I seriously just eat it out of the bag. The sweetened coconut was delish, but when I made the cupcakes I tried some of these unsweetened coconut flakes & I Really liked the added crunch they gave the cake.


The first night I was too lazy to make the cake flour. Did you know you can make your own with flour & cornstarch? For every cup of flour needed, remove 2 Tbsp of flour & replace it with 2 Tbsp of cornstarch & voila. Let me tell you, the cake flour made a difference. The cupcakes were not as dense or chewy & were a bit better for sure. Of course, they both were eaten within 24 hours!


Let’s not forget this frosting! OMG- I seriously put a few spoonfuls in a bowl & mixed some of the toasted coconut & I was in sugar coma heaven. It was divine. This frosting is sweet, buttery, but surprisingly pretty light. It was the perfect topper for this flavor filled cake.

Next up is Luck, Love & Lemon Pie by Amy. I’m reading it in anticipation of The Simplicity of Cider which is supposed to hit shelves May of 2017. You know I love the Hannah Swenson series by Joanne Fluke, but what other book series with food are you Really Into?

Grandma Luella’s Coconut Cake found in The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy Reichert (slightly adapted) 

5 large egg whites (save the yolks to make homemade pudding-yum)
3/4 cup cream of coconut (I used this one & I added an extra 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup coconut milk—make sure to stir the contents very well to recombine before measuring (save the leftovers for Thai food or your coffee)
1 large egg
1 tsp coconut extract
2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract (I tried both & both were excellent)
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp table salt
12 tbsp unsalted butter, softened, cut into 12 pieces

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush or rub melted butter onto two 9-inch cake pans (you can use cooking spray, but the butter will taste better), then line the pan bottoms with parchment paper (trust me, this makes cake removal so much easier).

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites, cream of coconut, coconut milk, whole egg, and extracts together until combined and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. With a mixer on low speed, beat in the butter, one piece at a time, until the mixture resembles course crumbs, 2 to 5 minutes (about two minutes for a stand mixer, closer to 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer).

Increase the speed to medium-high and add 1 cup of the egg mixture. Beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds (a little longer with a hand mixer). Add the remaining egg mixture in a steady stream and continue to beat until the batter is combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and beaters as needed.

Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans and smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cakes comes out with a few crumbs, about 30-35 minutes. All ovens vary, so be careful not to over bake. Rotate the pans halfway through baking.

Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes on wire racks. Run a knife around the edge, then flip out onto the racks. Remove the parchment paper, flip the cakes upright, and let them cool completely before frosting.

Coconut Frosting 

You can toast the coconut however you like: oven, microwave, or stovetop. I like to do it in a non-stick skillet on medium-low, stirring every few minutes. Careful once it starts to brown as it can go from toasty goodness to burnt crud very quickly. I spread it out on paper towels to cool and save any leftovers to put on ice cream.

2 tbsp coconut milk
1 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of table salt
16 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup cream of coconut
3 cups powdered sugar
2 cups toasted coconut (we used sweetened & unsweetened- each had their own flavor)

Stir the coconut milk, extracts, and salt together until the salt dissolves.

Beat the butter and cream of coconut in a large bowl at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the powdered sugar. Beat until smooth, about 2-5 minutes. Beat in the extract mixture. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 to 8 minutes.

Set one layer of cake on a cake stand or plate; you can use a daub of frosting to keep it in place. Take one cup of frosting and spread over the bottom layer (an offset spatula works well for this). Sprinkle with toasted coconut. This gives a nice crunch in the middle of the cake.

Set the second layer on top of the first. Scoop out the remaining frosting onto the top of the cake. Spread the frosting to the edge of the cake, working it over the sides and down, spinning the stand or plate as needed to frost all sides of the cake. Don’t worry about making it too pretty, the toasted coconut will help hide the flaws.

Press the toasted coconut onto the sides of the cake, and sprinkle it over the top.

Cut and hide a piece immediately because people will soon arrive to swipe your cake—I’m looking at you, Harley and Al.

Momma, wife, baker, reader & smart ass. I am Really Into doughnuts, inside jokes, trash TV, pizza, 48 Hours & George Michael.


    • Sarah Slusher

      Hi there Audrianna,
      Yes I think Coconut is supposed to be a healthier fat. If I’m particularly jonesing for a cake that uses a butter, I will often substitute the Earth Balance vegan butter & I’ve always got great results. You could only use unsweetened coconut for the topping as well & that would help a bit to decrease the sugar. It’s really delicious & a little goes a long way. I hope you enjoy making it. <3

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