Satisfy your Sweettooth
I can’t take credit for baking this, but I can for eating it! One of my daughters found this recipe in Ina Garten’s cookbook Barefoot Contessa at Home. I’m not usually a big fan of cream cheese icing (chocolate icing is another matter), but this icing was the perfect complement to the buttery, vanilla cake and coconut shavings. Guess what I’m in the mood for now?
3/4 pounds (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing pans
2 cups granulated sugar
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting pans
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans, then line them with parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.
2. Using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack eggs into a separate bowl one at a time, adding to butter/sugar mixture one at a time. Mixing on medium speed also add vanilla and almond extracts. If mixture looks curdled, don’t be concerned.
3. In a separate bowl, combine (recipe says to sift together, but I don’t usually sift) flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With mixer on low speed, alternately add dry ingredients and milk to batter in three parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.
4. Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester (we use toothpicks) comes out clean. Cool on baking racks for 30 minutes, then turn cakes out onto baking racks to finish cooling.
5. Icing: Using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer again, combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add confectioner’s sugar and mix until just smooth (don’t whip!).
6. To assemble, place one layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with icing. Place second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.
Tip: To make in advance, bake cakes and wrap well. Refrigerate for up to 5 days. Ice cakes before serving and serve at room temperature.