Difficulty Rating: Hard (if you make the boiled frosting, Medium if you make cream cheese frosting)
This recipe was first introduced at a family gathering 26 years ago at my grandmother's house in Lafayette. I loved that house. It sort of had the ambiance of the White House. My grandparents designed it with a huge living-room with high ceilings and a large fireplace mantle that my grandmother had carved herself and laquered a creamy off-white. I remember crackling fires in that fireplace, and moss-green carpets and furniture. My grandmother, who was wild for interior design, took great pains picking the colors for her home. In fact, one night my grandfather was greeted at the door when he came home from work not with "Hello darling, how was your day?" but " Fletcher, I've decided to carry green throughout the house!". My grandfather replied," Who is Mr. Green, and why are you planning to do this to him?"
Anyway, after my sister Sarah made this cake I nabbed the recipe right away. It is moist and delicious. Some people don't like coconut--but my whole family does. I hope yours does too!
1 coconut--take the meat out of the shell and grate it using a medium sized grate
1/2 C butter
1 1/2 C sugar
1 t vanilla
1/2 t. coconut extract
1 3/4 C cake flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t. salt
4 egg whites
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 8" pans OR line with baking parchment. Beat butter and 1 1/4 C sugar until well blended. Beat in vanilla and coconut extract. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture alternately in two parts with milk.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until foamy, then continue beating as you gradually add the remaining 1/4 C sugar, beat until soft peaks. Fold 1/4 of beaten whites and 1 C grated coconut into batter. Scoop in remaining whites and fold rapidly until just blended. Divide the batter between the pans. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool in pans 5 minutes before turning onto racks.
Note: You can frost this with "Boiled Frosting"or "Cream Cheese Frosting".
Boiled Frosting Ingredients:
1 1/2 C sugar
1/2 C water
1/4 t cream of tartar
1/2 C egg whites
2 t. vanilla
6 oz. fresh grated fresh coconut
Combine the sugar, water, cream of tartar and salt in small saucepan. Bring to boil until perfectly clear. Put lid on pan for 1 minute. Remove lid and continue boiling over high heat until 240 degrees. Slowly drizzle hot syrup onto egg whites, beating at medium speed. Add vanilla and beat 2-3 minutes more until peaks form. Frost cake and sprinkle lots of fresh grated coconut on top and sides of cake. Press coconut gently onto the cake so it sticks. The entire cake should be covered with coconut so fill in the blank spots and serve.
Alternatively you can make this slightly less sweet icing:
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting:
16 oz. Cream Cheese (softened)
2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
1 t coconut extract
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 lb powdered sugar (sifted)
6 oz fresh shredded coconut
Combine cream cheese...butter...vanilla...and extracts on a low speed. Add powdered sugar and mix until just smooth. Do not whip! Spread all over cake and sprinkle shredded coconut on the sides--pressing on gently with your hand so that it sticks. Cover the entire cake and serve.