Growing up, when we had an occasion for my mom to bake a cake, it was never Chocolate Cake unless it was German Chocolate. We sometimes had Carrot Cake, Pound Cake, or a sheet cake made with yellow cake and vanilla buttercream frosting. Mostly it was my Daddy’s favorite cake, an old fashioned Coconut Cake.
Traditional Southern Coconut Cake is usually made form a yellow or white cake covered in a vanilla buttercream and packed with fresh sweetened shredded coconut on the tops and the sides. This cake has graced many a church dinner, birthday celebrations, and of course Easter.
What will determine your cake to be either yellow or white will be the eggs that are used. Yellow cake uses all the egg yolks and maybe an extra yolk or two, and the white will be sans the yolks. This recipe uses 4 large whole eggs.
This recipe also uses a totally different method called the Reverse Creaming Method. You can watch a video of it here on the My Cake School website. This method doesn’t us the traditional method of creaming the butter and sugar first, then adding the wet, then the dry last. With this method you start with the dry ingredients of flour, sugar, salt and baking powder first in your mixer, then add the butter as you would making biscuits and beat to a crumbly and sandy consistency.
You will then add the eggs, milk, vegetable oil and flavorings which will be pre mixed together and added in 3 separate pourings. This method makes a thick cake batter and a light as air crumb.
I used a different frosting on this cake too. I used an old fashioned recipe called Ermine Frosting or Boiled Milk Frosting. This frosting has a consistency of whipped cream. Very light and airy if you don’t like the heaviness of regular buttercream. This frosting is kinda on the fragile side so I would not use it in weather hotter than 70 F or in the summertime. It will add more time to you prep since you have to cook the flour in milk and let it cool thoroughly before making the frosting which takes about an hour in the fridge.
I used to never be successful with making cakes from scratch and just got used to making doctored box cake mix recipes which I still love. But there is something satisfying about making a cake from scratch and you can definitely tell the difference in the taste. When you have the box cake mix for so long, you forget how good a scratch cake can be and it is so worth the effort. If you think about it, even if you use a box mix, you still need to add eggs, some kind of fat like oil or butter, a liquid like milk, or water to mix it and bake it. Making a cake from scratch is really just the extra step of sifting the flour, baking powder, and salt.
I think you will love this recipe. You can of course choose to use your own frosting recipe. I have included the cooked Ermine Frosting here if you are feeling adventurous, but it will take more time.
Daddy's Favorite Coconut Cake
FOR THE CAKE
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract and 2 tbsp coconut rum (optional)
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temp(do not soften in the microwave)
*If it becomes too soft, just refrigerate for 5 minutes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 inch pans.
This recipe uses the Reverse Creaming Method mentioned above. Watch video link there.
In a bowl, combine eggs, milk, coconut flavor, rum, and vegetable oil.
In the bowl of your mixer, combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
Whisk the dry ingredients for 30 seconds to combine.
With your mixer on low to medium speed, slowly add the pieces of butter, a few pieces at a time. Beat until the dry ingredients are moistened by the butter and look like crumbly coarse sand. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure there is no dry flour.
SLOWLY with the mixer on low speed add approximately 1/2 of the egg mixture to the dry ingredients increasing to medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes, the batter will be thick and fluffy. Scrape the bowl and add the remaining egg mixture in 2 pourings, scraping the bowl and beating for 20 seconds after each addition.
Scope the batter into the pans evenly. You can also use a scale to be precise for even layers.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pans 10 minutes then turn out.
FOR THE ERMINE FROSTING
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (do not microwave)
1 cup granulated sugar
In a small saucepan, whisk together flour, milk, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.
Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, until mixture is very thick. If small lumps develop, whisk vigorously until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla extract. Transfer to a small bowl.
Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the mixture’s surface to prevent a skin from forming. Set aside to cool completely in the fridge.
In the stand mixer mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar for about 5 minutes on medium-high speed until light, and fluffy.
Gradually beat cooled flour mixture into the creamed butter and sugar a few tablespoons at a time. Icing will begin to lighten.
Gently scrape bowl and beat until mixture is fluffy and resembles whipped cream.
This will take about 3 - 5 minutes.
Use as desired.