Monday, June 17, 2013

THE Cake (or, the most amazing thing to ever come out of my oven)

I first got a bite of this cake about ten years ago when I was having dinner with my husband's (then, boyfriend's) family. I knew, in that moment, that my entire life's destiny was to marry into this family so that I could get my hands on this recipe. Okay, so maybe that's not the only reason why we're together today, but I have to admit it's a perk :)

Anyway, this is the most amazing thing I've ever tasted. If you (even somewhat) like coconut, you'll absolutely agree. So, without further ado, here it is...

Coconut Cake with a Lemon Cream Cheese Filling (And Boiled Icing!)


  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of butter (Room temperature. Cake ingredients always always always should be room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups of flour (all-purpose is fine)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 3 cups of fresh grated coconut (If you don't want to grate your own, you can pick some up at a Whole Foods, or I got mine at a little Amish store. Just be sure it's UNSWEETENED!!!)
  • 4 oz of cream cheese (room temp!)
  • 3/4 pounds (approx 3 cups) of powdered sugar
  • 1 lemon zested (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • Boiled icing (recipe to follow)

Got your ingredients ready? Let's bake!
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Lightly grease and flour three 8-9 inch cake pans
  • Using an electric mixer, cream the sugar with 1/2 cup of the butter (You'll use the rest later)
  • With the mixer running, add the oil and mix thoroughly
  • Add the egg yolks one at a time and mix thoroughly after each
  • In a separate bowl, sift the flour and baking soda together
  • Alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to your batter and mix thoroughly
  • Fold in 2 cups of the coconut using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula
  • Using an electric mixer with a wire whip attachment, beat your 5 egg whites until stiff. (For more information on how to tell what stage your egg whites are at, please visit:
  • Fold the egg whites into the batter.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 24-30 minutes or until the center is set.
For the filling:
  • With an electric mixer, cream the remaining butter with the cream cheese.
  • Add the powdered sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of your buttermilk.
  • Using a rubber spatula, spread a layer on top of each cake, then stack them on top of each other. The filling will eventually soak into the cake, making it ridiculously moist and yummy :)
Now for the icing:
The whole purpose of making this cake is to make the icing. Seriously, the icing is what makes this cake happen so pay attention to what you're doing here!

  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 egg whites (room temp!)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/8 heaping teaspoon of cream of tarter
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes.

Increase your heat slightly and bring the sugar to 240 degrees. If the sugar starts to crystallize on the sides, wipe down with a damp brush. 

Meanwhile, combine the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in a medium sized mixing bowl. Beat on low speed until soft peaks form. Increase to high speed and beat until stiff peaks form. 

Once your egg whites are stiff and your sugar water is nice and syrupy, pour your saucepan in a steady stream (mixer running!) into your egg whites. You're going to beat for approximately the next 6 hours (kidding, beat for 5-10 minutes until the icing is fairly thick and spreadable). Whip in the vanilla. 

You should have about 1 cup of coconut left. With your mixer on low speed, incorporate this into your icing. Get a rubber spatula ready and frost your cake. You'll need to work fairly quickly because if you've done the icing right, is sets pretty fast. 

Now go take a nap. You've worked hard enough for one day :)

This is what happens when your husband is responsible for cutting the cake. Hahaha!

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