Coconut Cream Cake

Coconut is always in season. It gives summer that tropical feel; sneaks into a fall morning bowl of oatmeal; and adds a gentle, snowy frost to any cake. I can't think of a single flavor that it cannot compliment- from chocolate to vanilla to citrus. In support of a recent bake sale fund raiser, I wanted to make something that was quick and easy. This Coconut Cream Cake is super simple- especially if you take short cuts.

For starters, the base is a white cake so it's possible to use a boxed white cake instead of making it from scratch. In my baker's shame, I will admit: I used a box cake. Don't hate! It's a work night; people need their sleep! I stayed true to the formula by beating the eggs until they were stiff and then folding them into the batter to ensure maximum fluffiness. 

Once you have a lovely sheet of white cake, poke it all over with a fork or knife while it's still warm. Be generous with your pokes- people won't be able to see this part. From there, slather the cake with cream of coconut (NOT coconut milk). This presents your next short cut by using store-bought cream of coconut. Cream of coconut is just coconut milk that's been reduced on the stove to concentrate the flavor with a little sugar sprinkled in. The beauty of making it yourself is you determine the level of sweetness... the beauty of store bought cream of coconut... is going to bed earlier. Pick your battles! 

My favorite aspect of this recipe is the topping: whipped cream covered in toasted sweetened coconut. It's no secret that I am not a lover of most buttercreams. All I taste if the butter and it's overpowering. I prefer a light 7 minute frosting or flaze. This frosting doesn't leave that sugary residue on your tongue and if you don't want to use the entire container- no probs- shove it in the freezer for next time. Hot damn.

There are so many fun directions you can run with this base recipe. We've added chopped pineapple to the cream of coconut for a little natural zest! For a fall feeling, mix in some pumpkin pie spice to the whipped cream and sprinkle toasted nuts on top instead of the coconut. Get creative- this recipe is seriously a tabula rassa.

For the full recipe, check out The Country Cook. If you're looking for a home made white cake recipe, I highly recommend the America's Test Kitchen version .