I remember as a child, begging my mom to buy a coconut at the grocery store so I could drink the coconut milk. I desperately wanted to hold a half coconut in my hands and drink from it like I saw on TV. Finally my mom bought one and I discovered that not only are coconuts way harder to crack open that what I had always been led to believe, but coconut milk was completely disgusting.
Recently my son when through the same phase, and BEGGED me to buy a coconut when we were at the store. I bought it and when we came home I put my husband to work getting it cracked open.
“Why did you buy this thing anyways, he’s not gonna like it,” my husband said.
And I explained to him the thing that makes us moms just a little smarter than the average person. The thing that my mom obviously knew all those years ago. That I could tell my son he wouldn’t like it, but he would never believe me. It is much easier to spend the couple of dollars and let him see for himself. And then he will never bother me about a coconut again. My husband then admitted that he too once talked his mom into buying a coconut so he could drink from it. He too was disgusted. And he too, was done with fresh coconuts.
After about sixteen hours (ok, maybe twenty minutes, but it seemed longer), my husband got the coconut open. My son grabbed it and took a sip….and the look of disgust on his face was priceless. That is when I learned that not only was it worth the money to get him over his little coconut dream, but also to see the look on his face when he tasted the milk.
Maybe my mom knew that too.
I have made this coconut cake a couple of times, and so far it is my favorite. The recipe is from The Cake Mix Doctor Returns, and it is best made a couple of days in advance. The frosting, made with sugar, sour cream, and whipped topping, can then absorb into the cake layers, making it even more moist and delicious.
Vegetable oil, for misting the pan
Flour, for dusting the pan
1 package (18.25 oz) plain white cake mix (my favorite is Duncan Hines)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cream of coconut, plus more cream of coconut for brushing the baked layers
3 large eggs
2 cups sour cream
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed (Cool Whip)
3 1/2 to 4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350. Lightly mist three 9 inch round cake pans with vegetable oil spray, then dust them with flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pans aside.
Place the cake mix, milk, 1/2 cup cream of coconut, and eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes longer, scraping down the sides of the bowl again if needed. The batter should look well blended. Divide the cake batter evenly among the 3 prepared pans, about 1 1/2 cups batter per pan, smoothing the tops with a rubber spatula. Place the pans in the oven. If your oven is not large enough to hold 3 pans on the center rack, place to pans on that rack and one in the center of the rack above.
Bake the cake until layers are light brown and the tops spring back with lightly pressed with a finger, 18 to 23 minutes. The cake layer on the higher rack may bake faster, so test it for doneness first.
While the cakes bake, make the frosting. Place the sour cream and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the sugar has dissolved, 2 minutes longer. Add the whipped topping and beat on low speed until well blended. Stir in 3 cups of coconut and beat on low speed until mixed. Place the frosting in the refrigerator to chill for at least 10 minutes.
Transfer the cake pans to wire racks and let the cake layers cool for 5 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each cake layer and give the pans a good shake to loosen the cakes. Invert each layer onto a wire rack, and then invert again so they are right side up. While the cakes cool, use a small brush to gently brush the tops of the cake with the remaining cream of coconut. Let the cakes cool completely, 15 minutes longer. When the cakes are cool, use a large serrated knife to cut each cake in half horizontally to make 6 layers.
To assemble the cake, transfer one layer, cut side up, to a serving platter. Spread the top with a heaping 2/3 cup frosting. Place another layer, cut side up, on top of the first layer and frost with 2/3 cup frosting. Repeat this process with the remaining layers and frost the top and sides of cake. Sprinkle 1/2 to 1 cup coconut on top of the cake for garnish.
This cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Make this cake today and it will be moist and yummy just in time for Easter dinner. Enjoy!!