We celebrated my wonderful Mom-in-law's birthday yesterday. Each year, I look forward to what her "cake order" will be. See, each year family members place their specific "cake order" with me for their birthday...It can be anything they want! My Mom-in-law comes up with a fantastic cake challenge each year, and I was excited to hear what she had dreamed up. You might remember THIS FABULOUS MOUNDS BAR CAKE from last year. I think she may love chocolate and coconut just as much as I do!
This year, she challenged me with a chocolate cake that had a coconut-cream cheese icing. Game on! This is the concoction that I came up with. I whipped up a perfectly moist chocolate cake and flavored the batter with coconut extract. After one whiff of the batter as it was mixing, I knew that I had struck chocolatey gold! The cream cheese icing was equally decadent, with shredded coconut mixed right into the icing, and topped off with toasted coconut to add depth of flavor and texture. I even added a little toasted coconut in between the two layers for a little surprise.
This folks, may very well be my new favorite cake. The flavors are P.E.R.F.E.C.T. for the upcoming summer months. If a friend or loved one has a birhday coming up, surprise them with this cake! Better yet, make this cake for them "just because." You'll be their new favorite person! ;-)
Dreamy Coconut-Chocolate Cake
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (I prefer Ghirardelli)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons coconut extract
1 cup boiling water
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a different bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and coconut extract; Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat on medium speed of an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water...the batter will be very thin!
Pour batter into the prepared pans.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely and add icing...along with the toasted coconut on the top of each layer.
After icing the first layer...
Coconut Cream Cheese Icing
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coconut flavoring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted (see note below)
1.Beat the cream cheese and butter in a mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, one cup at a time, alternating with heavy cream. Beat in the salt, coconut flavoring, and vanilla extract. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and spreadable. Add additional confectioners' sugar if necessary to thicken the frosting, or more cream to thin. Stir in the coconut. If desired, spoon toasted coconut evenly over frosted cake.
***To properly toast the shredded coconut, simply spread the coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 5 - 10 minutes at 350 degrees F. Keep a close eye on the coconut while it's in the oven, because it tends to brown quickly! You may need to stir the coconut around on the baking sheet a few times, in order to avoid over-browning. The pieces of coconut near the outer edges will probably brown the quickest.***