April 20, 2015

Coconut Cake

I just want to say thank you all for your wonderfully positive comments regarding our big news. It was amazing to hear so many kind words. As scary as it was, sharing our fertility story has lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders. I felt like I'd been keeping this big secret for so long, and while writing that post last week, everything just sort of poured out.

Things have been going pretty smooth so far. A few aches and pains here and there. Occasional headaches, backaches etc. Most things I can deal with, except for these crazy hormones. Let me tell you about my most dramatic pregnancy day yet. Last Tues I had a 9:30 am appointment with my GP regarding this super annoying inner ear issue that I've developed - probably pregnancy related.
It took me three weeks to schedule the appointment, so by that point, I was super anxious to see my doctor, even though deep down I knew she was just going to refer me to an ENT. Brent took a car-2-go to work, and I was going to take our car. I gave myself 20 minutes to get there. At 9:10 am I went to the spot where we keep the car keys - a small bowl on the counter. The keys were not there. I searched everywhere, or so I thought. I called Brent, who had accidentally taken the keys to work. He reassured me that there was a spare set somewhere in the kitchen. This was not reassuring. It was now 9:20 am. By this point I had gone slightly crazy, and there was no way that I could critically think my way out of the situation. I tried calling a cab, but it was going to take too long. I tried looking for a car-2-go nearby, but they were all parked downtown, of course. I tried scheduling an uber, but my credit card was stolen the week before, so my info was no longer valid in the app. I walked over to the kitchen table, laid my head in my hands and started to cry. It was now 9:25 am.

I hear the phone ring, it's Brent.  He tells me that he's on his way home with the keys. In a very dramatic voice, I tell him not too bother, it's too late. I'm still crying. I try to schedule an uber one more time, and this time I remember that I had previously linked my uber account with my google wallet, so it worked. The uber would be there in 5 minutes. It was now 9:30 am. The uber showed up, I got in the car, still crying, he asked me where I was going. I told him the Swedish Cherry Hill Hospital. He looked concerned. I arrived at my appointment 15 minutes late. As a punishment, they made me wait 45 minutes. Brent returned home. The keys were in the bowl, on the windowsill. I sat in my chair at the appointment, realizing that these pregnancy hormones were making me an irrational mess. Later that day, I felt the baby for the first time. A small pop in my uterus, followed by small bubbles. This continued for the rest of the day. I haven't felt him since. He must have been so active that day that he's been sleeping it off since. In conclusion, pregnancy has made me slightly more crazy than usual.

After that crazy day at the doctors, I decided to spend the next day in the kitchen baking a cake. A three layer coconut, buttercream frosted cake. It took me roughly a whole day to make this cake. It should have taken me only a few hours, but these days things seem too take much longer than I anticipate. I generally need to sit more often. I forget things more often. I get distracted more often. But, in the end, I finished the cake and it was super moist, creamy and coconut-y. The cake is just about gone, which makes me a bit sad. I've gotten used to my afternoon slice of cake with a cup of tea. I'm not sure I will attempt to make another cake for awhile. I'd like to remember this one for just a bit longer. The moist coconut cake layers in between sweet velvety buttercream frosting, sprinkled with fresh sweet shredded coconut. Seriously, it was amazing.

makes 1 - 3 layer cake
serves 20

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
1 cup coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup butter
1 - 8 oz pack cream cheese
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
5 tbsp coconut milk

3/4 - 1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Grease three 9 inch round cake pans, and layer the bottoms with parchment paper. This will make it much easier to remove the cake once baked. You could also dust with flour, but I find that greasing with butter and placing a circular cut-out of parchment paper at the bottom of the pan is sufficient enough to easily remove the cake.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or with and electric hand mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides.

Add the sugar one cup at a time and combine.

Add the eggs, one at a time and combine.

In a small bowl, combine the coconut milk and the vanilla.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add the milk and dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture, alternating between the two. Scrape down the sides. Mix until combined.

Pour an equal amount of batter into the three cake pans.

Place in the middle rack and bake for 30 - 35 minutes. Or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Remove the pans from the oven and let cool. Run a knife around the edge of the cake. Gently flip over and remove the cake from the pan. Remove the piece of parchment paper from the bottom, and let finish cooling on the wire rack.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and coconut milk and beat until combined.

Spread a layer of frosting onto the first cake, followed by sprinkling 1/4 cup shredded coconut. Repeat with the next layer. Frost the entire cake, and sprinkle coconut on the top. May be kept covered for 5 days.


  1. i have the softest spot for coconut cake - it is one of my faves and yours looks so coconutty and fluffy!

    i'm glad you made your appointment (even if they did make you wait!) i hope your ear is okay :)

  2. I've never commented here before but your fertility post and the good news certainly hit home! We too spent a few years trying to fall pregnant. Like you, IUI and drugs. A few miscarriages along the way, two adoptions gone awry and then I fell pregnant. I now have a lovely 9 year old daughter. A day doesn't go by that we thank our lucky stars.

    Congrats to you!

  3. Oh yum, it looks delightful!!

  4. I wish I could reach through the screen and eat some of this cake RIGHT NOW. Luckily, I have a birthday cake to bake this weekend--now I know what to make. What do you think about a bowl of macerated strawberries on the side? Can't wait!

  5. My Aunty always maintained that she lost half her brain while she was pregnant with her baby, so I think it's completely normal - you are growing a human inside you after all and that is hard work.
    Hard work that should definitely be fueled by coconut cake and days of quiet pottering and being lost in your own time and space.

  6. Baking a cake is always a good way to recover from stressful events...I can relate from experience :) This cake looks beautiful, love the ruffled sides <3

  7. Pregnancy turns even the most rational women into an emotional mess. I was just like that. Baking is definitely the best way to recover from a stressful morning. This cake looks gorgeous. I love coconut.

  8. This coconut cake is just gorgeous. I can imagine being a bit sad when this is all gone! Thanks for sharing. :)

  9. This cake is beautiful and so are your words. I'm so happy for you two and your growing little one inside of you. Just so crazy wonderful. My best friend is about to give birth for the first time, and she was just like you (the ways you mention you've changed above) and it was hard for her, amusing for me, and overall wonderful because those changes prove you have something amazing being created inside of you :)

  10. Oh no I'm sorry you had a difficult time getting to your appointment! To be fair... I would probably react that way now and I'm not even pregnant haha!

    Anyway... the cake looks absolutely lovely :) I love thick creamy coconut dishes so will have to try this one!

  11. Looks absolutely decadent! Congrats on the happy news :)

  12. Yay! I'm so happy for you... I hope things continue to go smoothly and keep us posted on progress. :)

    Your cake looks absolutely delicious, and your photos are beautiful. I'm pinning now so I can make this soon!

  13. Positively gorgeous. Love the cake and love the icing! Your photos always have me smiling.

  14. That cake!! I love it! Looks absolutely superb! And the icing! Just heavenly!

  15. My grandmother's go to birthday cake was a very similar white cake doused in coconut. I love the idea of putting coconut milk in the batter to really strengthen the coconut flavours. Sounds delicious!

  16. I LOVE coconut cake and this looks awesome! Quick question - are you using canned coconut milk or the more drinkable kind typically available in paper cartons?

    1. Thanks Alissa! I used canned coconut milk.

  17. I love coconut cakes. This is seriously making me crave some! It's been a while since I have had it.

  18. I'm a total softy when coconut is involved. Why not up the "anty" and have a Pina Colada with a slice of this cake? Would that be wrong?

  19. I made this for my dad's bday. I did two layers instead of three, which worked great in 9-inch pans. I also filled the cake with lemon curd and made swiss meringue buttercream with some coconut extract, as my dad isn't big on cream cheese frosting. It was amazing! The cake was tender and rich and perfect for a coconut cake! I will definitely be saving this one to make it again.