March 23, 2023

Coconut Cake Off

I have cake entirely on the brain. At the same time, you might be thinking that with the advent of Spring, I would be craving my favorite Spring vegetables like artichokes, asparagus, and the glorious tender English peas. Still, because there is so much snow on the ground, I am obsessed with cake while I wait to see the first patch of grass in my yard, which I anticipate will be on April 28 😩.


In the last few weeks, I made a Lemon Blackberry Cake, Lemon Ricotta cake, and Blueberry Lemon Loaf that I gave to my neighbor, welcoming her adorable new baby Thea home. When I told big sister Tekkla that I brought her Lemon Blueberry bread, she asked if I got anything else – I bet if I called it a cake versus a loaf, she would have been much happier!  

This coconut cake is a project cake. I first made it a few years back for Easter. The addition of raspberry jam came as I tried to compete with Jason Matheson and win the Coconut Cake we had planned today. His cake is modeled after the Halekulani Hotel’s Coconut Cake which my friend Lori says is the best cake she has ever eaten. His cake is a light, creamy sponge cake with three layers of cake filled with pastry cream. My cake is dryer and denser and has only two layers, but it is held together by a raspberry buttercream filling and topped with cream cheese frosting. My cake has five sticks of butter. When I first read the Ina Garten cake recipe that this is modeled after, I thought…. wow, Paula Dean would be proud. This cake needs to be refrigerated to set up a bit before serving, but since it’s only 33 degrees in Minnesota – my screened-in porch did just fine. If you make this for Easter, I guess it will still be cold enough to store it on your back porch.

Raspberry Coconut Cake

Raspberry Coconut Cake

Yield: 12

This cake is inspired and adapted from the Barefoot Contessa coconut Cake by Ina Garten.



  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) of unsalted butter, at room temperature,
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • one and a 1/2 cups of sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup raspberry preserves


  • 1 8 oz oz brick cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 oz goat cheese room temperature
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 lb bag confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper.
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. Add the eggs one at a time with the mixer on medium speed, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter.. Mix until just combined. Fold in the coconut with a rubber spatula.
  3. Pour the batter evenly into the two pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes onto a baking rack to finish cooling.
  4. For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, goat cheese, butter, vanilla, and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until just smooth.
  5. Place one layer on a flat serving plate, top side down to assemble. Add the raspberry jam within a half inch of the edge of the. Cake. (optional to pipe a border around the edge of the cake to keep the jam from the edges of the cake) Place the second layer on the top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.

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