This is honestly the best cake you can possibly imagine for us coconut lovers. I found the recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens last year, and it’s quickly become a crowd favorite. The best part is that the longer you let it sit, the better flavor it has. It also freezes amzingly well. Enjoy! And don’t be afraid of a little effort!
½ C cranberry juice
1 ½ C dried cranberries
1 C walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 C flaked coconut, toasted
2 2/3 C flour
2 ¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¾ C butter, softened
2/3 C sugar
6 egg whites
1 ½ tsp vanilla
½+ tsp orange extract (can substitute for coconut extract)
¾ C buttermilk (or half & half, or even plain yogurt and milk)
Boil juice in a saucepan. Add berries and boil 1 minute more. Let stand while you combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. (You can also toast the coconut and walnuts at this point) Set aside.
Beat butter and sugar together. Add whites, vanilla, and orange extract on low. Beat in flour, alternating with buttermilk. Divide batter evenly among 3 greased (sides too) 9-inch round baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Do not expect cakes to turn golden; they stay fairly pale. Cool for 10 minutes and drain berries.
Beat 3/8 C softened butter and slowly add 1 pound powdered sugar. Then beat in 1/6 C coconut milk (or a thicker milk product so it doesn’t get too runny). Add 1 ¼+ tsp orange extract for desired flavor.
Place first cake on a plate or platter. Spread with 1/3 of the frosting. Top with ½ of the swollen cranberries and 1/3 of the toasted walnuts. On the underside of the next cake layer, spread a very thin sheet of frosting, just so that the layers don’t separate when you cut it. Top with next layer and spread with 1/3 frosting. Top with remaining berries, 1/3 nuts, and ½ of the coconut. Thin layer of frosting on the underside of top layer before topping. Cover uppermost cake with a liberal layer of frosting on top, making sure the frosting at the edges is slightly higher so the goodies don’t tumble overboard. But DO NOT frost the side of the cake. Top with remaining nuts and toasted coconut.
Serves about 12-16