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Coconut Layer Cake

Serves 4 layer 9-inch cake     adjust servings

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 2 packages (16.5 ounce) white cake mix
  • 2 packages (3.4-ounce) vanilla pudding mix (dry. Don't make pudding!)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons coconut extract

For the frosting

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 and 1/2 packages (20 ounces total) cold cream cheese
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
  • heaping 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • fresh fruit, to garnish
  • powdered sugar, to garnish, optional

Instructions

  1. Unless you have a huge stand mixer, you will need to make the cake in 2 batches. I only have 2 cake pans anyway, so it worked for me.
  2. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.
  3. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together 1 cake mix, 1 package of pudding mix, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup oil, 1 cup sour cream, 3 eggs, and 1 tablespoon coconut extract.
  4. Scrape down the sides and bottom. Beat for at least 3 minutes.
  5. Pull out enough parchment paper so that both your cake pans fit on it. Fold the paper in half. Use a pencil to trace the bottom of one cake pan onto the paper. Then cut out the folded paper so you get 2 circles. Place the 2 circles in the cake pans. Spray the sides of the cake pans with nonstick spray.
  6. Divide the batter between the pans. Drop each pan onto your counter from a few inches up, so that some of the air bubbles pop.
  7. Bake the cakes at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes. (The lower temperature is so that the edges stay tender and don't darken as much--important because there will be no frosting to cover it). I baked one cake on a high rack and one on a low rack. After 20 minutes, I switched the cakes and rotated each one 180 degrees. After 10 minutes, the top one was done and the bottom one needed 1 more minute. You will know the cakes are done when they do not shake in the center; when a toothpick comes out clean; or when the center springs back immediately when you press on it.
  8. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Leave the parchment paper on.
  9. When the cakes are cool, use a sharp serrated knife to slice off the dome of each cake. Wrap each cake tightly in plastic wrap (use plenty) and transfer to the freezer.
  10. Repeat all of the above steps with the other cake mix.

For the frosting:

  1. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter until it is fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese. Beat until it is fluffy, at least 2 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom. Add the coconut extract and salt and beat together. Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing in between each addition. If the frosting seems to thin, add a little more powdered sugar.
  2. To assemble:
  3. Add a small daube of frosting on your cake plate. Place the first frozen layer on top. (Leave the other layers in the freezer until you need them.)
  4. Heap about 1 cup of frosting in the center of the cake. Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting to the edge of the cake. It doesn't have to be perfect. Add the next layer. Continue to layer the cakes and frosting.
  5. Garnish the cake with raspberries or other fresh fruit. Sprinkle with a dusting of powdered sugar, if desired.
  6. To serve, use a very sharp serrated knife to slice the cake all the way to the bottom. Wipe off the knife with a wet towel in between each slice.

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