I actually made this coconut cake two summers ago when I rediscovered how wonderful coconut is and began to wonder why more people don't appreciate it. Anyway, the cake was amazing but definitely heavy, so watch out! The recipe is originally from Bon Appétit but I made some of my own changes to it.
I remember the layers coming out of the oven so moist and even that I didn't even have to worry about cutting off the rounded tops that are usually an unwanted (at least for me) result of layer cakes. I wish I had some pictures of the process but for now this one will have to suffice.
Coconut Layer Cake
Adapted from Bon Appétit
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup canned sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco Lépez)
4 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
Pinch of salt
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut (toasted)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter and sweetened cream of coconut in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, vanilla extract, and coconut extract. On low speed, beat in dry ingredients and then buttermilk, each just until blended.
Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites with pinch of salt in another large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold beaten egg whites into batter.
Divide cake batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on rack 10 minutes. Run small sharp knife around pan sides to loosen cakes. Turn cakes out onto racks and cool completely.
Toast the sweetened shredded coconut.
Place 1 cake layer on cake plate. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake layer. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle and press toasted coconut over top and sides of cake.
** Bon Appétit suggests using a cream cheese frosting for this, but for some reason I didn't find the idea of cream cheese and coconut very appealing so I used Seven Minute Frosting. Also instead of using frosting in the middle I did a chocolate ganache, it was good but maybe not worth it to go through the extra trouble- your choice.
Can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours before serving.