Cake Decoration Day
By Angela Denstad Stigeler
Cakes are pretty much standard issue for celebrations, but they sometimes seem to be more concerned with their decoration than with their substance. A special occasion cake need not be confined to a box, though. As desserts go, cakes take little more technique than careful measuring and mixing, and the flavor of a fresh homemade cake can’t be beat—no matter how much its batter may be.
This one is a fun way to start off the summer; its tropical flavor and moist crumb are a delight. And the white cake pairs well with any number of fillings or frostings. A lemon curd filling, or a simple spread of strawberry jam, cream cheese frosting or lightly sweetened whipped cream all work to accent this tasty cake. For Memorial Day—formerly known as Decoration Day—serve up this cake to mark the occasion. White frosted and adorned with fresh raspberries and blueberries, it’s the only decoration your table will need.
3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk
1 cup sweetened flake coconut, finely chopped
Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line two 8-inch round pans with parchment. Lightly grease the parchment and set aside. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and coconut extract, if using.
On low speed, beat in a third of the flour mixture, and then half of the coconut milk. Alternate, adding half of the remaining flour mixture, then the rest of the milk, ending with the last of the flour mixture. Lastly, fold in the coconut until evenly distributed.
Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans for 15 minutes before turning out to cool completely. Frost or decorate as desired.