I found this recipe over on Bon Appetit after looking at dozen of recipes. This was what sounded most like what I grew up with in the south and I must admit it tasted pretty damn close.
This cake was actually a lot of fun to make, toasting the coconut was way easier than I expected. I had bought triple what I needed because toasting and I just so not get along and since this was a very anticipated birthday cake it just had to be right. Well, I got it on my first go. So take that oven!
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 2 3/4 cups cake flour plus more for pans
- 2 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut (not reduced-fat)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 5 large eggs
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, warmed to melt
- 1 cup buttermilk
Frosting and assembly:
- 4 cups unsweetened coconut chips
- 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup Southern Comfort
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 cups powdered sugar
Arrange racks in top and bottom thirds of oven; preheat to 350°F. Coat cake pans with nonstick spray; dust with flour. Whisk 2 3/4 cups flour and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter at medium speed, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until smooth, 3–4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions. Beat until light and fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Gradually beat in oil. Beat in dry ingredients at low speed in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Divide among four 9″ cake pans (about 2 generous cups batter per pan); smooth tops with a spatula.
Bake until a tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, 22–27 minutes. Transfer pans to wire racks; let cool in pans for 5 minutes. Invert cakes onto racks, remove pans, and let cakes cool completely.
For frosting and assembly:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place coconut chips in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toast until some of the chips are golden brown (some will remain white), 5–7 minutes; let cool completely. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter on high speed, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until smooth and creamy, 2–3 minutes. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons Southern Comfort and salt; beat to blend, about 1 minute longer. Add sugar; beat on low speed to blend. Increase speed to high; beat until fluffy, 5–6 minutes.
Using a long serrated knife, cut each cake in half horizontally. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on a cake stand or plate. Lightly brush with about 1/2 tablespoon of Southern Comfort. Spread 1/2 cup frosting over. Repeat with remaining 7 layers, Southern Comfort, and frosting. Chill cake for 30 minutes. Leave remaining frosting at room temperature.
Cover sides of chilled cake with frosting. Cover cake loosely with foil and chill overnight. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let cake stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Gently pat handfuls of toasted coconut chips over sides and top of cake and serve.