Southern favorite bound to impress family and guests alike


Cool Cake

Cool cake



By Annette Kukoy and Jackie Shayotovich


      We put together a recipe for a classic Southern coconut cream cake that will be most impressive for any special occasion. What’s nice about this recipe is that you don't have to make everything on the day the cake is needed. The filling is actually best made a day before and you can also make the cake layers in advance and keep them stored them in the freezer until needed.


For cake layers:

1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

3 1/4 cups cake flour

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 (13 1/2 -ounce) can coconut milk

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sweetened cream of coconut (Coco Lopez)

5 egg whites

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract

1 cup unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 large eggs     

      Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.


      Place coconut in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. In large bowl, combine chopped coconut, flour, baking powder and salt. In separate bowl, whisk coconut milk, cream of coconut, egg whites, vanilla, and coconut extracts until completely blended.


      In large bowl, using electric mixer, cream sugar and butter on high speed until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and beat in the three whole eggs, one at a time. Add flour mixture, alternating with coconut milk mixture, to the creamed butter, starting and ending with the flour.


      Divide batter equally into pans.  Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pans. Let cool on wire rack.


Prepare filling:

6 large egg yolks

¾ cup sugar

6 tablespoons cornstarch

⅛  teaspoon salt

3 cups whole milk

1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract


      Place egg yolks in large bowl; whisk to combine. Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook, stirring over medium heat until mixture thickens and comes to boil, 10 to 12 minutes. Whisk 1/2 cup hot milk mixture into reserved egg yolks to temper. Slowly pour warm yolks into saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook slowly, stirring over medium low heat until mixture begins to bubble, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut and vanilla. Transfer to medium bowl. Butter a piece of plastic wrap and lay it directly on top of filling. Chill until firm, at least an hour or overnight.


For frosting:

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup cream of coconut (Coco Lopez)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

2 cups sweetened shredded coconut


      Beat cream cheese in medium bowl until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add butter and beat until smooth. Add sugar, cream of coconut, vanilla and salt; beat for 3 more minutes. Spread coconut evenly onto baking sheet; toast in 325 degree oven until light golden brown , stirring 2 or 3 times.

Assemble Cake:

      Cut each layer horizontally into two equal layers. Place first layer on cake plate and spread with cream filling. Repeat with each layer. Spread frosting over sides and top of cake. Sprinkle toasted coconut onto sides, pressing gently to adhere. Keep refrigerated.


       Annette Kukoy is a member of St. Thomas More Parish in Munster. Jackie Shayotovich belongs to Ss. Peter and Paul in Merrillville. For more information contact Annette or Jackie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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