Coconut Cake with Fluffy White Frosting

I developed this coconut cake in an effort to make a delicious cake in record time.  SUPER easy cake, fluffy white frosting, and sweet coconut covering the whole thing make this a winner.
Coconut CakeHere’s the trick:  I use a white cake mix.  After tinkering with several scratch recipes, this one was just better.  And as a plus is is about as easy as it gets.  One of the reasons it has full coconut flavor is that I use coconut milk in the cake.  The coconut milk replaces the water and oil that are usually used in the mix.  Voila!  Great texture, and rich coconut flavor.
Coconut cake ingredients

Coconut Cake

one white cake mix
three eggs
14 oz can coconut milk

Fluffy White Frosting (recipe below)
One 14 oz. bag sweetened flaked coconut

Heat oven to 350.  Spray pans with baking spray. (I like to use three 8 inch round pans, as this allows me to tuck frosting and coconut in between each layer, creating a lovely tall cake.  But you can use one 9 X 13 pan, or two 9 inch rounds instead.)

Place white cake mix, coconut milk, and three whole eggs into mixing bowl, then blend on low for 30 seconds.  Scrape down sides of the bowl.  Beat on medium speed for two minutes.
Coconut cake pans
Pour into prepared pans, then bake until done.  I check my layers after 18 minutes, as they are rather thin.  You’ll need a bit more time for a 9 X 13 cake.  When the cake is done, a toothpick should come out clean when poked into the center of the cake.  Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn layers out on a baking rack until cool.

Frost and fill with Fluffy White Frosting and cover the whole cake with sweetened, flaked coconut.

Fluffy White Frosting

10 1/2 oz (1 1/2 cups) granulated white sugar
2 TB corn syrup
1/2 cup water
three egg whites, room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
(1/4 tsp. coconut extract, optional)

Put the water, corn syrup, and sugar in a heavy medium saucepan.  Cover and heat on high until sugar is dissolved.  Boil uncovered for three minutes.

While the sugar mixture is heating, whip the egg whites on medium low with whisk attachment until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and speed up the mixer and whip until they are big and fluffy.

By this time the syrup should be boiling away.  When the syrup comes to a full boil, boil on high for three minutes.  You should notice that the syrup is still clear, but seems thicker.  Be careful — it’s super hot.  It will look like this:
Coconut Cake frosting syrupNow, with the mixer running on medium-low, pour the boiling hot sugar syrup in a thin stream into the whipping egg whites.  (Be careful not to pour it onto the attachment, or you may have a hot mess of boiling sugar syrup being flung around your kitchen!)  After pouring all the syrup into the whipped egg whites, continue whipping the frosting until it’s fluffy and glossy and cooled off a bit (it can still be warm when it’s done — just not hot).  Add the vanilla and spread on your cooled cake layers.

This frosting requires some technique, but it’s a time-tested fluffy white frosting.  Just channel your inner Betty Crocker, and I think you’ll get the hang of it.  (This video shows some basic technique, though I don’t use a thermometer.)

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