Chocolate Coconut Cake

Truth be told, I'm not much of a Valentine's Day kind of gal. Sure, I love chocolates and cake, really any excuse to eat sweets as much as the next person, but Valentine's Day doesn't get my blood pumping. Which is why I'm almost like "who am I right now?" making this cake. I'm blaming Molly and Adrianna for all the Valentine's Day cuteness and inspo! And while this cake is not all hearts and flowers, it's pink, and I'd say that makes it v festive.

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When I was in middle school, and let's be honest, probably high school too, I was obsessed with paisleys. Like so obsessed. My friend Alysha is quite the artist, and I used to beg her to "tattoo" them onto my hand with a jelly roll pen in science (or was it math) class. Of course I also drew my own, but they were never as pretty as hers... so it figures that piping them onto a cake didn't go so well for me. This cake was originally made for my friend Bob's birthday. His favorite cake flavors are chocolate and coconut, so this recipe was made just for him. When my birthday rolled around, I decided I wanted to make it again for myself. And I wanted paisleys. To say it didn't go well, would be the understatement of the century. I almost wanted to throw the cake at the wall after two rounds of failed attempts. 😅  😂  Instead I just shoved it in the fridge and forgot about it.

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Last week though, I decided, I'd revisit the cake and because Moses is clearly the more talented artist of the two of us, he said he'd help me decorate it. I think he said he'd help as part of my Valentine's Day gift, which um, yes. Please. Thank you. I accept. And now here we are with the prettiest little paisleys I could ask for. I can take credit for the baking, the base coat of buttercream, and approximately 1.5 paisleys. The rest was all Moses. I'm pretty sure that's what you call love. ❤️  

CHOCOLATE COCONUT CAKE

ADAPTED FROM DARK CHOCOLATE MASCARPONE LAYER CAKE AND YOUR CUP OF CAKE

MAKES ONE 3-LAYER 8-INCH ROUND CAKE

INGREDIENTS

CAKE

  • 1 3/4 c. (254 g.) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 c. (300 g.) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. (73 g.) dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. + 1 Tbsp. (77 g.) unsweetened dark (sometimes called black) cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. (10 g.) baking soda
  • 1 tsp. (5 g.) baking powder
  • 1 tsp. (6 g.) kosher salt
  • 1 c. (240 g.) full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 c. (100 g.) virgin coconut oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. (12 g.) vanilla extract
  • 1 c. (236 g.) hot water

BUTTERCREAM

  • 3 c. (24 oz.) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 6 c. (1 lb.) (690 g.) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. coconut flavor (I rec: Frontier Coop)
  • Gel food coloring, optional

TOOLS

  • Three 8- x 2-inch round cake pans
  • Three 8-inch parchment rounds
  • Stand mixer
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Evenbake cake strips, pre-soaked in water
  • Wire cooling rack
  • Long, sharp serrated knife
  • Plastic wrap
  • Revolving cake stand or an inverted bowl with a plate on top
  • 8-inch cardboard round
  • Offset spatula
  • Bench scraper
  • Piping bag and tips

FIX

CAKE

  1. Move the rack to middle of your oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease (with butter or spray) three 8-inch cake pans and line with parchment rounds. Grease the rounds then lightly dust pans with flour. Tap out any excess flour and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine flour, sugars, dark cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt at low speed. In mixing bowl, whisk together coconut milk, oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla. On low speed, incorporate the wet mixture into the dry mixture and beat until just combined. Then add the hot water and beat until fully incorporated.
  3. Evenly distribute batter into the three prepared pans. Wrap pans with evenbake strips if using. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the middle of the cake--if it comes out clean, the cake is done. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then invert onto a greased rack to cool completely. When cool, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer until you are ready to use. 

BUTTERCREAM

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar together, starting the mixer on low speed then increasing slowly till you hit medium-high. Scrape down edges then add the salt and coconut flavor. Beat on high for 5-10 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy. 

FROSTING THE CAKE

  1. With your long serrated knife, trim tops of cake rounds as necessary. Set your first cake round on an 8-inch cardboard round on cake stand or plate with flat side facing down. Using your small offset spatula, gently cover the top of the first layer with a generous layer of buttercream, working it towards the edges. Top with the second cake layer, flattest side up then repeat frosting. Top with final layer and spread a layer of buttercream on top and all sides, smoothing with offset spatula.
  2. Next, take your bench scraper and smooth surfaces by running it along the surface while simultaneously turning the stand or plate. Wipe clean as necessary.
  3. To decorate further, color your remaining buttercream and pipe onto frosted cake using various tips.
  4. Refrigerate for at least an hour before slicing. 
  5. Serve and enjoy!