This beautiful and easy coconut cake is perfect for a holiday or Easter celebration. Two moist white cake layers are filled with raspberry preserves then iced with a simple coconut spread.
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Before The Husband and I became “The Parents,” we always spent our Christmas holidays away from home. Christmas Eve was spent with his family, we usually spent the night at his mother’s house and then got up the next morning and drove to my parent’s house.
However, now that we have a Little Tot in our lives, The Husband and I decided last year that we would host Christmas Day at our house. We thought it was only fair that Little Tot should get to wake up Christmas morning in his own bed with presents from Santa under his own tree (although at 16 months, I don’t think he fully “gets” the concept of Santa. I’m thinking next year should be a lot of fun!).
With this new arrangement come new traditions. This easy coconut cake recipe is a favorite that I have made for my mother several times (coconut cake is a fave for both of us), but a few years ago I found out that coconut cake was always served on Christmas Day when my mother-in-law was growing up. What could look more festive on Christmas Day than a red and white cake?
Bake the Cake Layers
The days leading up to Christmas are always a little hectic. I have A TON of cooking to do, so I’m thankful for a few shortcuts to cut down on the amount of time I’m spending in the kitchen. My coconut cake starts with a white boxed cake mix, cooked according to the package directions.
I’ve tried a lot of different cake pans over the years. These 8-inch Chicago Metallic cake pans are my fave so far. I like the deep sides and my cakes seem to rise a lot more in these pans vs. some of the others I’ve tried. And they are non-stick, so popping the cakes out of the pan are a breeze once they’ve been allowed to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
Make the Whipped Cream Frosting
This coconut cake is frosted with a light and airy frosting made from sugar, sour cream and whipped cream. You can make your own whipped cream from scratch if you would like. But I have made this recipe with a tub of store bought whipped topping and it comes out just fine.
Start by whisking together one cup of sour cream and one cup of sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in 3/4 of a cup of sweetened flaked coconut. Then gently fold in the whipped topping. Folding mean we’re not using an electric mixer, but rather mixing it in by hand to ensure the whipped cream stays light and fluffy.
Assembling the Coconut Cake
Before I get started, I like to line the bottom of my plate with a few strips of waxed paper to catch any drips. Trim your cake layers to ensure the tops are flat. You can do this by hand using a large knife, but I prefer to use a cake leveler.
Place one cake layer on top of the waxed paper. Spread about an even layer of raspberry preserves over the top of the layer. It should be 1/4-inc thick and reach to within 1-inch of the top. The raspberry layer will spread a little once you place the next cake layer on top.
Carefully add the second cake layer. Next, spread the whipped cream frosting all over the top and the sides of the cake. Take your remaining coconut and sprinkle it all over the top of the cake and press it into the sides. When you’re done, gently slide the waxed paper strips out from under the cake.
For a little texture, you can also toast about a 1/4 cup of coconut until it is golden brown and sprinkle it over the top of the cake.
Refrigerate the cake for at least 4 hours, preferable overnight, to allow the frosting to set.
Storing Your Coconut Cake
You’ll want to store the coconut cake covered in the refrigerator. I like this cake saver with a locking lid because it prevents my cake from drying out. The cake can be made up to two days ahead of time. It should be eaten withing 4-5 days.
Leftover coconut cake can also be frozen! I recommend cutting the cake into manageable portions. Let the pieces freeze first, then wrap the frozen pieces in a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Eat the frozen coconut cake within one year.
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Coconut Cake with Raspberry Filling
- 1 package 18-1/4 ounces white cake mix
- 1/3 cup raspberry preserves
- 1 cup 8 ounces sour cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups flaked coconut divided
- 1 tub (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping thawed
- Prepare and bake cake mix according to package directions in two 9-in. round baking pans. Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
- When cool, spread raspberry preserves over the top of one of the cake layers to within 1 inch of the edge. Place the second layer over the first.
- For filling, combine sour cream and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in ¾ cup coconut. Fold in whipped topping. Spread frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate cake for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, to allow frosting to set. Sprinkle remaining ¾ cup of coconut over the top and sides of the cake.