For when you're really, really serious about coconut.
There's a scene in Parks and Recreation when noted meat enthusiast Ron Swanson instructs a waiter to "Give me all the eggs and bacon you have." He then stops him, brings him back, and clarifies: "Wait, wait. I worry what you heard is 'Give me a lot of bacon and eggs.' What I said was, 'Give me all the bacon and eggs you have.'" That is sort of how I feel about coconut cake. I do not want a whisper of coconut threaded delicately through the batter. I do not want a little pile of sweetened coconut on top. What I want is, when I take a bite of it, for coconut to jump out at me as aggressively as the Kool-Aid man bursting through the wall. I want it to be like being pelted by many decadent coconuts. I want it to be coconut cake, you know what I'm saying?
This recipe for coconut cake is exactly the kind of maximalist coconut flavor that I'm looking for if I'm going to go to the trouble of making myself a coconut cake. It is not for people who like coconut cake a little bit. It is for people who like coconut cake a lot. It uses not just shredded coconut, but also coconut sugar, coconut flour, coconut cream, coconut milk, and coconut extract. It is not for jokes.
It's also not the kind of cake that you're going to whip together on a weeknight. The many components here combine to make things extremely delicious, but they take some time to put together, so know going in that you're going to want to take a while to do this. It's a special occasion kind of coconut, you know?
Coconut sugar, coconut extract, and coconut flour are harder to find than the other components. Whole Foods usually carries coconut sugar and coconut flour, and you can purchase coconut extract online. But if you don't have access to them, don't worry—you can use almond flour or cake flour instead of coconut flour. Regular old white sugar will do for coconut sugar, and you can put a little vanilla extract in rather than the coconut extract. The coconut cream and coconut milk will ensure that there's lots of coconut flavor, plus the healthy heap of coconut on top.
Only have unsweetened shredded coconut? Don't fear. Just soak it in a little simple syrup until the cocnut has absorbed the sweet liquid.
Get the recipe: Ultimate Coconut Cake.