It’s a birthday week at work, and I’m always excited to have a reason to bake something yummy. So I’m taking a coconut cake for the festivities on Wednesday. My usual choice would be chocolate, but that was last week’s flavor. We need variety for the celebration!
I grew up in the South, and have sampled some amazing coconut cakes, a classic of the region. When I was a child, church potlucks were still sometimes referred to as “dinner on the ground,” and there was always an array of desserts weighing down one end of the table spread with food from great Southern cooks. Coconut cake was sure to be present: most communities had (the lucky ones still have) someone whose claim to fame was a treasured version of the white cake with the fluffy frosting.
Although I still love the classic recipe that has a 7-minute boiled icing and looks like a white cake-shaped snow sculpture, I’ve found an easier option that offers more bang for the buck. The secret? One of the best things in the world – sweetened condensed milk. I know it’s sweet…the name gives it away…but it has a decadent smoothness that can take a dessert from good to spectacular. This cake is so delicious, moist, rich…well, you get the idea. Try it, you may have a new favorite. And the great thing is that the recipe makes enough for a crowd, so it’s a perfect choice for dinner on the ground…or wherever you’re going with dessert in hand.
Mix and bake cake as package directs, in a 9×13 inch baking dish. When baking is completed, cool cake slightly, leaving in baking pan. Evenly pierce surface of cake with fork or knife (this allows topping to be absorbed by cake).
Mix sweetened condensed milk with half of cream of coconut and pour over surface of cake, letting mixture soak in. Continue to cool cake.
Mix remainder of cream of coconut, Cool Whip, and half of the shredded coconut. Spread over cooled cake (if cake is too warm it will melt the Cool Whip).
Top with remaining shredded coconut. Chill several hours before serving. Refrigerate any remaining cake.