Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas-y Cranberry Triple Coconut Cake

There's nothing like a beautiful and delicious dessert to finish off a fine Christmas dinner and I think this coconut cake qualifies on both levels!  Not only that, this one is gluten-free.  Of course, instructions are here for both a regular version and the GF one.

What makes this cake "triple?"  There's cream of coconut and coconut extract in the frosting and in the cake (if you're counting, that's cake and frosting - two) and, of course, that gorgeous snowfall of coconut enveloping the moist interior (three!).

The cake is relatively simple to make since you start with a cake mix and jazz it up.  The frosting is a simple cream cheese frosting with some of its own "jazzing."  The cranberry crown is super easy, too. Here's the still have time to make it if you hurry!

Cranberry Triple Coconut Cake

  • 2 boxes Betty Crocker gluten-free yellow cake mix (or 1 box regular yellow cake mix)
  • 1 box vanilla instant pudding mix (3.5 oz or similar weight)
  • 1/3 C. sugar (leave this out of the regular cake mix)
  • 1 C. sour cream or Greek yogurt (I use 0% fat Fage Greek yogurt - my fave)
  • 3/4 C. lite coconut milk
  • 3/4 C. canola oil
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 T. vanilla extract (the REAL stuff, not imitation!)
  • 2 t. coconut extract
  •  2 8-oz. blocks cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/2 C. unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 C. cream of coconut (the same stuff you use for a pina colada - get it in the cocktail section of your supermarket)
  • 1 C. powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 t. vanilla extract (again, use the good stuff!)
  • 1 t. coconut extract
  • 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • zest of 1 orange, use a peeler to remove just the thinnest top layer of the orange and then chop the zest into fine dice
  • 1 bag of sweetened flaked coconut
Cake directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray two 9" cake pans with Pam and dust with gluten-free flour (or regular if you're not doing the GF version).  Set aside.
In a large mixer bowl, gently mix the cake mix(es), pudding mix and sugar at low speed.  Add all of the wet ingredients and beat on low speed until just mixed, scrape down the sides.  Increase the speed to medium and mix until the mixture is smooth.  Divide the batter between the pans; tap the pans firmly on the counter to work the bubbles out.  Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, probably about 45-55 minutes.
Cool the cakes on racks for a few minutes, then remove the cakes from the pans and let continue cooling on the racks until completely cool before proceeding.
Put the cranberry sauce into a small pot with the zest.  Stir and bring to a simmer.  Let simmer about 5 minutes and let cool. 

Frosting directions:
With electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, cream of coconut, vanilla and coconut extracts.  When thoroughly incorporated and light, lower the speed to low and add the powdered sugar.  Beat until smooth and light.

Place one cake layer on a platter.  Put strips of wax paper or parchment on the plate to keep it clean while you work.
Fill the layer with about a cup (or more) of frosting.  Place the second layer on top, spoon the cranberries into the center and spread them out evenly to about 1/2" from the edge of cake.  
Using the rest of the frosting, frost the sides of the cake, bring it up to meet the edges of the cranberries, leaving no cake visible.
Start applying the coconut!  This is the hard part - well, messy at least.  Just take handsful of coconut and work from top to bottom until the entire cake is covered and gorgeous!
Remove the wax paper from the bottom, decorate the top with a sprig of holly and get ready for them ooohs and aaahhhs.  
Merry Christmas!!!!
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