Two favorite cakes combined into one towering dessert, this Red Velvet Coconut Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting is bright and festive. A great dessert to share with anyone you love.
I made you a cake. It’s another gigantic cake and I couldn’t decide which flavor to make so I made both….in one mammoth cake mashup. What do you think? Do you think it’s big enough?
My grandmother used to make a red velvet cake when I was like 2 feet tall. I loved it….it was my favorite cake by far and, maybe, not because of the flavor but because of the color. Growing up north of the Mason Dixon Line, you didn’t see a lot of Red Velvet Cake flying around like you do today. She didn’t even call her’s a red velvet cake….it was known as Flame Cake to us Northerners. And I’m not sure that it’s even the same cake come to think of it….maybe this story is completely irrelevant. But whatever, I used to request Flame Cake for my birthday every year. And my mom would make something else, like a fancy snowman cake and it always tasted waaaaay better than the Flame Cake. (She obviously knew something I didn’t.) So, yeah….I think I liked it because it was red. And Flame Cake sounded cool…but turns out, that snowman cake was even cooler.
Then Red Velvet Cake made it’s way to me via the millions of bakeries that started pushing red velvet everything and I finally got to try the real deal. Yep, I loved it and it didn’t really taste like Flame Cake. It was sorta chocolatey and that cream cheese frosting was to die for. Perfect in everyday….AND THEN, I had a red velvet cupcake and a slice of coconut cake…at the same time….both rivaling for first place in my heart. (I know…I wonder why my scale hates me.) I thought to myself…Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing to combine the two flavors in a cake? Well, wouldn’t it?
I went with it and now you have a recipe for this towering naked Red Velvet Coconut Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting. As you can see, I’m loving the naked cake thing lately. Do you wanna know why? Because I suck at frosting cakes….even with a crumb layer. It’s something I struggle with and would rather eat cake than perfect the appearance. We will get there….I promise and maybe I’ll do another epic video to demonstrate how to make a crumb layer and then win an Emmy. So, now…we make naked cakes. And they’re pretty cool and trendy which makes me equally cool and trendy. If you don’t believe me check out my Copycat Milk Bar Birthday Cake and Apple Pie Layer Cake.
My cake is an old favorite that I tore from a newspaper and I didn’t keep the name of the paper or anything for credit so if you know where the cake recipe is from….just comment below…shout it out, tell me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. But right now, I got nothing. I adapted the mystery recipe a bit to include balsamic vinegar because it just adds something mysterious to the flavor, then I included shredded coconut and coconut milk to the batter. The cake itself doesn’t taste overly coconutty…it’s subtle and amazing. The frosting is where you get that punch of coconut flavor, the coconut cream adds exactly what you’re looking for in a coconut dessert and the cream cheese adds the perfect tang. This cake is seriously amazing and makes the most festive Valentine’s dessert. You don’t always need chocolate. Ok, yes, you do. Just serve a slice of this with a Chocolate Martini and you’re good to go. Have a very Merry Valentine’s Day. 🙂
Red Velvet Coconut Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for the pans
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons red food coloring
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (shake before measuring)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- For the frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 15 ounce can coconut cream
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4-6 cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
For the cake soak
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 and position a rack in the middle.
- Coat a half sheet pan with cooking spray and line with parchment with a 3 inch overhang on each side.
- For the cake:
- Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Pulse the coconut in a food processor until it is very finely chopped. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and coconut with an electric mixer on medium speed until thoroughly combined, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
- In a small bowl, stir together the red food coloring, buttermilk, and coconut milk. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stop and scrape down the bowl twice.
- In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar and the baking soda. With the mixer set at medium speed, beat the vinegar mixture into the batter. Pour the batter into the cake pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a rack.
- For the frosting:
- Beat the cream cheese with the butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla and coconut cream. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar 1/2 a cup at a time until the mixture reaches the consistency of frosting and can hold it's shape. Store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.
- For the cake soak:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and vanilla set aside.
- To assemble:
- Lay a piece of parchment on the counter. Turn the cake onto it and peel off the parchment from the bottom of the cake. Use an 8 inch cake ring to cut out 2 circles from the cake. These will be your top 2 cake layers. the remaining cake scraps will come together to make the bottom layer of the cake.
- layer 1, the bottom
- Clean the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment or a silpat. Use 1 strip of parchment (4 inches wide x 24 inches long) to line the inside of the cake ring.
- Place the cake scraps together inside the ring and use the back of your hand to press the scraps together into a flat even layer.
- Dip a pastry brush in the cake soak and brush the soak over the cake scraps.
- Use the back of a spoon to spread one-fifth of the frosting in an even layer over the cake.
- Sprinkle one-third of the shredded coconut evenly over the frosting. Use the back of your hand to press them in place.
- Use the back of a spoon to spread a second fifth of the birthday cake frosting as evenly as possible over the coconut.
- layer 2, the middle
- With your index finger, gently tuck the second strip of parchment (same size) between the cake ring and the top ¼ inch of the first strip of acetate, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5 to 6 inches tall – high enough to support the height of the finished cake. Set a cake round on top of the frosting, and repeat the process for layer 1 (if 1 of your 2 cake rounds is uglier than the other, use it here in the middle and save the prettier one for the top).
- layer 3, the top
- Place the remaining cake round into the frosting. Cover the top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish the frosting with the remaining coconut.
- Transfer the sheet pan to the freezer and freeze for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake and filling. The cake will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
- At least 3 hours before you are ready to serve the cake, pull the sheet pan out of the freezer and, using your fingers and thumbs, pop the cake out of the cake ring. Gently peel off the parchment, and transfer the cake to a platter or cake stand. Allow it defrost in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours (wrapped well in plastic, the cake can be refrigerated for up to 5 days).