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My Daddy’s Favorite Four-Layer Coconut Cake


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Rate this recipe 4.6/5 (17 Votes)


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 4 teaspoons coconut water (the liquid that comes out of a fresh coconut)
  • Coconut Milk Frosting (see below)



Step 1

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease and flour 4 (9-inch) round cake pans and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, shortening, and butter. Mix well.

Add the milk, coconut extract, and vanilla extract. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat until well blended after each addition. Stir in the coconut.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake 20 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Evenly sprinkle each layer with one teaspoon of the coconut water. Cool in the pans 10 minutes and transfer to wire racks to cool completely. When cool, spread with the Coconut Milk Frosting.

*+Coconut Milk Frosting:+*

Yield: 9 cups

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
3 (16-ounce) packages confectioners’ sugar
1 cup coconut milk (make your own from fresh coconut or purchase canned)
1 cup freshly grated coconut, toasted if desired

Beat the butter, salt, vanilla extract, and coconut extract at medium speed of an electric mixer until fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add the confectioners’ sugar alternately with coconut milk. Beat until smooth and spread between the layers, on the top, and on the sides of the cooled cake. Sprinkle fresh coconut on top and on the sides, if desired.

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