I made this cake for Rock’s birthday a few months back and was inspired by the ‘Blue Hawaii’ cupcake from Cupcakes back home in Vancouver. The Blue Hawaii is a coconut cupcake very generously frosted with blue vanilla buttercream and with some coconut sprinkled on top. (Blue Hawaii, if you didn’t already know, is also an awesome Elvis Presley movie. I love Elvis. Perhaps you would like to listen to the soundtrack while whipping up this cake…) I wanted to eat that cupcake and I liked the idea of a blue birthday cake so off I went! It looks like most coconut cake recipes call for flaked coconut in the cake itself and are pretty heavy on the coconut overall (fair enough) but that’s not really what I wanted so I decided to riff on a white cake recipe that I have used before.
for the cake: 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature / 1/2 cup vegetable shortening / 2 and 1/2 cups sugar / 5 large eggs, room temperature / 3 cups all-purpose flour / 2 tsp baking powder / 1/4 tsp salt / 1 cup milk (at least 2%) / 1 tsp vanilla extract / 1 tsp coconut extract
for the frosting: 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature / 6-8 cups icing sugar / 3 tsp vanilla extract / blue food colouring / sweetened shredded coconut for sprinkling on top
Preheat the oven to 350F and line the bottoms of two 9 inch round springform cake pans with parchment paper. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and shortening until it’s a bit fluffy and then slowly mix in one cup of sugar at a time. Next, mix in 1 egg at a time. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into another bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine the vanilla and coconut extracts with the milk. Slowly mix into the butter mixture 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then 1/2 of the wet ingredients, then another 1/3 of the dry, then the rest of the wet, and then the final 1/3 of the dry until you have a smooth cake batter.
Spread the batter evenly into the 2 cake pans and pop into the oven for about 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick/uncooked spaghetti noodle comes clean out of the centre. While the cakes are cooling, whip up the buttercream frosting. Using the mixer, cream the butter until it is smooth and kind of fluffy. Next, mix in the icing sugar, 1 cup at a time, until you get a nice smooth frosting. You may want to use less/more icing sugar depending on what consistency of buttercream you like. Then, mix in the vanilla extract and the blue food colouring. I used a lot more food colouring than I thought I would need to. At first I was counting the drops I was putting in but then I just gave that up and kept adding in more until I got the shade of blue I wanted. So basically, just add as much food colouring as you want until you get your desired hue!
When the cakes are cool to the touch, you can stack and frost them. First, frost the bottom cake with about half the frosting. Then flip the second cake upside down and stack onto the bottom cake and frost with the rest of the frosting. (This webpage provides a good guide for frosting a two layer cake.) And finally, sprinkle some of the shredded coconut over top and voila! It tasted pretty much just like the cupcake and more importantly, Rock loved his birthday cake!