Coconut Cake

I like homemaking things, as in, I like food that is homemade. I think it tastes better, and I like that I can pronounce and recognize all the ingredients used to make it. That being said, when a recipe has TOO much involved, I pass. If it’s full of arbitrary ingredients that are stupid expensive or difficult to find, I turn the page. Anyone notice that Cooking Light recipes are often this way? Way too many random ingredients. Anyways, I love when you dig into an appetizer dip or a dessert and think – “OMG this is divine! How do you make it!? I need to recreate it as soon as possible!”, and your friend says something like, “Oh, it’s sausage, salsa and sour cream mixed together”. Or, “it’s boxed pudding and oreo cookies”. Dangit! Why did I do all that work for my so-so dish?? If this has happened to you before, I am pleased to bring you this coconut cake recipe.

It was, without a doubt, the easiest cake I have ever made. It did not look easy. It did not taste easy.

I have to admit, this is the first time I’ve used a boxed cake mix. I have eaten plenty before, but never used one. It has a very specific and recognizable flavor, but that’s not to say the flavor isn’t still delish. Boxed cake mix AND cool whip. Winning!

I haven’t told you the best part – this cake needs to be made three days ahead! As in, I made the cake on Wednesday night and got to glance longingly at it (with a great feeling of accomplishment) in my fridge for three whole days! On Saturday night when I was making the mad dash to get the baby taken care of and to the friends’ house by 7, the cake was like an afterthought! Seriously, a make-ahead dessert that gets BETTER with time is where it’s at.

I am posting this on Monday because if you want to serve it Saturday night, you will need to buy your ingredients today, make your filling tomorrow, and assemble the cake Wednesday. The cake itself is crazy moist, very sweet, and very coconut-y. Several cake-partakers told me that “they don’t usually like coconut but this was really good”. Yum. Yum. I love cake.

Coconut Cake

Serves 12-14

Hizzoner’s Deli


2 c. sugar

2 c. light sour cream

3 c. (12 oz) sweetened flaked coconut


1 Boxed yellow cake- I used Betty Crocker Super Moist Butter Recipe Yellow (you will need 8 tbsp. butter and 3 eggs for the cake)


1 8 0z. container Light Cool Whip, thawed in fridge

Assembly – if desired, 1 c. sweetened flaked coconut

1. 4 days before serving the cake, and 1 day before assembly, make filling by mixing sugar, sour cream and coconut together until combined. Cover and set in fridge.

2. Bake cake according to package directions in two 8 or 9 inch cake pans. Cool completely. Tess thought softened butter was just the most fun thing she’s ever seen – scroll to the bottom to see her overly dramatic reaction to me taking it away. 

3. Slice one cake in two layers (so, in half, horizontally). Put the bottom layer, cut side up, on serving dish or large plate.

4. Take filling from fridge and, using a 1 c. dry measuring cup, scoop a heaping cup from the filling mixture. Set aside.

5. Using the remaining filling, place 1/3 of the filling onto cake layer and smooth to cover the surface.

6. Lay the second layer cake on top, cut side down (making a sandwich from the cut cake). Spread a second 1/3 of the filling evenly on top.

7. Repeat with the second cake (cut it in half, and place one half cut side up on cake). Spread the last of the filling evenly over surface.

8. Finish with the remaining layer, cut side down.

9. Fold the reserved cup of filling into the cool whip until evenly combined. Spread frosting generously over top and sides of cake.

10. If desired, coat cake in coconut. I liked this step because it didn’t matter if my frosting wasn’t perfect, and it also helped the plastic wrap not stick to my cake. My husband said he thought the frosting was “too coconut-y”. I think the idea of “too coconut-y” is a little silly.  

11. Place plastic wrap on cake and chill 3 days before serving. Slice cake with a long bread knife, sawing instead of slicing directly downward.

*If this cake could possibly be made better, I think a VERY dark, barely sweet at all chocolate sauce would be perfection. 



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