Easter would not be Easter without coconut cake.
What am I saying? Any day is a good day for coconut cake. The problem is most recipes are time consuming or call for multiple layers, which means there’s a higher probability that something can go wrong.
I have the solution. A simple white coconut cake that is delectable! It starts with a boxed white cake and then I make it similar to a tres leches cake but I use coconut based milks instead of cow’s milk.
Tres leches translates into “three milks” and it’s a dessert usually made with sweetened condensed milk, regular milk or cream, and evaporated milk. The mixture is poured over a cake and the cake soaks it up. For my coconut version, I use cream of coconut (it comes in a can and is used to create pina coladas); coconut milk (the refrigerated variety not a can), and then top the cake with homemade whipped cream.
This cake is delectable. It is best made a day in advance which is perfect because you’re not fussing with it on Easter day. It’s a sheet cake so it’s not as pretty as a layered cake, but the flavor makes up for the presentation.
The coconut milks soak into the cake overnight transforming it into a light, fluffy bite of coconut heaven.
Coconut Tres Leches Cake
1 box vanilla cake
½ cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup water
½ cup canola
1 (15-ounce) can Coco Lopez cream of coconut
2/3 cup refrigerated coconut milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or coconut extract
2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
It is very important you use cream of coconut, not a can of coconut milk. Cream of coconut is thick, very sweet with a strong coconut flavor, whereas coconut milk is thinner and not sweet. Cream of coconut is the goodness that goes into a Pina Colada so sometimes you will find it next to the alcohol mixers or in a liquor store.
The recipe calls for refrigerated coconut milk, not canned. If you cannot find refrigerated variety, you can substitute whole milk or use equal parts milk and coconut coffee creamer.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat together cake, eggs, ½ cup shredded coconut, water and oil. Pour into a greased in a 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake according to package directions.
When it has cooled, poke repeatedly with a fork and poke it all the way to the bottom.
Whisk together cream of coconut with coconut milk or plain milk. Pour over the cake.
Use an electric mixer to beat the heavy whipping cream on high speed. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and vanilla extract. Whip until mixture thickens. Then spread over the cake. Top with 2 cups shredded coconut. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, but overnight is best.