After already deciding to and completing baking this cake, I realized that I had made a recipe with coconut last week (Amazing Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies), makes you think I have a thing for coconut! The truth is, I do, but I’m kind of (unfortunately) a coconut snob. You see, my grandparents had a house on the Caribbean island Grenada, also known as the Island of Spice. I grew up going there for a few weeks a year until the age of ten, and was spoiled with incredible things that the island had to offer. I am sure this wonderful place will be mentioned again as my food blogging progresses (because it has that nickname for a reason), but, to stay on topic, our driveway was lined with coconut trees so I always had my pick of the freshest, ripest coconuts. Unfortunately, outside of the equatorial region (and sometimes inside), it is quite difficult to get good fresh coconut, so I’m often drawn to baking with the dried version instead.
Orange Coconut Cake
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1 cup orange juice, not from concentrate
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup sweetened flaked coconut
- 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) butter or margarine, melted
- 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 4½ tablespoons orange juice
- 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl/stand mixer bowl, at medium speed, beat the oil, orange juice, vanilla, eggs, and orange zest until smooth. Blend in the flour mixture. Mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (after initial blend, so flour doesn’t go everywhere). Set aside.
Prepare the coconut crunch: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, coconut, and melted butter. Use your fingertips to pinch into coarse crumbs.
Pour one third of the batter into prepared pan, top with half of the coconut crunch (sprinkle evenly around pan). Top this layer with one more third of the batter, and top with the rest of the coconut crunch. Finally, pour the rest of the batter on top. So you will have three cake layers with two layers of crunch in between.
Bake for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (Note: always check with a toothpick, but especially for this recipe! Ovens vary and I had to bake for another 7-10 minutes). Allow the cake to coll for 5 minutes in pan, then turn cake out onto a rack to cool completely.
Prepare the glaze: In a small bowl, mix the confectioner’s sugar and 2 tablespoons orange juice. Stir vigorously; it will get easier to mix. Add as little as possible so that the glaze is thick and dark. Add remaining orange juice, as needed, to make thick but pourable glaze. Spoon over cake. Immediately sprinkle on flaked coconut, pressing it lightly into the sides.