Monday, March 11, 2013

Peninsula Grill's SUPER Coconut Cake - Valentine Day Special

This Valentine's Day we decided to stay at home and have a delicious dinner in.  In the past we have gone out to some great restaurants (Grill 23 and Mamma Maria) but I always worry whether we will see the restaurant's best food on these high-traffic evenings.  Nick was taking care of dinner (lucky me!) so I decided I would make something special for dessert.

Extreme Coconut Cake (excuse the mess)
Dinner was a surprise until he started cooking - remembering how delicious I thought Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms looked, he whipped it for a perfect dinner.

Yummy Dinner!
One of Nick's favorite things is coconut, and ages ago Nick's mom's friend sent along a coconut cake recipe that seemed out of this world, although a bit complex, from the Peninsula Grill in Charleston, SC.  Somehow knowing that I only had weeknights to work with, I decided to take this cake on.  I should have been tipped off when Martha Stewart had 5(!!) different recipe links to make the various cake components, but I decided to forge ahead.

A bit messy coconut cake
After reading the recipe through to see what exactly was involved, and buying 5 bags of sweetened coconut, 5 pints of heavy cream and an obscene amount of butter, I was ready to start baking.  The day before Valentine's Day I planned to make the cake and the filling, which required at least 8 hours of refrigeration.

The cake started pretty simply - two cake rounds.  However, this is a heavy cake!  I cooked it a bit over the set time period because my new oven only works in 10 degree increments (i.e. 325 does not exist!).  I thought they were done, and it even passed the toothpick test.  But, as the cake started to cool the center started to sink a bit (or a lot).  I still put it in the fridge tand decided o figure out what to do at assembly time.

After I put the cake in the oven I started working on the coconut filling.  The recipe makes A LOT of filling, which was just fine by me because I was literally eating it with a spoon - no cake needed.  Yes, the filling is THAT good, totally worth making and adding to anything you think could use more coconut.

With the cake and the filling having spent some time in the fridge, it was Valentine's Day and time to finish the cake.  Now, part of the reason I have no step by step pictures is because it was pretty ugly - NOT blog worthy (and complicated).  The instruction assembly said that each of the cakes should have been cut twice to create three layers, but with the sink hole in the middle of the cake, I just cut each cake in half (or attempted to at least).  I then brushed simple syrup over each of the layers.

Then the official assembly began.  I piled the layers up and made sure to spread plenty of the coconut filling in between the layers.  The layers were definitely not even so they sort of teetered on the cake stand.  Finally, it was time to attempt to apply the frosting to the cake.  It was not evenly applied and I believe there were places with the filling peeking out, but the cream cheese frosting was tasty!

Cake Made with Love
The cake was by no means pretty and the actual cake was a bit heavy, but oh my goodness was it delicious!  With a little time and patience this could come out a lot cleaner looking.  If you are a coconut lover, I would totally recommend attempting this.  If you are not a cake person, cupcakes might be an easy way to avoid the assembly problems I had.  Regardless, it was delicious!  We barely made a dent in this after nearly three weeks and finally had to say goodbye to the cake, and I may have had my coconut fill for a year, but this recipe was worth every heavy-cream-and-butter-soaked calorie!


  1. I always struggle with layer cakes at home! Makes me appreciate the pretty ones in bakeries a bit more :) Still, this cake looks pretty excellent!

  2. oh man, this sounds wonderful! totally decadent :)

  3. I think this looks beautiful!! I love coconut and would definitely eat A LOT of this cake :)


  4. I've been meaning to make layered coconut cake, and seeing your pictures convinced me I need to do it soon! It looks soooo good. And I love messy cakes!

  5. I looove coconut cake. This looks like an incredible one!

  6. Well done! I think I have had too many baking disasters to even attempt this. The mushrooms look to-die-for too.

  7. I think it's incredibly pretty. And I love staying in for Valentine's Day, as tempting as most restaurant menus sound.

  8. That cake sounds intense! I looove coconut cake but have never attempted it at home.


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