My classmate and good friend Erica, decided to throw a little concert this past weekend to benefit Airshine Music, which currently includes piano and choir instruction. She is hoping to expand the programs and open a school this summer with numerous teachers...percussion, violin, etc. I admire her courage to dream big and was excited to attend the concert to hear her play and support the cause. There were probably around 15 or so of us sitting around her red piano in the courtyard of her building listening to her play ABBA, Chopin, Debussy, and a Disney favorite...to name a few. The evening was titled Blackout Shuffle and was inspired by the blackout that we experienced in San Diego back in September. Instead of sitting around the television and radio, Erica was able to play and sing for her neighbors. There was electricity this time, but the stars and the moon came out as well to make the perfect combo.
She asked a few of us to volunteer to make baked goodies for a raffle, and of course I was excited to make a special treat. It had been awhile since I made my friend, Cristy's, favorite coconut cake...maybe not since a bridal shower??? Anyway, it is the most simple, delicious treat ever...if you like coconut that is!
Cristy's Coconut Cake:
The best part about this recipe is that you use a boxed cake mix...so easy!
Follow instructions on box to make the Vanilla cake batter
Add 2t of coconut extract to cake mix
Bake 2 8-inch rounds according to the Vanilla boxed cake instructions (a tip here...I always grease the inside of the cake pans and then flour them so the cake doesn't stick)
At this point, let the cake rounds cool and then I recommend freezing them (wrap them in some sort of cling-wrap or ziploc bag). It is easier to frost a frozen cake :)
For the frosting, mix together:
2 sticks butter (room temp)
2 8oz. pkgs cream cheese (room temp)
Additional coconut extract (to taste)
Approximately 3c of powdered sugar
Once your cakes are nice and cool (or frozen) frost the cake in between layers and all around...don't be shy, there is A LOT of frosting so pile it on thick!
And the final decorative touch! Toast some coconut in the oven until perfectly brown and sprinkle on top!
If you don't enjoy this cake right away, I would stick it in the fridge to keep it fresh.
Well, I didn't win my cake during the raffle, but I did win the GRAND PRIZE! Lucky me :) I walked away with a gift basket that included a history of Jazz book (I love jazz...I even took a class at UW on the history of jazz!), a music CD and an iPod shuffle (that matches my car!) I felt pretty blessed, not just by the gift, but to be able to enjoy a night of music under the stars! A perfect end to the weekend.