Fudgy Coconut Cream Cake

Recipe by Jone Shumacher

This cake took the blue ribbon at the Illinois State Fair in 2009, and it isn't hard to see why once you've tasted a bite. The combination of chocolate and cocoa flavor is perfectly balanced, and the coconut milk in the cake gives it a moist, fudgy texture. Jone Shumacher's invention is one of our favorites, too.

1 hr
26 to 28 mins
1 hr 26 mins
one 9" layer cake
Fudgy Coconut Cream Cake


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  1. To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 9" round cake pans, line them with parchment, and grease the parchment.

  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and cooled chocolate together. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat until the mixture is fluffy.

  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

  4. Combine the milks, vanilla, and coconut flavor in a large measuring cup.

  5. Add the dry and wet ingredients to the butter mixture in thirds, alternating between them until all are incorporated. Stop the mixer, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and beat for 1 minute more, to be sure the batter is evenly mixed.

  6. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans, leveling the tops with an offset spatula. Bake the layers for 26 to 28 minutes, until the center springs back when lightly touched, and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the pans on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove the layers from the pans and return to the rack to finish cooling completely.

  7. To make the filling: Blend the shortening or shortening and butter with the coconut milk powder or flour. Add the coconut flavor, vanilla, and coconut milk, and mix until combined. Mix in the salt, then half the confectioners' sugar, until well blended. Mix in the marshmallow creme, then the remaining confectioners' sugar.

  8. To make the frosting: Mix the butter and cooled chocolate together; beat in 1 cup of the confectioners' sugar. Mix in the vanilla, coconut flavor, and salt, then add the remaining confectioners' sugar 1 cup at a time, adjusting the consistency with unsweetened coconut milk as necessary, until you have a spreadable consistency.

  9. Trim any domes off the cake layers to make them flat, if necessary. Line a serving plate with strips of parchment or waxed paper, and place one layer, top down, on top. Spread with half the coconut filling. Place another layer over the filling, top down, and spread with the remaining coconut filling. Place the third layer on top.

  10. Cover the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of chocolate frosting. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up this crumb coat. Finish the cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish the top with some shaved or shredded coconut (or coconut flakes).

Tips from our Bakers

  • Substitute 1/4 to 1/2 the amount of coconut flavor (to taste) in place of the coconut extract, if desired.

  • Jone's original recipe called for packages of pre-melted liquid chocolate; which is fine to use if you have it on hand. We've called for unsweetened chocolate to be melted and cooled. There's no difference in the way it will perform in the cake, but if you're using melted unsweetened chocolate for the frosting, you'll need more milk or cream to adjust its consistency.
  • The total weight of the batter for the cake layers is 3 pounds, 1 ounce. If you have a scale, it's easy to make all your layers the same size. Simply put the pan on your scale, tare it to zero, and add batter until it reads 1 pound and a fraction of an ounce.
  • Never try to frost a cake that's still warm! The layers will slide around, and the frosting will run. Refrigerate (or freeze) the layers after taking them out of the pan if you're pressed for time.
  • Frosting a cake in two stages is the secret to a professional-looking cake. The first, thin layer of frosting (the crumb coat) seals in any crumbs, and when refrigerated to firm up, provides a stable base for you to work on as you do the final, finished frosting and decorating.