I don't like to serve cake for dessert after dinner but Christmas Eve is a different situation.
Although this seems long and complicated it's not. Don't get put off by the time, most of it is cooking and cooling the cake. Brown sugar is the shortcut to quick caramel flavor in both the cake layers and the frosting.
Total: 2 hours, 25 minutes
Yield: Makes 12 servings
3 cups shaved coconut
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Quick Caramel Frosting
Cream Cheese Frosting
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place shaved coconut in a single layer in a shallow pan. Place pecans in a second shallow pan. Bake coconut and pecans at the same time 5 to 7 minutes or until coconut is toasted and pecans are lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
2. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add granulated and brown sugars, beating well. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add vanilla, beating until blended.
3. Combine flour and baking soda; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in pecans and 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut.
4. Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form, and fold into batter. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
5. Bake at 350° for 23 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour).
6. Prepare Quick Caramel Frosting. Immediately spread frosting between layers and on top of cake. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting over sides of cake; press 3 cups toasted shaved coconut onto sides of cake.
Quick Caramel Frosting
Like the classic caramel frosting, this one hardens quickly, so cool the cake layers before you start to make it.
Total: 20 minutes
Yield: Makes 5 cups
1 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Bring first 3 ingredients to a rolling boil in a 3 1/2-qt. saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly (about 7 minutes).
2. Stir in cream, and bring to a boil; remove from heat. Pour into bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer. Gradually beat in powdered sugar and vanilla at medium speed, using whisk attachment; beat 8 to 12 minutes or until thickened. Use immediately.
Test Kitchen Tip: Don't panic if you overbeat the frosting. Thin to a spreadable consistency by adding 1 to 2 tsp. hot water.
Quick Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Yield: Makes about 1 3/4 cups
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended; stir in vanilla.
Southern Living, December 2010