Antoni Porowski's Kansas City Coconut Sheet Cake
- 1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing the pan
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk, well shaken before measuring
- 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Coconut Whipped Cream Frosting:
- 2 cups packaged unsweetened flaked coconut
- 1 (15-ounce) container part-skim ricotta (about 1 3/4 cups)
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the cake:
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees, with a rack in the middle. Grease a 9-x-13-inch baking pan with coconut oil.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a second medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, yogurt, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla.
- With an electric mixer, beat the coconut oil, sugar, and butter in a large bowl on medium speed, scraping down the sides occasionally, until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the coconut milk mixture and beat until well combined, about 2 minutes (the mixture may appear curdled). Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing just to combine. Fold in the coconut with a rubber spatula, making sure to fully incorporate it.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly with the spatula. Bake until the cake is lightly golden on top and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Remove the cake from the oven and cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. (Leave the oven on.)
For the frosting:
- Spread the coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until golden and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
- With an electric mixer, beat together the ricotta and confectioners' sugar in a large bowl on medium-high until the sugar is dissolved and the cheese is creamy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the cream and vanilla and beat until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Gently fold in 1 cup of the toasted coconut. Cover the frosting and chill until it sets a bit, at least 30 minutes, and up to 4 hours. Set the remaining coconut aside.
- Spread the frosting over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with the reserved toasted coconut. Cut the cake into pieces and serve. The cake can be kept, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days.
Tip: Be sure to use unrefined coconut oil here. If the oil is refined, it loses its nutty taste.