Let me be very clear about what we mean when we say "coconut cake" in the South: we do not mean a cake with a buttercream frosting with coconut stirred in or sprinkled on top, and we do not mean coconut frosting with pecans or other nuts or dried fruit stirred in. We mean cake with a coconut, sugar and sour cream icing that has been wrapped up tightly in the fridge for five days so the sour cream, sugar, and coconut can seep into the cake to flavor it. It takes amazing will power to keep the cake in the fridge for five days without eating, but it is worth the wait.
When you take the cake out and unwrap it, it is not the most beautiful sight to behold, but fear not, it will be delicious. You can make some additional icing to put on top of it when it comes out.
The recipe is so easy:
1 boxed white cake mix
1 1/3c. water
2 T oil, canola or vegetable
2 6 0z packages of frozen, unsweetened coconut (this could be tough to find up north)
2 c. sour cream
2. c. sugar
Mix cake mix, eggs, water and oil. Blend w/ electric mixer and divide btwn 2 9in. round cake pans that have been oiled and floured. Cook for 27 to 29 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
While cakes are cooking, make the frosting by combining coconut, sugar, and sour cream. Let sit in fridge for 1 hour so sugar dissolves.
Let cakes cool on wire rack for 10 min. Turn out onto wire rack and let cool completely. Then slice each cake in half horizontally so there are four layers. Place the bottom layer on a big piece of plastic wrap. Frost the bottom layer and then stack and frost each additional layer. Frost the top of the cake. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap. Wrap it again in a second sheet of wrap. Then wrap it up tightly in foil. Put in the fridge for five days.
Unwrap the cake (it will be somewhat messy) and frost with extra frosting made with a bit less sour cream so it is firmer.
I would probably skip the presentation of the cake on a cake plate and just serve it from the kitchen directly onto dessert plates. It is so good that no one will care what it looks like!
For the people who don't like coconut, well, that leaves more for the rest of us!