Call me funny, but I always enjoy making a layered cake – there is just something about the multitude of steps and ingredients that appeals to me.  I made this cake for my nephew’s 2nd birthday, and it was a hit!  I had mentioned previously that he has a few food allergies, so I wanted to make sure I made a cake that was both safe for him to eat as well as delicious.

Using this recipe from Ina Garten for the cake and cream cheese frosting, as well as a basic raspberry buttercream frosting recipe, I created a rich, moist birthday cake that was devoured pronto! Here’s what you’ll need:


Cake 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature 2 cups sugar 5 extra-large eggs, room temperature 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract (I left this out for allergy purposes and added 1/2 tsp more vanilla) 3 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1 cup buttermilk 7 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

Raspberry Buttercream 1 pint of raspberries 1 tbsp sugar 1 stick unsalted butter, softened 3 cups confectioner’s sugar

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract (again, omitted this and added more vanilla)

1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Garnish 7 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

1 pint of raspberries

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.


2. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts (or in my case, just vanilla) and mix well.


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


4. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined.

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5. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.


6.  Here’s where I deviate and make cake instead of cupcakes.  Get ready for the craziness. Line three 9-inch round cakepans with parchment, and grease parchmant and sides with butter.  Evenly divide batter into pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, until tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

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Meanwhile, make the Raspberry Buttercream
1. Puree 1 container of raspberries and sugar in blender until smooth.  Set aside.


It will look kinda weird.  It’s ok.


2. Cream the butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Slowly add 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar and beat until smooth.


4. Slowly add pureed raspberries; mix until combined.


5. Add remaining confectioner’s sugar in 1/2 cup increments and mix until incorporated.  Add the vanilla extract and mix.


Also make the Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract and almond extract (omitted). Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

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Assemble the cake
1. Remove parchment from each of the three layers. Level each with a serrated knife.  I love this step – I just love going at carbs with serrated knives! Or just carbs in general, whatever.


2. Layer, buttercream, repeat


3. Frost with cream cheese frosting.  Sprinkle with coconut and garnish with raspberries.

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I’m not gonna lie – like many layer cakes, this one took foreeeever to make.  If you ever make this, you can pre-bake the layers, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and freeze them beforehand.  Let me know how it goes!