Raspberry Coconut Layer Cake

A major life event happened!  And I’m not talking about the fact that I recently dyed my own sofa slipcover, although that is fairrrrrrly major.  For my life.

No.  A REAL life event.  My little brother went to college!  I say little, but, let’s face it.  I’ve been the shortest person in my family for an embarrassingly long time.  Dumb.

Anyways, he went!  Mom and Dad and all his stuff went with him all the way to Oxford, Mississippi, where he moved into what can only be described as the Ritz-Carlton of dorm rooms at Ole Miss.  According to me, if you have your own bathroom in your dorm room…and everything is brand new…that is 5 star.  And possibly not college.  And possibly nicer than my adult apartment.

Now.  You have to understand something.  My brother is at Ole Miss, and I went to Brandeis.  No one knows what Brandeis is, and that’s ok.  If you do happen to know what Brandeis is, you know that a) there are lots of socially awkward people there, b) we have no football team, and c) there are lots of socially awkward people there.  LOTS.  So in short, Ole Miss is the complete opposite of Brandeis.  It’s what I like to call “real college.”

I can’t wait to visit.

I’m going to try to offer Tay some advice here.  Let’s see how this goes.

1. If there is free food, you should eat it.  You should also take some for later.

2. Also on the subject of food, if you give some to other people, they’ll be your friend.  Even easy mac will draw them in.

3. If you’re going to play beer pong, don’t suck at it.  It’s embarrassing.  For you and me.  I believe I learned in genetics that beer pong skill is hereditary, so we should be ok there.

4. Nap.  Period.  First naps weren’t cool in kindergarten when you had to take them, then all you ever wanted to do in high school was nap, and now you CAN.  And that will go away once you graduate, so nap.

5. Don’t be that guy who burns his popcorn at 2am.  And DEFS don’t be that guy who sets off the smoke alarm for the whole building because you burned your popcorn at 2am.  Worst.

6. All college professors will say, “I have office hours, you should come talk to me!  I’m hip and like to eat lunch with students.”  This sounds lame.  But you should go talk to them!  Some are lame, but a lot of them are not.  And almost all of them know a lot of things, presumably about the things that you want to know about if you’re in their class.  College is for fun and for learning!  After college you usually have to choose to only learn about one thing, so now you should learn about all the things!

7. I am a nerd, and you knew that, so the fact that I just said college is for learning should surprise no one.

Do you have any advice to offer Taylor?  He is cooler than me and probs doesn’t need advice on how to make friends (see #2), but oh well.

Before Tay left, he turned 19!  He requested a cake that involved raspberry and coconut, so I did that.  This cake may look eerily similar to this cake, which was for Tay’s birthday last year.  The kid likes coocnut, ok?  This time around, I took some inspiration from Heather at Sprinkle Bakes, who has a fabulous recipe for a devil’s food cake invovling a crustless cheesecake layer.  So.good.  And I don’t even like cheesecake.

Anyway, here I made the cheesecake coconut flavored, and used a Martha Stewart recipe for the raspberry cake layers.  Everything baked up perfectly, and when it’s all covered with a super simple buttercream, what more could you want?  Besides milk.

Raspberry Coconut Layer Cake


For white cake layers
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar, divided use
1 cup + 2 TBS heavy cream
2 tsp baking powder
4 large egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
8 oz. fresh raspberries

For cheesecake layer
1/2 cup (= 1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1.5 oz. (1/4 cup + 2 tsp) cook and serve coconut cream flavored pudding
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder

For frosting
3/4 cup (= 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 pound powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 TBS milk
pinch of salt

For assembly
2/3 cup raspberry jam
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1. For cheesecake layer – Preheat the oven to 325F with a rack in the middle position.  Grease a 9-inch round pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease the parchment and lightly flour the pan.
2. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium high until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the cream cheese until combined.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.  Beat in the pudding mix, baking powder, and vanilla.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden and the middle is mostly set.  Let the cheesecake cool completely in the pan, then wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to assemble the cake.  This can be done a day ahead.  (The cheesecake will deflate when you take it out of the oven, and this is ok!)
3. For the white cake – Preheat the oven to 325F with a rack in the middle position.  Grease 2 9-inch round pans, line the bottoms with parchment, and grease the parchment.
4. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and salt.  Set aside.
5. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream, baking powder, and egg whites on medium-high speed until thickened, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, then mix in the vanilla and almond extracts.  Gently fold in the flour mixture, making sure it gets fully incorporated.  Fold in the raspberries.
6. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 pans and smooth the tops.  Bake layers (on the same rack if they will fit; if not you’ll have to switch halfway through) for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are dry and spring back when lightly pressed.  Let cakes cook in pans on a rack for 12 minutes, then turn the cakes out of the pans to cool completely.
7. For the frosting – In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Beat in the pinch of salt and the vanilla.   Gradually (and on low speed at first) beat in the powdered sugar.  Add the milk, just enough to achieve the consistency you want.  Beat the frosting on high speed until fluffy to smooth out any clumps.  Chill frosting until ready to use (you may need to let it soften a little bit before spreading if you refrigerate it).
8.  To assemble the cake – Place one layer of white cake on your cake platter.  (To keep it from slipping, I usually spread a little dot of frosting in the center of the platter, then set down the 1st layer.)  Spread 1/3 cup of raspberry jam on top of the layer, leaving a slight border all around.  Set the cheesecake layer on top.  Spread the rest of the jam over the cheesecake layer, again leaving a border.  Place the other white cake layer on top.  Frost the sides and top of the cake as desired, then sprinkle coconut flakes over the top.  Cake should be covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.  It will keep, covered, for 3 days.

Recipe for white cake adapted from Martha Stewart; recipe for cheesecake layer adapted from Sprinkle Bakes

Thanks for reading, happy baking, and happy college!



  1. It’s difficult to come up with any more sage words for your wee brother. I’m going back to school in September (at age 40) – which is crap in your pants terrifying. So, I’m going to refer to your advice often. And maybe make myself a cake…

    1. You should defs make yourself a cake! Going back to school is something to celebrate 🙂 Thanks for reading!
      ~ Hannah

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