I've always found coconut cakes to be a little dry and not worth all the effort put into them. Well - now my mind has changed! I took the best of several recipes and combined them to come up with this delicious coconut cake! There's a good amount of moisture, a delicious coconut custard filling, and a wonderful coconut butter cream frosting. I hope everyone enjoys this one as much as my family did...I'll definitely be making this one again and again!!
Place a rack in center of oven and preheat to 350ºF. Grease and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans.
In a bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Reduce speed to low; beat in half of flour mixture. Beat in coconut milk and extract, then beat in remaining flour mixture until just combined.
Divide batter between cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Turn out onto racks to cool completely.
FOR THE FILLING:
Combine sugar and cornstarch in a heavy saucepan.
Whisk together half-and-half and egg yolks. Gradually whisk egg mixture into sugar mixture; bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in butter, coconut, and coconut extract.
Cover with plastic wrap, placing plastic wrap directly on filling in pan; let stand 30 minutes.
Spoon custard directly onto bottom cake layer - use as much of the filling as you can, but you may not use it all.
FOR THE ICING:
Place second cake layer on top of filling. Spread frosting generously on top and sides. Sprinkle coconut over top and sides of cake, pressing to adhere.
Chill for at least 2 hours and up to a day. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.