While simply not having an oven fire would be a major accomplishment, the family agreed that the cake was much improved and actually tasted like coconut.
Here is what I learned from the most recent coconut cake adventure:
1) Coconut water, which, undiluted, tastes like laundry water, is very useful for flavoring cake and whipped cream frosting.
2) Not over-beating is VERY important in cake making. Mixing until just barely combined is key.
3) A metal mixing bowl and a big whisk are my preferred way to beat egg whites. It is very therapeutic.
4) Measuring cups come in 1/3 increments. Measuring spoons do not, but should.
5) Coconut flour is gluten-free and available at Whole Foods.
6) Making fresh fruit filling is amazingly easy and cornstarch is a secret weapon. What works for Chinese stir-fry sauces works for cake filling.
7) If your mixing pans are 1" larger than the recipe specifies, you'll get more pancake than cake (See right). Hence the half-circle cake (Pictured above) so I could get appropriate cake height.
However, all things considered, coconut cake with raspberry lime filling and coconut-flavored whipped cream worked out much better. And if I can make it unassisted, anyone can. I even brought it into work and my brutally honest co-workers and boss approved.