Note from Rose: You can use an electric beater if you’re not Amish. We use a hand beater. It is good exercise.

You can toast the coconut for the topping if you want. Josiah likes it toasted and it looks beautiful on the cake, but it is also easy to burn. Aunt Bitsy does not like the smell of burned coconut.
CAKE
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1¼ cups coconut milk
1½ teaspoons coconut extract
5 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Place the butter in a separate mixing bowl and beat with a hand beater or on medium speed with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Add sugar and beat for another minute. Add coconut milk and coconut extract to butter mixture and mix well. While beating, gradually add flour mixture into the butter mixture and beat for 2 minutes.

In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter and stir to mix well.

Grease and line two 8-inch cake pans and divide batter evenly between them. Bake at 350 degrees for 23–28 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the pans from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 5–10 minutes to cool before removing cake from the pans.

PINEAPPLE FILLING
(Make the filling while the cake is baking so they both have time to cool.)

1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple
⅔ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch

In a saucepan combine all ingredients over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently until mixture gets a glossy look (about 5 to 7 minutes). Cool.

FROSTING
4 oz. of cream cheese, softened
1 Tablespoons coconut milk
1 cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon coconut extract
1 12-ounce container whipped topping

Beat cream cheese in a bowl until smooth. Add coconut milk, powdered sugar, and coconut extract. Mix well and then fold the whipped topping into the mixture.

To assemble, cut both cakes open, making four 8-inch rounds. This is a little tricky, so use a sharp bread knife and cut carefully! On top of one, place half the pineapple filling and top with a cake layer. Next add a layer of frosting, then a cake layer. Place remaining pineapple mixture on the cake and top with the last cake layer. Frost the sides and top of the cake. Sprinkle with coconut.

This is best when refrigerated for at least four hours.

TO TOAST COCONUT

Place about ¼ cup of coconut flakes in a large skillet.

Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the flakes are mostly golden brown. If the coconut is sweetened it tends to brown faster so, it will take less time.

 

Affectionately dubbed The Honeybee Sisters in their Wisconsin Amish community, the three Christner girls are devoted beekeepers who are coming-of-age—and discovering the sweet surprise of love…

Shy, skittish Rose Christner is more comfortable tending to the beehives on the family farm and keeping her aunt’s unruly cats in line than attending social gatherings with the rest of the die youngie. A childhood trauma and secret shame keep her heart under lock and key, and Rose just can’t accept the sweet attention she’s receiving from a handsome neighbor. But the more she shies away from Josiah Yoder, the more their families sneakily plot to bring them together. And when a vandal who’s been plaguing the Honeybee Farm starts targeting Rose, Josiah’s steadfast protection—and patience—just may lead her into his waiting arms…

Praise for Jennifer Beckstrand and her Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series

“Full of kind, sincere characters struggling with the best ways to stay true to themselves and their beliefs.” —Publishers Weekly

“A delightful voice in Amish romance. Sweet and funny.” –Emma Miller

“Sweet romance with a lot of heart…Readers will treasure this series.” —RT Book Reviews

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