1 cup (2 sticks) butter or vegetable shortening

2 cups granulated sugar or organic evaporated cane juice

4 large eggs, if you can or egg replacement *

1 tbsp gluten-free coconut extract

3 1/2 cups gluten-free cake flour blend or all-purpose flour blend of choice sift, more to dust pan

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk, warm (not low-fat)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 9 inch round cake pans and dust with gluten-free flour.

In the bowl of an electic mixer, beat margarine or shortening and sugar at medium-high speed for 5 mins, until light and fluffy.  Lower speed to medium and add eggs one at a time until incorporated.  Scrape down sides of bowl.  Add coconut extract and mix for a minute longer.

Measure flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt and sift onto a piece of waxed or parchment paper.

Place coconut milk in a glass measuring cup and heat in microwave for 1 to 2 mins until very warm.

Add half the dry mixture to the mixing bowl and beat on low-speed for 30 seconds.  Then add half the coconut milk and beat for 30 seconds.  Repeat process, scraping down bowl.  Then beat on low for 2 mins.

Divide batter evenly into prepared cake pans.  Bake in prepared cake pans, baking in preheated oven for 35 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the centecomes out clean.

To decorate cake, place one layer right side up on a flat serving place and spread top with frosting.  Place second layer on frosted layer.  Frost top and sides of cake.  Gently pat handfuls of coconut up the sides.  Fill a cake decorator bag with frosting and pipe half loops around the top edge of the cake.

* for egg-free coconut cake, replace eggs with 1 cup applesauce mixed with 1 tablespoon baking powder.  Place entire mixture in a bowl with sugar and shortening and proceed with recipe.

For vanilla cake, replace coconut extract with 2 teaspoons gluten-free pure vanilla extract.  Replace coconut milk with rice milk or milk of choice.

For lemon cake, replace coconut extract with 2 teaspoons lemon extract, Replace coconut milk with rice milk or milk of choice.  Add 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel to dry ingredients.