Archive for December 21st, 2010


STOP and Make the Coconut Cake

December 21, 2010

The importance of holidays

Use the china and the serving platters that your mom passed on to you. Put your good suit on, your new tie and shoes you wore to the wedding. Call that old friend and go to lunch. Make that traditional supper that your adult children loved so much as a child. Visit an elderly aunt/uncle. Go ahead and eat that chocolately dessert. Take a hike at that trail you passed on the road for many years. Make that recipe you’ve been thinking of trying for a very long time. Holidays are special and the end of the year is a time to reflect and make resolutions. Certainly not everyone celebrates Christmas but it is a time when routines are often disrupted.

I suggest you do something out of the ordinary. I absolutely LOVE coconut! Coconut cream pie, macaroons, coconut on chocolate, in chocolate or coconut covered with chocolate. Years ago when I was in college I drove to Florida during a January break and on the way home we stopped and bought coconut candy with chocolate edges. I have loved that candy for years. Last year for Christmas a colleague bought me a box of them that he found at a local department store. Yes, in Maine! They now come in orange, lime and lemon colors. Not the same as the white but certainly if someone gave me a box I would choke them down. I have enjoyed them so much I kept them in the freezer and ate one at a time through the year (one left).

Almost gone!

This fall I organized my recipes and came across a coconut cake recipe. I had torn it out of a magazine and I am certain it was the picture that gave me reason to save it. So, I thought, it is time to FINALLY make that cake. On Saturday morning as we were furiously cooking for our holiday gathering we, my younger son and I, started to make the cake. At some point I thought we might not have enough time to finish it. But with the help of my husband patting the coconut on the last minute it was completed.

Everyone who loves coconut had a piece of the cake. It turned out the taste was great and it was beautiful on top of that. A work of art served on a glass cake dish that I got from my 92 year old mother’s home when we packed it up to sell this summer. A friend said: “this just has to be a tradition now”! Hmmmmmm… I thought, why did I wait so long to make it? So, as we wind down to the last few days before Christmas and look towards a few days of vacation I urge you to take some time and do something out of the ordinary just because you’ve thought about it a long time. Make the coconut cake and as you do imagine me thanking you for the important work you do of educating young people. Enjoy your break from the routine of school…. you deserve it!

Here’s the recipe for the cake in case you share my love for coconut.


  • 3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t. coconut extract
  • 1 can (13.5) coconut milk
  • 1 c. sweetened flake coconut, finely chopped

Frosting and filling:

  • 1 package (8 ounces) reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 4 T unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces eonfectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 c. strawberry preserves (I used raspberry jam I made last summer)
  • 1 1/2 c. sweetened flake coconut

1) Heat oven to 350. Coat two 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottoms of pans with waxed paper, and spray paper.

2) Cake: In a large bowl, whisk togethr flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3) In another large bowl, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a tie, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and coconut extracts; beat until combined.

4) On low speed, beat in flour mixture in three additions, alternating with coconut milk. Beat well after each addition. Fold in chopped coconut. Divide batter equally between prepared pans.

5) Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove cake layers from pans and cool completely.

6) Frosting: In large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in vanilla. On low speed, beat in confectioners; sugar until smooth.

7) Trim cake layers level if crowned. Place one cake layer on a plate, Spread top with jam. Add remaining cake layer and secure with skewers. Spread top and sides of cake with frosting. Remove skewers. Gently press shredded coconut onto sides of cake. Refrigerate 1 hour before sliding.

Per serving: 550 calories; 29 g fat (20 g sat.); 5 g protein; 72 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 240 mg sodium; 87 mg cholesterol. Recipe from Family Circle magazine



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