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Coconut Cake

  • k

So my friend's birthday is coming up and her two favorite flavors are macadamia nuts and coconut. I want to make her a cake, anyone have any great recipes? I know Ina Garten has one but since my husband refuses to eat coconut I have never made it.

Any ideas?

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  1. I was about to suggest Ina's...

    There's a recipe for Coconut Cake in Edna Lewis' Taste of Country Coooking that looks delicious.

    I've had my eye on this recipe for a while:
    http://www.saveur.com/food/classic-re...
    --looks yummy!

    9 Replies
    1. re: Ora

      I respectfully suggest that you stop right here. Edna Lewis' recipe is a classic.
      Don't use a cream cheese or a buttercream frosting on coconut cake! They overwhelm the flavor of a cake that tastes of pure coconut..
      Only a boiled or 7-minute frosting will do for this old classic. Light as a feather, perfect pure white and a lot easier than you might think when you first read the recipe.

      1. re: MakingSense

        MakingSense: You made me giggle. Don't know if you saw my earlier post below...it's gotta be a 7-minute frosting or it isn't a coconut cake. I haven't posted here that long so I was a little less firm in my recommendation than you were. All the little old ladies who made perfect coconut cakes in my little southern town would consider anything else blasphemy if they were still around for the discussion. Although I will say that an un-air conditioned kitchen on a very humid day isn't a nice environment for 7-minute.

        1. re: Old Spice

          Heat and humidity were the primary reasons why all those lovely Southern ladies didn't use buttercreams - they just slid right off the cakes and melted all over the tablecloth. Aside from the fact that butter was much more expensive than eggwhites and sugar, and we all know how frugal Southern ladies are.
          When I was growing up in the South, we didn't have cream cheese in stores. That was a Yankee thing. Now Southern Living magazine is full of it and everybody has forgotten how wonderful plain old 7-minute frosting is.
          With air-conditioned houses today, we shouldn't have any problems with the heat and humidity that gave our mothers and grandmothers fits with boiled frostings. I love them.
          So go ahead, Old Spice, stand up for tradition. Those little old ladies would be cheering you on!

          1. re: MakingSense

            Hey...taking a stand for northerners and coconut cake, just because the south does coconut cake w/ boiled frosting doesn't mean that it's the only way it can be done.;-) It depends on whether you want Paula Deen or Ina Garten. I do realize the italian cream cake I posted below is a southern thing but I like the recipe w/ the cream cheese and have never liked boiled frosting (ooh, can I say that if I live south of the M-D line?).

            1. re: chowser

              This day and age, I'm sure you can. Might have been fightin' words 30 or 40 years ago, though. : )

              Now I live north of the M-D line, and my friends find it strange that I don't much like buttercream.

              1. re: chowser

                Chowser, the South doesn't have the Coconut Cake market cornered. Other regions make great ones as well and I never turn them down even though I don't like the heaviness of cream cheese or buttercream with coconut. The OP didn't ask for a Classic Southern version anyway and she might really like the Italian Cream Cake or another one depending on her personal tastes.
                Although I understand that cuisines do evolve over time, it pains me to see American traditional food slipping away. People will argue endlessly over the authenticity of sushi or some Italian, French, Mexican or Chinese dish but think nothing of making essential alterations to classic regional American foods. The dishes lose their sense of place and history and we lose a bit of who we are.

                1. re: MakingSense

                  I agree, but as a long as there are people like you who keep it real, I think the traditions will continue. My mom thinks it's funny that I use won ton wrappers to make ravioli. She can keep making home made won tons and I like to experiment which makes us both happy. When I cook, I want to enjoy the food and if it means not making it the "authentic" way that I don't like, as with boiled frosting, then it's what I'll do. BTW, most southerners would shudder if they had my "cornbread".;-)

                  1. re: chowser

                    When I was teaching my daughters to cook, it was often an "arts and crafts" project. Make pasta completely by hand. Pile of flour on the table. Egg in the well. Knead by hand. Roll out. Cut by hand. Next time, the Atlas machine. Then the KitchenAid. After that, I told them I didn't care if they bought their pasta. But they knew the difference, how it was made and they had respect for food. We did lots of things the loooong way the first time. They both grew up to be fine cooks and food lovers.
                    Jiffy cornbread is sort of a guity pleasure around here too. We know it ain't the real thing but it's nothing I'm uptight about as long as they understand the difference.

                    1. re: MakingSense

                      I'm the same way, though not to the same extent. As a calligraphy teacher once told me, you have to know the rules before you start breaking them. We're still at the eggs in a well stage and I don't think I'll get them out of it because they're having way too much fun with it. But, we use the Atlas to roll it out. I'm not patient enough to roll it out to even thickness. I'd be surprised if either grow up to love cooking but at least they'll have the memories and have "learned the rules."

      2. I like Italian cream cake. You're supposed to use pecans but could probably substitute macadamias.

        http://food.southernliving.com/southe...

        4 Replies
          1. re: Ora

            But that's a coconut LANE cake. Not classic coconut cake at all.

            1. re: danna

              Right Danna. Here's the one from Taste of Country Cooking (I think--I'm at work...)

              http://www.kaleberg.com/collection/Co...

              1. re: Ora

                Candied violets. Interesting.

        1. I made a fabulous coconut cake out of Martha Stewarts circa 1980's Entertaining cookbook for New Year's a few years ago. It has a wonderful boiled frosting (a rediscovery for me and perfect for lightness of coconut cake). Anyways, I'm a coconut cake lover and I really loved this cake.

          (Edit: This recipe is from 1982 and I can't find it on the Web. Let me know if you want me to paraphrase/post)

          1 Reply
          1. re: celeste

            Thanks, I'll see if I can find someone who has it, there's got to be someone I know!

          2. Here's a terrific recipe I found a couple of years ago when a friend requested fresh coconut cake for his birthday. It's a bit of a production, but we thought well worth it. It sounded much like the fresh coconut cakes the ladies in my little town made when I was a kid, right down to the 7-Minute Frosting, which my memory insists is the only frosting for coconut cake. : ) I'm sure packaged coconut would work fine for the frosting, but you would miss the coconut-juice moistening agent you get from the fresh one.

            http://www.baking911.com/recipes/cake...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Old Spice

              KeriT: I just re-read the site (I've got the recipe on file and didn't look back at it). If you do use packaged coconut instead of fresh, they instruct you to use a coconut liqueur instead of fresh juice. So they've got you covered all the way.

            2. I'm famous for the coconut cake I make. It's this recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...
              I double the filling by 1/2 and halve each cake layer, so it ends up being six layers. The cream cheese frosting is really good...alot better than just a plain white frosting.

              1. tell your DH that the cake is for your friends birthday and not his, so he'll have to adapt or eat cookies. he gets a flavor choice for his birthday cake.
                as i read the request i envisioned a cake coated with coconut around the sides but dotted with macadamia nuts around the top...two birds with one stone

                1 Reply
                1. re: spinach

                  actually her birthday is during passover anyway so he can't eat it anyway and now he'll be less tempted.

                2. I made this cake from O Magazine for my grandmother several times, and she loved it... http://www2.oprah.com/foodhome/food/r...

                  1. Here's an actual "macadamia coconut cake" recipe, though I've never made it:
                    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                    1. Cook's Illustrated does a great coconut cake. The recipe should be in one of the million cookbooks they've published--maybe in Baking Illustrated. The recipe uses cream of coconut (Coco Lopez) in the cake to give it a real coconut flavor. Most recipes for this cake are usually just yellow or white cakes tarted up with cocunut in the frosting. The cake is covered in a buttercream flavored with coconut extract, but used sparingly since that stuff can make anything taste like suntan lotion smells. I love this cake!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: raj1

                        OOOh, I think I have that book, I'll look tonight! I like the idea of coconut in the cake.

                        As for personal tastes, I've honestly never had coconut cake so I don't know what I like. My friend is from Trinidad so she has no affinity to southern or northern.

                        1. re: raj1

                          This is my favorite coconut cake recipe, too, and I've tried at least a dozen. I have to say that they've all been good, but this one has real coconut flavors throughout, not just on top of the frosting, like Ina's.

                          To make it even lighter, I use whipped cream for frosting, adding vanilla and coconut extract to it, and the bare minimum of sugar. Then I cover it with unsweetened coconut shavings (the big flat kind you can buy at health food stores). If you do this a few hours before serving, the shavings soak up moisture from the whipped cream, and it's heavenly and not too sweet (my hubby's main objection to coconut cakes and frostings in general).

                        2. The cocnut cake from K-Paul's in New Orleans is one of the best pieces of cake I have ever eaten. It appears to be very labor intensive, but the taste is more than worth it. Link below with recipe.

                          Thanks,

                          Kevin

                          http://www.hungrybrowser.com/phaedrus...