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shredded coconut

I'm a little embarrassed to ask such a basic question...

I am going to bake a Carrot Cake for my Dad's birthday (Silver Palate cookbook). Never made one before. It calls for 1.5 cups of shredded coconut.

What type of coconut is usually used for this type of baking? At Trader Joe's they only had shredded sweetened coconut in a bag, or roasted grated coconut in a bag. At Whole Foods they had what looked like chunks of fresh coconut in the fruit and vegetable section. Online I've seen people describe baking it before shredding.

What do you recommend?

This is my first carrot cake, and he loves carrot cake (and coconut!), so I want to get it right.

Thank you!

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  1. I made a carrot cake using the UCLA Medical School recipe. I used the basic sweetened, flake type coconut. I think it was Bakers' in the blue package. It was delicious!

    1. usually I use sweetened. I love it but if you don't want to use it do you have a WinCo or Sprouts or any market that has bulk sections, I'd guess they'd all accommodate your needs.
      at my WinCo they have unsweetened by the scoop.
      hope your cake turns out superb!

      Kate I found the recipe from UCLA--looks great

      1. violin-when I get home I' gonna look up that recipe in my Silver Palate. I'm curious if it had the ••secret••ingredients.

        1. i prefer unsweetened... at WF, if they don't have the bulk bins, try going to the baking aisle where the gluten free flours and alternative ingredients are. i guess they now make a reduced fat unsweetened coconut as well. i've used both the regular and reduced fat to good results.

          1. Just keep in mind there is a big difference between sweetened and unsweetened coconut. Unsweetened has all the moisture taken out. Quite a tough chew to it.

            1. Does the recipe say "sweetened shredded coconut"? Or just "shredded coconut"? This one is the most common:

              For a classic carrot cake i have always seen recipes ask for the finely shredded sweetened coconut

              1 Reply
              1. re: Ttrockwood

                Most of the recipes online for carrot cake by Silver Palate simply call for shredded coconut. So I can understand her confusion.

              2. Thanks to all for your thoughts and good wishes!

                I was actually surprised how many of you said you used sweetened. I didn't realize that was the common way it was sold.

                The recipe just says "1.5 cups shredded coconut". I was wary about using the sweetened coconut as the cake already has plenty of sugar and I don't want to push this more savory cake too sweet.

                I did find a bin of bulk coconut in Whole foods. I was also wary of that one since it was very finely ground and looked quite dry... almost more like a flour... Since the recipe asked for shredded, I thought the finely ground coconut could change the texture too much.

                It didn't occur to me to look in the baking aisle (!), so I'll pop over again tomorrow. Thanks for the thoughts everyone.

                il Divo ... PLEASE do tell ... what is your secret ingredient?

                And one more question - this seems to me to be the kind of cake that will improve with age. So is it ok if I make it the day before my Dad's b-day and put it in the fridge overnight?

                9 Replies
                1. re: violin

                  The cake will be better he next day.

                  1. re: violin

                    gotta look at gr-ma's recipe
                    ....oh where is that heirloom cookbook of hers....

                    1. re: violin

                      Personally, I use sweetened for sweet things- cakes, cookies, etc. Unsweetened is for savory items- curries, granola, that kind of thing. Sweetened isn't cloying sweet but it's a good flavor for cakes...or for eating straight out of the bag...

                      1. re: violin

                        bob's mills makes unsweetened coconut "flakes" which are a nice texture too. their products are most often in the baking aisle, along with sweetened flakes from other companies.

                        the finely ground stuff you saw in the bin is better suited for other applications. you were right. :)

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          So does Tropican Traditions, online order though, don't know your time frame.

                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                            the store I go to for the coconut in bulk has 3 kinds to choose from. but not all year long, I think I've noticed it having the variety over the holiday season. one is larger shards 1/4" wide x maybe 3/4" in length, I've not physically measured so (?) unsweetened. the other is still not powdered also unsweetened, smaller shreds and the 3rd is ground sweetened. there used to be a Hawaiian shop end of Ventura Blvd in Woodland Hills that sold in celophane bags, toasted unsweetened coconut shards. my favorite, what a great snack.

                          2. re: violin

                            shhhhhh, gr-ma says a tiny bit of buttermilk + 2 T pureed apple pie filling..........shhhhhhhhhhh

                            1. re: iL Divo

                              Oh, I definitely agree with the buttermilk as a wonderful secret ingredient in a lot of cakes. And how can you go wrong with pureed apples. Thanks for sharing this.

                              You reminded me of the last time I asked for someone family recipe..... she refused to give it to me. I think I actually laughed and said, "Are you kidding?". I thought I was giving her a complement.... but she saw it as in irrational threat. Particularly bizarre as it was an obscure Indian delicacy that I would rarely reproduce and would never be able to find even in a good Indian restaurant.

                              1. re: violin

                                violin, not pureed apples pureed apple PIE FILLING.
                                so open a can, scoop out 2 T and put in a mini food processor, like a coffee grinder. the rest can go in a seal a meal bag (wonder if anyone else uses those things?) and tossed into the freezer. I don't use the apple pie filling for apple pie, my gr-ma would roll over, but it's a great addition to so many things even other than sweet dishes, ie. pork loin roast.

                                there is one recipe I'm not allowed to share. I've been told this by my uncle who's a chef&owned his own catering company for a hundred years. it's his Thanksgiving Turkey and it truly is stupid good.

                          3. Just made a carrot cake for my daughter's birthday tomorrow. (Actually made TWO carrot cakes....but we don't need to talk about that. The first was an epic fail!)

                            I didn't put any coconut in mine, though, so no help there.

                            As far as overnight, I'm not fridging mine tonight. It's on the counter, but I haven't iced it yet either. I'm assuming you're doing cream cheese frosting, in which case, if you've frosted it, you should fridge it over night. I'm going to frost mine tomorrow....

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: jbsiegel

                              Thanks magiesmom and jbsiegel.

                              Yes, I want to make it the day before just in case I have an epic fail (so sorry about yours!!).

                              Actually, I like your idea of counter overnight, frost the next day. I will copy you. Thanks again.

                              1. re: violin

                                Mine's all frosted and now in the fridge for later. How about you?

                                1. re: jbsiegel

                                  You're so good!

                                  I'm making mine on Tuesday - birthday Wednesday.

                            2. Your recipe *absolutely* means sweetened shredded (sometimes called flaked) coconut in the bag. It's like seeing an amount of sugar called for in any old recipe. If it meant anything other than ordinary white sugar, it would say so.

                              Carrot cake is great - some recipes go a little overboard on the oil. I cut back by looking at the amount of fat called for in other basic cake recipes with the same amounts of flour, egg, and sugar. I like to add golden raisins and chopped walnuts even if not called for. This type of recipe can handle additional solid ingredients without alteration. I prefer a lighter cream cheese frosting than the usual, so I mix whipped cream cheese and marshmallow fluff, plus a splash of vanilla, stirred together by hand until blended.

                              14 Replies
                              1. re: greygarious

                                Thanks again on your thoughts. It actually surprises me that the recipe wouldn't say sweetened.... I thought Silver Palate was pretty decent, and in my opinion (as a baker and scientist!) - all recipes should be explicit. As someone who loves fresh coconut, it would never have occurred to me to use sweetened!

                                I do know what you mean about the oil.... It uses like 1.5 cups or something for a two layer cake. I would definitely prefer cutting it. The recipe has coconut, walnuts and pineapple... all things that my Dad really likes. I think I would prefer the raisins to the pineapple, so thanks for that suggestion.

                                1. re: violin

                                  Oh, I didn't mean to suggest omitting the pineapple! I use all of those add-ins. You might also consider, some other time, Hummingbird cake. It's got banana, coconut, pineapple, nuts, and cream cheese frosting. I like it almost as much as carrot cake.

                                  1. re: greygarious

                                    oops - gotcha.

                                    Wow - that hummingbird cake sounds delicious. I think my father would also love that. One of my specialties is banana bread, and he has suggested throwing into it just about every one of your add-ins.

                                    1. re: violin

                                      Hummingbird cake is a traditional southern thing (I'm strictly a northerner), but I first encountered it at a Boston Market
                                      location (chain, chiefly roast chicken). CHOW recipes contains a healthier muffin version I created, which was a contest finalist a few years back (search name: Healthy Hummingbird Muffins).

                                      1. re: greygarious

                                        I like this recipe! Do you think it would work as mini muffins?

                                        1. re: Berheenia

                                          I've only done them as standard muffins but in general, muffin batters translate up to loaf or down to mini pretty well.
                                          I would suggest a longer soak, or hot liquid soak, for the oatmeal since you'll need to cut the baking time back to probably 18-20 min, at 325F rather than 350F. If you try it, I'd appreciate it if you would share your results in the comment portion of the CHOW recipe, to help any other folks who might want to alter the portion size.

                                          1. re: greygarious

                                            Did them as as standard muffins- moist and delicious. The only thing I would change is the cocoanut - I'm not that big a fan of the stuff I was able to get in the supermarket- it's kind of stringy. If I can find cocoanut at TJ's I will sub that or leave out the next time I make these. There definitely will be a next time. :)

                                            1. re: Berheenia

                                              the baker's angel flake is not stringy, but I find that some of the store or generic types are - and they get dryer and more so as they sit around for months or years in my cupboard. In this case, it makes sense to take a look at what you are buying - if it looks flaky and moist, yes, if the shreds look long and dry, no.

                                              1. re: jen kalb

                                                I love coconut. which translates into there is too much of it in the kitchen store here at the house. don't think you can go terribly wrong with bakers, but I've done the store brands and they (to me anyway) aren't as soft moist and supple as the name brands. I squish the bags and you can tell a lot by that.

                                                1. re: jen kalb

                                                  Unfortunately there was no choice other than the store brand (BigY) in the local chain grocery store. I have bought Trader Joe's before and liked it but it is a seasonal item and not always in stock. On my next sojourn to TJ I will look for it.

                                                  1. re: Berheenia

                                                    Just so you know, sojourn refers to a brief stay "at" rather than a trip "to". I mean no embarrassment by pointing this out. My own feeling is that I'd rather be corrected sooner rather than perhaps putting my foot in my mouth later, in a situation in which it matters more.

                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                      No problem. I would rather hear it here from you than get flamed on some of the less friendly boards.
                                                      I did love making your recipe plus I now own a number 16 Zeroll scoop. BTW if you are in Mass the tax free ride with Amazon ends tomorrow.

                                      2. re: greygarious

                                        pineapple adds flavor and moisture to the carrot cake. I think it makes it yummy myself :)

                                    2. re: greygarious

                                      Excellent add ins ... ' golden raisins and chopped walnuts '.

                                    3. I love this cake. I have been making it for 20 plus years. I have always had better luck cooking it in a bundt pan, I find that you really have to cook it a long time. Since you are making a layer cake I would watch it closely and do not attempt to take it out too early. Often it has sunk in the middle because it was not quite cooked. If you see it getting too dark turn the oven down a little. I also brown my butter when making the icing, sooooooo much better.
                                      I have always used sweetened shredded coconut.

                                      31 Replies
                                      1. re: Gloriaa

                                        You're the best Gloriaa!

                                        Actually, I would prefer using a bundt pan. I'm sure I'll make a mess out of the layer cake. Did you keep all of the amounts the same as the recipe? About how long did you cook it? At the same temp? Insert a cake tester to be sure it is done?

                                        1. re: violin

                                          I have never seen carrot cake done in a bundt pan, and would not want to risk it for a special occasion, because of the challenge of getting such a heavy, dense, wet batter to bake all the way through, evenly. Then getting it to release without breaking apart....

                                          I usually see carrot cake baked in a lasagna pan, 9x13", and served directly from that pan. Another way to go is to line a sheet pan with parchment and spread the batter a little higher at the sides, so the finished cake is even, Then cut it in half or quarters right through the parchment - your choice -
                                          so you have a rectangular layer cake. Flip the first layer upside down, peel off the parchment, frost, and repeat. Having the parchment on each piece makes it easier to handle, and less prone to breaking. Frost the sides last, pressing coconut and/or chopped nuts onto the frosting to cover any loose crumbs.

                                          1. re: greygarious

                                            same reason I've made it only as a layer cake or a sheet cake meaning I've done it in a lasagna baking pan.
                                            it is not a light textured cake. even with normal cakes that aren't dense I/ve had a problem with them coming out of my bundt pan. it's textured on the outside and has many indents. you gotta really butter that thing and pray hard your masterpiece will in fact come out flawless.

                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                              I know this recipe calls for just buttering the pan but is there any reason why you couldn't use Baker's Joy(I use store brand) to grease the bundt pan. Love that stuff. I've used it for bundt and layer cakes and they always slip right out. No problems.

                                              1. re: miss_belle

                                                I think the quality of the bundt pan makes a huge difference. Ever since graduating to Nordic ware I never have a problem. My old scratched up pan was very temperamental. All the ridges add to the crunchy exterior which gives great contrast to the heavy cake and rich icing.

                                                1. re: miss_belle

                                                  I do use Bakers Joy, used it yesterday in my cookie of the recipe (<no recipe). I sprayed the parchment paper before putting the dough on there.

                                                  the bundt pan I have is Nordic Ware. it's heavier than I am and really detailed in curvature. there are too many grooves not sure why I even bought it, it's rather a pain but so pretty ;:-/. OH AND IT'S nonstick, really?
                                                  I have to brush into the deep areas with softened butter then hit it with flour and still pray it releases. something tells me a garage sale is in our future.
                                                  anyone need a lot of stuff?

                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                    bad picture, sorry but you get the idea

                                                    the inside

                                                    I think I bought it because it's gorgeous almost burnt red color outside.

                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                      You're right. It's hard to tell from the photo. But I will say this. If Baker's Joy cannot conquer that bundt pan it may be time to give it up:-)

                                                      1. re: miss_belle

                                                        I'm gonna attempt to make my family the Dr. Pepper's Cherry Chocolate cake recipe that I copied on my phone a couple of years ago. I'm not at all sure it will work with this bundt but am willing to try, heck it's just the family. if the flavor is there and the texture is right, they won't disown me if it's not spectacular in appearance.

                                                      2. re: iL Divo

                                                        If that's the Fiesta / Festival pan, I have it and using the flour-in-the-spray product gives great results.

                                                        I use a wooden bamboo skewer (giant toothpick) to gently work around the very top of the outer edges and center spindle to be sure the cake doesn't hang-up there.

                                                        Tapping the pan firmly on the counter before unmolding can encourage clean release.

                                                        And did you look at the hints video? She explains why recipes typically say to cool the cake 10 minutes in the pan, then turn it out onto the cake plate to finish cooling. Shorter/longer time in the pan after removing it from the oven risks the cake breaking or sticking.

                                                        1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                          Thanks for posting these tips!! I needed them this very moment!

                                                          1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                            Update - Thanks again for all of your advice. I made the cake yesterday, and will frost it later today for my Dad's birthday.

                                                            Of course, I had a good reason to be worried about making my first carrot cake. I made it in the bundt pan and totally over-cooked it. But the batter tasted delicious!

                                                            The original Silver Palate recipe calls for 2 x 9" springform pans for a layer cake. I instead used the Bundt pan. That sounded easier to me and I admit I was trying to cut corners and was more fearful of destroying a layer cake.

                                                            The original recipe called for 350 degrees for 50 minutes. After I had cooked it 1 hour it was still very wet - especially in one concentric circle on top/deep. I wound up cooking it another 20 minutes before a cake tester came out pretty dry in "most" places. Although a poster warned it should get to 210 degrees everywhere, it did not get there. I was able to cool briefly and flip it out of the pan without much trouble. Will frost it today.

                                                            I suspect that the variable is how wet your add ins are, and of course the riskiness of trying the bundt pan. Even though I drained my finely chopped fresh pineapple for hours, perhaps I should have used a canned version and it would have drained more? Was my cooked carrot puree too wet? This was seriously heavy batter, and was hard for me to beat with my beater. But maybe I should have mixed it more? Who knows...

                                                            I should know by now to never make a recipe for the first time for a special occasion.... and I almost never do. And of course modifying a baking recipe should always require a bit of experience. And of course I should bake something less important in a new oven before something for a special occasion (I moved to a new apartment recently). But honestly, I'm still pretty happy overall.

                                                            But I think this time my father will forgive me because he will actually appreciate the gesture even more then the cake. I'm not going to run out to Whole Foods to buy a replacement!

                                                            Thanks again for all of your ideas.

                                                            Last question - the cake is at room temperature now and I will probably frost it this afternoon and wont bring it to my Dad's to eat until the evening. So it should be in the fridge after frosting since there will be the delay? I thought it should ideally be at room temperature when eaten (especially since overcooking wont have helped it...), but wondering what you advise.

                                                            1. re: violin

                                                              Yes, refrigerate the frosted cake if you're using a cream cheese frosting. I actually prefer my carrot cake chilled when served.

                                                              Glad to hear that the cake came out of the pan OK.

                                                              80 minutes at 350 degrees sounds about right -- I doubt that it's badly overcooked. Some Bundt recipes I've made call for 90 minute baking time.

                                                              And yes, carrot cake batter is DENSE. I once tried to use a blender to mix it (my ancient hand mixer had just quit working) and quickly stopped when the sound/smell of burning motor clued me in that I was about to lose the blender as well.

                                                              1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                Thanks so much for this info. That's really reassuring and helpful.

                                                                I used the Pam for baking, as I couldn't find the other spray recommended. I'm sure I over-sprayed. It's also been so long since I used a 2 piece bundt pan that I forgot about the risk for leakage... So now I need to do a good oven clean.

                                                                1. re: violin

                                                                  OH! So it was actually a tube (a.k.a. angel food) pan you used, and not a Bundt. I have only seen one-piece Bundts and googling two-part Bundt pans yielded nothing. All the contours of a Bundt pan would have presented a much greater risk of sticking than the tube pan.

                                                                  You should have lowered the temperature to no higher than 325F, to compensate for the deeper shape of the pan and the consequent need for longer baking time.

                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                    Thank you for this excellent advice. When I was growing up, the tube cakes were called Bundt cakes, and now I understand completely. My mistake.

                                                                    1. re: violin

                                                                      tube pans are designed for cakes that will rise significantly -- like angel food. while a carrot cake will lift, it's too heavy to do all that much climbing. it's doubtful the center was sufficiently cooked.

                                                                      if you're not sure and making a recipe for the first time, it's best to stick with the recommended vessel.

                                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                        Yep...supposedly tube pans shouldn't be greased either. The batter needs to stick somewhat to the edges in order to make the cakes rise that much.

                                                                        1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                          Whoa! Some caveats are needed on that one. Angel food batter needs to climb ungreased walls and should not be baked in nonstick pans. But you then cool the cake upside down and slice around the edges to loosen them. That's why angel food pans are typically 2-part. In a one-piece pan, angel food wants to stick to the bottom.

                                                                          A batter like carrot cake or fruit cake is a different story. It needs plenty of greasing if it's not going to come out broken.

                                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                                            Agreed that carrot/fruit cake needs greasing. I was following up on hotoynoodle's comment about tube pans not being used for "heavy" cakes.

                                                                            I would generally cook a heavier cake in some other type of pan - round/9x13/... But now that I think about it, I've definitely seen fruit cakes done in tube pans, and you're right about the greasing for those.

                                                              2. re: violin

                                                                most commercial bakeries will "freeze" cakes for a bit, then put on a crumb coat of frosting then pop the cake back in the freezer. then completely frost.

                                                                this makes for a lovely clean cake.

                                                                the frosting should be fine at room temp for several hours as long as it is sufficiently stiff.

                                                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                  Interesting... I didn't know this. Thanks.

                                                  2. re: violin

                                                    I have made this cake probably 60 times in a bundt pan and it has always been perfect. I ice it sometimes and other times I eat it plain. Yes you have to be careful when buttering the pan but I have never had a problem. I have however made this cake twice as a layer cake and it has flopped both times. I cook it for over an hr and I check it often with a cake tester.

                                                    1. re: Gloriaa

                                                      Thanks so much Gloriaa and greygarious. I really appreciate all the advice and pointers.

                                                      I picked up fresh carrots from the farmer's market.

                                                      1. re: Gloriaa

                                                        Thanks again to everyone above for their thoughts on the pan. I admit that I do not have the highest quality pans. Just simple metal pans. I also don't have two perfect springform round cake pans of the 9" size the recommend for the layer cake, so I was going to make do with the closest I could get...

                                                        So a Bundt pan sounds great to me as it looks nicer for presentation.

                                                        So, I need to grease the hell out of the Bundt pan? Do you recommend flouring it as well? That's what I do for my heavier breads like banana bread.

                                                        Honestly, I could probably serve it in the Bundt pan if it started falling apart. It would limit the icing, but my Dad probably would not even notice!

                                                        Thanks again all of the discussion.

                                                        1. re: violin

                                                          To prep your Bundt pan, use a spray product that contains flour. I've had good results with the new PAM for Baking, and have also used Bakers Joy.

                                                          Do NOT (as I once did, out of concern for flow-over) put the Bundt pan on a cookie sheet. Heat must freely circulate up the center of the pan for proper baking.

                                                          I'll try to find the Bundt baking hints list and provide the link.

                                                          ETA - The NordicWare site has a quick video with the hints. http://player.vimeo.com/video/3008480...

                                                          1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                            for some unknown reason, i resisted baker's joy for years. am a total convert.

                                                            stuff is magic.

                                                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                              As long as you rinse the nozzle immediately after each use - a helpful hint for any of the sprays that have flour included.

                                                          2. re: violin

                                                            You can "flour" a pan with ordinary sugar. You'd think it would scorch, but it doesn't, and it makes for a crisp crust with a caramelly flavor.

                                                            If you are going to chance the Bundt pan for carrot cake, at least be sure to take the internal temperature to be sure it has baked all the way through (210F).

                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                              Thanks! Internal temps for baked goods are priceless information. SO HAPPY that I can determine the exact doneness of bread with a thermopen...

                                                    2. The Silver Palate Cookbook is of an age and genre where unsweetened coconut would NOT have been used.

                                                      It is a book where sweetened coconut would be assumed.

                                                      That said, I have successfully used dried, unsweetened coconut in place of the sweetened successfully in many recipes.

                                                      Sweetened coconut contains water and chemical ingredients to preserve moisture, so it does not represent the natural state of coconut, but it is what most people are accustomed to.

                                                      If it is not specified to use "natural" or "dried" or "unsweetened" coconut, you can usually safely assume that the recipe is calling for sweetened.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                        Thank you for crystalizing this so nicely. I learn so much from you guys, and appreciate it.

                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                          My Uncle gave me the Silver Palate Cookbook long ago, I have found it too be one of my go to books for a second opinion on my ideas for recipes.

                                                        2. in my whole foods, in their bulk food dept, they carry unsweetened, dried, shredded coconut.
                                                          you can buy the exact amount you need.
                                                          i use it all the time in my Thai Peanut Sauce recipe.

                                                          1. Well, we just tried the cake.

                                                            It was edible, but for me not pleasant. In the end it was probably undercooked and just so heavy/dense/oily.... My dad was very sweet though and ate it without complaint.

                                                            So close... oh well. I learned a lot. Thanks again.

                                                            28 Replies
                                                            1. re: violin

                                                              I made my first carrot cake for my best friend's birthday yeas ago. It was over mixed and maybe over baked. She didn't hesitate to tell me! The next time I made a carrot cake was for my then boss' 70th office birthday party. I used the UCLA Medical Center carrot cake recipe. It has pecans, coconut, raisins, pineapple, and butter instead of oil. I baked it in a sheet pan and frosted it with cream cheese frosting. They all raved about it and I have to admit it was the best carrot cake I'd ever tasted!

                                                              1. re: Kate is always hungry

                                                                Thanks for this Kate. I do think that oil-ladened cakes don't go over well with me... but I'm sure my poor baking job just made it worse. I do like the idea of butter instead so thanks for UCLA Medical Center suggestion (what an odd source, I must say.....!).

                                                                I was grateful my Dad wasn't more honest with me! I'm sorry your "best friend" was not more thoughtful.

                                                                1. re: violin

                                                                  You're welcome! I was looking for the recipe online and don't see the one I used! I'm almost certain mine had sweetened coconut flakes in it. It was from the '70s or '80s.

                                                                  My friend wasn't as gracious as your father, but I learned never to
                                                                  1) overmix a cake, 2) make an unknown recipe, and most important, 3) never bake for my friend! LOL

                                                              2. re: violin

                                                                Sorry to hear you didn't like it. It is tricky to get it cooked all the way through. I like it in a decorative bundt pan because there are lots of ridges that get extra crispy. I am now much more sensitive, ie I dislike, greasy cakes and muffins and I think it is the difference between oil and butter.

                                                                1. re: Gloriaa

                                                                  I was really appreciative of your input Gloriaa. But it was my mistake for using a ?tube pan instead of a classic bundt pan, so that was the real problem.

                                                                  There is a cake that is legendary in my family that my cousin used to make that she called a "budha cake". It was tasty, and all the kids in the family adored it. She gave me the recipe that was quite simple, but it had an insane amount of straight oil. After I baked the first one, I never wanted to eat it again. After seeing/smelling/tasting and knowing how much oil was in it, and realizing all of the dense moisture was from oil and not other "secret" ingredients I just couldn't enjoy it as much. And I could not escape the mild taste of the oil with every bite.

                                                                  So I think that was also my problem. Not entire rational, but I couldn't just suspend my knowledge of the contents... and that when combined with being a little undercooked.... oh well.

                                                                  1. re: violin

                                                                    I think I might try it again and swap out brown butter for the oil and see what happens. I find cakes and cookies that are under baked not edible, they seem to taste too rich and heavy for me. Thank you for starting this thread. It has made me rethink an old stand by...

                                                                    1. re: violin

                                                                      if a cake tastes oily or feels greasy, it's a bad recipe. worse still if you may be using or tasting rancid oil.

                                                                      i successfully make oil-based cakes all the time and prefer the lighter texture than what results from most butter-based cake recipes.

                                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                        hotoy, you just reminded me that I have thought many times that I'd like to make an olive oil cake. heard they're so good. wonder if any recipes for that are sure fire? sorry for going OT

                                                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                                                          the 2 easiest are wacky cake, which traditionally calls for "vegetable oil", but i use olive oil and french yogurt cake. both come together in a flash.

                                                                          others i've liked:




                                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                            guess what my husbands favorite cake is=orange
                                                                            guess who loves David Lebovitz=me
                                                                            guess who adores chocolate&almonds= both of us (ok mostly me:)
                                                                            so...I'll be making all 3 YEAH!!!!

                                                                        2. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                          Thank you. I have never really given it much thought but now I will pay closer attention to it. I will check my oil, I tend to buy small containers of oil and use them up quickly so never think they could have turned rancid.

                                                                          1. re: Gloriaa

                                                                            I don't know where I heard this, and haave never tested it out, but supposedly if you puncture a gelcap of Vitamin E and squeeze it into a bottle of cooking oil, it retards the development of rancidity. Vit E has/is tocopherols, which is a preservative ingredient on many food labels.

                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                              except that vitamin e can go off as well. i just threw out an oldish bottle of capsules due to rancidity. i punctured one for topical treatment and the smell was unmistakable.

                                                                    2. re: violin

                                                                      I am confused. Upthread you wrote that you overbaked it, and that you thought the recipe had too much oil. Did you reduce the amount? I would think you underbaked it. Elsewhere on this board, I once posted the recipe for my friend "Polly's People-Pleasing Fruitcake". It's a heavy, wet batter done in a Bundt pan, at 325F for 2 hours. It cools mostly in the pan, so in fact it is still baking when it is no longer in the oven.

                                                                      It's great that Gloriaa has success with the Bundt pan carrot cake but I just can't imagine it working in either a Bundt or tube pan, albeit easier to turn out with the latter.

                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                        well at least all this talk about carrot cake will ensure the owner of my salon will get her favorite cake in 2 weeks for her birthday=carrot cake.

                                                                        as much as I like the recipe I've used for years, I'm sad reading that UCLA's isn't any longer how the one poster remembered. now....how can I get 'that' original one?

                                                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                                                          I have the original UCLA recipe in print. I'll go through my recipes and get it for you. When do you want to bake the cake? I really think it was the best carrot cake I ever ate! :)

                                                                          1. re: Kate is always hungry

                                                                            sending my love Kate, so very kind of you.
                                                                            I think her birthday is Nov 11 but I'll call them today and find out for sure, there's always a huge party for her on her special day and my carrot cake is always gone in 60 seconds. I make lunch for all 35 employees also so the cake is the cherry on top so to speak.

                                                                            let me know and we can contact or whatever you decide, thanks again.

                                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                                              I found my printed copy of the recipe and I'm rather confounded with myself! The recipe does not have coconut in it so I must have added it on my own! Here is the link to it:


                                                                              I made plain cream cheese frosting without the pineapple, walnuts, and cardamom, purist that I am!

                                                                              It was delicious!

                                                                        2. re: greygarious

                                                                          What cakes would you bake in a bundt pan? I have always found heavy cakes(coffee cake, lemon cake, banana cake etc..) cook up better because the air circulates and the hole in the middle prevents the dreaded gooey centre. I also prefer cakes with very little frosting or glaze.

                                                                          1. re: Gloriaa

                                                                            I wouldn't call coffee cake or lemon cake heavy, though banana cake sometimes is. If you want batter to rise into an airy crumb, like a typical box mix layer cake results, a shallow pan is better. Angel food aside, tube and loaf pans of various shapes are good for cakes with tighter crumb, like a pound cake.

                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                              I guess we should agree to disagree.

                                                                              1. re: Gloriaa

                                                                                I agree with you on the poundcake/bundt pan issue. I made chefjunes's coconut poundcake(someone posted recipe here) in a bundt pan. Recommended cooking time was 45 mins to an hour. 350*. It was done in 50 minutes. Surprised the heck out of me with a cake that dense.

                                                                              2. re: greygarious

                                                                                I have made the copycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf Pound Cake in my bundt. it didn't match the flavor of Starbucks still after a few tweaks it got good reviews. I understand it is brought in from an outside vendor for Starbucks, at least that's what an employee told me, so even Starbucks doesn't have the recipe.
                                                                                but that consistency of a cake works well in the bundt.

                                                                                1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                  I never had the $bucks pound cake but I do like the Solo Almond Filling pound cake, which I make in my Bundt pan, as I do Sweet Potato Poundcake. When I made the latter in a loaf pan, it rose higher than in the Bundt, relatively.

                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                    a little adorable gal that I sorta worked with knew baking was a passion of mine. I often brought her some zipper bags of my cookies of the day. she asked if I'd tasted the $tarbucks lemon thing and I hadn't. that's what got me started on the challenge. I love a good mission sometimes regardless of the results.

                                                                          2. re: violin

                                                                            ooooo I'm sorry. that's a bummer, but yep ---lessons learned. we have all had ooopsies, sounds like your dads a sweetie

                                                                            1. re: violin

                                                                              But think of future opportunities to bake and share memories.

                                                                            2. the usual baking recipes call for the sweetened flaked coconut, sold in bags, like bakers - it will have a moist texture if fresh. if you want to try unsweetened, you might look for frozen shredded coconut in an asian store as an alternative (its moist, but i have never actually tried using it in baking). But I would definitely not use the dried bulk unsweetened shredded coconut for this.