|A cake that takes center stage|
|Monday, 18 November 2013|
by Don Bingham
A special coconut cake recipe brings back many memories from our family culinary traditions!
The cake began with my mom baking the cake and using freshly grated coconut, incorporating the coconut juices into the batter. This delicious cake was reserved for the Christmas holidays and that winter vacation to Florida. For those family vacations, mom and dad would take a trunk full of items to cook in roadside parks along the route to Florida, and the coconut cake was always a staple dessert for the trip.
This particular recipe makes enough batter for four layers; this ensures a regal, tall cake with layers of rich frosting and coconut — even a strawberry filling for the holidays. When cut in slices rather than wedges, it will feed 20 people.
We vacillate between the cream cheese-based frosting and the old seven-minute frosting. The seven-minute frosting is a bit more challenging than the cream cheese frosting, and either will be delicious with this cake.
The cake is truly our favorite for coconut cake, wedding cakes and trifle and cut into cubes and toasted for chocolate fondue. It is one of the most versatile yet old-time flavors for the discriminating cake lover. The most important factor in the cake is the use of Mazola corn oil. We have used other oils, but the flavor combination is never the same, and we are always disappointed.
It is our habit to cook the layers of the cake several days ahead of serving time, wrap them securely and place the layers in the freezer until time to frost. The frosting of choice may be made the day of the feast, adding the coconut at that point. It has often made a lovely table centerpiece until dessert time!
Strawberry jam makes a colorful and seasonal filling, but we have often used apricot, fresh strawberries and even orange marmalade.
My father worked for 40 years for the Coca-Cola Bottling Company. We always left Santa a Coke and cookies rather than milk and cookies! This is another fun holiday memory I enjoy, but the coconut cake remains a tradition we do for most all holidays — especially at Christmas!
Mix flour and salt. Set aside. Cut candy into pieces. Combine candy, dates, nuts and coconut. Add 1/2 cup flour mixture to candy and mix well. Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each. Combine buttermilk and soda; add to butter mixture alternately with flour mixture. Blend well. Add the candy mixture; mix well and turn into greased 10-inch tube cake pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Combine powdered sugar and orange juice; pour over warm cake.