Monday, March 19, 2012

Old Fashioned Coconut Layered Cake

My dad just celebrated his 65th birthday, and my younger brother and his family decided to come up from Texas to help us celebrate.  My step-mom made lasagna, salad and breadsticks and invited the whole extended family (all 27 of them) over for a birthday party this past weekend.  My dad requested an old family favorite, a southern coconut layered cake for dessert.  I dug out the cookbook (which is still currently in my possession from the last time I made this cake, like 10 years ago), which dates back to 1952, is handwritten and refers to ingredients like milk and butter as sweet milk and oleo...when I first made this recipe I had to bring in an interpreter.  I like to bake, so it isn't unusual for me to be assigned dessert at family get togethers, so I happily agreed. 
This recipe is a little time consuming, but it isn't hard, I promise.
(bear with me on the pictures, I've never documented a recipe before)

The recipe even calls for a coconut, not coconut milk and coconut flakes, an actual coconut...can you imagine?  I used the modern conveniences available to me! I have included lots of pictures.

I assembled my ingredients.
Sprayed my pans...this is the best invention ever.  I usually use Pam with Flour for Baking, but this works just as well.

First you beat the egg whites until they are stiff.  Transfer to another bowl.


You cream the sugar and butter, and then you add the egg yolks. Then you alternately add the flour and the milk.  You always want to start and end with the milk.  Once you have this mixed well, you will fold in the egg whites.  Split between three 9 inch cake pans, this will make 3 large layers.

While the cakes are baking, make the filling.

You mix the sugar and flour in a sauce pan, and then add the butter and milk.  Cook until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture forms a syrup.  Let cool.

Take a skewer and punch holes in all three cakes, trying not to go all the way through. You then take the coconut milk and spread it on each layer. Once it has absorbed, continue to add the coconut milk until it is all gone.

Then transfer the bottom layer to a cake plate, spread with half of the coconut filling, add next cake layer and spread with the remaining filling, add the top cake layer.  (My grandmother would cut each layer in two pieces and make this a 6 layer's up to you!  There is plenty of filling if you decide to do that.)

I then made 7 minute frosting, recipe below, and sprinkled coconut on top.  Most of the time, we just make homemade whipped cream and use that as frosting, but because this was a family gathering and I needed the frosting to hold up, I went with the 7 minute frosting.

Finished Product:

This is such a delicious cake, I hope you'll try it some time! 


Old Fashioned Coconut Cake with Coconut Filling
4 cups AP flour, sift before measuring
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup sweet milk
6 eggs, separated
4 tsp. baking powder.

Sift flour and baking powder together four times.  Cream sugar and butter, add egg yolks.  Add flour and milk alternately, then fold in well beaten egg whites.  This makes 3 large layers.  Bake 350 F in moderate oven.

Unsweetened shredded coconut
2 cups sugar
2 level tbsp. flour
3/4 cup sweet milk
2 tbsp. butter
1 can coconut milk, for soaking cake layers

Mix flour and sugar in a sauce pan before adding butter and milk. Cook to syrup.  Add grated coconut after syrup has cooled.  Reserve some coconut to sprinkle on top of cake.  Sponge each cake layer with coconut milk before spreading filling. 

7 Minute Frosting:
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3 unbeaten egg whites

Mix sugar, cream of tartar, vanilla and egg whites.  Add boiling water.  Beat on high til mixture forms peaks (like meringue) approximately 5-7 minutes.

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Shelley {Crazy Wonderful} said...

Yep... you should make that for me sometime ;)

notyet100 said...

Cake looks gorgeous,,,,:)

Hani@Craftionary said...

Oh I love this.. I would love it if you can come join the friday fun party.. It's going on right now at
Have a great weekend

shopannies said...

sounds so good love coconut and your post was really well written and loved the pics as well come see me at

Justine said...

Stopping by from the Show Me What Ya Got Blog Hop!

Sarah@budgetfriendlydecorating said...

Coconut cake is one of my favorites and this one looks truly amazing!

Harps and Ollie's Mom said...

Thanks for coming, I hope you try it!!

Jessica @ O. Alouette said...

This looks so yummy! I love coconut.

Jessica @ Stay at Home-ista said...

This looks delicious! I just made Pina Colada cupcakes, similar idea, plenty of coconut, but with some pineapple too. I love the 7 minute frosting recipe too.

Vicky said...

Oh, I hope this recipe is the one I have been looking for!! If it is, oh I will be so happy!! I am from Northport, AL, just across the state line from Columbus, MS. My Daddy made the best coconut cake, and none of us got the recipes from him before he passed away unexpectedly. I wonder if it is a similar recipe? They lived in Columbus for awhile...I clicked on our picture from the Delightful Thursday party ESPECIALLY because it had a pic of this cake!! I am pinning it!

Yes, they used sweet milk, oleo, and a REAL coconut! He would tap the "eyes" with a hammer and drain the milk, then cut it open and shred the "meat" of the coconut. Loved watching that...

Come see me anytime over at my blog neighbor!

Vicky @ sleeping in an unmade bed

Our Delightful Home said...

Yummy!I really look forward to trying this recipe.

Mrs. Delightful

Stuff and Nonsense said...

aren't old fashioned recipes
the best?

this cake
looks like everything a cake
should be

and oh so decadent

i can never never make this
as i am the only person in my house
who like coconut
and would therefore
eat it all by my onsie!

thanks for sharing at Fridays Unfolded.


Melanie @ bear rabbit bear said...

Wow! What a vintage book! Great looking recipe! Thanks for sharing at Things I've Done Thursday!

Tara @ Tales of a Trophy Wife said...

Old recipes are such treasures:)

Jennifer said...

Good ole oleo!! Ha!! A timeless, yummy recipe! Thanks for sharing at Show & Share!

Jennifer said...

Oh and making this a feature in tomorrow's party! :)

Sherry said...

How delicious! Thank you for joining me at Home Sweet Home!

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Sarah Lousie said...

Oh wow! That looks lovely! Coconut cake always goes down a stom in my house!!

Anonymous said...

Just wondering if any of the posters have actually tried making this cake? If so, how'd it go? Any suggestions? Otherwise, I plan to make it tomorrow and will let you know how it goes. Looks so yummy, I have to give it a try!

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