This cake was a rare delight for my family. It was the signature dessert of my great aunt, so we usually only got to have it during big family gatherings. I only remember our mom actually making it a few times. It would sit in the fridge all day as it waited to be served, taunting us. Although my sister and I have both tried to make it and, for reasons mysterious to us, failed, we thought it would be nice to have for our dad’s birthday party. We needed to figure it out at some point anyway.
(Edit: I made the scones in the foreground of the above image with Scones in a Jar mix by Little Miss Muffin, a business run by my friend Wendy Carson. Check out the Little Miss Muffin Facebook page to see her meticulously crafted desserts. Seriously go look. I don’t recommend stuff lightly.)
While I was pretty sure the cake was an original creation from my family, I Googled it just to be sure. I found it in a post on a website called The Recipe Circus, and the source listed is my mom! It is so cool to see a piece of my mother out there on the internet. It was also practically beneficial because my mom’s recipe card called for 2 packages of frozen coconut for the icing with no precise quantities per package listed, whereas the internet post says 2 12-ounce packages. I had picked up 2 6-ounce packages of the only kind of frozen coconut the store had. I realized the error after I’d put the cake in the oven, and had to run to the store while it baked.
- 2 cups plus 2 tbsp. self-rising flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 cup milk
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 3 whole eggs or 4 egg whites, unbeaten
- 2 12-oz. pkgs. frozen coconut, or the equvalent freshly grated (avoid using the sweetened Baker’s Angelflake)
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup sour cream.
Preheat oven to 350º. Grease and flour 2 round 9″ pans. Mix together flour and sugar. Add shortening, milk and vanilla. Beat 2 minutes med. speed on mixer. Add eggs (or egg whites). Beat 2 more minutes. Pour equal amounts of batter in pans and bake 35 to 40 minutes.
Mix coconut, 2 cups sugar, 1 cup sour cream and beat. Note: Icing must go on warm cake.
Carefully remove warm cakes from pans. Divide each cake in half, either with a knife or with a string (sewing thread or unflavored dental floss works well). Place first layer with the cut side facing up and ice just enough to mostly cover cake. (The icing will want to clump, but it’s better to have patchy icing between the layers than to not have enough icing to ice the outside of the cake. It will all meld together as the cake sets.) Place second layer on top of the first, and repeat until all layers are stacked. Ice the outside of the cake, covering all exposed cake.
I think when I messed up the first time with this recipe, I didn’t put the icing on while the cake was warm enough. My mother has another recipe that says to ice a warm cake, but if you do it right out of the oven the cake falls apart and the icing goes everywhere. This one, if you don’t ice it right out of the oven, the granulated sugar in the icing doesn’t melt and it’s unpleasantly grainy, so I tried to emphasize immediately icing in the directions. I also went into greater detail in the dividing/icing portion because I think the only reason I was able to do it correctly was because I’d seen my mother do it before.
As you can see in the foreground of the first image, we had some backup desserts in case the cake didn’t turn out well. Thankfully, it came out great and everyone at the party had at least one piece. Even people who said they didn’t like coconut enjoyed it, probably because when most people think of coconut they think of candy and whatnot. While this cake is sweet, it’s not quite Almond Joy sweet.
This was the first recipe I’ve done for this blog that’s really brought me back to my childhood, and I’m ecstatic that it was successful. Finally.