Coconut Cake Recipe for Thanksgiving and Christmas

I’m feeling a bit nostalgic these days.  Holidays have a way of doing that to us, don’t they? As I was looking back through some of my older posts, I came across one written around this time last year and couldn’t resist sharing it with you guys again. It’s a post about a family tradition that I hope you’ll enjoy.

But first, I have to share something that had me laughing so hard on Christmas Day, I was literally gasping for air. Have you ever done that, laughed so hard that you couldn’t breathe???

I asked BNOTP readers for some hints on how to make my Standing Rib Roast actually edible this year (last years wasn’t!) and several folks sent great recipes/hints.  The roast turned out awesome, by the way. Yay! Thank-you so much for your suggestions and recipes.  They were brilliant!

Prior to asking you guys for some help with the roast, I read online that a popular side dish to a rib roast is something called Yorkshire Pudding. Now we’ve all heard of Yorkshire Pudding, but do you really know what it is? I didn’t have a clue, but it sounded easy so, hey…why not?  The recipe described it as a “puffy pop-over like pastry.”  Ummm, okay.

Fast forward, it’s Christmas Day and after a late morning brunch where we stuffed ourselves silly, I got busy preparing our Christmas Dinner. We were getting down to crunch time, you know, that period when you have all the ovens going and everything is just about to be ready at the same time. I had both timers set on the double ovens, the timer on the microwave was timing a third dish in one of the ovens and one of the oven timers was really timing two dishes. It was so confusing I had written all the times down on a paper, so I’d know what to take out when each timer went off.

Suddenly, a timer went off while I was clear across the kitchen. After checking my trusty scrap of paper which indicated whatever was in the top oven was now ready, I yelled over to my son’s sweetie, Nancy, asking her to take care of it. She opened the oven door and just as quickly shut it back, saying, “Uh…you might want to come check this.” The look on her face was one of stunned disbelief. This got my son’s, (Chip’s) attention, too. I rushed over thinking something must be burned beyond recognition. As I opened the door, Nancy, Chip, and I all peered inside and what we saw left us completely speechless. Dead silence.  Then we all three burst out laughing!

The Yorkshire Pudding had grown into this HUGE, irregular-shaped blob that was threatening to envelop all of Atlanta! It was truly unlike anything I’d ever seen, and apparently unlike anything Nancy had ever seen, either. It sort of resembled a bunch of giant popovers all blown up and squished together around the outer 2/3rds of the pan, with the center part kind of nice and squishy flat, even a bit pudding-like–imagine that! 🙂  And, it was the prettiest toasty brown color you’ve ever seen.

In the midst of all the laughing, Chip kept asking, “What IS that?, What IS that?!” I was laughing so hard I couldn’t even answer! The more he asked, the harder I laughed!

I took it out and almost immediately, it deflated. Despite deflating, it still remained nice and puffy.  It was actually pretty yummy! I think I’ll be making it again, but never will it be as good as this first time when I laughed until I couldn’t breathe.  Did you have any breathless moments this Christmas?

Hope you enjoy the following post from Christmas past.  It’s all about family and tradition.

My Father-in-Law (shown below reading to my son when he was quite small) faithfully served during World War II. One Christmas, after returning home, he and my Mother-in-Law were making a coconut cake and ambrosia, a traditional Christmas dessert for many generations in their families. The war was still going on and many products were either unavailable or being rationed, including metal.

Coconut Cake Recipe for Christmas

This picture taken in 1942 of movie star, Rita Hayworth, was definitely a sign of the times. (You can read more about rationing during the war at the SITE where I found this picture.)

My Mother and Father-in-law had not been married long.  Like most newlyweds, they were still accumulating some of the basic things you needed for a kitchen. The family recipe for the coconut cake called for fresh coconut and there were no metal graters to be found. So my Father-in-Law, being the creative and resourceful person he was, decided to make one himself.

He used the only metal available, a tin can. Though not the fanciest grater in the world, it did an outstanding job of grating coconut extremely fine. The coconut it grated came out feathery light, very different from what you would ever find pre-packaged in stores.

Coconut Cake Recipe for Christmas

Over the years everyone in the family became very spoiled and only liked coconut cake if the coconut had been grated on this tin can grater. Who could blame them, the coconut was so light and airy, it all but melted in your mouth!

In later years, the job of grating the coconut was passed down to my husband. And with each passing year, it became harder and harder to use the grater as the little teeth became duller and duller. Over all those previous years, I’m not sure anyone had ever realized what a true labor of love it was for Grandpa to grate the coconut for the coconut cake on that tin can grater.

Coconut Cake Recipe for Christmas

Now, each year when the coconut is grated for the coconut cake and ambrosia, it’s mostly done on a grater I purchased at Williams-Sonoma with very, very fine teeth, and a microplane grater I received as a gift from my sister, Glenda. Fortunately, I was blessed with two wonderful assistants this past Christmas–my son, Chip….

and his sweetheart, Nancy. They humored Mom and let me take a pic, despite knowing they just might end up on “The Blog.”

They both did an outstanding job of grating the coconut. In memory of Grandpa and for the sake of tradition, some of the coconut was grated on a little grater made during the era of WWII. I know Grandpa must have been smiling down from heaven seeing his much- loved grandson using the grater he made almost 60 years ago.

The cake turned out great. It was moist, light and fluffy.  The icing didn’t sugar (yay) and the coconut was food for angels.

Coconut Cake


Today I’m sharing the cake and icing recipe with you. It’s a simple recipe that’s been passed down through the generations. I got it from my Mother-in-law (pictured below.)  You’ll find printable recipes at the end of the post.


1 2 3 4 Cake


1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
4 eggs
1 cup milk
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream butter until fluffy.
Add sugar and cream well.
Add eggs one at a time.
Beat well.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together.
Add milk and flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating the two and ending with flour
Beat on low speed
Add vanilla extract
Pour into 3 greased and floured cake pans. (Makes three layers)
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes…test with a toothpick to see if it’s done


Seven Minute Icing


2 unbeaten egg whites
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons Karo syrup
6 Tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Coconut, finely grated

In a double boiler, mix egg whites, sugar, water and Karo syrup, beating for 30 seconds until mixed. (Do this prior to placing the boiler over the boiling water.)
Cook 5 or 6 minutes in a double boiler until the soft peak stage, beating with a hand mixer the whole time.
Add vanilla extract, beating 2 or 3 more minutes to the consistency for spreading.
Spread the icing on the cake, liberally sprinkling the grated coconut on and in between each layer, as well as patting coconut onto the sides. Sprinkle coconut across the top of the cake after icing the top.


Recipe for Yorkshire Pudding:

A traditional side dish to Prime rib, Yorkshire Pudding is a puffy, pop-over like pastry.

½ teaspoon salt
1 cup of flour
2 eggs
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons oil

Mix all ingredients, except the oil, together.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 450°.
Take an 8×8 square pan and pour the 4 tablespoons of oil into it.
Heat the pan for 2 minutes before pouring in the cold batter.

Cook for 20 to 30 minutes.
Do not open the oven door during cooking.
Serve immediately and enjoy the crispy outer edges and the custard-like inside.

Coconut Cake: Great for Thanksgiving and Christmas

Author: Susan (Between Naps on the Porch)


  • 1 2 3 4 Cake
  • Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Cream butter until fluffy.
  • Add sugar and cream well.
  • Add eggs one at a time.
  • Beat well.
  • Sift flour, baking powder and salt together.
  • Add milk and flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating the two and ending with flour
  • Beat on low speed
  • Add vanilla extract
  • Pour into 3 greased and floured cake pans. (Makes three layers)
  • Bake at 350 for 30 minutes...test with a toothpick to see if it's done

As this new year approaches, I’m so looking forward to carrying on the old traditions, while perhaps starting a few new ones. Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!

*If a post is sponsored or a product was provided at no charge, it will be stated in post. Some links may be affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. *

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  1. the southern hostess says

    So much great food and lovely memories!

    • Debbie Hurst says

      I had to smile, seven minute frosting was the first frosting I learned to make from my Grandma and mom. How sweet the memories. This is why I stay away from blogs ect. I was just checking on some decorating ideas while I am in the midst of cleaning and decorating and have just spent 30 minutes in the blink of an eye on your site.

  2. Susan,
    The "pudding" story is worthy of a modern day script for the old "I Love Lucy" show. My imagination of the finished dessert had me rolling.

    Very touching story of your father-in-law. I love coconut cake…this is a "must try."

  3. What a great treasure you have from your grampa! It is a true family heirloom!!

    Thanks for all the recipes!

  4. Ideally popovers should be made in "pans" specifically made for them. They don't come crashing down in the middle as much as one large pan and there is much more crispy to the tops. Target has them at the above url address. Jackie A HUGE fan.

  5. Loved this funny and heart warming story, Susan! Both the coconut grater and Yorkshire Pudding stories will be remembered in holidays to come, I'm sure!
    And YUMMMMM -The cake recipe's a must try – thanks for sharing! ☺

  6. Lettered Cottage says

    I LOVED this post! Such a great read! You made me laugh out loud with that "pop over" story. 😀

    Thank you for sharing the story about the coconut grater too…what special memories that "precious metal" holds!

    Layla 🙂

  7. My husband's family is English, they live here, but are not citizens. They make Yorkshire puddings and also something called "Scotch Eggs" they are GREAT!!! I am hoping to try my hand at making the Yorkshire Puddings soon. I can only imagine how mine will turn out!

    I get nostalgic this time of year, too! This was the 1st year that we did not go to my Grandmother's on Christmas Eve, and it was odd… almost didn't feel like Christmas!
    Merry Christmas!!!!

  8. I remember trying to make Yorkshire pudding the first time my husband's aunt and uncle came to visit us after our wedding (1965) I didn't laugh, however, it was a total disaster! I've never tried it again – but perhaps I should – I can always use a good laugh!!

  9. Great blog. I have some wonderful recipes that only my grandmother made. I inherited them before I married, so they mean so much to me.
    Beckie in Brentwood, TN

  10. The Quintessential Magpie says

    I really enjoyed the story about your FIL, Susan. I remember reading that last year and thinking how neat that you still have the can! I just love sentimental stories like that, and look how much they love their grandson in that pic! 🙂

    Coconut cake was my grandmother's specialty, and she would hand grate the coconut, too. Later, when she married at close to 80, her new husband grated it for us. They had been high school sweethearts, and she had thrown him over for my grandfather at a young age. But after both my grandmother and her thrown over beau were widowed, they got married years and years later. He was the best coconut grater ever! LOL! He was a pretty neat step-grandfather, too. 😉

    I'm tickled about your Yorkshire pudding. That's a specialty of a friend of mine's, and I will have to share this with her.

    My funny thing that happened was when we all sat down for dinner at our house, and I chose to sit at the children's table, along with my godchildren's grandmother. Cecelia turned to me and said, "Aunt She, why are you and Grandmother at the kids' table???" To which I replied, "Because we're big kids!" She said, "No, Aunt She. You're adults." Then she leaned over, covered her mouth, and said in a loud stage whisper, "I would have said you're old ladies, but I thought that might be a bit rude." LOL! I have gotten the biggest kick out of that. I'm still chuckling.

    So from one "old lady" to another, I hope you have a very Happy New Year!


    Sheila 🙂

  11. Love the coconut cake. Coconut is one of my favorites. Did you get your recipe from Paula Deen? She makes one just like it I think. Love your blog.

  12. I couldn't help but smile when I read about your grater as I have a hand me down tin can grater/slicer that was my mother-in-laws. She would chop her potatoes and eggs for potato salad with the bottom of the open can and my husband thought that only potato salad made with that can is any good. I also got a laugh out of your Yorkshire Pudding story. These are wonderful memories you are making with your family!
    Have a Happy New Year!!

  13. I'm from England and had to laugh at your Yorkshire pudding story 🙂 I live in TX now but lived in the UK for 34 yrs, I grew up having yorkshire puds and roast beef every Sunday for lunch, I don't often make them over here, but when I do I use my Mom's recipe every time. I love them.

  14. Hi Susan, I remember this story from last year. It was really so sweet. Thanks for sharing it again. I can't believe you have the grater after all this time. It is a wonderful memory to pass on.

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New year!


  15. What wonderful memories. I really enjoyed your story about the grater. And then I giggled as I read about the Yorkshire pudding. I hope you have a blessed new year. 🙂

  16. You had me laughing at the pudding story…so much fun.
    Your cake looks beautiful..Now i am hungry for one!! Thanks for the recipe.
    Gosh, Chip and his honey are both so good looking….
    xo bj

  17. Loved your post! 🙂

    I can only imagine the look on your face when you saw the puddings! I remember the first time that I made them…I had mini mountains but they didn't have a taste…it was a "why" bother eating them flat taste!

    Your coconut cake story is wonderful…the cake looks delicious. I am certain your dad was smiling!

  18. Aloha, I love your blog and I will try your recipes they look great! Love the post about the grater..thanks for sharing and HAppy New Year

  19. Beverly @ My Sew Sweet Studio says

    What a funny story about your Yorkshire Pudding. I had no idea it is or that it is baked.
    Loved your wonderful story about your fathers coconut grater and his grandson using it. I wasn't around blogland much last year, so I really enjoyed your pictures. I'm saving that recipe. I usually make coconut cake for Easter, so will save your recipe to try then. It looks so yummy. (That cake stand is to die for)

  20. That was a wonderful story about your FIL. It reminds me of my grandfather, also a veteran of WWII. That generation had some true gems. We also always had ambrosia and jam cake, but we have coconut cake at birthdays all year-my family just couldn't wait for coconut cake
    once a year!:)

  21. Susan, that post was so lovely, it deserves an award. Thanks for sharing that story, and reminding us to cherish our own family memories during this special time of year.

    (Yes, yes! Cape Cod STILL has snow…very exciting!)


  22. Loved your "pudding" story, loved the old pictures and love your table settings. You are one talented lady!

  23. Christmas stories are always the best and you'll be telling the pudding story over and over again!

  24. The Yorkshire Pudding story was hilarious, I sat here laughing out loud. Yes, I have laughed so hard also that I couldn't get my breath and the more someone asked a question about what was so funny the harder I laughed. I love your blog and your house is absolutely beautiful. Here's to a wonderful 2010!

  25. What a great post! Thank you for sharing the recipes.

  26. Susan your post had me busting a gut. I felt like I was right there with you when you opened the oven. Darn, I wish you got a pic of it!!!!

  27. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says

    What a great story about the grater, Susan! Amazing what people can come up with to serve a need. Your pudding story was very funny! I have laughed that hard and I can just imagine the three of you looking at this "pudding". Have a Happy New Year!

  28. Mid-Atlantic Martha says

    I remember this sweet post last year. I love the sort of laughing you're talking about — my son can always get me to laugh, no matter what my day has been like. I know what you mean about the nostalgia — on Christmas day we were watching old family Christmas videos at my SIL's house. It was sweet to see the children so young and seeing my MIL who's no longer with us and my SIL's MIL who was such a dear woman. But then there were also reminders of ourselves in days before the grey hair and the middle aged middles! Ah well – time marches on — Wishing you a delightful New Year's and I can't wait to see what you bring to us in 2010!

    See ya!

  29. Wow–recipes that are keepers!

  30. Oh Susan, so many wonderful memories you share…and your making new ones with your son and his lovely friend! My dear mother-in-law was the expert of yorkshire pudding and we always had it for special occasions. She has passed but taught me everything she knew about making this delicate popover. I have had many successful and nonsucessful attempts, but after 30 plus years of making it for my husband and three boys, I pretty much have it down! Made me laugh to read your story, as nothing rises as fast or deflates as quickly as yorkshire pudding. I'm glad you had a delicious roast and your cake looks divine! I must try your mother-in-law's recipe! Happy New Year..I am a devoted follower of BTNOP!! Thanks. Miss Bloomers/Sonia

  31. Susan, this is a delightful story to start my morning. Thank you for sharing your family tradition. Coconut cake is one of my favs! Love that 7 minute frosting. I could eat it by the spoonfulls. Forget the cake! LOL

    The grater is a wonderful treasure. It's little items like this that make family stories live on from generation to generation. I have the biscuit cutter that came with my grandmother's stove when she first married. My aunt gave it to me during the first years of my married life. I wouldn't use another one. This little piece of tin fits perfectly in my hand and cuts like a knife. Hmmmm…perhaps I need to spotlight it in a post. LOL See what you've done. Not only do I now carry my camera with me everywhere I go, I'm forever thinking "oh, I could blog about this."
    Thanks again, dear friend, for sharing the memory and for introducing me to the this world of Blog.
    Fun to see photos of your Chip and Nancy. Cute couple! ~ HNY~ Sarah

  32. I love your blog and have turned all my friends on to your beautiful home and your keen sense of decorating. Thanks for sharing


  33. wonderful post – enjoyed reading the origins of the coconut grater- how wonderful it still exists. I get exicted when i see you have added another entry to your blog- best wishes in the new year.

  34. Oh how funny! I'm so glad the Yorkshire pudding didn't manage to take over Atlanta. Can you imagine the news story for THAT? LOL
    PS Thanks for the recipes. I have never made 7 minute icing. That is now on my to-do list for 2010!

  35. For me, this was the best blog I have read on your site. Such a wonderful splash of family memories.

  36. Susan, thanks for your recipes. I've always wanted a tried and true frosting recipe and I'm going to save yours. I couldn't help but notice your beautiful cake plate. Do you know what pattern it is?
    Debbie A. from Ohio

  37. Susan, you had me laughing with your family! And I just may have to try that Yorkshire Pudding Recipe. And the coconut cake recipe looks divine, especially with the family story about grating the coconut. Love it!

    Thanks for sharing!

  38. Susan, I remember this wonderful memory you shared with us last year. I was so touched by it last year that I shared your story with many others, It is a nice remembrance of how we make family memories and how precious they can be. Loved the new addition this year about the Yorkshire pudding. Did you ever see the Lucy and Ethel episode where they were making yeast bread, Omg, you will laugh your head off and now you can totally relate to her dilema. Thank you again for sharing and making each post interesting and fun to read. you are the best, Hugs Kathysue

  39. hepsusluydum says

    Happy newyear with love and friendship…

  40. Personalized Sketches and Sentiments says

    Oh my! What a wonderful post! I love the old photo with your son and your father-in-law and then the more current ones showing your son grown!

    and I love the grater he made! How neat is that , that you still have it!

    It sounds like this Christmas time was wonderful and full of memories from the past and also a time of new memories created!

    Blessings & Aloha!

    (loved stopping by! I am so happy to have a few days off from work to do blog reading!)

  41. love your post!!
    Looks like you had a wonderful Christmas:)

    Happy New Year!!!

    Blessings to you,
    Kay Ellen

  42. Mari @ Once Upon a Plate says

    Susan, what a heartwarming story from your family history, you really touched my heart. It reminds me of the experiences my own parents would relate.

    Your son was a darling boy, and now a handsome man ~ and his sweetie Nancy is absolutely beautiful. They both have such sweet smiles.

    And would you look at that gorgeous cake? It is perfection!

    Thank you for such a touching post. All the best to you and your loved ones in 2010. xo ~m

  43. Glenda/MidSouth says

    What great memories. You will always remember the first Christmas you made the Yorkshire pudding. 🙂 I always have a check off list also. 🙂
    Happy New Year!

  44. Ruthie's Renewed Treasures says

    Yorkshire pudding is wonderful! Laughter like that is always great because you'll remember the first time you made Yorkshire pudding. It's great medicine to laugh until you can't breathe, we all need a good dose of that each week.


  45. Susan-I can't believe you did not take a picture of the pudding–or are you just saving it :)? I have made popovers and even bought a popover pan–I am just not that impressed. I loved your grater story and seeing pictures of your family. I know you miss having Chip at home–sending them back is always the hardest!!

  46. Diann @ The Thrifty Groove says

    This coconut cake is the same one I make every year. It was my grandma's special coconut cake. And now I make it as a special treat for my mom.

  47. Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality says

    Great stories & memories, Susan! That cake looks delish. I have just now caught up with all your old posts. Your house looked gorgeous all decked out for Christmas, how pretty it all is. And I loved the Marietta square tour. I went on that tour a few times & it was fun. I really should have done it more often. Funny, when you move away, you regret not doing all there was to do. Like visit the Governor's mansion. Never did that either! Have a Happy New Year, here's to another year of blogging!

  48. Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) says

    What a truly moving story and a new memeory added to the file of memories.. Chip is one handsome guy and that Nancy is sure a cutie.. I think you've hit the jackpot.. :-)) thanks for sharing the recipes.. hope to try them soon… hugs ~lynne~

  49. Oh how I enjoyed your stories, Susan. It is funny what we get used to and believe that things only taste good if they are done a certain way. I think it is wonderful that you have that homemade grater to this day! I need to bake a cake on Sat. and this sounds oh so good. Gotta get me some fresh coconut, though! Hope you have a wonderful upcoming new year. I look forward to many more of your inspiring posts.
    🙂 Sue

  50. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Hi Debbie A.,
    I purchased the cake platter in Macy's several years ago…can't remember who made it now but I'm 99% sure I saw one in Dillards this year…and it was on sale for an even better price than I paid. The cake stand has a top/lid. If you click on the Thanksgiving tablescape in my sidebar or one of the tablescapes set up in my dining room, you'll see the whole thing over on my sideboard. It weighs a TON! Hope this helps. If you have any other questions, just email me at [email protected]

  51. Lady Katherine says

    I enjoyed so much the family photo's, loved seeing Chip grating the coconut and Nancy. I know they are the love of your life. I been thinking on making Yorkshire Pudding, would it be great to put in the popover pan? I bought one from Ross for $5.00 back in Sept. I researched online for them, and which type was best. Target has the one that was least recommended. I happen to luck up and get the best one. Not used as of yet. Yes, this Christmas I laughed so much I had to go and take some meds. I had my whole surgery part dieing from laughter. The children were so cute and funny. Another time for the story. Loved all of this post!

  52. Susan, reading BNOTP has definitely been a highlight for me this year! I'm so glad to know you.

    Blessings for a wonderful New Year's Eve and 2010!

  53. Oh my goodness, you crack me up!
    Your kitchen and helpers are stunning. I am going to try to make that cake.

    Roast "Beast", Yorkshire Pudding, au jus and a few other items are traditional Christmas fare around here. We've whittled out anything that is not a fave so we can enjoy the best in decadent delight. We make double and triple batches of Yorkshire Pudding because some doesn't even make it to the table.

    No need to buy a "popover" pan. I use my Nana's old tin muffin pans. They are stained and ugly but work just fine.

    Scrape about a 1/4 tsp of Crisco in each muffin cup, preheat in the oven until completely melted. Pour in the chilled batter, no more than 1/2 fill the cup, and place in the oven. (I have in the past used too much Crisco or overfilled and made a mess in the oven). When they are golden-to-nicely browned they are done. Should be a little crispy on the outside but tender and all air in the middle. Can even put some jam inside for a sweet treat, but we serve w/ au jus or gravy.

    Please do try to make them again. I have only had the 8X8" pan version once, and prefer the popovers. I do have a recipe that bakes chicken IN the popover in a casserole, then serve with a chicken gravy… yum.

    Oh my, this is making me hungry, excuse me while I go make a batch!

    Blessings, Shay

  54. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Thanks so much for the recipe, Shay. I will definitely follow your suggestion and use a muffin pan next time. 🙂 I would love to know your recipe for the Yorkshire Pudding. You can leave it here or email me at [email protected]. The one I used was pretty good but I'd love to hear yours.
    Happy New Year to you!

  55. How funny! What a great story.
    I can still see your faces when looking inside the oven.

  56. Entertaining Women says

    A wonderful family story and recipe. I shared it with several friends. Thanks so much! Happy New Year! Cherry Kay

  57. Leslie Alexander says

    Susan, I love your coconut grater story. Such tradition! My father loved coconut cake and I decided for our family Christmas supper this year I’m going to make your 1234 cake with Seven Minute Frosting and we’re going to finely grate ourselves some coconut, too! (Fortunately, I have a microplane and can get the “fine stuff” you mention.)
    Question: when you make the cake – do you use salted or unsalted butter? I notice 1/4 teaspoon salt is an ingredient so just wanted to ask you. I really enjoy your blog!

    • Thanks, Leslie! I always use salted but…that’s the only kind I buy. I use butter full time for everything…love how it taste. You’ll love the cake! 🙂 One thing though, don’t put the coconut on the cake too far in advance because after the first day, the coconut starts to get this opaque, see through look. I guess it absorbs some of the icing. I usually grate the coconut and bake the cake part, the day before Christmas. Then on Christmas morning, I make the icing and ice the cake and sprinkle in all the coconut. That way the cake is pretty for Christmas day and looks good the next morn. But by the end of the fallng day, it will start to look a bit opaque, unless it’s all gone. 🙂

      • Chris Ortiz says

        Hi, Susan! I made the cake as a surprise for my husband’s birthday, and he was thrilled! it wasn’t as beautiful as yours, as my icing did not peak and turn out shiny like yours, and the coconut was not as finely grated, but he liked how the cake was kind of dense (kind of like a pound cake ; ) I did use cocnut milk instead of regular milk, but would still like to experiment, perhaps add grated coconut to the milk as well, to get more of a coconut flavor
        in the cake itself…. would like to include a picture, but can’t figure out how to insert the image
        ; (

        • Chris, that’s awesome! I bet it was delcious! I may have to try the coconut milk idea sometime because I do like that flavor. That’s so nice that you made a cake for him…not too many folks do that these days. Love it!

  58. I just loved your story about your in laws. My Father was a WWII veteran also. How wonderful that you honor in him. Love your recipes also!!

  59. I love your blog so much! Your family, stories, photos, recipes, love, they all warm my heart! Thank you for always making my day! Do you have any favorite cookbooks that you would share the names of? I collect cookbooks and was wondering if you have a cookbook or cookbooks that you created?
    Thank you,

  60. Tim H. Royal says

    Tim Royal here: Coconut Cake. my Mother made a great Coconut cake, so great that I never could duplicate her recipe.
    But my story centers around a Thanksgiving Dinner in the mid 1980s. My partner and I had invited 12 people for TGD and we two made 14. After setting up three tables end on end and borrowing chairs, in a three room flat in San Francisco, I was busy. Well, that was when I had discovered Martha Stewart and her Turkey en crute. It was gorgeous, BUT getting there was something else. About half way cooking the Turkey the aluminum sprang a leak, I must have poked too hard when basting and it started a fire in the oven. I took care of that, everybody was very amused, I had also asked to use the oven in the apt. across the hall because our friend was out of town. She said “Be careful with the door, it has a mind of it’s own.” I went to open that door and it came off in my hand. I had to prop the door closed, worked OK. By then everyone was in stitches, I was smoky, sweaty and streaked with food, but it was all in all a great time. I had also forgot to set a place for my self, so when everyone had sat down I was left standing with the Turkey en Crute in my hands. I’m 80 now and Hope that memory of our friends, some of whom have gone on to other dinners in the sky, never fades from my memory. I too have been caught up in the nostalgia of times past, thank you everyone. I’m a Southern boy and sure will enjoy this Coconut cake. I can feel the texture and taste the flavor already.

    • Tim, I loved so much reading this story! It those times when things didn’t go quite as we planned, that always make for the best memories. I bet there was a lot of laughter that day and I’m sure all those in attendance never forgot that special Thanksgiving dinner. 🙂

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