I’ve been making this cake ever since a college friend gave me her mother’s special recipe a hundred years ago as a graduation present. It is THE BEST. I serve it all year long, and always as part of winter holiday dessert buffets. Made a couple of days in advance, it can be refrigerated and forgotten until needed. From fridge to table. It doesn’t even have to come to room temperature.
For Christmas color, decorate with raspberries and strawberries. Actually the berries are a perfect accompaniment whatever the season.
SUSIE’S MOTHER’S COCONUT CAKE
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup neutral vegetable oil
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 large egg whites at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
2. Sift 1 cup of the sugar, the flour, baking powder and teaspoon of salt together into a bowl.
3. To the dry ingredients, add the oil, yolks, juices, and vanilla in that order. Mix until smooth.
4. Whisk the egg whites (preferably with an electric mixer) with the cream of tartar and a pinch of salt. Once the whites are opaque, very slowly add the last 1/2 cup of sugar and beat hard until soft peaks form.
5. Lighten the flour mixture by stirring in 1/4 of the beaten whites. Then fold in the rest.
6. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Rap once on the table to eliminate air bubbles and bake about one hour in the middle of the oven. The cake is done when golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not underbake.
7. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
8. Remove from pan, wrap airtight and refrigerate overnight.
9. The next day, split the cake horizontally into three layers with a large knife.
10. Lay the bottom layer of the cake on a large cake plate. Spoon half of the filling on top. Then lay the second layer on top of the filling and spoon on the rest of the filling. The cake can be refrigerated up to 24 hours at this point.
11. Ice and serve.
5 1/2 ounces instant vanilla pudding mix
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 package (7 ounces) shredded, sweetened coconut
2 cups very cold heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
3 large egg whites at room temperature
2 1/4 cups sugar
6 tablespoons cold water
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1. Place all ingredients except the vanilla in the top of a double boiler. Beat with a handheld or standing electric mixer or a whisk until combined.
2. Place over boiling water, heat on medium-high, and beat for 7 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and beat until completely cool. Then add vanilla.
4. Spread the icing over the top and side of cake. Put the coconut on the top of the cake and pat it onto the sides.
5. Serve or refrigerate and then serve.