Happy Birthday Coconut Cake

It’s birthday time for some of my friends! What comes to mind? Cake, of course. Classification: challenging baking moments.

Many moons ago, I learned about making coconut cake. Remembering fondly the day when my friends’ grandfather Henry Buckman, know as “Boodaddy” was in the kitchen, in a suit, cracking open the fresh coconut for Margaret, his daughter-in-law,  for coconut cake, makes me realize that some of my favorite moments are around food. (That was a long sentence.)

Margaret was a super cook! She passed away last year leaving  behind memories of wonderful family meals and witty conversation. There were among the many beautiful treasures a walled bookshelf  of cookbooks. I was given a choice of them. I am really fond of women’s church and organizational cookbooks. Since Margaret was specializing in southern cooking some of these collected recipes were from Nashville, Maryland, Charlotte, New Orleans and other places in the US with a tradition of very refined cooking. I had no hesitation in picking some of these gems.  I gave some away, but have kept some for reading and inspiration on long winter nights.

Coconut cake (also known as Lady Baltimore Cake) is a white cake with white icing and my absolute favorite.  The recipe that follows is from the “Friendship League’s Book of Tested Recipes.” Of the First Covenant Church of Minneapolis 1947. I found this book at an estate sale over in North Minneapolis.

If you are an experienced cake baker – then go ahead and try this.

Lady Baltimore Cake
½ Cup sugar
1 1/3 Cup butter
4 egg whites
½ Teaspoon almond flavoring
½ Teaspoon of vanilla
1 Cup of water
3 Cups Swansdown cake flour
2 Tablespoons of baking powder
Cream the sugar and butter. Sift flour 4 times. Measure, adding baking powder and sift once more.
Add this to the cream mixture alternatively with water and flavoring. Fold in beaten egg whites.
Pour in a cake pan and bake. (This recipes assumes you know what you are doing)

My notes:  Bake in a 350-degree oven for 45-55 minutes.
Cool for 30 minutes and then frost the cake.

7/8 Cup fine baking sugar
1 Egg white
¼ Teaspoon of cream of tartar
3 Tablespoons of water
12 Marshmallows
Coconut – fresh or from the grocery.*

Combine all the ingredients in the pan except for the marshmallows and coconut.
Cook in a double boiler 5 minutes, beating with rotary beater. Put in cut marshmallows and stir with spoon for 2 minutes. Spread on (cooled) cake and cover with coconut.

*My Coconut adventure was to follow the directions for opening a fresh coconut. Without someone like  Mr. Buckman to help crack the nut open, at hand, I wrestled with the outer hull for a while. Ehem, well long enough to get frustrated and go for the store bought flaked coconut that I had in reserve. (Murphy’s law, you know.)

Share with friends and enjoy. Happy Birthday Cake, Rilla, Bill and Sabina!

About kunstkitchen

Visual artist and writer hunting words, languages, visions, and insight in my kitchen - connecting Art (Kunst) and culture and slow food cooking. Credits: Do not own a microwave oven and never have. Do not own a food processor. Chopped veggies in a Zen monastery for a weekend. (Seriously) Classically trained artist. Paint and draw with traditional materials. Live in the Northland where it's six months of winter. Appreciate the little things in life. Sharing food and art experiences and the lessons that my talented and generous friends have given me.
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