Old-fashioned coconut cake



Jan Shaw from Mount Kisco, N.Y., was hoping to find a recipe for an old-fashioned coconut layer cake like the one she remembers with great fondness from her childhood growing up in Baltimore.

Anne Brusca of Columbia responded to Shaw's request with a recipe that she thinks makes the best coconut cake she has ever eaten. The icing is her late mother's recipe and "much easier than seven-minute frosting and just as good."

What is particularly nice about this recipe is that although it is made using a cake mix, it does not taste anything like a box cake. Coconut is added to the batter along with instant vanilla pudding, which gives the cake a rich flavor and a light and fluffy texture.

Even an inexperienced baker is bound to have success with this cake. I made it using the three layers and when it was finished and iced, it looked and tasted as good as any bakery or restaurant cake.

Coconut Cake

16 servings


one 2-layer package yellow cake mix

one 4-ounce package instant vanilla pudding

1 1/3 cups water

4 eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 cups flaked coconut

1 cup chopped pecans (optional)


1 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 tablespoon light Karo syrup

1 egg white at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups shredded coconut

To make cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cake mix, pudding mix, water, eggs and oil in a large mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed for 4 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in 2 cups coconut and pecans, if using.

Spoon into 3 greased and floured 8-inch pans or two 9-inch pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pans for 15 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

To make icing: Bring sugar, water, cream of tartar and Karo syrup to rolling boil. Slowly pour over egg white as you beat it at high speed in a small mixing bowl. Beat until thick and cool. Beat in vanilla. Spread between layers, sprinkling coconut on top of each layer. Finish spreading on sides and top of cake, pressing coconut on sides and top.

Per serving: 357 calories; 4 grams protein; 15 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 54 grams carbohydrate; 1 gram fiber; 54 milligrams cholesterol; 344 milligrams sodium

Recipe Requests

Barbara Renard of Sebastopol, Calif., is looking for a recipe for Scalloped Zucchini that was once on Martha Stewart's Web site.

Florence Faas of St. Augustine, Fla., is looking for an old recipe for Brussel Sprouts With Pork Tenderloin Pieces. She is 82 and has been looking for this recipe for a long time.

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278, or e-mail recipefinder@baltsun.com. If you send more than one recipe, put each on a separate piece of paper or attachment with your name, address and daytime phone number. Names must accompany recipes to be published. Letters may be edited for clarity.

The nutrition analyses accompanying recipes in today's Taste section were calculated by registered dietitian Jodie Shield, except where noted.

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