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There is something so comforting about an old-fashioned, from scratch, layered coconut cake. Just the photo of one invokes warm memories of family gatherings, special celebrations, and Sunday lunches when special company was coming. My Granny always had one at Christmas and Easter, but she was known to whip them up for any “special” occasion.
I can’t tell you how often I’m asked, “I follow my grandmother’s recipe exactly, but it doesn’t taste the same. What am I doing wrong?”
The answer is, “Once upon a time,” all food was organic, non-gmo and contained no pesticides or other poisons. I found that when I began to use organic, non-gmo ingredients, like flour (I recommend this one), sugar, real salt (not table salt which is chemically altered), etc., my recipes tasted like those I had grown up with. Of course it was one of those “Duh” moments when I realized that my great-grandmother and my grandmother didn’t have GMO, pesticide laden, heavily processed ingredients to cook with. Of we can’t all have a cow for homemade milk and butter, or chickens for fresh eggs like they did, but buying organic gets you right up beside it. 🙂
My family and friends noticed the taste change and asked me what I was doing differently. All of the recipes I share are made with organic, non-gmo ingredients. If you don’t subscribe to this way of eating, the results you get with your usual ingredients will be delicious. If you haven’t experienced the difference in taste, you don’t know it’s different.
This coconut cake recipe is the one my great-grandmother, Ma Horton, taught my grandmother to make and she taught me. This recipe is another of those family treasures you’ve heard me speak of so often. You asked for it, so here it is…Ma Horton’s Layered Coconut Cake recipe. Enjoy!
- Cake Layers: 3 - 8" layers
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 1/8 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 eggs
- 2 1/4 cup flour
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 12 Tablespoons light corn syrup
- 4 egg whites, beaten
- 3 teaspoons vanilla
- 6 Tablespoons water
- 16 oz of unsweetened coconut (I use 20 oz because we really like coconut)
- I line my cake pans with parchment paper, but you can oil and flour them if you prefer.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a separate bowl and set aside.
- Using your mixer, cream the butter. Add sugar and mix well.
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the mixing bowl until both are completely incorporated.
- Add vanilla and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes until cake springs back when lightly touched in the middle and cake is golden brown.
- Cool on racks until cake is completely cooled.
- Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a heavy sauce pan. Cover and bring to a rolling boil over medium heat.
- Remove the lid and continue boiling for 6 - 10 minutes. Do not stir.
- I check the mixture by having a glass measuring cup (1 cup size) filled with cold water sitting on the counter. At the 6 minute mark, drop a small amount of the syrup into the cold water. If a firm ball forms, it's ready. If it drops flat or drizzles to the bottom of the cup, cook for 30 seconds more and check again.
- If you have a candy thermometer, you want the temperature to be 245 degrees.
- While the mixture is boiling, use the whisk attachment of your mixer to beat the egg whites on high until stiff peaks form.
- Once your syrup is ready, turn your mixer on medium speed and slowly (SLOWLY) stream the hot mixture into the egg whites.
- When all of the syrup is in the egg whites, add the vanilla.
- Beat on high speed for about 10 minutes or until stiff peaks form.
- Spread a little of the white fluffy frosting on top of the bottom layer and sprinkle with coconut.
- Add the second layer and spread frosting on top of it and sprinkle with coconut.
- Add your third layer and spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake and add coconut.
- Now, lick the bowl! Your cake is ready to serve.
- Don't let the frosting scare you. It is a bit tedious, but once you taste it you'll say with me, "It wasn't that hard!" 🙂
- Be careful to stop cooking the frosting when the ball forms in the water. Don't worry if you've never used this method. It will be obvious when the ball forms and when it doesn't. It pretty much happens around the 7-9 minute mark.
- If you get over anxious - I have - and the frosting is a little runny, just refrigerate the cake. You can always cut a piece and let it sit out to soften back up for 5 minutes before eating it.
Well, now you know all my secrets to Ma Horton’s Layered Coconut Cake recipe. I promise you, every dish will be scraped clean from the mixer to the cake plate!
Be sure to share this with your family and friends. Let me know how it turns out for you. If you have any questions, you can always reach me personally by using the Contact Me page or commenting below.
Safe and Happy Journey,
Rhonda and The Pack