Entertainment, Health and Lifestyle

A Cake That’s Worth the Wait

What do Pat Benatar, George Foreman and I, your humble columnist, have in common? We were all born on the same day: Jan. 10! I only know this because someone gave me a 768-page book simply titled “The Portable Book of Birthdays.” Good thing, too, or I’d never have known that, according to the book’s authors, Pat, George and I have socially savvy personalities and a keen ability to promote our ideas and to get what we want. We are intelligent, easily irritable and need constant emotional stimulation.

While the book doesn’t mention our favorite birthday cake, I feel confident in speaking for the three of us when I say that without a doubt it is coconut cake. But not just any coconut cake; it has to be three-day coconut cake, which is so delicious it will knock your socks off no matter when you were born. But first, a small explanation about this cake’s distinctive ingredient.

The recipe that follows calls for frozen coconut. As many times as I have made this cake (I wonder if Pat and George make their own birthday cakes.), I have yet to find such a thing where I live in Colorado. I’ve looked everywhere, asked store managers and anyone else who might be handy; it’s nowhere to be found.

I do understand, however, that frozen coconut is readily available in other parts of the country in a supermarket’s frozen food case. Someone suggested recently that I try an Indian market, and I will do that as soon as I, well, locate an Indian market in my town.

In the past, I have tried fresh coconut with excellent results but it was a real pain to crack, pry, smash, break, drain, peel and grate. So, I will continue to use Baker’s sweetened flake coconut that comes in a 14 oz. bag and can be found in the baking aisle of any food market.


1 package white cake mix

16 ounces sour cream

12 ounces frozen coconut (thawed and drained) or 14-ounce bag flake coconut

1 1/2 cups Cool Whip

1 cup granulated sugar

The night before you make this cake, blend together the sour cream, coconut and sugar. Separate 1 cup of mixture and place in a separate bowl. Refrigerate both portions.

In the morning, prepare and bake the cake mix per the instructions on the back of the box in two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans. Let cool. Using a long, serrated knife, split both layers in half horizontally to end up with four layers.

Place one layer of cake on the plate of a cake saver (or other plate that has a tall cover). Spread all but the reserved 1 cup of coconut mixture between the layers.

Mix Cool Whip together with the reserved 1 cup coconut mixture. Frost sides and top of cake with this mixture. Cover the cake and place in the refrigerator.

Do not remove or eat this cake for three days. Do not even peek! The longer this cake sits in the refrigerator, the better it gets. However, it is not humanly possible to wait longer than three days. Store what remains in the refrigerator, right down to the last delicious crumb.

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/ . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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  1. Amen, Mary! That is also my favorite cake!

    My mother made it like no one else! She only would use fresh coconuts and I was assigned the duty of breaking open the coconuts, collecting the “milk” and then removing the white coconut “meat” from the shell pieces. She also taught me to grate the coconut. While it was arduous for a kid, I knew it was well worth my effort! It was an incredible cake!

    Thanks for inspiring some great memories!

  2. You had me until I read Cool Whip. I would want to use whipped cream, but with the sour cream that might not be good. I never liked Cool Whip, never liked Fluffernutter much to the horror of half the country I know. Did you ever have Tres Leches? Thats another OMG good cake, But oh between the calories and the dairy I pay for it after I eat a slice of that! It is an Hispanic thing, not sure which country its origins are from. Great you bake! I haven’t had a good piece of real cake in too long. I only like whipped cream cakes, don’t like buttercream as well and I certainly don’t like that fake marshmallow over sweetened junk they use today. Even Betty Crocker makes better icing in a plastic container. Happy Birthday Capricorns! Wishing you all a great piece of cake.

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