“A Coconut Cake for Margaret”

“A Coconut Cake for Margaret”

Years ago, while thumbing through an old box of family photos, I ran across some photos of my mother, Margaret, when she was a small girl. One particular photo stuck in my head. It is of my mother on her 5th birthday holding a doll, standing by a toy stove set out in a field with a white, iced cake sitting on top. It was her birthday photograph…she is slightly bent to the side with a finger just grazing the icing.

Mother died a few years ago, but this photo is indelibly stamped in my mind. It shows a very young girl, an only child who lived in a farm-house in rural West Tennessee, the child of older parents, parents who never expected to have a beautiful little girl in their midst. From this photo and others in the box it is obvious my mother was well-loved and doted on and for this I am happy. She had lovely aunts who came to stay with the family, Aunt Layla and Aunt Fannie, a dog named “Pal”, her own pony. It makes me feel good to look at these images and know that at this particular time in her life she was adored.

Thinking of her on her birthday I made this little cake. She loved white cakes with white icing especially if it had coconut added. This is my Happy Birthday Cake for Margaret.

 I had a box of King Arthur Cake Flour left over from a photo shoot. I used the cake recipe printed on the back cutting the recipe by half with a few substitutions & additions. Not a fancy cake recipe, just a simply delicious one layer white cake that is moist and light.

Ingredients for Cake:

1.5 cups King Arthur Cake Flour

1/2 TBSP baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2/3 cups Caster Sugar (or any sugar will do)

6 TBSP butter softened

1 whole egg + 2 egg whites

1/2 cup whole fat plain Greek-style yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp coconut extract

1 tsp almond extract

1. Mix dry ingredients together using a stand mixer on low-speed. Add softened butter & mix for 1 minute.

2. Add whole egg & egg whites, beating after each addition until well blended. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl when necessary.

3. In a small bowl whisk together the yogurt with the extracts. Add this mixture, in thirds, to the mixing bowl beating well after each addition until batter is airy and fluffy.

4. Scrape batter into a greased & floured or parchment paper lined 9″ cake pan.

5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until done in the center of the cake. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

 Ingredients for Frosting:

12 TBSP butter softened

3 cups powdered sugar

4 ozs softened cream cheese

a few tablespoons whole milk or cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups flaked coconut – sweetened or unsweetened

1. Using a stand mixer cream together the butter & cream cheese. Slowly add powdered sugar by half cups. Scrape down sides when necessary. Add vanilla extract & drizzle in milk or cream until you have a fluffy frosting. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in half the flaked coconut.

2. Place cake layer on a decorative cake stand or plate. Generously frost the cake and sprinkle the top with the second half of the coconut.

This is a sweet little cake for a birthday…just add a few candles.

Serve cut into slices. This cake doesn’t need anything else.

Happy Birthday Margaret.

A Little “Margaret” Gallery

28 thoughts on ““A Coconut Cake for Margaret”

  1. Your postings always make my day. A beautiful cake for a beautiful story! I hope to be as talented and wise as you as I grow up…your cooking, photography and your words are always something that I admire 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

  2. What a lovely tribute to Miss Margaret. I love coconut cake and the touch of almond makes sense. My secret is always nutmeg, but I would love to try this version. Teresa, don’t you love how food keeps memories intact of the ones we love.

    1. Angela, yes absolutely. My head is so full of food images from my life from early childhood to today. That photo of my Mother as a little girl with that cake is just so special to me.

  3. Happy Birthday to Margaret. What a great slice in time. I’m like her, white cake is the best…especially for breakfast the morning after. Here’s to Margaret, her life and her wonderful daughter Teresa. – Kyle

  4. Just a beautiful cake and what wonderful old pictures—how important to know where we come from with a glimpse into the lives of those we have loved.

  5. Just beautiful. The wonderful photos, your sharing a story with us, and a precious one at that plus a delicious cake recipe. I know what it is like to lose a loved one, a mum, and I know sometimes we need to celebrate and remember the good times, and you have certainly done this. Thank you, Claire
    Happy Birthday Margaret!

  6. What a special photo of your mother, and a lovely way to acknowledge her birthday. I can’t say I’ve ever baked my mom a birthday cake (22 years have gone by since she died) but I always try to do something nice on that day. Looking at photos of her when she was little is always a treat. This cake looks positively dreamy.

  7. This sounds delicious, and your story and photos are wonderful. My mother passed away suddenly, sometime in the early morning hours, in her sleep. She’d had a cold for a couple of days, but I’d spoken with her and she assured me she’d be fine; just needed a doctor visit the next day. I woke in those early morning hours, from a dream, or maybe it was more than that — all that I remember is thinking that she’d been asking me to make her a sweet potato pie for years and I needed to do that. I believe that was when she left us, and I couldn’t even think about sweet potato pie for a couple of years without crying. It never occurred to me to make it for her now; I think it’s something I need to do. Funny, the things that you regret, and the things you’ll tell a stranger: I’ve never related this to anyone before today.

    Oh, and on an unrelated (and lighter note!), I wish your recipes had a clickable link. I’d love to have a copy of this for my recipe box.

  8. Realizing how terribly absent I’ve been from checking on some very talented bloggers…I’m back today to tell you how impressed I’ve been to spend a little time roaming around your past posts.

    This post has touched me the most…love cake…and love my Mom to coconut bits ;o) Your Margaret has truly been honoured.

    Have a great weekTeresa and flavourful wishes,

  9. Hi Terese, we’ve been traveling, visiting Madeleine over Easter. I loved coming back, and catching up on this sweet post. I never saw this photo of Margaret before–so dear–and think that she would be pleased, in her way, with this tribute.

  10. Teresa, I just found your blog! How fabulous! your recipes and pictures are tremendous… how about a blob on Thanksgiving foods?

  11. By adding a cream together with butter and cheese can sometimes raise the softness of the cake.

    You can also add vanilla extract & drizzle in milk or cream until you have a fluffy frosting. You would surely find some interesting tips and ideas online.

    I have seen that several companies selling healthy readymade foods that are actually natural like http://www.sheffafoods.com. I tried one and I must say – I really liked it.

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