boston.com Arts and Entertainment your connection to The Boston Globe
Dishing - What's cooking in the world of food
Sheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.
Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in Calendar.
Ann Cortissoz is on the staff of the Globe and writes the First Draft beer column for the Food section.
Stephen Meuse writes about wine for the Globe's Food section. His column on Plonk ($12 and under wines) appears on the last Wednesday of the month.
Food Mailbag
Ask a question or share an idea or recipe with The Boston Globe food staff.
Name:
E-mail:
Your question:
Week of: November 4
Week of: October 28
Week of: October 21
Week of: October 14
Week of: October 7
RSS feed for this blog
For Boston Globe restaurant reviews and food news and recipes, visit Boston.com's Food section.

« Cooking for a family reunion | Main | Reunion menu changes »

Monday, August 7, 2006

Real Southern-style coconut cake

coconutcake.jpg

My southern sister Teri is visiting my Maine sister Rebekah this week, and I knew when I went up over the weekend that one of the first things I had to ask her about would be coconut cake. When I interviewed novelist Julia Glass recently about the role that food (and baking particularly) plays in her books, she confessed that even though coconut cake plays a central part in her new one, "The Whole World Over," she hasn't found a good recipe for one. So we asked readers to send them in to the message board, but by and large those so far haven't met my definition of this very Southern confection.

Knowing that Teri makes it often at holidays, I put the question to her. She didn't miss a beat. "Well, I don't have my recipe on me, but it's a 1-2-3-4 cake in four layers filled with lemon curd and covered in seven-minute frosting and coconut." Exactly, I said -- and what is a 1-2-3-4 cake again?

It's a buttery, fluffy sponge cake; seven-minute frosting is a sweet soft meringue. We found the recipe for both, plus lemon curd, in "The Joy of Cooking," made it to cap off a lobster dinner, and it was a hit. It would've been even better if we had made the curd a day or even two earlier so it would have set thicker, providing more structure for the cake, but its tartness nicely cut the sweetness. When we ate leftovers on day 2, I spooned on extra curd.

If you don't have "Joy," this version is pretty close, although we didn't use coconut milk (or buttermilk) in the batter. For the cake layers themselves, Paula Deen's recipe is classic.

Sponsored Links