Friday, May 2, 2008

Coconut Pecan Cake

Coconut Pecan Cake

Dorcas Annette Walker

I love springtime as the earth becomes ablaze with color. It is fascinating to watch the barren ground burst forth with life overnight as the temperatures slowly rise; a miracle I never tire of experiencing. Even Sandy, our aged chocolate lab, perks ups and acts young again while Lucy Lou, my mixed poodle that was abandoned and rescued, races madly in circles and rolls around in the new grass. Another mystery is the green eggs Emma and Agnus, our two Dominique hens, lay. The poor dears can’t help that they are so ugly, so in return they give the most colorful and intriguing eggs. I used some of Emma and Agnus’ eggs to make a Coconut Pecan Cake, which is the perfect springtime dessert.

In the 6th century Arab merchants brought coconuts to Egypt from East Africa, but it wasn’t until the 15th century when Portuguese explorers, who came across coconuts in the Indian Ocean Islands, were credited with giving the coconut its name. Coconut means monkey face due to the three round indented markings or eyes at the base of the coconut. The Nicobar Islands used whole coconuts as currency for the purchase of goods until the 20th century. Coconuts are the largest seed known, although botanically they are classified as the fruit of the coconut palm. Coconuts are native to Malaysia, Polynesia, and Southern Asia spreading quickly throughout the tropics of the Pacific and Indian Oceans due to the coconut’s light fibrous husks that allows the coconut to drift on the ocean to other areas where it propagates. The coconut palm blooms thirteen times a year so that even though it takes a coconut one year to mature fruit is constantly forming yielding a continuous harvest with the peak season being between October and December. The average harvest from one coconut palm is sixty coconuts with some trees yielding up to three times that amount. Coconuts can be stored at room temperature for up to four months. In Sanskrit the coconut palm is known as the tree which gives all that is necessary for living because nearly all the parts of the coconut palm can be used. The coconut fruit is used for its milk, meat, sugar, and oil and furnishes its own dish or cup. Coconut cream is concentrated coconut milk. The husk was burned by the natives for fuel, but today the seed fiber is used to make brushes, mats, fishnets, rope, lumber, and fertilizer. A potent fermented drink is made from the coconut palm sap. Coconut oil is used in commercial frying, to make candles, margarines, as well as soaps and cosmetics. The coconut meat is used in pies, cakes, custards, and other baked goods. Processed coconut is sold in bags in a flaked or dried form and in cans, sweetened or unsweetened. Coconut contains calcium, potassium, and B vitamins and is said to lower cholesterol and heart disease. Its lauric acid is reputed to boost the immune system.

My Coconut Pecan Cake makes an elegant dessert that is luscious and light. Pecans blend with the coconut to make an intriguing taste, but can be optional. The Coconut Pecan Cake can be made in either two or four layers. Preparation time for my Coconut Pecan Cake takes only fifteen minutes (not counting the baking and cooling time) and this recipe serves twenty.

Coconut Pecan Cake

Mix together in a large bowl for two minutes:
1 yellow cake mix (any brand)
1 pkg (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding
4 eggs
½ c cooking oil
1½ c water

Fold in:
1 c shredded coconut
½ c chopped pecans
Pour into two, 9 inch greased cake pans and bake at 350ยบ for thirty minutes until done. Cover and cool completely.

1 (16 oz) container of cool whip
2 c shredded coconut
Spread cool whip over first layer and sprinkle with coconut. (For four layers cut the two layers in half.) Add next layer and cover with cool whip and coconut until entire cake is iced and sprinkled with coconut. Chill and serve. Garnish the top of the cake with tinted coconut!

Weekly tip: To tint coconut place one cup of coconut in a baggie. Dilute a drop of food coloring in ½ tsp of water and drizzle over coconut. (More food coloring and water can be added for a darker shade.) Seal the baggie and shake until the coconut is evenly tinted!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, syndicated columnist, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more information check out:

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