What’s cookin’ in the Country? Simplifying cake making

Easter 009a

For our Easter dessert last weekend, I made my traditional dessert – Coconut Cake with Lemon Filling.  It’s from Southern Living and it’s the perfect dessert for Easter or Christmas or Ground Hog day or Lincoln’s Birthday or trash picking up day…you get the idea.  It’s so yummy I really only make it once a year.

The cake is a golden batter – not a white cake, but it’s three layers with a homemade Lemon curd in between.  The fluffy white icing balances out the tartness of the filling just perfectly!

Like any cake of this nature, it can take lots of time to make and can be intimidating to a beginning baker.  However,I am writing this post to simplify the whole process.  You can do a cake like this!!!!

  1. Start by making and baking the cake layers a week  (or even two weeks) before you need the finished cake.  Always, always, always put waxed paper in the cake pans for easy removal!  I don’t care if the recipe says to grease and flour the pans, I always use waxed paper instead.  No use making a cake if half of it sticks to the pan!
  2. After cooling the baked layers, wrap them in plastic Wrap and then place each layer in a freezer bag. Freeze until needed.
  3. Make the filling for the cake a day or two before you need the finished cake.  This will allow time for it to set up and thicken nicely and it will spread on the cake layers easily.
  4. The day you need the cake, make the icing.
  5. Take the layers out of the freezer.  Place waxed paper pieces on the cake plate to keep the plate free of icing, crumbs and coconut.  Place filling between the layers.
  6. Start by putting a large scoop of icing on the top and push it over the sides of the cake.  Smooth icing.  Top with coconut.  Remove waxed paper from under cake layers.

When you work ahead and do a part of the whole recipe a little at a time, it really is a simple process (I am resisting the urge to say “it’s a piece of cake! But it really is!).

Here’s the recipe for the Coconut Cake from Southern Living:


Coconut Cake with Lemon Filling


1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, separated
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition.

2. Combine flour and baking powder; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in 1 tsp. vanilla.

3. Beat egg whites and salt at high speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Stir about one-third of egg whites into batter; fold in remaining egg whites. Spoon batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.

4. Bake at 350° for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

5. Spread Lemon Filling between layers. Spread Fluffy White Frosting on top and sides of cake. Sprinkle top and sides with coconut; garnish, if desired.

Lemon Filling 


1 cups sugar
1/4 Cup corns starch
1 cup boiling water
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter

1. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan; stir in 1 cup boiling water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar and cornstarch dissolve (about 3 minutes). Gradually stir about one-fourth of hot mixture into yolks; add to remaining hot mixture, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Stir in lemon juice.

2. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in butter. Cool, stirring occasionally.

White Fluffy Icing

1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a small heavy saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until clear. Cook, without stirring, until mixture reaches soft-ball stage or candy thermometer registers 240°.

Easter 006

2. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form; slowly add syrup, beating constantly. Beat until stiff peaks form and frosting is desired consistency.
Top cake with one cup flaked coconut.

Do you enjoy baking detailed kind of desserts like this cake?  I’ll bet if you hesitate it’s because it looks too complicated.  Try this sure method, and see if you don’t have a success on your hands…and some really delicious icing!

With love from my country kitchen,


12 thoughts on “What’s cookin’ in the Country? Simplifying cake making

  1. Southern Living has published some of my favorite cake recipes as well Denise. Your cake is absolutely beautiful and tasty too I am sure. The rest of my chocolate pound cake for Easter is going to the octogenarian neighbors who love sweets!! I love sweets too but back to my diet regimen today.


    1. I love SL’s recipes so much! They are some our all-time favorites. Like you, I try to give away the leftovers…they’re too tempting! I’m sure the chocolate pound cake was yummy!


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