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On Christmas Day 2010, my mother died. Shortly after, I came across this quote:

"The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.” ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Instead of avoiding Christmas, I have learned to live with it and have rebuilt our traditions to cherish her memory. My mother (who was nicknamed "Mouse") had a thing for coconut cake. She loved the Publix coconut bunny cake at Easter, so I started making this recipe at Christmas for her. 

Mouse Coconut Cake

  • 3 sticks of butter at room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups packed sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 2/3 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (unsweetened)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease and flour 2 cake pans (I use olive oil but you can use butter)

  1. Take one cup of the coconut and use the metal blade to chop the coconut up finely. You only have to pulse it a few times.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl and then mix into the flour mixture.

In a mixing bowl:

  1. Cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is fluffy (I learned this in a baking class which is why I think all of my pound cakes used to fail). It's about 4-5 minutes. I use the paddle and not the whisk attachment for the mixer.
  2. Add eggs, egg whites and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. Add flour and coconut milk in 3 batches.

Pour into your pans and cook for 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. Make sure it comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then run a knife around the sides and turn the cake over on the rack. Let cool completely.

You can wrap and freeze the cakes until you are ready to frost. I always put the cake in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before I frost so it doesn't crumble as much. 

Seven Minute Frosting

  • 1 3/4 sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1.5 cups of sugar, corn syrup and water.
  2. Cook until the sugar is dissolved - about 4 minutes.
  3. Raise the heat and bring to a boil without stirring. Wash down the sides with a pastry brush dipped in water to keep the sugar from crystalizing on the sides.
  4. Keep cooking until 230 degrees with a candy thermometer - about 5 minutes.

Simultaneously, in the electric mixer with the whisk attachment:

  1. Beat egg whites to soft peaks - about 3 minutes on medium.
  2. Slowly add 1/4 cup sugar.
  3. Reduce speed to medium low.

When the syrup gets to 230 degrees, remove from heat. Slowly pour syrup down the side of the bowl in a steady stream while the mixer is at medium low.

Put the mixer on medium and beat until cool, thick and shiny - about 7 minutes. Add the vanilla and use immediately.


Saffie Leedy Farris 
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