Coconut Cake

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Normally Mike appreciates variety on the menu, but he is really stuck on this cake. He wants this cake for every birthday and, honestly, every celebration of any kind. He acts like he hardly ever gets this, similar to how a young child will lament that Christmas is always ages away.

 I found this family favorite in a book called Pie in the Sky by Susan Purdy. The coconut cake is a version of the 1-2-3-4 Cake. Another version offered for this recipe is the Santa Fe Spice Cake. All excellent. This is a unique cookbook because the author has taken her wonderful recipes for sea level to four other altitudes and developed and tested them  to perfection. This was the only cookbook I used for baking while we lived in Colorado. Other frequently used recipes from this book are Highland Currant Scones (I use this as my master scone recipe and make my own variations depending on what we have on hand- we make ours with whole grain pastry wheat) and Pike's Peak Apple Pie. The recipes are tested at sea level, 3,ooo feet, 5,ooo feet, 7, ooo feet, and 10,000 feet. 


Coconut Cake

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 Tbs. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup lightly packed, shredded sweetened coconut

1/2 pound (two sticks) butter

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 tsp. coconut extract

1 cup whole milk

Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat to 350. Line two 9-inch round cake pans with waxed paper, then grease pans. In medium bowl whisk  flour, baking powder, salt, and coconut together; set aside. 

In large bowl of electric mixer cream butter and sugar until well blended. Scrape down bowl and beater. Beat in eggs  2 at a time, along with the vanilla and coconut extract, beating well then scraping down bowl. 

On lowest speed, slowly add dry ingredients, alternating with milk. Once batter is blended, increase the speed and beat for about one minute, until smooth and creamy. 

Divide batter evenly between the two pans; smooth the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden, nicely risen, and springy to the touch. Cake tester should come out dry. Cool in the pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. 

Run a knife around the sides to release cakes, then top with plate and invert. Remove pan and peel off waxed paper. Cool completely then frost. 

Coconut Icing

Garnish: 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

3 ounces cream cheese (not low-fat), softened

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 tsp. coconut extract

1 lb. box powdered sugar, sifted (about 5 1/4 cups)

3 Tbs. milk, or as needed

Preheat oven to 375. Spread the coconut on a cookie sheet and bake 6-10 min., tossing occasionally, until evenly golden brown. Let cool. 

Cream butter and cream cheese until completely smooth. Add the exctracts and about 2 cups powdered sugar. Beat until smooth. Add remaining sugar and milk and beat until spreading consistency. Add a few more drops of milk if needed. 

Frost cake then sprinkle with toasted coconut.

For my friends in Colorado, make the following changes:

Instead of milk, substitute 1 1/2 cups buttermilk. 

Use 2 Tbs. baking powder, 3/4 tsp. salt.

Subtract 2 Tbs. sugar.

Use 5 eggs.

Place oven rack in lower third of oven, bake 22-27 minutes. 

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Without the toasted coconut.

The toasted coconut makes a pleasant crunchy contrast to the smooth icing.

Layered Mocha Cheesecake

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From Taste of Home

1-1/2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons instant coffee granules

1 tablespoon hot water

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1-1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

3 tablespoons butter

Chocolate-covered coffee beans, optional

Place greased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan.

In a small bowl, mix cookie crumbs and butter; press onto the bottom of prepared pan. In another bowl, mix the coffee granules, hot water and cinnamon; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined.

Divide batter in half. Stir melted chocolate into one portion; pour over crust. Stir coffee mixture into the remaining batter; spoon over chocolate layer. Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan.

Bake at 325° for 60-65 minutes or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove springform pan from water bath; remove foil. Cool cheesecake on a wire rack for 10 minutes; loosen side from pan with a knife. Cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.

Remove rim from pan. For glaze, in a microwave, melt chocolate chips and butter; stir until smooth. Spread over cheesecake. Top with coffee beans if desired. 

Yield: 16 servings.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake

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from Taste Of Home Baking Book

1 ¾ C. crushed chocolate chip cookies or chocolate graham cracker crumbs

¼ C. sugar

1/3 C. butter,melted


3- 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

1 C. sugar

3 eggs

8 oz. sour cream

½ tsp. vanilla


¼ C. butter, softened

¼ C. sugar

¼ C. brown sugar

1 Tbs. water

1 tsp. vanilla

½ C. flour

1 ½ C. mini choc. chips, divided

Combine crust ingredients and press into bottom an 1 inch up side of greades 9 inch springform pan. Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Blend in eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Pour over crust. Cream butter and sugars on med. 3 min. Add water and vanilla,; gradually add flour. Stir in 1 cup chips. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls over filling, gently pushing below surface to completely cover dough. Bake at 350° 45-55 min. or until almost set. Cool on rack 10 min. Carefully loosen sides with knife; cool 1 hour. Chill overnight; remove sides of pan and sprinkle with remaining chips. 

Key Lime Cheesecake

DSC 0029key lime cheesecake

This is currently my favorite cheesecake.  I think the subtle lime flavor is cool and refreshing.

KEY LIME CHEESECAKE                                                    serves 12

2 1/4 C. graham cracker crumbs (about 36 squares)

1/3 C. sugar

1/2 C. melted butter


20 oz. cream cheese, softened

3/4 C. sugar

1 C. sour cream

3 Tbs. flour

3 eggs

2/3 C. key lime juice

1 tsp. vanilla

whipped cream and lime slices, for garnish

Mix crust and press into 9 inch springform pan. Bake at 375° for 8 min. Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add sour cream and flour; beat well. Beat in eggs on low speed just until combined. Stir in lime juice and vanilla, just until mixed. Pour into crust. Bake at 325° for 50-55 min. until center is almost set. Cool on rack 1 hour. Chill overnight. Remove sides of pan and garnish with whipped cream, lime zest and or a lime slice.

Blueberry Cheesecake

I made this for Easter. By the time we got to dessert, we wished we had skipped dinner and started with this. It is so fresh and light tasting! I have had this recipe in my file for a few years and am not sure where I got it, but I am 99% sure it was from Southern Living. 

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BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE                                                                   serves 12

1 1/2 C. finely ground almonds

1/4 C. sugar  

3 Tbs. butter, softened

1 Tbs. flour1

24 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 1/4 C. sugar

3 Tbs. flour

4 eggs

½ tsp. salt

8 oz. sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla

1 Tbs. grated lemon rind, fresh is best

1/2 C. fresh or frozen blueberries

1 C. whipping cream

2 tsp. sugar

2 Tbs. sour cream

Garnishes: blueberries, lemon rind strips

Combine first 4 ingredients, then press into bottom an 1 1/2 inches up sides of lightly greased 9” springform pan; set aside. 

Beat cream cheese at medium speed until smooth. Combine 1 1/4 cups sugar, 3Tbs. flour and salt. Add to cream cheese, beating until blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add 8 oz. sour cream, vanilla, and lemon rind, beating just until blended. Gently stir in blueberries. Pour into prepared pan. 

Bake 300° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until center is firm. Turn off oven. Let cake stand in oven with door cracked 30 min. Cool on rack 30 min. Cover and chill 8 hours.

 Release sides of pan. Beat whipping cream at high speed until foamy; gradually add 2 tsp. sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in 2 Tbs. sour cream. Spread over cheesecake and garnish, if desired. 

Apple Spice Cake

I usually want to do things the hard way. I prefer to make cake from scratch and have been known to turn my nose up at the suggestion of a cake mix. Just being honest with you. My dear friend, Patty, made this for me several times, and had no need to apologize about the mix. This cake is fantastic, perfect for fall, perfect for when you want something extra yummy, but don’t have any time left. The cake would be great all by itself, but when you slather it with Patty’s Penuche frosting, it is heavenly. 


1 Spice cake mix

1-21 oz. can apple pie filling   

2 eggs

(If you live at high altitude like Patty does, add extra flour--whatever it says on the box)

2 Tbsp oil

In mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.  Beat on medium speed for 2 min.  Pour into greased 9x13 baking dish.  Bake at 350 for 25 min. or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.   Cool in pan.  Frost if desired. 


1/2 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup milk

2 cups powdered sugar

Melt butter in saucepan.  Stir in brown sugar.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly; boil and stir over low heat for 2 min.  Stir in milk and heat to boiling.  Remove from heat and cool a little.  Gradually beat in powdered sugar with a wooden spoon.  *Place pan of frosting in sink with ice and water; beat until frosting is spreading consistency.  If frosting becomes too stiff, heat slightly, stirring constantly.

*Note- At sea level, I did not need to do the cold water bath. Maybe this is an altitude issue? I did notice that it sets up pretty quickly and becomes unspreadable pretty soon after mixing, so don’t make the icing until the cake is cooled and then put it on right away. 

Turtle Cheesecake

 It freezes well, if you like to have something special on hand incase of emergencies. 


2 C. Oreo crumbs   

6 Tbs. butter, melted   

14 oz. bag of caramels   

1/2 C. milk    3 eggs

1/2C. pecan pieces   

3- 8oz. pkg. cream cheese

3/4 C. sugar

1 Tbs. vanilla

2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

Mix cookie crumbs and butter; press into bottom and 2 inches up sides of 9 inch spring-form pan. 

Microwave caramels and milk 3 min., stirring after each min. Pour ¾ of caramel mixture onto crust. Refrigerate 10 min. Set remaining caramel mixture aside. 

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until well blended. Ad eggs one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition, just until blended. Pour over caramel mixture in crust. Bake at 300° for 1 hour and 5min. to 1 hour and 10 min. or until center is almost set. 

Run knife or metal spatula around side of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing side of pan. Chill 4 hours or overnight. Top with remaining caramel mixture and pecans. Melt chocolate as directed on package and drizzle over cake. 

Pumpkin Pie Cake

This is an easy fall dessert that your children can make. I like to make it for potlucks or on days when I am expecting guests but just can’t quite get a really truly homemade dessert on the table. With all that pumpkin in there, it can double as a side dish. (Just kidding, Mom.) I got this recipe from a friend. 


1- 16 oz can pumpkin

1 -12 oz can evaporated milk

3 eggs 

 1  1/2 cups sugar

4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 yellow cake mix

1 cup butter or margarine

1 cup chopped pecans

whipped cream

In large bowl, combine pumpkin, milk, eggs, spice and sugar.  

Pour into greased 9x13 in pan.  Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over

 pumpkin mixture.  Drizzle with melted butter.

Bake at 350* (325* if using glass pan) for 50-55 min. or 

until golden brown.

Sprinkle pecans over top during last 10-15 min.   Cool 

completely.  Serve with whipped cream.


This is a super easy, yet elegant dessert. It looks festive, tastes like heaven, is made out of just a few ingredients, and is even gluten free. The bottom layer is a meringue, then whipped cream, and then topped off with fruit.

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PAVLOVA                                serves 10-12

4 egg whites

1 1/4 C. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. cornstarch

1 pint heavy cream

4-6 kiwi, peeled and sliced

Sliced strawberries, blackberries, or almost any kind of fruit

Pre-heat oven to 300°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and trace the bottom of a nine inch cake pan onto the parchment. 

In large squeaky clean mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry.

Gradually add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until thick and glossy. Over beaten egg whites deflate when folded into other ingredients. You want to beat  just until all the sugar has dissolved. You want to be sure absolutely no grease or egg yolk gets into the whites or they will not get fluffy enough. Gently fold in by hand with a spatula, vanilla, lemon juice, and cornstarch.

Spoon mixture inside the circle drawn on parchment. Working from the middle, spread around the circle, making the edges slightly higher than the center. Bake for 1 hour. Cool completely. 

Remove paper and place meringue on a flat serving plate. Fill center with whipped cream, sweetened with a bit of powdered sugar, if desired. Top with fruit. 

Carrot Cake

This used to be my mom’s carrot cake. She sold it by the slice when she worked at The Wimbledon Country Club in Houston, Texas. Then she hired me as a short order cook, but she allowed me to do quite a bit of the baking when the lunch rush was over. I made a few minor changes to improve the cake, but I never told my mom what I did. She would eat a bite and say, “Your cake always tastes better than mine!” (Laughing in my sleeve.) Now I am going to share the “secret”. I added a couple more eggs, beat them really well, doubled the vanilla, and used golden raisins. 

I made this twice in the last few weeks and I can assure you that if you accidentally switch the amounts of baking soda and baking powder, it will sink in the middle but still be edible. It does not really matter if you grate the carrots fine or coarse, but the extra eggs do make a difference. This sounds fussy, but it also makes a difference if you bring your eggs to room temperature before beating (for any cake). I never remember to set them out before I need them, but that is OK. You can place them in a bowl of lukewarm water and they will be room temperature by the time you get your pans ready. 


6 eggs, at room temperature

2 C. sugar

3 C. grated carrots

2 tsp. baking soda

2 C. flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 1/4 C. oil

1 Tbs. vanilla

1 C.  golden raisins, rolled in a little flour

Beat eggs and sugar very well. It should look like this.


 Roll the raisins in a bit of flour in one of your cake pans. Why get a separate pan dirty? Coating them in flour helps keep them all from clumping together and sinking to the bottom of the pans. 

Stir remaining ingredients into egg and sugar mixture. Fold in raisins. Pour into 3 round 9 inch cake pans that have been lined with waxed paper and greased and floured. To line with waxed paper, simply layer three sheets of waxed paper, each big enough to cover the bottom of the cake pan, set the pan on top and trace the edge of the pan with the point of the scissors. Cut all three at the same time, slightly smaller than the line you traced. Lay one in each pan, then grease and flour. 

Bake at 350° for approximately 30 min. Cake should begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, but sometimes it doesn’t. If you poke a toothpick into the center, it should come out dry. In the picture below, one cake pulled away from the edges and one didn’t. Both tested done with the toothpick. 

Cool on rack in pans for 10 min. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pans, to make sure it is loosened. Then invert pans onto rack and carefully peel off the waxed paper while it is still warm. If you wait until the cake cools completely, you risk cake sticking to the waxed paper when you peel it off. 


16-oz. (4 cups) powdered sugar

16-oz. softened cream cheese

1 C. softened butter

2 tsp. vanilla

2 C. chopped pecans

Beat until fluffy. Frost cake and garnish with pecan halves, if desired. Save the last piece for me. 

Same cake, decorated a different way. Instead of nuts on the sides and swirls on top, I mixed the nuts into the icing. Makes a better presentation in the picture at the top, but this tastes just as good if you are in a hurry.

© Being Fruitful, 2012