Coocoo for Coconut

I’m shocked and horrified; the man doesn’t love lumpia.

I can, and have, eaten this many is one sitting.

Let me back up.

Years ago, I went to a potluck baby shower.  It’s been so long ago, I have no recollection of what I took.  If I had to guess, I’d say potato salad.  But, there is something that I remember very well from that day.

Lumpia, or Shanghai-style lumpia are the Philippine’s answer to a spring roll.  They were on the buffet.  After my first taste, I couldn’t stop eating until they were gone.  I embarrassed myself that day and didn’t even care.The Kid loves them too, and I thought lumpia was a Matthews Family Band obsession.  But the other day, my husband of almost 35 years informed me that he’s not a fan.  I swear, sometimes I wonder who is this man I’ve married.

Like when he did the same thing with coconut cake.

I’m not a fan of most coconut.  The Kid dislikes it in any and every form.  So, there’s never been a whole lot of coconut around here.  And I didn’t think anybody missed it.Until one day, the stranger to whom I’m married revealed to me that coconut cake is his very favorite dessert.  But Petey doesn’t like to make a fuss.

Since I found out about his coconut cake predilection though, I’ve made an effort to get him a slice whenever I see it in the grocery store.  He seemed to enjoy them just fine, but didn’t make a fuss.A couple weeks ago, I made a trip to Pittsboro.  I went to see the new restaurant, Postal Fish Company, that Chef James Clark and Chef Bill Hartley, formerly the executive and sous chefs of the Carolina Inn, had opened.  Chef James’ wife, a classically trained pastry chef Marcey had joined the venture.

The three chefs.

As a big fan of desserts, I questioned Chef Marcey about the sweets she produced for the restaurant.  She told me about a bread pudding with a boozy hard sauce, a key lime pie that the customers wouldn’t let her take off the menu.  And, a coconut cake.  She sent me home with a slice for Petey.

He made a fuss.Image may contain: car, night and outdoorSo, I asked for the recipe to recreate it for Petey, and share with you, Gentle Reader.  And just like her generous husband always has with any recipe, she sent it along.  Because it’s a restaurant recipe, it makes two layer cakes, or one really big one.

Chef Marcey’s Fuss-Worthy Coconut Cake

Cake:coconut cake9 cups flour

3 tablespoons baking powder

1 ½ tablespoons salt

6 cups sugar

12 eggs

1 pound & 4 ounces butter

3 cups cream

3 tablespoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons coconut extract

Cream together butter, sugar, and cream.  Add extracts and eggs.  Fold wet ingredients into dry.  Fill four 9-inch pans.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.


coconut filling

18 cups of coconut

10 cups of cream

6 cups sugar

2 pounds butter

8 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon vanilla

Boil all ingredients except corn starch and vanilla.  Make slurry with corn starch and vanilla, add to coconut mixture to thicken.  Cool completely before using.


coconut frosting

1 pound butter, softened

1 pound cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon vanilla

10 cups powdered sugar

The beans scraped from 2 vanilla beans

Cream all ingredients until frosting consistency.

This is the recipe of a real pastry chef who knows how to bake.  It’s not wordy, but the directions are all there for you to turn out a successful coconut cake.  If you have any questions though, drop me a note.

From left to right: Chef Marcey, Paige, Madison, and Chef James

And if you have an extra slice, Petey will be happy to take it off your hands.Thanks for your time.