Aunt Myrtle was my Mom’s oldest sister. She was generous, sweet and kind. She gave me my first $2 bill that I still have. She also made a fantastic coconut cake that my Dad just loved. I remember the tall square cake of four layers with her special creamy icing between each layer, covered in mounds of coconut. Her secret was the icing. My Mom rarely made that icing for any of her cakes and I think I figured out why–the gobs.
Aunt Myrtle (L) & Mammy Poole (my grandmother)
It was time to dust off this recipe and try it.
Myrtle’s Favorite Cake Icing
(from Mom’s recipe files)
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
Cook together until thickened stirring constantly while cooking.* Let cool, stirring occasionally while cooling. Set aside.
*Here is where I had my first problem – I ended up with cornstarch gobs-I think I let the milk get too hot before adding the cornstarch.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup Crisco OR ½ cup Crisco and ½ cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cream together the sugar and Crisco/butter until smooth and add in vanilla. – I also added a dash of coconut extract I happened to have around.
Add cooled mixture to creamed sugar mixture and blend until smooth (consistency of whipped cream).
Use with white cake box mix (or make your own white cake from scratch)-layering the cake. Two standard layers may be cut in half and small amount of icing put in between each layer.**
On top and sides spread icing and then put on sweet flaky coconut.
**Here is where I had my second problem – I thought the gobs would go away, but they stayed. It was too late to redo and cool the mixture since company was on the way.
Before putting on the first layer of icing, I spread a very thin layer of lemon curd over the first layer of cake and then spread the first layer of icing over that. I then put on the second layer and spread a little more lemon curd and the gobby icing all over the cake. I figured I’d cover up the gobs with the flaky coconut – and that worked well!
Note: I removed the large gobs while spreading the icing, told my guests about the gobs, and…toasted some coconut to sprinkle on top for color.
Aunt Myrtle, my Mom, Mammy Poole (LtoR)
Thank you Aunt Myrtle. The cake was made on Friday afternoon and totally gone by Sunday afternoon. It was delicious and brought back so many fond memories. Next time…no gobs and four layers.
This would be a great cake for Easter celebration – just throw a few jelly beans on top, or a few “peeps”, or even a chocolate bunny!