Tuesday, June 2, 2015


How many of you remember eating at a Howard Johnson's, once the mainstay of travelers? Do you remember the coconut loaf cake? I recently found this recipe on King Arthur Flour that is really close to that cake. Take a trip down memory lane with this recipe and see what you think.

3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coconut flavor, optional
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup heavy cream or whole milk
2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease a 9 X 13-inch loaf pan; set aside. 
Beat the butter at medium speed, using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, for about 10 seconds. Gradually add the sugar, beating all the while. Beat for 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl midway through, until the mixture has lightened in color and is fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating each in completely before adding the next. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and beat briefly, just until combined; the mixture will look curdled. This curdling isn’t a problem; but if you simply don’t like the looks of it, do as Susan Reid does: “I’ve taken to putting a spoonful or two of dry ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture after egg 1; it keeps things from curdling when egg 2 is added.” Thanks, Susan!
Stir in the salt, baking powder, coconut flavor, and vanilla. Add the flour to the bowl in three portions, alternating with the cream, and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat at low speed, just to combine, after each addition.
Stir in the flaked coconut.
Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing its top surface.
Bake the cake for about 70 to 75 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center/top of the loaf comes out clean. Tent it gently with aluminum foil for the final 15 minutes of baking, if it appears to be getting too brown.
Remove the cake from the oven, let it cool in the pan for a couple of minutes, then turn it out onto a rack to cool completely.
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (8-ounce package) cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup coconut milk powder, optional; for enhanced flavor
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon coconut flavor, optional; for enhanced flavor
3/4 to 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Mix the butter and cream cheese at low speed, until thoroughly combined. Gently beat in the sugar, coconut milk powder, salt, and coconut flavor, until smooth.
Place the cake on a large piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Spread the frosting all over the cake.
Pat the flaked coconut onto the frosting. This will be sticky work; use the paper or wrap to help.
Serve the cake in 1/2″ to 3/4″ slices. Store any leftovers, well-wrapped, in the refrigerator for 24 hours; freeze for longer storage.
While it’s counter-intuitive to refrigerate cake, it’s clear from the photo of the cake box that HoJo’s sold their cake frozen. And chilling this cake prior to serving isn’t a bad thing, so long as you’ve wrapped it securely – it helps reduce the stickiness factor.
Sources: Recipe from KAF, picture by Jason Liebig, Flickr

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