I gave myself the task of recreating my mother’s Christmas coffee cake, with mixed results, mostly wonderful.
Every year at Christmastime, my mom made a sour cream coconut coffee cake for every household in the family for folks to enjoy at breakfast while unwrapping presents. We all loved it, and looked forward to it. She would start baking a month before Christmas and tuck the cakes in the freezer as she turned them out. The freezing actually made them taste even better!
Carrying on the tradition
The Christmas after Mom passed away, my sister and two brothers gathered at my house and enjoyed the last of her cakes, one I had tucked in my freezer the Christmas before. We ate the cake reverently, with tears, a last gift from her kitchen, and I can still taste it.
I wanted to carry on the tradition this year since none of us will be together physically, so I pulled out the recipe and remembered it was a simple concoction that she had ripped from a magazine at some time. It called for a yellow cake mix and a box of Jello cream of coconut pudding. Both contained a lot of artificial ingredients and flavoring, preservatives, etc., and the coconut pudding proved impossible to find, so I set about trying to recreate the cake from scratch.
Let’s use her yellow from scratch recipe!
Her yellow cake was always delicious, so I thought this would be a great place to start, enhancing it with coconut flour and extract to achieve that coconut flavor.
She instructed us in her recipe to use a cheap yellow cake mix, nothing deluxe; we would add the pudding, two extra eggs, sour cream, and a half cup of vegetable oil, which all contributed to a lovely richnesss.
A little of this, a little of that…
Mom’s yellow cake called for ¾ lb. butter, and the coconut cake called for ½ cup of oil. I decided on ½ cup of butter and ¼ cup of oil. I substituted 1 cup of coconut flour for one cup of the white flour, and used coconut extract along with the vanilla. I also added ½ cup of unsweetened desiccated coconut.
Because of the extra moisture from the oil and the addition of the sour cream, I omitted the milk in the yellow cake recipe.
The batter was beautifully thick and luscious and I was hopeful.
There is good news and bad news. The good news is that the cake is absolutely delicious! The bad news, for me at least, is that it tastes nothing like mothers!
There is good news and bad news. The good news is that the cake is absolutely delicious! The crumb was tender and smooth, the cake moist and flavorful. The bad news, for me at least, is that it tastes nothing like mother’s! It has only the slightest flavor of coconut, the cinnamon in the middle drizzle being the most predominant flavor. I even added a sour cream and confectioners sugar glaze made with coconut liquor, and that didn’t even give it the flavor I remember.
Missing the artificial
I guess the imitation coconut flavor from the pudding is what I miss, and that’s too bad because I’ve looked over the past few months at several supermarkets and no one seems to carry it –– although it is available on-line, probably.
So, what I think I’ll do is use mom’s yellow cake recipe and add a box of the pudding I’ll get on-line (maybe, who knows these days?) and make this compromise for everyone. If I can’t get it, everyone will have a nice coffee cake for Christmas. When I make this again, I’ll omit the coconut extract.
In the meantime, if you are looking for a beautifully moist and delicious Bundt cake, here’s the recipe!
Sour Cream Coconut Cake
- 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 2 ½ tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ cup butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups white sugar
- 4 large eggs
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. coconut extract
- 1 cup full-fat sour cream
- ½ cup desiccated coconut
- Filling: ½ cup sugar mixed with 1 tsp. cinnamon and ¼ cup chopped walnuts (nuts optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt pan. Set aside.
Combine the flours, baking powder, and salt and sift again. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat until fluffy. Drizzle in the oil and continue beating until well mixed.
Add the eggs, one at a time, then the extracts.
Slowly blend in half the flour, the sour cream, then the rest of the flour and desiccated coconut.
Spread half the batter into the Bundt, sprinkle half the cinnamon filling evenly, then cover with the rest of the batter and the rest of the cinnamon mixture.
Bake for 30 minutes, gently turn so browning is even, and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool for 15 minutes and remove to a wire rack until thoroughly cooled.
Drizzle with sour-cream glaze.
Sour Cream and Coconut Glaze
Combine ½ cup sour cream, 1/3 cup confectioners 10X, and 1 tbsp. coconut extract. Drizzle over cooled cake.
Sylvia’s Sour Cream Coconut Coffee Cake
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1 box coconut cream pudding
- And for sprinkling: 1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ cup walnuts.
Use a cheap store brand yellow cake mix, nothing fancy, no deluxe anything. Beat all ingredients together for two minutes (ignore box directions). Grease a large tube or Bundt pan. Put half of batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle half of sugar/cinnamon/nut mixture. Add rest of batter, and sprinkle the rest of the sugar mixture on top.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from pan.
These freeze nicely if you want to make them beforehand for Christmas gifts.
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