Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Lost White Coconut Cake Recipe

Gramsy wrote two memoirs; one about her life and one of her husband's, Grandpa Ray Landon. On the first page of One Life to Remember she mentioned a "white coconut cake" that my great-grandma Laura Travis Landon was known for among other fine food she prepared.
Harry (Henry) Landon & Laura Travis
married April 9, 1893

This is an excerpt: Laura, my mother, born December 25, 1870, was the daughter of John and Mary Travis. She had two brothers, William and John. William was married, but never had children. John was a renowned mathematics professor and never married. Laura was a popular, fun loving young lady and a fine seamstress and tailor. Many hired her to do sewing for them. She did not make money with her cooking,  but she well could have. Her white coconut cakes you might say played a big part in her fortune by helping to win a husband.
Her's was the most attractive and just about the largest of all the boxes that were piled on the table at the big Spring Box Social. Harry Landon had made up his mind to do his bidding on it, going above several others who had their eye on it, too.
The chicken sandwiches were mighty good, but that coconut cake was "out of this world." Not only did he enjoy the food, he found Laura's company very enjoyable.

I was so intrigued about this white cake and asked several relatives, but it seemed that with all of Harry and Laura's children gone, so was the recipe.
Fast forward about 122 years. I found a family White Coconut Cake recipe from my husband's Grandma Hickman and another from something his mother, Agnes Dye. typed up in 1976. At the bottom she added, "I only make this cake when we are having company, or to take someplace because it is so good. It is very moist and rich and has a delicious flavor. One piece is never enough, it's so good you always want another."
I would like to be known for making something so incredible. Maybe it will be this White Coconut Cake.

White Chocolate Cake
1 cup margarine, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla or almond
4 oz, milted white chocolate
1 tsp baking powder
2 ½ cups cake flour
1cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flaked coconut

Beat egg white, set aside
Cream margarine & sugar until creamy. Beat in egg yolks.
Add vanilla and white chocolate, mix well
Add baking powder to flour. then add alternately with buttermilk.
Fold in beaten egg whites, pecans and coconut.
Pour into greased and floured 9 X 13 pan.
Bake 350 for 50 - 60 minutes. test with toothpick.

2 cups sugar
1 small can evaporated milk
1 ½ stick margarine
1 Tbsp white corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla or almond