The coconut cake is pure Americana. No fuss, no muss, no secrets.
"Everybody wants to know what the secret of this cake is, but there is none," said Adolf Dulan, who operates Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch restaurant, in Marina del Rey, with his wife, Mary.
The cake originated, says Dulan, in his mother's kitchen back in Oklahoma. When Dulan, a social worker, married his colleague Mary, there were some embellishments on the cake, but not many. "It's still basically the same cake as the one that came from my mother's log cabin and the one I ate for 56 years," said Dulan. "Nothing to it."
Ah, but there is.
3 3/4 cups cake flour
5 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup butter
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 ounces flake coconut
1 pineapple, peeled, optional
Lightly butter bottom and sides of 3 (10-inch) round cake pans. Dust with flour.
Sift together cake flour, baking powder and salt 3 times.
Cream butter and sugar in large electric mixer bowl. Beat in eggs, 1 at time until blended. Slowly add dry ingredients alternately with milk. Add vanilla. Beat to smooth mixture. Pour equal amounts batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees 30 to 40 minutes or until wood pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool on racks 5 minutes. Unmold cakes from pans. Cool another 5 minutes.
Place first cake layer on 12-inch platter. Spread layer with half Filling and sprinkle with 1 ounce flake coconut. Add second cake layer, spread with remaining Filling and sprinkle with 1 ounce coconut. Add third layer. Let stand 10 minutes. Cover top and sides with Topping. Sprinkle with remaining 2 ounces coconut.
Core pineapple and cut into fourths. Place triangular pieces pineapple around base of cake, so each corresponds with slice of cake. Makes 12 servings.
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 cups drained crushed pineapple, juice reserved
Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Slowly add sugar and cornstarch, stirring continuously. Slowly add crushed pineapple. Heat, stirring, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat.
1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
Reserved crushed pineapple juice, optional
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. If too thick, thin with pineapple juice reserved from Filling.