Mrs. Betty's Island Getaway Lemony Coconut Crested Cake
Read about Mrs. Betty's Recipe Box here.
My family and I recently went on a Disney Cruise Line vacation, and as you would expect, we had an amazing time. One of our ports of call was the beautiful island of Grand Cayman. If you’ve ever been there, you know that most everything is expensive, compared to some of the other islands in the Caribbean, and that they drive insanely fast and on the wrong side of the road...well, you know what I mean.
However, if you find yourself on a bus full of fellow Americans down there, just hold on tight and enjoy the view; it will go by quickly. And don’t bother screaming, because there’s sure to be some Bob Marley coming in loudly through the speakers that will drown out any begging or pleading to get off the bus.
There is one product we found on the island that won’t cost you your first born, and it’s that wonderful hairy fruit we know as the coconut. The coconut palms are very plentiful, and for $3, you can have your very own little piece of tropical paradise, complete with a professional machete whack and straw. As you can see in the picture, my husband enjoyed his very much.
While we were away on vacation, I missed my dear friend Anne’s birthday, and I had promised her that we would do something to celebrate when I came back. Now, to say that Anne has had a rather tough year would be quite an understatement, so I’m not going to say that. What I will say is that she deserves cake, and that’s exactly what she got.
As I was searching through Mrs. Betty’s Recipe Box, I found a recipe simply named Coconut*Crested Cake. I’m not sure what the asterisk is for, but there’s something about one typed on a real typewriter that’s just cute to me. Then I noticed that the first ingredient was a cake mix, and it really had my attention at that point. Now some of you, including my sister, are wonderful bakers and can whip up a cake as easy as I can pour cereal in a bowl; however, when I see a recipe that starts with a cake mix, it makes me happy, and I offer no apologies for that.
There was a problem though…the recipe called for Lemon Chiffon cake mix, and I don’t think anyone makes it anymore. From what I have read, Betty Crocker used to make one but discontinued it years ago. For the cake I made, I ended up using Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme cake mix with the basic directions. For those of you who rolled your eyes at me at my first mention of cake mix, you can make a lemon chiffon cake from scratch if you like. Chiffon cakes are made by separating the eggs at the beginning and beating the whites separately before adding them to the other ingredients. They are similar to angel food and sponge cakes, but contain oil, so they are richer in flavor.
My cake wasn’t tall and airy like a chiffon, but once it was “crested” with that gooey coconut topping, I don’t think the girls I shared this cake with really cared if it was from a box or had a fancy French name. I will say that my best friend, Leah, who has been going through a rough patch in her own life, doesn’t really care for coconut and completely and utterly despises all things lemon. This would not be a cake I would make for her birthday, unless as a cruel joke.
We all know someone who is dealing with hard times in life, and we southerners have known for a long time that a friend showing up with a lovely dessert or tasty dish can mean so much. My friends I’ve mentioned, including Mrs. Betty dealing with her illness, all have a kindness and joy about them despite their hardships they have faced. They realize what’s really important in life and have learned to appreciate the small treasures in life, because that’s what makes up the big stuff.
This cake was much better than I expected it to be, honestly. Even if it hadn’t been great, the people I shared it with are, and that’s the most important thing. There are people who need you, and they may not even know it. Friends won’t turn you away when you come bearing food, so give someone special a little bit of your time. Who cares if all you can make is boxed macaroni and cheese—you being there is what matters most.
MRS. BETTY'S ISLAND GETAWAY LEMONY COCONUT CRESTED CAKE
1 box lemon cake mix
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
Dash of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup shredded coconut
Prepare cake according to package directions and bake in a tube or bundt pan. Combine remaining ingredients into small saucepan and heat on low until butter is melted.
Invert cake onto oven safe plate and top with the coconut mixture. Place under the broiler (about 6 inches from heat) until the top is golden brown.
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