Helen's Coconut Cake

Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 36 mins

This is one great cake! The recipe is by Phyllis Richman, a staff writer with the Washington Post, she was a restaurant critic for 23 years, 8 of which she was also food editor. I am not big on desserts but I can't say no to this cake

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. (Shredded coconut sometimes called southern style gives the cake a crunchier texture, but flaked coconut can be used if necessary. Look for canned coconut which is more moist than the bagged coconut, it's fine if it is sweetened.) Heat oven to 350°F, butter and flour a 9x13" baking pan.
  2. Heat milk and butter to scalding (do not boil), set aside.
  3. Combine the flour baking powder and salt, mix well.
  4. Beat eggs, add sugar beating all the while until they are thick& foamy.
  5. Gradually add hot milk, then the vanilla beating all the while.
  6. At slow speed beat in the flour, beat til smooth and combined.
  7. Pour into the prepared pan.
  8. Bake at 350°F for approx 30 minutes (test after 25 minutes with a toothpick).
  9. Cake is done when the toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Cool the cake slightly in the pan.
  11. PREPARE THE TOPPING: Melt butter in a saucepan, stir in the brown sugar, add coconut& vanilla.
  12. Spread the topping over the cake (do it evenly reaching right to the corners).
  13. Turn oven to broil and place cake 6" from the heat.
  14. Broil until bubbling and dark brown, turning if necessary to ensure even coloring.
  15. The topping should be beyond golden but be very careful it can burn in an instant if you are not watching it.
  16. Cool to room temp, cut into squares and serve.


Most Helpful

My roommate had request coconut cake as comfort food. She asked me everyday for a week to make it for her. I finally did. She loved it. I'm GF, so I only had a bite... but that bite was SO GOOD. I would substitue the vanilla extract in the cake for coconut extract if you have it. Otherwise, it was so tasty that my roommate swears that this is all she's going to eat for the next few days!! Thanks for the awesome recipe!

ChelseaBeth January 29, 2008

Even though it rose WAAAAY higher than I could have possibly seen coming. Even though I burned the topping. This cake still turned out to be moist and wholesome tasting. It was something like a coffee cake combined with a sponge cake. Couldn't wait for it to cool. Eating it warm. Perfect for a fall or wintery day. Rich and hearty but also light and fluffy. Was much more flavorful when warm. Good with a cup of coffee or spiced drink.

Food Snob in Israel October 27, 2011

Very Yummy! I was looking for a easy and delicious coconut cake recipe and finally I found it.....and it looks so far the greatest one :). I cound't find the can of shredded coconut so instead I used just the regular in a package stile, and still came out yummy. Eventhough I had a few bites ahead, my husband ate almost the entire cake within 2 days. Thanks Bergy for sharing this nice recipe with us!

Mytsygi October 14, 2009

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