Mourner's Coconut Cake

Mourner's Coconut Cake

Prep Time


Cook Time



12 people

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This coconut cake recipe was passed down from Minnie Bauch, a dear family friend of my Great Grandmother Rose Schade. Minnie was a creative entrepreneurial soul and supplemented her retirement income by baking cakes for funeral homes.

When a loved one passed away, the local funeral homes would offer a choice of an angel coconut cake or a chocolate devil’s food cake baked my Minnie herself. (Great choices right?) Needless to say, the angel coconut cake selection was more popular. Minnie would bake and deliver her sweet sensation the day of the services.

As I remember Minnie was a very petite woman and an expert at Pinochle. Rumor has it this recipe was won over a card game… as well as a few cordial glasses of Blackberry Brandy. Those octogenarian ladies sure knew how to have a good time!

In memory of Lauren Diane Mech.


  • 4 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into cubes (and a bit extra to grease the pans)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 8 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons natural almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (and a bit extra to flour the pans)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
  • Filling and Frosting
  • 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese (best quality possible) at room temperature and cut into cubes
  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter cut into tablespoon portions and at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon natural almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 1/2 pound confectioners' sugar
  • 1 pound of sweetened shredded coconut for dressing the cake


  • 1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • 2 Grease the 3 pans with butter, line with parchment or waxed paper. Grease them again, and dust with flour
  • 3 Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy
  • 4 Add the eggs one at a time, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl during the mixing. Add the extracts, lemon juice and mix well
  • 5 In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix the dry ingredients and milk into the batter in 4 stages. Mix lightly, and then fold in the coconut
  • 6 Deposit the batter in equal portions into the prepared pans. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean
  • 7 Remove from oven, let cool, for 30 minutes
  • 8 Flip the pans over onto a baking rack to completely cool
  • 9
  • 10 For the frosting, in an electric mixer, using a paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese, lemon rind, vanilla, and almond extract on low speed
  • 11 Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix lightly only until all ingredients are incorporated. Do not over mix
  • 12 Level off the tip of cake layers by using a serrated knife
  • 13 Build the cake on a cake plate or corrugated cake board by placing one layer on top of each other with an equal amount of frosting as filling in-between
  • 14 Place in a refrigerator for 1/2 hour to firm
  • 15 Remove and frost the outside of the cake with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle the coconut on the top of the cake, and press into the sides
  • 16 Keep the cake refrigerated until use and serve with a big glass of cold milk


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