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Dre’s Coconut Cake

My first job out of culinary school was working as a line chef; it was a position for which I was vastly unqualified at the time.  On my second day, I learned that they did not have a pastry chef.  Although I was hired as a saucier (responsible for the meats, fish, and sauces) I was also the only woman in the kitchen.  What this meant is that I was promptly “asked” to do both positions (for no additional pay).  As a young, inexperienced cook starting out, the only response was, “Yes, Chef.”Dre's coconut cake

I hated desserts and preferred cooking over baking. I generally favored eating savory foods over sweet ones. Truthfully, I simply did not notice desserts; I never had.  In my young chef’s mind, desserts were boring and too exact; there was no wiggle room for imperfections and less room for creativity.  There was no fixing, adjusting, or helping a recipe that was going sideways–just failure.  I do not like failure.

With my A-type personality and slight OCD tendencies, I probably would seem like a perfect candidate for pastry.  But honestly, I simply lack the required patience needed to do this art form successfully.  I have since learned a lot about all the amazing pastry chefs out there, and the desserts they can create.  The best pastry chefs are incredibly skilled but in different ways from great sauciers.  I still don’t have a fraction of the skills of a great pastry chef, but with substantial effort, I’m able to do pastry well enough to get by.

Now, post-children, I have found that I do like sweets, probably a bit too much for a woman in her mid-40s, but some things never change completely.  My friends still make fun of me for ordering a cheese plate for dessert over a soufflé. This coconut cake is one of my favorite cakes for two reasons.  First, it has coconut in it. Second, it’s almost error-proof and easily adaptable.  You don’t need to be a pasty chef (or fill-in-pasty chef) to make it. This cake looks great without much hassle and I have found, that almost everyone loves it.

I have made this cake recipe “as is.”  I have also made it as a three-layer cake (shown here), a six-layer cake, mini cakes, and large sheet cakes.  I even thought about making it into a giant bunny cake for a friend’s Easter party.  My oldest son packed himself a slice in his lunch box just this morning.  He, like me, is not a sweet person, but if you like coconut, I can virtually guarantee that you’ll like this.

About the Author

Andrea Potischman

I am a professionally trained NYC chef turned CA mom and food blogger. I post about real food, with doable ingredient lists that are family friendly.

8 thoughts on "Dre’s Coconut Cake"

  1. Avatar photo Elizabeth Leu says:

    I made your Coconut Cake for my sons 12th birthday. It was SO delicious. He loved it! And for the record, I am a bake a cake out of the box kinda gal – this was my first by scratch cake making adventure. Loved the whole experience! Now in our cake rotation in the family.

    1. Hooray!!!!!! Super proud of you B, what can’t you do?!?!?!?!? Just made the same cake for E’s birthday, so love that we have kiddos with birthdays so close. Really glad you all enjoyed, this one is a long-time family favorite. Keep on cooking and baking!

  2. Avatar photo Sally Cole says:

    I am going to make this for 4th of July – and put little red white and blue flags and sparklers on top! xx oo Sally

  3. Avatar photo Janice San Filippo says:

    I am thrilled to try this cake!! It’s my favorite.

    1. Thank you Jan. I will have the banana cake you love up soon.

  4. Avatar photo Roxanne Cohen says:

    I am so excited to have this recipe, it is such a beautiful cake perfect for anytime of year

  5. Avatar photo Wendy Brown says:

    Can not wait to try this one, Dre! And so enjoy the history of sweets in you life! xo w

  6. Avatar photo Stephanie Chen says:

    my mom made it. it is one of my favorite cakes ever. love, madeleine c.

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