Today is my sister Deb's birthday. She and I are just 14 months apart in age. When I tell stories of my childhood, it inevitably includes a reference to her. I say, "When we were five and six...", or "When we were in seventh and eighth grade...". I was the little sister; Deb, the big. I was the funny one. She was athletic. I was the homebody. She was outdoorsy. There were plenty of differences. As children, we were very competitive - probably me more than her. I often felt that I couldn't measure up to her. We always shared a room. She was compulsively neat - and my space was often messy. But there were plenty of likenesses, as well. We both loved to read. In fact, she taught me to read by 'playing school' with her first grade materials. I was reading by the time I finished kindergarten and she, first grade. She was an awfully good teacher. I could read at a fifth grade level by Christmas of my first grade year. It isn't a stretch to describe our childhood relationship as 'best friends, worst enemies".
In fact, when I decided to move to Helena, the town where she and her family were living, she dreaded my arrival. She confessed that to me much later. I suppose some of that early competitiveness and discord was to blame. In addition, I had married someone that had spent a good deal of time driving a wedge between me and my family, and successfully so. But he and I had divorced, so that was no longer an issue. Deb and I surprised ourselves by erasing that 'worst enemies' label, and becoming best friends again. Today, I absolutely know that I can count on the unconditional support of my sister. She is my dearest and most trusted friend. We talk regularly, get together as often as possible, and love each other fiercely.
Deb and I have other siblings. We have one younger sister, Darlene (who serendipitously came to us by virtue of the marriage of our mother and her father), and two brothers, Milo and Jack. Jack and his wife Kelly, and their two little girls, happened to be coming to Helena just in time for a weekend birthday party. Deb was making venison sloppy joes and coleslaw. I made calico beans and a yummy coconut cake. Normally, Deb eats a remarkably clean diet, but, once in a great while, can be tempted away by cake. Really good cake, that is. None of your yellow box mix with canned frosting. I knew it had to be good.
Here's my trick for finding killer recipes. I am a subscribing member at Allrecipes.com and I Just. Love. That. Site. Unless I want something specific, I just enter the category in the search box; in this case - cake. Just cake. All Recipes will sort every cake recipe by the rating. I didn't want to do chocolate - it's too obvious, and too heavy. But in the top ten of all rated cake recipes, there appeared..........
Coconut Poke Cake
- 1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
- 1 (14 ounce) can cream of coconut
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (16 ounce) package frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 1 (8 ounce) package flaked coconut
- Prepare and bake white cake mix according to package directions. Remove cake from oven. While still hot, using a utility fork, poke holes all over the top of the cake.
- (Here's where I put my own spin on this recipe: Place the coconut in a nonstick frying pan and toast on medium high heat until the coconut turns golden brown. However, if you prefer, you can skip this step, and use the flaked coconut straight from the package, as is.
- Mix cream of coconut and sweetened condensed milk together. Pour over the top of the still-hot cake. Let cake cool completely, then frost with the whipped topping and top with coconut. Keep cake refrigerated.
|Photo by Tricia Jaeger|
This cake was an immediate hit! Beautifully creamy and luscious. But easy as can be. I recommend you give it a try.
And, by the way - Happy Birthday, Deb. I love you.