From what I heard, they loved Memaw's coconut cake so much that they decided to give it a go. Story goes that it didn't quite come out the same as Memaw's. When they told my dad about the problem, he informed them that Memaw always used a 99 cent Duncan Hines cake mix. So the "cat was out of the bag" or rather the "cake was out of the box."
I too remember how delicious this coconut cake was. And I am pretty sure that it wasn't a box cake when I ate it. I can even remember Memaw purchasing a coconut (what cute faces they have!), poking out one or two "eyes" of the coconut with an ice pick and draining the liquid into a glass, cracking the hard shell with a hammer on the back steps, tediously peeling off the equally tough inner shell with a sharp knife, and finally grating with a hand grater the pieces of delicious, moist coconut.
So here is the "real coconut cake" recipe:
Coconut Cake (Memaw's)
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coconut
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Cream shortening, add sugar gradually, creaming well.
Blend in eggs, one at a time. Beat for 1 minute.
Combine milk and vanilla. Add alternately with dry ingredients to cream mixture. Blend thoroughly after each addition ( with mixture use low speed).
Fold in coconut. Pour into 3 well-greased and lightly floured 9-inch round layer pans.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool and frost.
Fluffy White Icing
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Combine egg whites, sugar, syrup, water, and cream of tartar and salt in top of double boiler.
Cook over rapidly boiling water, beating with electric mixer until mixture stands in peaks.
Remove from heat, add vanilla, and beat until thick enough to spread.
Sprinkle coconut over each frosted layer and over all the cake.