Rich's Bakeshop Coconut Cake

Rich’s Bakeshop Coconut Cake
Atlanta, Georgia was home to the Rich’s Department Stores for almost 140 years. Rich’s was known for their bakeshop and their famous coconut cakes. Absolute treasures! and now you can make your own at home - is your preference the white cake or the yellow cake? Lemon curd filling? Seven-minute frosting or regular frosting? It’s your creation - enjoy!

16 servings
Hands on: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 1/2 hours

2 pounds frozen unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 or 3 layers Rich’s Bakeshop Yellow Cake (see recipe)
1 batch Rich’s Bakeshop Icing (see recipe)

In a large bowl, thaw the frozen coconut. Set aside. Take 1 1/2 cups of the coconut and place in a smaller bowl. Combine the water and sugar and pour over this smaller bowl of coconut. This should be very moist but not soupy. Place one layer of the yellow cake on a cake plate and spread with icing. Spoon the moistened coconut over that. Place the next layer on top and spread with icing, spooning the moistened coconut over it. Continue this process until all your layers are filled; however, don’t put the moist filling on the very top of the last layer, as it will be iced. Next, cover the entire cake with the icing. Make sure to use a thick coating of icing on the cake to eliminate any of the cake showing through. Take handfuls of the dry, thawed coconut and press the flakes into the buttercream. You may want to put a tray underneath to catch any coconut that falls as you do this. Continue pressing dry, flaky coconut all over the cake until it is completely covered. Chill for about one hour to set (it helps the coconut to stay) and then serve.

Per serving: 802 calories (percent of calories from fat, 59), 7 grams protein, 80 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams fiber, 54 grams fat (40 grams saturated), 43 milligrams cholesterol, 402 milligrams sodium.

– Rich’s Bakeshop Icing –

16 servings
Hands on: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons powdered milk
1/2 cup water (for dissolving milk powder)

In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, combine the vegetable shortening, vanilla and salt and cream together until incorporated. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar until it forms a very thick consistency. Dissolve the powdered milk in the water and gradually add, just 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time, until the icing is a nice, spreadable consistency.

– Rich’s Bakeshop Yellow Cake –

16 servings (three thin 9-inch layers or two thicker 9-inch layers)
Hands on: 30 minutes
Total time: 50-60 minutes

Rich’s always did a three-layer cake, with two layers of coconut filling, but some home cooks don’t have three pans of the same size, so two would work just fine.
Shortening (grease) and flour for pans

2 1/4 cups cake flour (if you can’t find cake flour, use White Lily brand all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon powdered milk
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup liquid milk (2 percent or whole)
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cake pans by lightly greasing with shortening, then dusting with flour. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir the powdered milk into the water and mix until dissolved. Combine the liquid milk with the powdered milk/water mixture and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the shortening and the sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add about half the flour mixture, beating until just incorporated, and then half the milk mixture, again beating until just incorporated. Repeat this step, adding the remaining flour with the remaining liquid, and beat until just smooth (about 1 minute). Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowls once or twice during the mixing. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake in preheated oven for about 20-30 minutes. The cooking time will vary depending on how many cake pans you use and how full they are. The cake is done when it springs back when lightly pressed near the center with your finger. Allow the cake to cool for a few minutes in the pan, and then turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

Source: Carl Dendy, chef at Rich’s Bakeshop Atlanta, GA (Angie Mosier tested and rewrote the recipe for home use.) Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper, Apr 8, 2007

Oh, my! Sounds absolutely decadent! Love coconut cake and will have to try this about once a year (look at those calories to figure out why!).

I will have to try this when I have a big group for dinner. It sounds scrumptious! I will use freshly grated coconut that I can buy at the local fresh market. I watch the woman grate it.

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Food Goddess
December 22, 2004

This recipe from Rich’s is for their white cake, lemon curd filling and 7-minute frosting.

Use whatever coconut suits your taste. For purists, and if you have the muscles for it, crack and grate fresh coconut (you can shred the fresh coconut in a food processor or by hand). Otherwise, use frozen grated coconut or packaged sweetened shredded coconut.

1 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract, optional
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1 coconut, milk extracted and coconut meat grated (for frosting), optional
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
4 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans.

With an electric mixer, cream shortening. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy. Sift together flour and baking powder and add to shortening mixture, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in lemon and vanilla extracts. Fold in beaten egg whites. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn onto a rack and cool completely.

When layers have cooled, brush generously with coconut milk (if using fresh coconut).

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and cornstarch and stir until smooth. In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter and stir in sugar. Whisking constantly, add egg yolks until combined. Add lemon juice mixture, lemon peel and salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. (If any bits of egg cook through, remove them or pass mixture through a sieve.) Remove from heat and cool completely.

In a double boiler or large bowl over simmering water, place sugar, egg whites, corn syrup, salt and water; beat and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until peaks form and hold. Remove from heat; add vanilla and beat for 1 minute.

Place one layer on a plate. Top with half the lemon curd. Top with next layer and remaining curd. Top with next layer and frost with icing (there will be some extra). Press coconut into the frosting.