For the cake:

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

3 cups all purpose flour

3 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 tsp. vanilla

½ cup buttermilk

½ cup water



2 cups whipping cream

1 fresh coconut

Confectioner’s sugar


Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Sift dry ingredients together and add alternately with buttermilk and water that have been mixed together, ending with dry ingredients.


Divide batter into 3 wax paper lined and greased 9” cake pans and bake at 375 F for about 20 minutes. Don’t over bake. Cool on racks 10 minutes and turn out on racks to cool.


For the Coconut:

One large coconut that sounds as if it has a lot of “milk” in it.* I googled how to handle a fresh coconut and found the info very helpful. Hold the coconut in your palm over a large pan or bowl. I used a metal meat tenderizer (instead of the blunt side of a meat cleaver) and whacked the coconut a couple of times. It broke open and the milk wound up in the pan. I strained the milk. Use a flexible knife to cut the brown skin off. I tried the grapefruit knife but mine did not work. This is time consuming and Roaul was a lot better at this than me. Grate coconut in food processor.

Old method for coconut:

Hammer a large nail in the 3 eyes of the coconut and invert over a bowl or jar to drain and reserve the milk. Hammer the coconut until it cracks in pieces. Get the hull off and the fun (?!!?) part, pull the brown skin off. Put the white coconut meat in the blender or a food processor in small batches until coconut is grated finely.


Heat the coconut milk with sugar to taste. Cool.


Whip the whipping cream and add confectioner’s sugar to taste.


Pierce cake layer with a fork and spoon this liquid over the layer before spreading the whipped cream and sprinkling the grated coconut. Top with the next layer and repeat, reserving enough whipped cream and coconut to put on the side of the cake.


Note: This filling saturates the layers, making a “deliciously moist cake”.


Refrigerate cake.


* Funny story: I found that the first coconut I purchased was molded inside. So I could not make the cake that night. That ruined my plans for the night. I remembered that my Mom had purchased 2 bad coconuts last year and had to return to the grocery store 3 times. I did not want to have to keep returning to the store and really needed to get the cake made. So, I show up at the grocery with my pan, my meat tenderizer, and a plastic container for the milk.  Roaul picks out a coconut and I whack it right there in the store! I put the broken coconut in a plastic bag and pour the milk into my container from home! I think I may be the only person in the history of the world to open a coconut in the grocery!