Rich, moist, three-layer cake similar to the incredible cakes that can be found at Fricasee café in Louisiana.
By Michelle M. Winner
Shutterstock: hd connelly
Between Lake Charles, Louisiana on the drive to New Orleans, a stop for lunch in a beautifully restored family home complete with porch, pecan trees, chef’s herb garden, and chickens and goats out back, is a must. Extra points if it includes house made cakes, especially coconut cake. In Carencro, the calm Louisiana countryside outside of the Lafayette area, approximately 70 miles east of Lake Charles, if you like good cake you’ll need to find your way to Fricassée Café . Folks in the know around here call it “Fri-ca-say”.
The Corn and Crab Bisque is fabulous. And the “House Made Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocado” featuring chunks of chicken in a ripe buttery avocado will be more than enough; although the “Chef Specials” are always showstoppers.
Walk in the door and you pass by a gleaming silver service tray full of small plates holding fat wedges of cake. The cakes with names like Hummingbird, Coconut, Red Velvet, Carrot, Pistachio and Chocolate invite you to save room for dessert but alas it is hard to do that here. You’ll be packing a carry out cake box for sure. The chef owners, Renee and Eddie Gary have created a simply delightful place to linger and enjoy homemade, fresh food.
In celebrating Southern hospitality, here is my husband Kurt’s recipe for coconut cake. You may start this recipe with your favorite white cake recipe. It takes me back to Fricassée.
- 1 white cake recipe
- 1¼ cup canned coconut milk (use coconut milk to replace the amount of water or other liquid called for in cake recipe)
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil (as per recipe or substitute melted unsalted butter)
- 3 egg whites ( per the recipe or use 3 whole eggs)
- 2 packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups + powdered sugar ( start with 2 cups- add more if you want it sweeter)
- ½ cup coconut flakes
- more coconut flakes for decorating
- Make cake according to recipe using the substitutions above.
- Divide batter evenly into three 8" round cake pans.
- Bake as directed, checking cakes at 21 minutes inserting a toothpick to check.
- When toothpick comes out clean it is done.
- in mixing bowl mix the cream cheese, vanilla and sugar.
- When smooth and ⅓ cup coconut.
- Spread between cooled layers stacking on cake plate as you go .
- Save enough frosting for top and sides.
- Sprinkle coconut generously all over cake.
- Note: Frosted cake may be frozen without a cover, then wrapped tightly in cling wrap/Saran and kept frozen for up to 2 weeks. Thaw before serving.
Michelle was born with a fork in her hand. As a culinary travel writer and confirmed foodophile she delights in the world-wide discovery of new flavor profiles, spices, salts and herbs. Based in one of the world's foodie meccas; Portland, Oregon, not far from "Pinot Noir Heaven" Michelle shares culinary travel and chef's recipes. Her photography has appeared in Saveur Magazine and she has contributed culinary travel articles to Forbes online, WSJ online, Business Insider, Condé Nast Digital Media, Islands magazine and many others. A confirmed globetrotter, she still keeps her bags packed and fork in hand (well . . . except through airport security.)