Any trip to the Gourmet Shop yields great finds and it’s shower and wedding season, so do take note. The Shop Tart was invited to a shower recently, one of her favorite kinds. Each guest was invited to share a favorite recipe and the story behind it. The Shop Tart offered her grandmother’s famous (in her family) coconut cake recipe. As it happens, the bride-to-be is her cousin, so a personal story made sense. Here’s the recipe. (The story? It’s coming. Wait for it.)
Grandmother’s Best Coconut Cake
Cook one box of Duncan Hines yellow butter cake mix according to the directions, using two 8-inch pans.
Cool the cakes thoroughly. When cool, slice layers in half. This is kind of a pain. Use a knife at least as long as the diameter of the cakes, or dental floss (unused, please).
8 ounces sour cream
1.5 cups sugar
4 packages frozen coconut (6 ounces) thawed (save 1/2 package for icing). Okay. This is embarrassing. The Shop Tart had no idea you could buy frozen coconut. Considering her love for all things easy, she should have known. Frozen coconut is the best thing ever. It isn’t as sweet and you don’t even have to go to the Fancy Mart to get it. It’s right there next to the Cool Whip. Wow. The frozen drink possibilities for summer are endless.
1 teaspoon almond extract
Mix the filling and start stacking your cake, using one third of the filling between each layer.
Ice the fourth layer and side of the cake with an Extra-Large tub of Cool Whip. Sprinkle the last half-bag of coconut on top of the cake.
Keep refrigerated. Let it sit at least overnight. If you have time, it’s best after three days. At the very least, save a few pieces to be eaten days later.
So, here’s the story: The Shop Tart’s grandmother died earlier this year and was one of her absolute favorite people on the planet. In spite of—or perhaps because—she was a mother of seven, grandmother to thirteen, and great-grandmother to seven, she always had a smile on her face. Some time after the Shop Tart’s grandfather O.J. died years ago, she asked her grandmother about the cake recipe. Grandmother explained that O.J. had been a fan of the cake, but it wasn’t her favorite. (She was never sarcastic, so “It wasn’t my favorite” meant exactly that. She didn’t hate it. There were simply others she liked more.) She didn’t like cutting the layers in half, because it was kind of a pain. He didn’t mind performing the task, if it meant he could have his favorite coconut delicacy. After his death, she knew she would not have occasion to make it again. She gave the Shop Tart the recipe, hand-written, right from her recipe book. The Shop Tart does hope you and your current or future partner will always be so considerate of each other’s feelings (and taste in cake).
Anyhow, the Shop Tart wanted to give her cousin two high-quality 8-inch cake pans to go with the recipe. Away she went to Gourmet Shop, where she found the perfect thing. (So perfect, she bought two for herself as well. They were much nicer than hers.) She also found more of these most excellent and mad chic flour sack dish towels. They are thin, therefore not too bulky in spite of their large size. They absorb anything (better than Bounty, the quicker picker upper!) and are lovely and soft. And cool-looking. Go buy a stack and save them for hostess gifts, after snagging a few for yourself, of course. They last a long time. In fact, no one knows know how long, because hers aren’t worn out yet. She’ll keep you posted.
Speaking of linens, Gourmet Shop has lovely new tablecloths for spring, damask from France, bien sûr. ($95 each. If you’ve looked for this sort of thing before, you know this is on the low side of normal.) They’re lovely. Gourmet Shop also stocks aprons in the same fabrics. Because why wouldn’t you want your outfit to match your tablecloth?
And the Shop Tart is now obsessed with these little glass dishes, only four or five inches along each side. How can she use them? Ten points for the best suggestion, which will be an excuse to buy them.
They also came in larger versions, which she would use to serve cookies or little snacks. Or chocolates.
The Shop Tart also likes to pick up one or two of these fab bubbly glasses. They are perfect for her because, in addition to being beautiful, they hold a small amount of bubbly, so she can have four glasses instead of two. Bubbly glasses make lovely gifts. They can be given in any quantity. A pair is just fine. (An even dozen is, too.)
So, speaking of cake, this cake plate is divine. Low to the table with a wide base, it is very sturdy and could be used for a number of things, even to serve cheese and crackers. Because it’s all white, it would be as elegant with your fine china as it would for every day use. At $27.99, it’s a deal.
In fact, the Shop Tart considered it for her cousin’s shower gift. She went with the pans instead, because she wanted to get her a gold-rimmed Annieglass cake plate from Non(e)such as a wedding gift. In case you didn’t know, the Shop Tart is obsessed with Annieglass. The fact that Annie herself is so charming didn’t cure the Shop Tart of that obsession one little bit. (The actual cake plate is not pictured, because it was being wrapped by the lovely ladies of Non(e)such while the Shop Tart snapped away. She is referring to snapping photos, of course. She would never snap at people. It happened to her a few times as a waitress and bartender. She didn’t like that one little bit.)
The Shop Tart has been married for a good long while, but the registry table at Non(e)such makes her want to do it all over again. She loves looking at the brides’ choices and how the staff helps style them!
Are you enjoying our lovely South Carolina weather these days? The temperature is rising and the mosquitoes aren’t biting. Cheers!