Saturday, December 26, 2009

Easy Coconut Cake or Bars

For the hectic holiday season, instead of making coconut bars, my husband's favorite Cleveland confection, I made coconut cake. I saved much time by making the cake instead of cutting the cake into smaller pieces and turning each into a coconut bar.

I made a white cake using Pillsbury low sugar white cake mix and followed the directions using three eggs. I hand-mixed the cake batter as was watching my 92 year young Mom in her bedroom and did not want to work in the kitchen with the electric hand mixer. The cake itself was as light as a feather. I poked some holes in the cake, an option that adds a nice touch per the final product. You will understand why as you read the next section.

I placed about 1/3 cup of Hershey's chocolate syrup in a microwavable glass measuring cup, added a few drops of water, and heated the syrup mixture until warm. I use my two cup pyrex measuring cup for this as do not wish to spill the warm syrup.

I poured the syrup over the cake, making sure some goes into the the areas where I poked the cake. I spread the syrup over the top of a one layer cake. Next, I put coconut on the cake to cover up the chocolate syrup. The cake looks beautifully decorated and tastes delicious. The coconut sticks to the chocolate syrup on the cake.

I have made coconut bars using a frozen pound cake. It is easy to cut a pound cake while still frozen into bars. Dipping each cake bar into the syrup and coconut can be messy and unless you prefer bars, an unnecessary step. I have made a two layer cake with one cake mix, placing the syrup and coconut between the layers and repeating the syrup, coconut layer on top of the cake.

This cake is an easy and beautiful cake in spring, can be a no-bake cake in summer and everyone in my family loves it during the holidays when it reminds us of snow. Using a frozen pound cake, one need turn on the oven during our hot Cleveland summers.

I told my 17 year old nephew about this cake should he wish to impress a girlfriend with a simple, easy, beautiful cake. The cake can be any flavor. We like the contrast of the chocolate between the white cake and the white coconut.

Another version of the cake, using chocolate syrup over a chocolate cake topped with white coconut, is wonderful for chocolate lovers.

If one prefers to make coconut bars, the trick is not to get the coconut brown as one does not want the look of "dirty snow". Use one hand to roll each frozen cake bar into the syrup and the other hand to roll the syrupy bar in the white coconut.

I do not poke holes into the bars but poke holes when I make the cake version.

In the cake the holes become filled with a bit of chocolate syrup, making this an easy marble cake!

If your family prefers all white, yellow or chocolate cake, do not poke holes in the cake.

The easy technique makes an incredible German chocolate cake.

For a big party, bake several white, chocolate, and yellow cakes and after cooling, freeze them. While frozen, cut them into single serving bars before dipping each in the warm syrup and coconut. Place each small coconut bar in a colorful cupcake baking cup and pile high on a decorative plate for a colorful, edible centerpiece!

Let me know if you like this easy recipe for Cleveland style coconut bars by emailing me via my web site at