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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

African-American Coconut Pound Cake - Susan Wolf Shelton

This was given to me years ago. When I worked at RBMS (even when it was PAGH), I would make this for the other nurses. It was always a success. Here is a history of the recipe.This recipe comes from an African-American who traces her roots to Africa. She grew up in Chicago, but stories have been handed down in her family from generation to generation. The family music was also traced back to Africa. The family would sit, listen and learn eating these cakes. There, the African griot, or storyteller would use linguistic pitch and tone to perform his lessons, often performing with a flute or baulafo, an African xylophone. Over the years there might have been some changes to accommodate the availability of foods in America, but her grandmother assures her it is almost the same.

  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter ( 3 sticks)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 ½ cups sweetened, flake coconut
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 very large, ripe bananas
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla 
  • 1 teaspoon banana extract
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract

Cream butter until light and fluffy. Gradually blend in sugar and mix well. Add eggs one at a time. Beat well after each addition. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a separate bowl.
In a food processor, puree coconut and milk till as smooth as possible. Add bananas to this mixture and process until bananas are pureed.
Beginning with dry ingredients, add to butter mixture alternately with coconut puree and extracts. Begin with dry ingredients and end with dry ingredients. There should be four additions of dry and three additions of liquid ingredients.
Mix well, but do not overbeat.
Lightly grease a large tube pan. Pour into pan. Bake in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cake tester should come out with only a few crumbs. Cool thoroughly before removing from pan. This cake should NOT be served the same day it is baked. Protect in a cake keeper and serve the next day. Cake may be glazed with a powder sugar glaze flavored with coconut extract and coconut sprinkled on top.

  • 1 cup powder sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon coconut extract
  • Coconut for sprinkling

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