What Emily Dickinson Ate: Coconut Cake
By theshiksa on December 10, 2012
Thank you to Stephen and Christina at Poet’s House for their help with this post.
Servings: Makes 1 loaf cake (about 8 servings)
Emily Dickinson's Coconut Cake
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp cream of tartar + 1/2 tsp baking soda OR 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour and cream of tartar + baking soda OR baking powder.
- In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together till the mixture is light and fluffy, and the sugar is well incorporated into the butter. I did this by hand, the old fashioned way, like Emily Dickinson would have. It took several minutes. You can do it much faster with an electric mixer.
- Mix in the eggs, then the milk.
- Add liquid ingredients to dry and stir till just incorporated. A thick batter will form. Do not overmix.
- Fold in the shredded coconut. If your shredded coconut is dry (not fresh), rehydrate it with a little warm water and drain well before mixing it into the batter. Again, don't overmix.
- Spread the batter into a small loaf pan.
- Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes on the middle rack of your oven till cooked through and golden brown around the edges. Test with a skewer or toothpick for doneness in a few places-- if the toothpick comes out clean (no wet batter sticking to it), it's done.
- The cake is not overly sweet, which was perfect for me (I don't like my desserts too sweet). If you want to sweeten it up, use a bit more sugar, or use sweetened coconut instead of regular coconut. Enjoy!
For step-by-step cooking photos, click here.
My name is Tori Avey. I'm a food writer, recipe developer, and the creator of two cooking websites: The Shiksa in the Kitchen and The History Kitchen. I explore the story behind the food– why we eat what we eat, how the foods of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s food can inspire us in the kitchen today. I'm a regular contributor to PBS Food. The Shiksa in the Kitchen was recently named the 2012 IACP People’s Choice Award winner for Best Culinary Website.