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Teresa Hatchell 2005

In late September, I wrote about Branchville's Raylrode Daze Festivul week of activities, which actually began the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 17 with entertainment and a church service at "Branch Junction." Featured this year was Harry and Reka Wimberly's son, Thad Wimberly, who did an excellent job. After the service concluded, Raylrode Daze Festivul Committee Chairman Tom Jennings invited everyone to enjoy free boiled peanuts and a truly nice variety of cakes he baked.

Because of the "clamor" over Tom's cakes -- especially his coconut cake -- I asked Tom to please share the special recipe with readers. He graciously emailed me the recipe for the cake and Seven Minute Frosting (take heed to "NOTE" at the end of the frosting recipe). Thank you, Tom, for sharing your cake recipe with the world! I hope it will become a favorite for special occasions in homes throughout our great region of the state!

Tom Jennings' Coconut Cake

(Also see 7-minute frosting recipe below.)

3 cups of sugar

1/2 cup of Crisco

2 sticks of butter (room temp.)

5 eggs (room temp)

3 cups of plain flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 cup of milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla

Cream butter, sugar, and Crisco, add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add baking powder to flour and add alternately with milk beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla. Pour into two 9-x13- inch pans and bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on your oven. Test with a cake tester (or rounded toothpick). You can bake the cake in four 9-inch round cake pans, but it will make a very tall cake that is hard to handle when sliced. So I use three layers and put one in the freezer for another cake later.

Seven Minute Frosting

(This is a double recipe as it will take this much to cover the cake)

6 egg whites

2 cups of sugar

2 teaspoons of karo syrup

2 teaspoons of clear vanilla (dark vanilla will give the icing a yellow "cast")

6 teaspoons of tap water

3 packages of fresh frozen coconut

Beat egg whites until they start to get stiff, gradually add sugar and continue beating. Add syrup, vanilla and water. Continue beating until peaks form. This may take a while.

Cook in a double boiler over hot water that is slightly bubbling (not a full rolling boil) for seven minutes, beating constantly with a mixer.

Spread the frosting between layers and cover with coconut. Frost top and sides with icing and then cover with coconut. NOTE: This cake is best if eaten the same day that it is frosted as the frosting tends to soak into the cake.

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Coconut sweet potato pie

1 (9-inch) pie crust

17-ounces sweet potatoes, mashed

1 cup evaporated milk (cream)

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 cup sugar

1 cup flaked coconut

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cool Whip

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake the piecrust until it is very lightly browned. Remove it from the oven. In a large bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, milk, eggs, sugar, coconut, pecans and vanilla. Pour this mixture into the piecrust. Bake the pie at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes (until the center is almost set). Allow the pie to cool. Top each serving with a dollop of Cool Whip.

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