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Meals with Midgi: Minkie’s Coconut Cake

coconut cake

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of Mudrooms. If you haven’t heard of Mudrooms, it’s a fantastic monthly event at which six or seven folks get up and tell a story. The event is a tiny bit more structured than I’m relaying, but the overall gist is to share life experiences through the age-old method of storytelling.

This month the theme was “What’s Cooking?” I imagine that’s why I was asked to participate as a storyteller. My fellow storytellers regaled the audience with tales of baked beans, roasting 40 Thanksgiving turkeys, and my personal favorite, an exploding pot. Cooking tip: don’t put out an oil fire with water. It just won’t go well for anyone involved.

I told my story about how I got started writing for the Capital City Weekly. It all started with my blog, and from there I have been given the opportunity to share my thoughts about dining, chefs, restaurants, traveling, and especially how food brings it all together. My first blog was about my Minkie’s Coconut Cake. Per request from the very kind attendees at Mudrooms, I am sharing the recipe once again.

Speaking at Mudrooms was a lot of fun and I look forward to attending again, whether I share another story, or as an avid listener. An interesting fun fact about the program is that the organization has raised more than $60,000 in donations for local charities. Who would have thought a few stories could do so much?

Below is an updated version of my first blog. I hope you enjoy the words, but more importantly, I hope you make the cake. It’s typically a holiday dessert for me, but it’s great any time of the year.

Until next time…

Eat and enjoy,

Midgi

Life is Short — Eat Dessert First

This is something The Captain says at least twice, maybe three times a week. He loves desserts. Fortunately, his 6’4” frame can handle eating a few sweets more than once a week. One of my greatest pleasures is cooking for him, and although I’m not much of a baker, thanks to my Grandma Minkie, I’ve got a few meal topper treats in my recipe box.

So, for our first recipe of the blog, I think we should definitely start with dessert!

Every year at Christmas my Minkie would make the most AMAZING coconut cake. As she grew older, my mom took up the mixing bowl and started making the cake, which I now make for Christmas and Easter.

This cake has history.

I grew up in a small town in southeast Georgia. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, is like a southern holiday meal, especially Christmas. Between the turkey and the ham, the sweet potatoes, the green beans, the deviled eggs, the dressing (no stuffing, thank you) and the assorted vegetables, pickles, and cheeses, it was almost impossible to have room for dessert. Almost.

However, waiting at the end of the meal, taunting me with its white flaky goodness and glistening sweetness, beckoning me with a sensual, alluring voice to save just enough room in my overstuffed belly, lest I suffer a terrible fate of not having the most amazing, succulent experience my taste buds could endure — the queen of all desserts, Minkie’s Coconut Cake. My mouth is quite literally watering with the memory.

This cake, this Parthenon of delicacies, is so delicious that when my Minkie asked me what I wanted for Christmas in 1983, I reverently whispered, “coconut cake.” My lips trembled; thinking that although I knew I was going to visit my family in Georgia, there was no way I would be able to get a coconut cake back to Fairbanks, Alaska, where I lived at the time.

How little did I appreciate my Minkie’s baking skills, and my father’s ability to pack a carry-on bag. After gorging myself on the sticky, gooey, plate-licking goodness, I begrudgingly shared with the rest of the family, I realized how very much I would miss leftovers the next few days, as I would soon be heading home.

After the obligatory group sleep following a feast, my Minkie, my beautiful, 80-year-old angel of a grandmother, presented me with the gift of my dreams, my very own coconut cake. Yes! It was mine, all MINE! Share? What’s this word, share? No, this glimmering concoction of sweet goodness was mine, and by gosh, I was going to enjoy it! Every last little crumb and white fluffy flake was mine to indulge in at my leisure. I would, oh but I would! But first, I must determine how to pack it and carry it back to my home, more than 3,500 miles away — Fairbanks.

Daddy to the rescue. Using an old satchel, not unlike an old doctor’s bag, but larger, he double, triple and quadruple wrapped my precious cake in tin foil. He then wrapped and wrapped it again several times in newspaper and packing tape. He gently placed it inside the bag, which I carried with me the entire way: a 50-mile drive to Savannah, Georgia, a two-hour flight to Atlanta, and if anyone has ever had to change planes in Atlanta, you’ll know of the hell I endured to get this cake home. I then flew from Atlanta to Seattle, and finally from Seattle to Fairbanks. A sum total of 20 hours traveling, including layovers. I held that cake so dear, my beautiful precious cargo, “No, I don’t want to check it, thank you, I can manage”. Upon arriving at Fairbanks, I delicately unpacked my beautiful cake, which arrived in pristine condition, placed it in the refrigerator, awaiting my delight the following day.

I remember sitting at the table, alone with my cake, cutting a sliver of a piece, so that I could prolong my ecstasy, and with that first bite, a vision of my Minkie, my mom and my dad all laughing at how tears filled my eyes with the knowledge of carrying that cake such a distance.

I did indeed share the cake with friends; after all, something so good, made with so much love, must be shared.

It is with this memory that I present to you the first recipe of “Meals with Midgi,” Minkie’s Coconut Cake.

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