White Coconut Cake

Kristen Ford

This recipe came from my great-great-great-great-grandmother Sarah Pate, who was born on May 6, 1816, in Montgomery County, Virginia.  Her daughter, Jane F. Cox, brought the recipe to Lee County in 1863.  She then passed it on to her daughter, Mary Olive Ford, my father’s grandmother.  She raised my father and his twin brother on her farm in Jefferson County.  They would have fresh milk from their cows and fresh butter she would make.  Granny Ford would make the cake without measuring one ingredient.  My aunt Karen recorded the recipe from my great-grandmother’s memory for a high school cookbook.


1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

1 cup milk

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Whites of 5 large eggs

Cream the butter and sugar together.  Add sifted dry ingredients alternating with milk.  Add vanilla and beat well.  Fold in egg whites.  Pour batter into three 9-inch layer cake pans.  Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove from oven and let cool.


2 cups sugar

½ cup water

1 tablespoon corn syrup

2 egg whites beaten until stiff

3 ½ ounces coconut

Mix sugar, water, and syrup.  Cook until it forms a long thread or makes a soft ball in cold water.  Pour hot syrup mixture over stiff egg whites and beat until it will hold shape and then add vanilla and blend well.  Ice cake and cover with coconut.