Emily Dickinson’s Coconut Cake Recipe

The other day while perusing articles over at Blogher, I came across “What Emily Dickinson ate: Coconut Cake“.  I thought to myself, “Self”, because that’s what I say to myself when I talk to myself… “Self, you like cake AND coconut!  You should make this… gluten-free of course”.  So I did!

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!

Food Stylings of yours truly.  Mmm delicious Coconut cake!

Food Stylings of yours truly. Mmm delicious Coconut cake!

Now for the bad news… the nutritional breakdown…. This is using Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free flour and Blue Diamond Original Unsweetened Almond Milk.  Shield your eyes:


Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 8
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 388.9
  • Total Fat: 19.0 g
  • Cholesterol: 77.3 mg
  • Sodium: 161.7 mg
  • Total Carbs: 53.4 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 4.1 g
  • Protein: 5.7 g

Go ahead… go ahead and cry over that piece of coconut cake.  It’s still delicious.

About The Amusing Muse

Deep thinker whose mind operates at warped speed. Philosopher pondering the big (and little) things in life. Storyteller. Office Ninja. Model. Teller of bad jokes. User of big words.
This entry was posted in Baking, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Musings, Personal, Random Thoughts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Emily Dickinson’s Coconut Cake Recipe

  1. This is a must try for me, I adore coconut!

  2. It looks delicious! I am going to pretend there is no calories 😉

  3. Leigh says:

    This tates great but looks horrible, here. My advice: Use more of the original ingredients and it’ll look like this: http://thehistorykitchen.com/2011/12/09/emily-dickinsons-coconut-cake/
    I make these 2 at a time, for my friends, sliced to be about 10 servings. The only change I made was to use Sugar in the Raw, unrefined sugar, though I do use the already-sweetened coconut shreds – the 7.5 ounce bags can be split in half and it works out to 1 1/3 cups. This really is great with hot or cold drinks, but also with a bit of ice cream on top!

    • I would love to use the original ingredients, but I can’t eat gluten and shouldn’t eat dairy or soy. The original looks lovely indeed, but while I would have loved to have followed the original recipe word-for-word, the ensuing intestinal issues wouldn’t make it worth it. It was, however, very tasty how I made it!

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