A Cake That’s Worth the Wait

TIMEJanuary 11, 2022

What do Pat Benatar, George Foreman, and I, your humble columnist, have in common? We were all born on the same day: Jan. 10! I only know this because someone gave me a 768-page book simply titled “The Portable Book of Birthdays.” Good thing, too, or I’d never have known that, according to the book’s authors, Pat, George, and I have socially savvy personalities and a keen ability to promote our ideas and to get what we want. We are intelligent and easily irritable, and need constant emotional stimulation.

While the book doesn’t mention our favorite birthday cake, I feel confident in speaking for the three of us when I say that without a doubt it is coconut cake. But not just any coconut cake; it has to be three-day coconut cake, which is so delicious it will knock your socks off no matter when you were born. But first, a small explanation about this cake’s distinctive ingredient.

The recipe that follows calls for frozen coconut. As many times as I have made this cake (I wonder if Pat and George make their own birthday cakes), I have yet to find such a thing where I live in Colorado. I’ve looked everywhere, asked store managers and anyone else who might be handy; it’s nowhere to be found.

I do understand, however, that frozen coconut is readily available in other parts of the country in a supermarket’s frozen food case. Someone suggested recently that I try an Indian market, and I will do that as soon as I, well, locate an Indian market in my town.

In the past, I have tried fresh coconut with excellent results, but it was a real pain to crack, pry, smash, break, drain, peel, and grate. So, I will continue to use Baker’s sweetened flake coconut that comes in a 14-ounce bag and can be found in the baking aisle of any food market.

3-Day Coconut Cake

Makes one 2-layer, 9-inch round cake

  • 1 package white cake mix
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • 12 ounces frozen coconut (thawed and drained) or 14-ounce bag flake coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups Cool Whip
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

The night before you make this cake, blend together the sour cream, coconut, and sugar. Separate 1 cup of mixture and place in a separate bowl. Refrigerate both portions.

In the morning, prepare and bake the cake mix per the instructions on the back of the box in two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans. Let cool. Using a long, serrated knife, split both layers in half horizontally to end up with four layers.

Place one layer of cake on the plate of a cake saver (or other plate that has a tall cover). Spread all but the reserved 1 cup of coconut mixture between the layers.

Mix Cool Whip together with the reserved 1 cup coconut mixture. Frost sides and top of cake with this mixture. Cover the cake and place in the refrigerator.

Do not remove or eat this cake for three days. Do not even peek! The longer this cake sits in the refrigerator, the better it gets. However, it is not humanly possible to wait longer than three days. Store what remains in the refrigerator, right down to the last delicious crumb.

Mary Hunt
Mary Hunt is the founder of, a frugal living blog and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.” Mary invites you to visit her at her website, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at, “Ask Mary.” Tips can be submitted at This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Copyright 2021