I used coconut oil in place of butter for the yellow cake recipe from “Cake Bible.” I melted the coconut oil, then beat it with the dry ingredients as per the recipe. I also used an equivalent amount of whole eggs for the egg yolks, because I was worried about how the structure of the cake would be affected if I only used yolks in combination with the coconut oil.
For the frosting, I used a Betty Crocker recipe that calls for butter, melted baker’s chocolate, powdered sugar, and cow’s milk. I substituted coconut oil for the butter (melted, of course), and full-fat coconut milk for the cow’s milk. The frosting came out fudgy and dense and old-fashioned—just the kind of thing I loved when I was a kid!
As for the flavor, I have to say it was fantastic. The texture was wonderful. I could not tell I was eating coconut ingredients, because the other flavors (vanilla and chocolate) took center stage. My husband does not normally like coconut, but he was eating this cake all day. Everybody who tried it loved it.
I developed this recipe because some of my friends keep strict kosher, and will not eat a dairy dessert after a meat or chicken meal. I wanted a voluptuous cake that I could serve after such a meal, and make it so good, people didn’t feel like they were being cheated out of the rich deliciousness of butter.
I went on the internet to see why coconut oil isn’t used more often. It turns out it used to be a very common ingredient in baked goods, cheap to produce, and profitable for third-world economies where coconuts grow best. But sometime in the 1970’s or 1980’s (I forget exactly when), the so-called scientific establishment started waiving red flags about saturated fats, and coconut oil was one of the ingredients on their hit list. So, commercial bakers switched to other products, such as hydrogenated oils, which turn out to be not so good either. (I am now very skeptical of dietary experts and their fashionable pronouncements). Ironically, I see a homeopathic MD who recommends incorporating coconut milk into my diet. She says it has great health benefits. All I know is that it tastes good.