Coconut Raspberry Cake

So far this year I have spent Memorial Day in Guatemala and now, the Fourth of July in Thailand. Last night I spent the holiday at an event hosted by the US consulate here in Chiang Mai. The evening started out with glasses of wine that were handed out, tied with red, white and blue ribbons. On cocktail tables were decorations of stars and stripes- which, rather than making me feel at home- was a dramatic and harsh contrast to the Southeast Asian aesthetic.

Earlier in the day I had been thinking about what I would be missing at home- BBQ, backyard cocktails, fireflies and fireworks… There is nothing to fill the gap here, except the possibility of ordering a hamburger from a restaurant chain. Is it patriotic to go to McDonald’s to celebrate our American history? The sad but true answer is probably yes, but never in my world. No, there is no satisfying substitute, and nor should there be.

Instead I like the contrast. I like remembering that I am far from home, and recreating Americanization everywhere is by no means necessary. To my mind there is already too much (Starbucks are everywhere, KFC and Sizzler too). However, when they played the National Anthem after the introductions- I felt proud, tho a bit silly. I came here to be HERE, but I am proud to be an American and to stand up one day a year and proclaim so is the very least I could do.

When the anthem was over I wanted to say, “Play Ball!!”, but my joke would have been irreverent. I stood up. I mouthed the words to the anthem (like we all do) and raised my glass in a toast. I proudly, very proudly, represented my country.

Before leaving I made up this Coconut Raspberry Cake. Not really thinking about The Fourth, but this would make a fantastic addition to a casual picnic or cookout. It’s made in a sheet pan making it easy to tote along. Were I to serve it on The Fourth I would pair it with blueberry sorbet or ice cream- and proudly show my colors.


Coconut Raspberry Cake
serves 6-8
.33c sugar
1c AP flour
.5t baking powder
.5c sweetened coconut
pinch of salt
.5c milk-warmed
3.5oz melted butter
2c raspberries (can be frozen)
2c sugar
1T lemon juice
2 large eggs-beaten lightly
2c sweetened coconut
.33c sugar
Preheat oven to 350˚- grease 6×12″ pan
Combine sugar, flour, bp, salt and coconut in a large bowl and stir to combine.
In small bowl combine the butter and milk. Pour into the flour mixture and gently stir to combine.
Pour batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake until just lightly browned-12-15mins. The cake is not very thick, so don’t be tempted to overbake and brown.
While cake is baking: combine berries, sugar and lemon juice in heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 3-5 mins until thickened. 
Allow cake and jam to cool for 15 mins, then spread jam over cake, creating the middle layer.
In a separate bowl combine the eggs, coconut and sugar and stir to combine.
Spread coconut mixture on top of raspberry layer. Place back into the oven until coconut is golden brown- ~20 mins.
Allow to cool completely before serving- it’s even better chilled before cutting.