CAFE: A gathering place. A place of refreshment.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010


In times of bereavement, bringing food is a ritual meant to comfort the family and create a bond within the community - a sacred bond. In Romans, Chapter 12, Paul talks about life within God's family: love, devotion, honor, joy, patience, faithfulness, and in verse 15 - "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." When a death occurs, we offer the best of ourselves to those who mourn. A hug. A few tears. And quite often - the gift of food. Our best dish. One crafted with care with our own hands. It not only says I'm sorry for your loss, but also says - I offer my best to you.

In Chasing Lilacs, Irene Flanagan is one who gives her best. She's the church pianist and the maker and giver of Coconut Cakes. She has no lines of dialogue in the story, but she is johnny-on-the-spot with a coconut cake every time a need arises.

I thought you might like to have her recipe. Someone you know may need the comfort of your friendship . . . and a cake.


2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. margarine
1/2 cup Crisco
5 eggs, separated
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cups coconut

1 8 oz pkg. cream cheese
1 Tbsp. margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1 box powdered sugar

Cake: Cream sugar, margarine and shortening until creamy. Add egg yolks and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add flour and buttermilk alternately. Stir in coconut. Beat egg whites until stiff (in separate bowl). Fold into batter. Using 3 9-inch cake pans (greased and floured), bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool ten minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely before icing cake.

Icing: Cream together cream cheese, margarine and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat until creamy. Assemble cake with small amount icing between layers, then ice tops and sides of cake. Sprinkle additional coconut on top of cake.

Refrigerate cake until serving time.

I must confess that I don't always give my "best" when taking food to a family who has lost a loved one. Often in a rush, I dash to the store and pluck one from the bakery case. Of course it's okay. It's fine and I have made the effort . . . and yet, somehow it doesn't convey the message that says, "I made this just for you."

It's true. Irene never utters a word in Chasing Lilacs, but we know she's the kind of lady who gives freely and abundantly of herself. A person I'd like to be. A person I think Paul had in mind when he wrote the twelfth chapter of Romans.

A giver of cakes. And a giver of her time.


茂俊雅俊憲珊 said...
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Patti Lacy said...

LOVE coconut cakes and haven't had a homemade slice in a LOOOONG time.

Got your book. GREAT gift!!!


Julia M. Reffner said...

Ooohhh...Carla that sounds wonderful. Thanks for posting! I did purchase a copy of your book and hope to start reading soon :)

carla stewart said...

Thanks, Patti, for stopping by. And you're welcome. The thanks is all mine.

Julia, bless you. Hope that you like the book. Please let me know.