She Wore A Yellow Apron: Vanilla Wafer Coconut Cake

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This week’s recipe is an easy choice.  I have most of the ingredients already and they include a couple of my favorites.  The recipe calls for a bundt cake pan, which I also have.  Plus, I’ve been wanting to take something to work to let my co-workers in on the review process again, and I think this recipe will allow me to get plenty of feedback.  So to take one out of the ‘Sweet Treats’ section of my John Wayne Family Cookbook, I’m going to make a Vanilla Wafer Coconut Cake. 

Reading through the recipe, the one thing that stands out the most is that it doesn’t include any flour.     However, it does include a lot of vanilla wafers, so they will take the place of the flour.  And just so I have them ready when I need them, my first step is to crush up the wafers in a gallon bag. This could probably be done easier in a food processor, but that wouldn’t be as much fun.  Anyway, once I get them finely-crushed, I set them aside for later. I now combine butter and sugar in my mixing bowl and beat for 3 minutes, then add some vanilla.  Next, I add 6 eggs, one at a time. I then add half the crushed vanilla wafers, then some coconut milk, then the rest of the wafers.  Once everything is mixed together, I add the coconut…reserving some of it to garnish the cake later.  Since I want this cake to come out of the pan cleanly and look pretty, I make sure I grease and flour the pan very well.  I then pour the batter into the pan and put it in the pre-heated oven to bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes.  This seems like a long time to bake a cake, but it is a dense batter, which can take the heat longer to reach the middle of the cake.  That’s why this cake should bake more evenly in a bundt pan.  I guess I will find out in 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Well the timer has gone off, so I take the cake out of the oven and it is looking pretty good.  I do the toothpick test to see if it’s done…and it is.  Now I just have to let it cool in the pan and hope it will come out in one piece when it’s ready.  

While I wait for this to happen, I decide to make a simple caramel sauce.  This isn’t part of the main recipe, but a ‘Wayne Family Tip’ (that’s included on the page) suggests that a little caramel sauce will pair nicely with the vanilla flavor of the cake, so far be it for me to ignore a family tip.   However, I don’t have a recipe for caramel sauce, but a quick search online reveals many easy choices.  I choose one that just takes some brown sugar, butter, milk and vanilla.  I mix the first 3 ingredients in a sauce pan and bring them to a boil.  Once the mixture starts to thicken, I take it off the heat and add the vanilla. 

Simple, quick, easy…and done in less than 5 minutes. 

The cake has now cooled and the big moment is at hand.  I put a plate over the top of the pan and flip both of them over.  And, YES, the cake slides right out on to the plate and it’s perfect!  I garnish it with the leftover coconut, then pack it up in my nice carrying case to take to work tomorrow.


It’s now review time, and right away, I have several co-workers eager to take part in the process.  Dane says the cake is “delightful” and the coconut is “a lovely accent but not overpowering.” He also thinks the caramel sauce is a nice addition.  Tyler tells me the cake has a “fantastic texture and a delightful flavor profile.”  That makes two ‘delightfuls’ already…and I’m just getting started!  Moving on… Jace thinks it’s delicious and reminds him of German chocolate cake but with the topping all mixed in instead of just on top.  I have to agree with him on that.  And for one last quote, “Esteemed co-worker and all-around good guy Bob Thibault gives this recipe a hearty two thumbs up!”  I think you can guess who said that.  Thanks, Bob!   And thanks for all the feedback from other reviewers.  Overall, I think I have received more thumbs up on this recipe than any other.  The only negative was from someone who doesn’t like pecans and that’s understandable.  If I didn’t like pecans, I wouldn’t like this cake either.  However, since I do love pecans and coconut, I will definitely make this cake again.

Now…what should I make next?


1 stick butter, at room temperature

1 ½ cups sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

6 large eggs

2 (6.3 oz) boxes vanilla wafers, very finely crushed

½ cup coconut milk

1 (7-oz) bag coconut flakes

1 cup chopped pecans

Recipe from the John Wayne Family Cookbook.

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