I asked my family, “Are there any requests for the Easter meal?” Immediately, Audrey piped up, “You’re making God cake, right? You know I like the God cake.” I assured her I was making the coconut cake that three years ago received the moniker, “God cake.”
The name came about as the four of us cut into a coconut cake on Easter Sunday. I’d never made this recipe before and as we tasted, there were exhalations of contentment all around. Not knowing what it was called, Audrey asked, “Is this a God cake?” Her five year old mind had concluded that since this was a new recipe and was served on Easter Sunday, it must be called, “God cake.”
What Audrey didn’t know was coconut cake is a long standing tradition in my family. When I was a child, my mom made fresh coconut cake for Easter. First she procured her tattered recipe card from high school home economics class and baked three white layers. Then she scoured all the supermarkets for two fresh coconuts. With much concentration and persistence the coconuts were cracked with the water safely preserved. The cake layers were pierced and the coconut water was poured over them. The shell and inside brown peel were removed, and finally, the coconut could be grated. Then depending on her preference either a seven minute frosting or sour cream frosting was made. The cake was layered with frosting, patted on all sides with fresh coconut and then sealed in the Tupperware container which went into the fridge for a minimum of three days. Oh the anticipation the children built up. Waiting on ketchup from a bottle was not even close to waiting on the first slice of that cake at Easter lunch. The fresh coconut cake required skilled, patient hands for construction and patient hearts for the first slice. It was a fitting treat on a day when joy is celebrated.
During Holy Week, the girls and I visited a local art museum. Featuring religious art, the explanation for the exhibit noted, “During the Middle Ages, illiteracy was high, and it was through religious images that most people understood the basic tenets of Christianity.” Unwittingly my family’s coconut cake has become a religious image which helps us understand the joy of Easter. The construction of a cake cannot be haphazardly manufactured; and for the full taste of the cake to develop, the days must be endured. My mom taught us that goodness is something worth investing in and waiting for. Our gospels teach us Jesus’ resurrection followed days of disappointment, commitment and waiting. As we walk the journey of Easter time from the resurrection to Pentecost, I will continue to look for images to reveal how to live in a time of joy and expectation.
*The God cake is Cold Coconut Cake, recipe by Julie Hunt. You can find the recipe on her blog, Cup-a Cup-a.
Tammy Abee Blom is an ordained Baptist minister, regular contributor to BWIM’s blog, mother of two amazing daughters, teacher for children’s Sunday School, and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.