Coconut Squares

We’re having a family barbeque today in celebration of my daughter being home. I always like to surprise my family with a recipe from our past and this time, I decided to make our Aunty Kay’s coconut squares!

My Aunty Kay is my godmother and was always our ‘cool’ Aunt.  She worked as a waitress for Stouffer’s Restaurant in Public Square in Cleveland. When I was little, she was my ‘big city’ Aunt. She’s the one I’d go to when I had a problem. She bought the BEST presents and we always held Christmas at her house. My Aunt Kay is now ninety years old.

Back in the fifties and sixties, women were very protective of their recipes and would often accidentally ‘leave’ out an ingredient. Aunty Kay would do that and this time…she did it to me again!  A few years back my sister put together a family cookbook and included Aunty Kay’s Coconut Squares since it was always our favorite dessert. I dug out the recipe and decided to surprise my sisters this weekend.

Things were going well until I decided to frost the cakes and they dissolved in the frosting! You had me Aunt Kay – but only for a moment. We now have GOOGLE! After a few searches, I found a recipe for “Lamingtons” which is very similar to Aunt Kay’s Coconut Squares.

Lamingtons are very popular in Australia and consist of a small square (cube) of white cake (sponge, butter, or pound) that is dipped in a sweet chocolate icing (frosting) and then rolled in desiccated (unsweetened) coconut. I suspect their namesake, Lord Lamington (Governor of Queensland from 1896 – 190l), might be surprised at how popular these cakes have become. I am told that Lamingtons are sold in most Australian bakeries and sell very quickly at bake sales. So quickly, in fact, that charities have what are called ‘Lamington Drives’.

I now bring you Aunty Kay’s Coconut Squares – corrected version!

Start with a box of white cake mix and bake in a 9″ x 13″ pan according to the cake mix directions.

Freeze the baked cake for a few hours. Remove from freezer and cut into squares. Cut the browned edges off the cake.

Prepare frosting.

Frost each side of the square with the warm frosting and dip into unsweetened, fine ground coconut (you can find it at a health food store or specialty baking store.)

Let cool and refrigerate until ready to serve.

They are a bit tedious but well worth the effort.

I can’t wait to surprise my family with these little squares of memories and deliciousness!

I love you Aunty Kay!

What I was making a year ago: SHRIMP NOODLE STIR FRY!

Coconut Squares
A Kitchen Muse: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Dessert Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16 squares
A favorite childhood dessert from my Godmother, Aunty Kay!
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 4 cups (1 lb.) confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut, finely ground
  1. Prepare cake mix as instructed on box; use a 9 x 13 inch cake pan.
  2. Freeze cake in pan for several hours.
  3. Add rest of ingredients (except coconut and vanilla) in a saucepan.
  4. On low heat, combine frosting until it is smooth and pourable being careful not to burn.
  5. Remove frosting from heat, stir in vanilla.
  6. Cut cake into squares, removing the browned edges.
  7. Gently frost each side of the cake dipping into the coconut.
  8. Cool on wire rack.
  9. Refrigerate until served.

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Baking, chocolate, coconut, coconut cake, coconut cake squares, coconut squares, lamingtons, white cake Baking, Sweet Stuff

11 comments on “Coconut Squares

  1. Yuuum! Davis Bakery in Cleveland still sells these… I <3 coconut!

  2. I saw the Lamington’s recipe online at Saveur today- which immediately made me crave Coconut Bars from David Bakery!! So glad I found your recipe, I can’t wait to try it.

  3. Michelle Kerby on said:

    So excited I found this recipe. As a kid growing up in Cleveland, OH, I would love coconut bars so much. Hough bakery and Davis Bakery had the best! I had the great experience of working at Davis Bakery the summer before I went away to school…25 years ago! Needless to say, that summer I had my share of coconut bars:) I now live in California and have been thinking about those recently! I saw that Davis has a website where you order these…but if I can reproduce them at home..even better yet! Thanks for the recipe! I will be happy to share with my family:)

    • A Kitchen Muse on said:

      And they are just as delicious! I too remember Hough and Davis Bakery years ago. Who knows – you may have waited on me! God bless.

  4. Sandy on said:

    Just bought some of these today at Plum Market on Snow Road in Brookpark, Ohio! They have the white and the devils food cake kind….and they are delicious!!

  5. Used to get these at the old Stop & Shop chain (can you tell my age)?. Have been in Florida 20 some years and could not find them until found them at costa Bakery (part of fisher fazio, costa)but they since closed. Have not been able to find these things anywhere Until now. loving trying this recipe tonight! No one other than Cleveland area heard of these things..

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