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Friday, July 29, 2016

Pretty Pintastic Party #116

Today I'm starting a new weekly series with this Pretty Pintastic Party.  I've joined this group of sixteen bloggers to host a link up of a wide variety of blog posts.  The link up will begin every Friday.  If you are a blogger, I encourage you to share a post.  Every post will be pinned to our Pintastic Party Board.  If you are not a blogger, you will find many interesting and inspiring posts for your weekend reading.  If you love Pinterest like I do, pin your favorites to your own Pinterest boards.

 Welcome to the Pretty Pintastic Party, where every post is pinned & features are pinned by everyone! 
  First, let's meet the hosts:
Jamie, Kerry, & Lucy from Coffee With Us 3 Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter 
Here's what your hosts have been up to this week!

Now on to the Party!!
This is a super relaxed party!
You show up with your fabulous posts and we pin every single one! We only ask one thing from you!
        This week's Features:     PPP116 Features DIY Dachshund Decorative Pillow from The Real Thing with the Coake Family Pina Colada Pancakes from Dizzy, Busy, and Hungry Farmhouse Style Leather Chair from Making it in the Mountains Vanilla Bean Iced Coffee from Delightful E Made  If you were featured, grab a featured button!!              
Pretty Pintastic Party

             Everyone else grab a button and help us spread the word about our party!!  Thanks!
Pretty Pintastic Party

By linking up, you give coffeewithus3.com, divasrunforbling.com, julieiscocoandcocoa.com, anallievent.com, anniesnoms.com, thewholeserving.com, mybigfathappylife.com, momssmallvictories.com, mommalew.com, thetiptoefairy.com, countrywifecitylife.com, thankyouhoneyblog.com, justonedonna.com, suburbanwifecitylife.com, karylskulinarykrusade.com, thetakeactionwahm.com or any co-host permission to feature your post on social media and our blogs using a photo, title, and link to your site. Proper credit and links will be given to you.  

By linking up, you will be added to the mailing list for The Pretty Pintastic Party.  You will only receive emails reminding you when the party goes live. 

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Cool Off and Chill Down With a Mint Gin Rickey

It was steaming hot in my neighborhood last weekend.  It is summer, after all, and the dog days seem to have arrived.  It just so happened that while bopping around the Internet, a picture of a mint Gin Rickey, a cocktail I had neither heard of nor tasted, caught my eye as a perfect summer cocktail.   I'm telling you, this cocktail looked very appealing to me on a summer day when I was mopping my brow every few minutes or so.

Mint Gin Rickey
A Tall, Cool Mint Gin Rickey

Cool off with a Mint Gin Rickey

The mint Gin Rickey looked so much like a mojito, one of my other favorite summer cocktails, I was surprised I had never heard of it, nor seen it on a drink menu before.  I was excited, though!  This was an opportunity to try something new and use some of the beautiful mint leaves I have growing on my deck.

Mint Plant
My Mint Plant
I did a bit more internet sleuthing and learned the Gin Rickey is an old-fashioned cocktail, named in the late 1800s after Col. Joe Rickey, a politician from Missouri.  The cocktail is credited to Shoomaker's, a Washington D.C. bar, where the movers and shakers hung out before Prohibition.  The original Gin Rickey was made with whiskey and lime. (Source)

The ingredients in a Gin Rickey are simple.  This cocktail is just a mixture of fresh lime, gin, and seltzer or club soda.  For the mint Gin Rickey, I added a mint infused simple syrup and muddled mint leaves.  Serve it in a tall glass filled with lots of ice for a refreshing cocktail that will help you beat the heat this summer.  I also love to use my stainless steel drink straws with tall cocktails like the mint Gin Rickey.  They are so easy to keep clean in the dishwasher.  I've had mine for several years but I found these stainless steel straws at Sur la Table that are similar.  You'll also want a muddler to make this drink.  If you don't have one yet, you should get one.  A muddler is essential for cocktails made with herbs or fruit.  There's a very nice maple muddler available at Sur la Table.

Like most drink recipes, feel free to tweak this one to your liking.  The recipe you see below is how I like this drink.  Hubby prefers to make it with only 1/2 ounce of the mint simple syrup.  The juiciness of your lime may influence the amount of simple syrup you need.  Make it the way you like it.
Mint Gin Rickey in a Tall Glass
A Perfect Mint Gin Rickey

Mint Gin Rickey

Printer Friendly Recipe
Serves One


  • 1/2 fresh lime, cut into four pieces
  • 4 large mint leaves
  • 2 ounces London dry gin
  • 1-ounce mint simple syrup
  • seltzer
  • mint for garnish

Make the simple syrup by mixing one cup granulated sugar with one cup of water in a small pan over medium heat.  Add a handful of fresh mint leaves and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Remove the pan from the heat to cool.  Strain the mixture and set aside.

To make the cocktail:  Use a tall glass.  Place the cut up lime and mint leaves in the bottom of the glass and muddle to release the lime juice and the oils from the rind and the mint leaves.  Fill the glass with ice.  Pour in the gin and fill the glass with seltzer. Stir the drink with a spoon or one of the stainless steel straws to be sure the flavors are well combined.  Garnish with mint leaves and enjoy.

A hot summer evening is the perfect time to enjoy a mint Gin Rickey.  It is an old-fashioned cocktail that will make you feel cool.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Lasagna

I have made classic style lasagna for a long time, but this grilled vegetable lasagna is a first for me.  I've thought about it a lot, but never found a recipe that really made me want to try to make it. The kind of vegetable lasagna I wanted to make is one made with slices of eggplant and zucchini, instead of lasagna noodles, cooked in a tomato sauce.  Eggplant and zucchini always seemed to me to be a tasty substitution for traditional lasagna noodles.  Well, with eggplant and zucchini in season right now, there really is no better time to try a vegetable lasagna.
Baked Vegetable Lasagna
Baked Vegetable Lasagna

Choose zucchini and eggplants that will give you good-sized slices, a minimum of about three inches wide. Sliced about 1/4 inch thick, these strips of eggplant and zucchini will make a good substitution for traditional lasagna noodles.  Even though I made this lasagna with vegetables in place of noodles, I decided not to make this a meatless dish.   I made the meat sauce I use for my classic lasagna.  You can easily make this with a meatless sauce if you choose.
This vegetable lasagna uses grilled eggplant and zucchini.

Grilled Vegetable Lasagna

Printer Friendly Recipe
Serves 8


Prepare the vegetable lasagna ingredients
The Vegetable Lasagna Ingredients
  • 2 large zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch wide lengthwise 
  • 2 medium eggplants, sliced 1/4 inch wide lengthwise
  • 2 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut in half
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese, I used homemade ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • Tomato based meat sauce, your favorite
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes


Prepare your meat sauce using your favorite recipe, or this one from my classic lasagna recipe.  While the meat sauce simmers on the stove, you can prepare your vegetables.  Preheat your grill.  Slice the zucchini, eggplant, and red pepper.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Brush or rub the oil over the slices to distribute. Place the vegetables on the grill, cooking for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Grilling vegetables
Grill the Vegetables

You want the eggplant and zucchini to soften but retain some structure.  The red pepper may take longer.  You'll want the skin side to blister and blacken.  Remove the zucchini and eggplant to a platter to cool.

Place the peppers in a glass bowl covered with plastic wrap.  This will cause the peppers to steam a bit and make it easy to remove the skin.  Wait about 20 minutes or until you can handle the peppers.  The skin should peel off easily. Slice each half of pepper into three strips.

Steam peppers in a covered bowl
Steam the Peppers for Easy Skin Removal
Mix the ricotta cheese, egg, and parsley in a bowl.  Set aside.  Shred the 4 ounces of mozzarella and cube the fresh mozzarella. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Now you are ready to assemble the lasagna.  Place a layer of the meat sauce in the bottom of a 9 X 13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.  Top the sauce with one-third of the slices of zucchini and eggplant, overlapping one with the other.

Layer the Zucchini and Eggplant on the Sauce
Place half the pepper strips on top of the vegetables.  Spoon half of the ricotta mixture evenly on the vegetables.  Spread with the back of a spoon or a spatula.  Sprinkle half of the fresh mozzarella chunks over the ricotta mixture.

One Full Layer Assembled
Repeat the process again, beginning with the meat sauce.  Top this layer with the remaining third of zucchini and eggplant.  Pour the remaining sauce over the vegetables and top with the shredded mozzarella cheese.

Grilled Vegetable Lasagna before being Baked
Ready for the Oven
Bake the lasagna for 45-60 minutes, or until bubbly and the cheese has melted.  Let the lasagna sit for 20-30 minutes before serving to allow it to set up.

The flavors in this vegetable lasagna worked very well together.  I know this because I ate one piece...and then another. Yum!

Here are a couple of other links you might like:
Classic Lasagna
Homemade Ricotta Cheese

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

How to Make the Best Grilled Vegetable Medley

(This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase a grill basket by first clicking on one of the links on this page, I may be compensated with a few pennies.)

It's zucchini season here in the Northeast. 

We all know and love zucchini season.  It is the season that comes between summer and fall.  It's the season when you'll go out of your front door in the morning and find a bag of zucchini there that the zucchini elves left for you during the night.  That's exactly what happened to me today, so I knew zucchini season had once again arrived in my neighborhood.

Has zucchini season arrived in your neighborhood?  If not yet, it will arrive soon and I want you to be prepared. I've been grilling up a storm this month and I love it!  We have and outdoor gas grill that we use for a good portion of the year, but summertime is prime time for the grill.  The grill works beautifully for preparing grilled vegetables and zucchini is a wonderful addition to a grilled vegetable medley.
Grilled vegetable medley
Grilled Vegetable Medley

I don't know about you, but on a hot summer evening, I want no part of a complicated meal to prepare for dinner.  Fast and easy is the name of the game for me.  That's when I give thanks for those zucchini elves and the bounty of zucchini they bring to my doorstep.  

Vegetables for grilling
Just a Few Vegetables Make a Delicious Grilled Medley
Grilled Vegetable Medley 
Printer Friendly Recipe
To make my grilled vegetable medley, I cut a zucchini, a red pepper, an eggplant, and an onion into chunks and marinate them together in a bowl, tossed with a cup of my favorite oil-based, Italian salad dressing for about an hour.

The key to making this grilled vegetable medley is this grill basket.   I have owned and loved this one for several years.  

My Favorite Grill Basket
I don't remember where I got it or how much it cost, but I'm telling you, this grill basket owes me nothing.  I love when a kitchen pan or tool is a workhorse and this one certainly is.  I'm telling you this because if you love grilling and don't own one of these grill baskets you need to get one.  Now.  Today.   Those zucchini elves will be at your doorstep before you know it.

I did some online shopping for you.  I wasn't sure I would be able to find a pan just like mine but surprisingly I did.  This grill basket from Kohl's looks just like mine except for the Bobby Flay branding and the number of holes pierced in each row.  The price can't be beat either, on sale for $9.99.
Kohls.com Grill Basket
Kohls.com Grill Basket
Another option is this grill basket available from Sur la Table but it costs four times as much, $40.00, and has a two-four week delivery timeline.  This grill basket has fourteen holes in each row, which is exactly the same as mine. The Bobby Flay basket has sixteen holes in each row.  I'm not sure if that's important, but it is a difference.
Grill Basket from Sur la Table
Sur la Table Grill Basket

Now let's get back to actually grilling those vegetables.  Heat your grill until it is smoking hot.  Spray some cooking spray on your grill basket (away from the grill) and place the basket on the grill grate.  My grill has three heat sections and I like to turn off the center section.  I place the grill basket over the section where the heat is turned off.

Spoon the vegetables into the grill basket.  Close the grill cover and walk away.  This would be a good time for you to sip a glass of wine.  Stir the vegetables every five minutes, until they are charred on the edges and tender.  It usually takes about twenty minutes for a full grill basket of vegetables to cook on my grill.  Spoon the vegetables back into the bowl in which they were marinated.  If you still have a little of the dressing in the bowl, toss the vegetables around to distribute the dressing.  Cover the bowl and set it aside until you are ready to serve the vegetables.

A platter of grilled vegetables
A Platter of Grilled Vegetables for Dinner
This grilled vegetable medley will be delicious hot, warm, or cold.  Leftovers make a yummy filling for omelets.  They are also perfect with some grilled chicken in a wrap for lunch.

Rejoice when zucchini season arrives in your neighborhood.  That means you'll have lots of delicious grilled vegetables for your dinner table.  A grilled vegetable medley is easy to make when you have one of the essential grill baskets like the one I have owned and loved for many years. You'll be looking forward to a visit from your local zucchini elf.

Linked to Meal Plan Monday.
Linked to Between Naps on the Porch.

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Happy grilling!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Classic Lasagna Your Family Will Love

I can’t say that lasagna jumps to my mind as a summer food but here I am making my classic lasagna in the middle of July. One of the rules I live by during the summer months is to make things easy for myself.  After all, these are the lazy days of summer, aren’t they?   Lasagna is one of those dishes that solves many menu problems and it is for this reason, I turn to lasagna when I think of easy foods.

Lasagna and a side salad
My Lasagna with Caesar Salad on the Side
Are you feeling like you need hearty comfort food?  Lasagna, a green salad, and warm garlic bread will certainly fit the bill.  Do you need to feed a group of family and friends this weekend?  Lasagna, a Caesar salad, and some flavorful focaccia bread will feed a large group.  Do you want to have a ready to go meal in your freezer for any occasion?  A lasagna is easily reheated in your oven and ready to go when paired with a Caprese salad and warm garlic bread.

Are you seeing a pattern here?  Lasagna is the answer to your needs.  Most people love lasagna, so it is a very good option when planning a meal for a group of friends or family.  Making lasagna can feel like an overwhelming exercise, but it doesn't have to feel that way.  If you plan and approach your preparation in steps, you will find it to be well worth your efforts.  I’ve also started to use the lasagna noodles that don’t require precooking.  I have always disliked that step of the process and the oven-ready noodles are the answer.

My classic lasagna recipe began many years ago...maybe 20 years ago...or more when I saw this recipe in Good Housekeeping magazine.  Yes, I still have the original page from the magazine tucked away in my recipe archives.

A Classic Lasagna Recipe
Good Housekeeping's Classic Lasagna Recipe
Over the years, I have made some changes, so the recipe I'm sharing with you below is an adaptation. I encourage you to make changes that will suit the tastes of your family.  We like lots of seasoning, so make adjustments as you see fit.  Lasagna is relatively easy to make and delicious to eat.  It’s not a dish you whip together for a quick weeknight dinner.  This lasagna freezes very well, so it really is a great dish to make when you have a little time and freeze for later.

Just One Donna's Classic Lasagna

Printer Friendly Recipe
Makes one 13x 9" pan

The Lasagna Ingredients
Lasagna Ready to Bake
Lasagna Ready for Baking

  • 1 pound ground beef 
  • ½ pound hot Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 ½-2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1-2 Tablespoons dried Italian seasonings
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 3 T chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese 
  • 1 16-ounce pkg mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1-cup Parmesan cheese

In a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook ground beef and hot sausage until all the pan juices evaporate.  Add the diced onion and cook until soft.  Add the garlic and cook one minute more.  Your beef mixture should be well browned.  This is important to the flavor of your lasagna.  I like to drain my meat mixture in a colander placed over a paper towel lined pie plate.

Return the meat mixture to the pan.  Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar, salt, bay leaf and the dried herbs, crushed between your palms.  (Note:  I don’t always add sugar.  I taste the tomatoes to see how acidic they taste and add the sugar, if necessary.) Heat the sauce to boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste for seasoning and make adjustments. Discard the bay leaf and remove from heat.

Prepare your lasagna noodles as the package directs.  Put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch heavy pan.  If using traditional lasagna noodles, arrange four noodles in the pan, overlapping to fit.  For oven-ready noodles, use three.  Combine the eggs, ricotta cheese, and chopped parsley.
Spoon 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, spreading thinly.  I use either a spoon or an offset spatula to spread the layers.  Top with 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese, a sprinkle of the Parmesan cheese and 1/4 of the sauce.  Repeat two more times.  Finish with a layer of noodles, sauce and then cheese.
Cover the prepared lasagna with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil.  Let is cool on your counter and then either refrigerate or freeze until ready to bake.

Layering Lasagna with Cheese and Sauce

Bake the lasagna in a 375°F oven for 45 minutes or until bubbly and heated through.  Remove from the oven and let stand at least 20 minutes before serving.  Makes 8-12 dinner servings.

Lasagna makes my life easier any time of year.  Make it.  Freeze it.  You'll be happy you did!

Linked to Meal Plan Monday.
Linked to Between Naps on the Porch.

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Get Awesome Ideas for Your Summer BBQ

How to Throw an Awesome, Stress-Free Summer BBQ

You've decided to host a summer barbecue for family and friends.  Good for you!  Are you wondering just what you were thinking?  Is hosting anxiety setting in?  No need for panic.  Here is a summer BBQ menu that is easy to execute with a level head and some thoughtful planning. I've also prepared your road-map for getting things done without stress.  You don't want to be frazzled when your guests arrive!  You can even choose to use your oven instead of your grill for most of the cooking and still get the flavor you want for your BBQ.

Don't be afraid to ask family members for help.  As the saying goes, "Many hands make light work."  Most people would love to bring a dish.   Just be sure to be specific when you ask someone to bring a dish. This menu and plan assume you will do all of the cooking, but you don't have to.  However much you will do yourself, do as much as you can in advance.   That way you'll have plenty of time free the day of the party to enjoy your guests.

The Five Guiding Principles for Your Summer BBQ

Keep these five things in mind and your BBQ will be a hit.
  • Keep your menu simple but delicious.
  • Ice, ice, and more ice.  Running out of ice is a bad thing.
  • Provide shade.  The hot summer sun can be too much for your guests.
  • Keep your playlist fun with summer favorites.  
  • Provide games.  Frisbee, volleyball, lawn Twister (made with four colors of spray paint), croquet and badminton are fun ideas.  

Your Summer BBQ Menu

Appetizers and Drinks

Beer and barbecues go together like peanut butter and jelly.  So stock your coolers with plenty of beer and ice. In my opinion, every party needs one signature cocktail for a festive sip.  For a barbecue, you want to choose a drink that can easily be made in a big batch.  Rum punch and margaritas are two great drink options.  They can be made ahead of time and put in drink dispensers or pitchers so your guests can serve themselves. Another great drink option for a barbecue is sangria.

Appetizers and Drinks
Keep your appetizers simple.  Parmesan pigs-in-a-blanket and BBQ jalapeno poppers can be made ahead of time and frozen. Both recipes go straight from the freezer to the oven with ease. No defrosting required.  Salsa, guacamole, and chips are no brainers and BBQ favorites.  Friends and family may have favorite appetizers they would love to share with your guests. Go ahead and ask them to bring their favorites.  That way you'll have one less course to think about.

Printer Friendly Appetizer and Drink Recipes

BBQ Dinner

Where you live will influence your definition of barbecue.  The menu I am suggesting is typical for my neck of the woods.  No matter where you live, for a stress-free barbecue, you want your menu to be delicious and easy to execute.  It's no fun to spend all of your time standing over a grill or in the kitchen.    That's why I am suggesting chicken with chipotle BBQ sauce and pork ribs.  The chicken is baked completely in the oven and brushed with the barbecue sauce before serving.  The barbecued ribs can also be made completely in your oven.  The only part of this menu you'll need the grill for is the grilled corn.
BBQ Dinner

Printer Friendly Dinner Recipes


I like my summer BBQ desserts to be easy to serve and easy to eat.  Cookies and squares of all kinds fit that description. Pies are favorites in the summer because fresh fruit is abundant, but they can be messy to serve.  Dessert is another course that friends and family can easily help with by bringing a favorite treat to share.  Don't forget about s'mores, especially if kids will be at your barbecue.

Printer Friendly Dessert Recipes

How to Plan Your Summer BBQ

Here's a timeline to help you plan your summer barbecue.  This schedule is meant to be a guide.  This five-day planning schedule spreads the preparation out so you won't feel overwhelmed.  The schedule assumes you have already invited your guests and that you have most of the basic necessities like a grill, seating, coolers, tablecloths, and plates and silverware.  The timeline is flexible, so adapt it to your life and have some fun with it.

Day 5:
  • Print out the recipes.  Make your shopping list and complete your shopping.
  • Check your supplies for plates, silverware, glassware, etc.  Borrow or buy what you need.
  • Plan your tables, tablecloths, napkins, decorations.
  • Make room in your refrigerator.
  • Be sure you have gas or charcoal for the grill.
Day 4
Day 3
Day 2- The Day Before the BBQ
  • Make the Coconut Tres-Leches Cake.  Stabilize the whipped cream with unflavored gelatin.
  • Buy the corn on the cob and remove the husks.
  • Prep pork ribs with rub.  Wrap in foil and refrigerate.
  • Make rum punch and margaritas. Refrigerate.
  • Marinate the chicken pieces in Italian salad dressing in your refrigerator overnight.
  • Clean the bathroom.
Day 1-BBQ Day
  • Make the guacamole.
  • Make the tossed salad.
  • Make sure you have enough ice.  Fill coolers.
  • Set up your drink area.
  • Decorate and set the table
  • Thaw the cookies and brownies.
  • Plan for trash.
  • Cook the pork ribs.
  • Cook the chicken one hour before serving.  
  • Heat chipotle BBQ sauce.
  • Cook the jalapeno poppers and pigs-in-a-blanket.
  • Cook chicken one hour before serving and top with chipotle BBQ sauce.
  • Fire up the grill, cook the corn on the cob, and top with chili-lime butter.

There you have it, a menu and schedule for a stress-free summer BBQ.  Celebrate family, friends, and fun with a backyard BBQ!

Link Up Your Summer BBQ Recipes and Tips

Thanks for sharing!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Make a Lip Smacking Coconut Tres-Leches Cake

Are you looking for a yummy dessert for a summer gathering?  I love very casual desserts for summer picnics and barbecues.  Poke cakes are a yummy, casual dessert and this coconut tres-leches cake is one of my favorites.  

Coconut Tres-Leches Cake
Coconut Tres-Leches Cake

Cool, creamy and full of coconut flavor a coconut tres-leche cake is perfect for the coconut lover in all of us.  Best of all, this coconut tres-leche cake is semi-homemade.  Start with a box cake mix, pour a mixture of cream of coconut, heavy cream and evaporated milk over the cake, and then top the cake with fresh whipped cream and toasted coconut. There you have it.  Easy and delicious!  Be sure to make this cake the day before you want to serve it.

Coconut Tres-Leches Cake

Printer Friendly Recipe
Coconut tres-leches cake with toasted coconut topping
Makes one 9x13 cake


  • 1 boxed yellow cake
  • 1 can cream of coconut (15 oz.)
  • 1 can evaporated milk (12 oz.)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • Sweetened whipped cream
  • Toasted coconut


Make the yellow cake the day before you want to serve it, following the directions on the box using a 9 x 13 rectangular pan.  Cool the cake completely.  In a blender, mix together the cream of coconut, heavy cream, evaporated milk, and vanilla.  Pierce the cake all over with a fork or a wooden skewer.  I like to use a wooden skewer.  Pierce, pierce, pierce, and then pierce the cake some more.  When you think you have pierced the cake enough, pierce it a bit more for good measure.  You are going to want the cream mixture to absorb into the cake and the holes really help.

Poke the cake with a skewer.
Poke Lots of Holes

Spoon the cream mixture over the cake.  Let the cream absorb in and then spoon some more over the cake.  Take your time.  I've made this cake many times and it comes out best when I am patient about spooning the cream mixture over the cake.  When you are done with the cream mixture, it may not have all absorbed into the cake.  That's OK.  Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight.  This will allow more time for the cream mixture to absorb.

Cake ready for topping
After the Cream Mixture Absorbs
To make the toasted coconut, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.   Spread approximately 1/2 cup of the shredded coconut on a sheet pan.  Place the pan on the center rack of the oven and toast the coconut until golden brown.  Check the progress frequently because you don't want the coconut to burn.  Set aside to cool completely.

Lightly toasted coconut
Lightly Toasted Coconut

Just before serving, prepare the sweetened whipped cream.  I make my whipped cream topping for this cake by beating together 2 cups of heavy cream, 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar and 1-1/2 teaspoons of vanilla. Whenever I am frosting a cake with whipped cream I stabilize the whipped cream by adding one teaspoon of unflavored gelatin per one cup of heavy cream,  Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the heavy cream and let it sit for about thirty seconds before beating.  Then add the sugar and vanilla once the cream mixture starts to thicken.  Spread the whipped cream over the cake.  Sprinkle the toasted coconut over the cake.  Refrigerate until serving.

Looking for a different cake recipe?  Try one of these.
My Cakes Pinterest Board
Favorite Chocolate Cake
Berry Trifle
Lemon Yogurt Cake

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