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My Mother’s Kitchen- Bennie Key’s Coconut Pound Cake

by Missy Serra

My mother’s name was Bennie Z Rampy Key.  She was an awesome cook and one of her last jobs was cooking for a company in Dallas where all the executives loved her and her cooking.  She never followed a recipe but could just effortlessly cook amazing and delicious things.  I am trying to put a cookbook together of her recipes but it is difficult trying to make the dishes taste as good as hers.

My mother adopted me when I was 5 days old and I loved her very much.  Although I lost her 11½ years ago, I was happy that she and my birth mother were able to meet a couple of years before her death.  I miss my mom terribly and talk to her often in my prayers.

With my mother’s help, I started cooking when I was about 5 or 6 years old.  I remember fixing breakfast for my dad and brother, and although my dad would eat anything I made and tell me it was good, my brother always told me the truth… it’s just like a brother to not pull any punches.

My mother learned to cook from her mother, my grandmother Jewel Branum.  She was the best cook ever.  She made the most awesome rice pudding, and the best ever coconut pound cake.  I would spend the day at her house and we would cook, and play Aggravation (a marble game).  Whenever she got upset she would say, “I’ll be jiggered,” which we all thought was so funny.

She was an awesome Christian woman and a great influence on me.  I do miss her terribly.  Here is the recipe for her coconut pound cake.

Coconut pound cake

•  2 cups sugar

•  2 cups cooking oil

•  2 cups sifted flour

•  1 cup angel flake coconut

•  ½-cup milk

•  1 ½ tsp baking powder

•  1 tsp vanilla

•  ½ tsp salt

•  5 eggs

Cream all ingredients together except flour and eggs.  Alternate adding flour with 5 eggs.  One at a time, using mixer at high speed.  Mix well and pour in a greased and floured bunt pan or steam pan.  Bake 1 hour.  Pour sauce (see below) over cake while hot.  Let stand 5 min.  Take out and cool.


•  ½ cup sugar

•  ¼ cup water

•  ¼ cup butter

•  1 tbsp coconut extract

Mix and let stand until cake is done.  Bring to a rapid boil and pour over cake.