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Adventures in food for curious cooks.

Uncle Monty's Coconut Cream Cake

Unfortunate Cooking

Come for the delicious recipes. Stay for the terrible story.

Uncle Monty's Coconut Cream Cake

Lynley Jones

Return to A Series of Unfortunate Recipes homepage.

Assuming you are neither treacherous nor incompetent, you may enjoy a slice of Uncle Monty's coconut cream cake this week.

Woe Is I

This still image, obtained under perilous circumstances from the Netflix corporation, shows Dr. Montgomery Montgomery offering coconut cream cake to the Baudelaires, as Mr. Poe stands nearby fabricating an excuse to decline eating a slice.

As any herpetologist will tell you, the mating call of the broken-hearted crocodile can fill a scientist with despair. It has been known to have the same effect on children, which might be why Dr. Montgomery Montgomery thought to offer slices of coconut cream cake to Violet, Klaus and Sunny the moment they arrived at his doorstep.

The other reason might be that especially well-made food can also be used to tell the difference between good, decent people and treacherous or incompetent people. As a scientist, Dr. Montgomery was always looking for ways to test his hypotheses, and his delicious coconut cream cake worked perfectly to confirm his hypothesis that Mr. Poe was a feckless executor of the Baudelaires' will, who never should have been entrusted with finding guardians for the children. (If only the Baudelaire parents had thought to put Mr. Poe to the same test during their lifetimes, things might have turned out differently for the orphans.)

The Power of Deliciousness

Uncle Monty (as the children enjoyed calling Dr. Montgomery), knew the power of delicious food and therefore surrounded himself with it at all times. In Lemony Snicket's second volume of the complete written history of the Baudelaire children, entitled The Reptile Room, he documented that Uncle Monty's coconut cream cake "was a magnificent thing, rich and creamy with the perfect amount of coconut."

My research has confirmed the magnificent deliciousness of the cake Monty served that day (the very same cake Mr. Poe declined to eat). Among the papers and ephemera found in the wreckage of a certain kitchen library, I have discovered portions of a recipe which calls for "coconut cream" along with many other delicious ingredients.

Coconut Cream

Coco Lopez and Coco Goya cream of coconut in the Adventure Kitchen. To produce a cake as creamy and magnificent as Uncle Monty's, you should use Coco Lopez.

The term "coconut cream" refers to a product called "cream of coconut," which usually comes in a 15-ounce can with a pop-top, and is often used to make pina coladas. Coco Lopez and Coco Goya are two common brands of cream of coconut, but you should seek out Coco Lopez for this recipe at all costs.

Upon very close analysis of the nutrition label, aided by the use of an abacus, I discovered that Coco Lopez contains 45% more sugar and 30% more fat than the Goya brand, making it delicious. Further, the first ingredient on the Coco Lopez label is "coconut," making it even more delicious. And when you open and re-mix the separated contents (which you must do), Coco Lopez is noticeably thicker and is nearly opaque, whereas Coco Goya is thin and watery.

The only possible explanation is that the Office of Coconut Affairs at the Goya corporation has been infiltrated by Count Olaf's associates, possibly posing as consultants.

Coconut Cream Cake

Whether you have recently been exposed to the mating call of a large reptile or are simply determining the depth of your banker's incompetence, a coconut cream cake can be a useful and delicious thing to have around.


Uncle Monty's Coconut Cream Cake

This cake is a magnificent thing, rich and creamy with the perfect amount of coconut, and should be kept on hand at all times. 

For a complete written account of the movies, villains, cakes and reptiles encountered by the Baudelaires during their stay at Uncle Monty's house, you'll have no choice but to read this book.

The Reptile Room
By Lemony Snicket