BULA CAKE: Fair Winner’s Chocolate And Coconut Confection

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Deirdre Scott won a blue ribbon at this year's Iowa State Fair for the Bula Cake, a rich chocolate and coconut cake.  She shows us all about this delicious treat and why she thinks it won.

Karo Syrup Sweet-Treats for Sweet-Hearts Contest

Deirdre Scott of West Des Moines, 1st Place, 2013 Iowa State Fair


Bula Cake


2 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup Karo Corn Syrup

1/4 cup coconut milk powder (available at Asian markets but is optional, adds a lot to the flavor but can use 2 tablespoons flour instead)

2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, finely chopped



1 7/8 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon espresso powder

3 tablespoons warm water

1/2 cup buttermilk

3 large eggs

1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened



1/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 10-inch bundt-style pan with nonstick baking spray.
  2. First make the filling. Whisk egg whites in a medium bowl until foamy. Mix in salt, vanilla, Karo corn syrup and coconut powder (or flour). Fold coconut mixture into the egg white mixture.
  3. Second make the cake. In the bowl of a mixer, measure out the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix or whisk for about 30 seconds.
  4. Dissolve the espresso powder in the warm water and combine this with the buttermilk. Place eggs and egg yolk in a measuring cup and beat well with 1/4 cup buttermilk mixture. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining buttermilk mixture with vanilla.
  5. Add the butter and milk/vanilla mixture to the dry ingredients and beat at slow speed until combined, then at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add egg mixture in thirds, beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl after each addition.
  6. Spoon about half the batter into the prepared pan. Spoon the coconut filling mixture into the cake batter, being careful to keep the filling in the center of the cake batter and not touch the sides. Cover with remaining cake batter and smooth with a spatula.
  7. Bake the cake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and place it, in its pan, on a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
  8. While the cake is cooling, make the glaze. In a microwave-safe bowl, or in a small saucepan set over medium heat, heat the cream until it’s very hot. You should see wisps of steam beginning to rise from it, and some very tiny bubbles around the edges. Add the chocolate to the cream and stir until smooth. Drizzle glaze over the cake.


Yields: 1 cake (approximately 16 servings)

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