Source: Library of Congress

Three more stories from the semifinalists for the Makes-Me-Wanna SHOUT! Coconut Cake Challenge. Taste a memory Saturday, March 19 from 2-4 PM at Miriam’s Kitchen when the storytellers bring their best coconut cakes. Tickets on sale now. Sales benefit Miriam’s Kitchen. The contest is presented by Eatonville Restaurant and Church Lady Cake Diaries.

Growing up, my family was not inclined to bake. As a single parent, with little time for baking, my Mom’s idea of a birthday cake was to order a delicious one from a local bakery, which satisfied my sister and me. It wasn’t until graduate school that I discovered I liked to bake. Baking was an escape from stressing out about projects and tests. It was also a chance to share something I had created with other people. I became notorious as the cookie/cake/bread girl and would come to class with a bag of cookies or a loaf bread to share.

Sarah Raleigh-Halsing, Washington, DC

My mother’s mother was just as much of a hostess- only instead of staying in South Carolina, she followed my grandfather to Germany, where he was stationed for several years, taking my mother (and her siblings) with her. As the wife of an Army officer, she was expected to entertain. And that she did- always sharply dressed, with not a hair out of place, with some glorious spiced confection awaiting that night’s party guests.

Nicole Washington, Washington, DC

Each year, I make my husband a birthday cake of his choosing. I love to bake, and I love a challenge of something new and concocting different things. Knowing this, my husband loves to come up with requests that will stump me, make me look through lots of cookbooks, and then create a new cake.

Thomas Natan, Jr., Washington, DC

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