|Coconut layer cake, recipes below|
I talk about Watch Night,” or the distinctive way African Americans have historically celebrated New Year’s Eve in my book Hog and Hominy http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-14638-8/hog-and-hominy/webFeatures. Watch Night dates back to the end of the Civil War. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln declared his famous Emancipation Proclamation, which set slaves in Confederate territories free as of January 1, 1863. As a result, African Americans across much of the South held religious services, many of them secretly, in which they praised and worshiped God as they watched the New Year and freedom arrive at midnight. Thus, after 1863, African Americans began observing Watch Night and New Year’s Eve in honor of Emancipation Day. Southerners carried their religious traditions with them when they migrated north to places like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and New York including recipes for good old fashion church cakes as my mother likes to call them.
Georgia Coconut layer cake recipe: http://projects.eveningedge.com/recipes/coconut-layer-cake/
Vegan Coconut layer cake recipe: http://veganthyme.blogspot.com/2010/05/vegan-coconut-layer-cake-quilting-bee.html (recipe at the bottom of the page of this link)