I know for a lot of people, they either love or hate coconut. For me personally, It’s love, love love.  

Growing up my whole life in the Keys, coconut was the flavor and smell of everything. I spent my childhood keeping a watchful eye on my palm trees in case a coconut came crashing down. If I did score one that day, I would later wrestle with its hard shell until I was lucky enough to get a measly half-cup of coconut water. But boy, did that half-cup make me proud. 

Go ahead and think back to the Keys in the ’90s: what did every person smell like? One could say Banana Boat tanning oil, which definitely had an over-the-top coconut aroma, in a good way. Could you imagine everything I just described in a dessert? It exists at the Buzzard’s Roost at MM 106 in Key Largo. 

The coconut cake at Buzzard’s Roost has a sweet and dense coconut cake base, which tastes almost like a butter cake. They bake it slightly past a golden hue and lather on the cream cheese frosting. Now, the menu does not say the cream cheese is flavored with coconut, but I definitely taste hints of that tropical fruit in there. It’s topped with a warm pineapple rum sauce which I usually ask for on the side or skip all together. This delicious cake needs no sidekicks. It almost tastes like the cake version of the coconut cream ice cream that Mr. C’s sells. 

Honest to goodness, I’ve seen non-coconut lovers go for a second or third fork full of this dessert. I know every fiber of everyone’s being always wants to order the Key lime pie everywhere they go, but let the Key lime pie get some rest and try something new with this coconut delight. For the best service in Buzzard’s Roost, I always request Elvez Sosa as my waiter if I can. If he’s not waiting tables, I scan the bar to see if he’s bartending and grab two seats there. He’s always more than happy to help me out when I give my sauce on the side of the cake requests, no matter how busy they are. 

Another thing to note is this cake saves great in the fridge. There have been times I couldn’t fathom eating a dessert after a big meal and we have gotten it to go for another time. It tastes identical even two days later in the refrigerator – that is if no one has snuck in to eat it all by then. Coconut lovers unite.

The Buzzard’s Roost is accessible by land or sea. They are open seven days a week and have a Sunday brunch.

Samantha Dellilo has been in the Keys since she was 1 day old, so definitely consider her a Conch. Holding a passion for food since she can remember, while most kids were watching Barney, she was watching Emeril. "Being half Cuban and half Italian, food in those cultures is considered a love language. It's a total experience whether eating out or cooking." She's been with her other half, Marky, going on 17 years. The two met when they were 9 years old at Key Largo School. Samantha owns Florida Keys Eats, which is a blog of "must eat, must see, and must dos" from Key Largo to Key West.