Great Cakes Soap Challenge Food & Drink Ingredients Challenge

Cuckoo for Coconuts


I am absolutely thrilled to have won grand prize in the challenge this month! I have also learned a valuable lesson in this; appreciate the beauty in everything you create. Being a picky perfectionist, I was terribly disheartened when my initial design idea didn’t go as planned. Once I took a step back and looked at my soaps, I found the beauty in them just the way they were. If I had remained focused on the things that went wrong, I wouldn’t have entered this soap. I am truly thankful that I was able to see past my “failure”. Thank you for all that voted and for your amazingly supportive comments. You all rock!


The June 2019 Soap Challenge Club challenge was a challenge indeed! This month, Amy warden tasked us with using food and drink items in our soaps.

For the Regular category, we were required to substitute a drink item for some of our lye water and also add a food item. There were no limitations on the types of colors or scents we used to make the soap.

For the Advanced category, we had to sub 100% of the lye water for a drink ingredient and our food ingredient had to be added in a ratio of 1 part food to 8 parts oil. We also could only use natural colorants and any scents had to come from essential oils.

Food & Drink

All the requirements of the challenge sound easy, I know. However, this was also one of those challenges where the technique we used was open to anything our little brains could imagine. When we are tasked with creating a certain design, our imaginativeness is confined to the bounds of that particular design. Given free rein with creativity is not always a good thing. I find these challenges the toughest because my mind starts going all over the place!

I had decided early on that I would use coconuts as my food and drink. I absolutely ADORE coconuts in every single way. When you first see the small ugly, brown, hairy globes, you wouldn’t think they contain anything special, but their looks are truly deceiving.

Coconuts can easily be considered one of the top beneficial foods in the world. Here is a graphical representation of some of their numerous beneficial uses:

The Secret Ingredient

There isn’t anything about coconuts that I don’t love. The coconut water inside the coconut is delightful and full of nutrients and I love drinking it straight out of the coconut. The flesh is incredibly tasteful and always a fabulous and filling snack to munch on. However, one of my favorite things about coconuts is the smell. I can’t get enough of their creamy, sweet and intoxicating scent!

Coconuts used in skin care have numerous benefits. For one, they contain powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties. They are known to kill and/or prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms which makes them very helpful for the treatment of acne and skin infections. They can also be fabulous moisturizers for both the skin and hair and have been used for wrinkle treatments for many years.

The thought of using creamy, nourishing coconut sounded heavenly so I decided to make my soap using nothing but coconuts. Coconut oil is one of the most commonly used oils in soap making. However, because of its phenomenal cleaning power, many soap makers limit the amounts of coconut oil in their soap as it tends to be very drying. In fact, because it is so cleansing, many soap makers make laundry soap using 100% coconut oil.

Given the cleansing properties of coconut oil, using it to make a moisturizing soap seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it? There is a trick to creating a beautiful creamy soap with only coconut oil. (I apologize to the non-soap makers out there because this probably makes no sense) The way to make a skin-loving soap using 100% coconut oil is to massively increase your superfat percentage. The typical percentage used for superfatting is around 5%. For this soap, I upped it to 30%!

The Design

I had every intention of entering the Advanced category, but coconut essential oil is not very easy to find, nor is it inexpensive. I just couldn’t bring myself to make a coconut soap without the scent of coconuts so I chose to enter the Regular category – just so I could use my coconut fragrances!

With the idea of using nothing but coconuts, this is what I came up with:

  • Use 100% coconut oil and no other oils for the base
  • Sub the water from the coconut for the lye in one portion
  • Make coconut milk/cream with the flesh and sub it for the lye in another portion
  • Use the dried leftover pulp from the milk to add texture and act as an exfoliant
  • Use activated charcoal from coconut husks as a colorant

The Creation

I had to take a hurried trip to the tropics to snap this photo, but here is a quick pic of me enjoying my delicious coconut!

Enjoying a day at the beach!

I began breaking down the coconut to use for my ingredients. First, I used a screwdriver to open the eyes of the coconut so I could drain the water.

Once it was empty, I used a mallet to crack open the hard shell.

I then used a butter knife to pry the flesh loose and collected the pieces.

(I apologize for the lack of pictures for the rest of the process. I was evidently so excited to get my coconut open, I forgot to document most of my process!)

I placed all the pieces in a food processor and added some of the coconut water back in to make a slurry. Once everything was completely pulverized, I placed everything in a tightly woven bag and drained the milk/cream. The results was a luxurious and creamy delight!

I knew that when you add lye to milk it can scorch if it isn’t frozen, but I wasn’t sure if the coconut water would do the same with its high sugar content. I decided to be on the safe side and freeze both, so I poured them into ice cube trays.

Usually, once Amy releases the tutorial for the challenges the ideas start flooding in. I begin the month with tons of enthusiasm and industrious intentions. Unfortunately, by the time I finally get around to making my fabulous creation, I am often out of time and/or motivation. This challenge was no different. I had an awesome design in mind, one that has been on my To-Do list for some time.

Unfortunately, Fortunately, I have been swamped with work and barely had time to do anything. By the time I finally got around to making my soap, I was in rush mode. I carefully added the lye to the frozen coconut water and the milk.

Adding lye to frozen coconut milk

Adding lye to frozen coconut milk/cream

I added the dried and sifted coconut pulp leftover from making the milk/cream.

Sadly, once I poured the first part of my design, I realized there were a few mistakes that would prevent me from moving forward with the awesome design I had planned. I was out of time and defeatedly threw in the towel, giving up on entering anything into the challenge.

Failure…or Not?

I was totally disappointed that my huge design aspirations failed, but I was comforted knowing I would still have an awesome bar of soap. I just cut the failed design up in chunks for the family to use. Once they were on the curing rack however, I noticed I was really drawn to them because I kept going back to look at – and of course, smell – them. There was some genuine appeal in their simple design that I couldn’t ignore. At the last minute, I decided to stamp them and discovered liked them even more!

Although the design is nothing like I had imagined, I decided to enter them. They may be nothing like I had envisioned, but their smell is utterly divine and I can’t wait to slather the coconut decadence all over my body! (Sorry, that was more information than you needed to know!)

The Nitty Gritty

Here is the breakdown of all the ingredients and percentages used in the final soap:

Each Layer used 5.25 ounces of 100% organic virgin coconut oil

  • White layer: Coconut milk/cream subbed @ 100% for the lye, no color
  • Brown layer: Coconut water subbed @ 100% for the lye, 1.25 oz. coconut pulp used in each layer, cocoa powder and activated charcoal powder from coconut husks used for the color

The Results


My Entry!

Thanks for joining me on this amazing adventure!


Until next time…



Read More
Notify of
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jackie Z
June 27, 2019 3:32 pm

What a cool soap! I love how you not only incorporated coconut into all the parts of the soap but that you prepared them yourself as well. Awesome design too!

Glenda Munguia
June 27, 2019 11:03 am

I thoroughly enjoyed your post and reading about coconuts. In El Salvador we used to have some mobile coconut vendors, he came pushing his cart, my mom would buy the coconut (fresh with the green husk still on) and cut an opening with a machete, he would wait until we were done drinking the water and then cut it open. If they were young coconuts, there wasn’t too much flesh. Anyway, all that to say I loved your soap and post!

June 26, 2019 9:00 pm

I love these, Debi! The all coconut theme is wonderful. I loved hearing how you processed the coconut. I find these more wide open challenges really difficult, too. However, you always come up with the most amazing soaps!

Sara Golding
June 25, 2019 10:23 pm

I am so glad to see blue skies behind those gorgeous bars!! Coconut is everything for summer time. Wow on breaking down the raw coconut to use. Did you have a hard time finding one in the stores, or did you have to smuggle them back in from your beach vacation? Wonderful, and amazing as always!!! I absolutely love them!!!

Lynette Olsen
Lynette Olsen
June 25, 2019 6:42 pm

Debi, I know just how you feel! My soap didn’t turn out how I wanted it to either and I almost didn’t enter it. But since I had put so much time and effort into it I thought what the heck. I love your soap! If you love coconut try that Wow apple cider vinegar shampoo. The conditioner is made from coconut and avocado oils and it is coconut heaven! So rich and creamy. I love it and my hair has never looked better. But I digress…..I’m glad you entered your soap. Yours was the first one I clicked for… Read more »

Lynette Olsen
August 11, 2019 3:19 pm
Reply to  Debi

Hi Debi! I just came back to reread your post because I’m going to try making a 100% coconut oil soap. I’m using canned coconut milk that I blended before freezing to get the fat and the milk creamy. You didn’t say what you did for a water discount or what fragrance oil you used so I will have to improvise….. 🙂

Sherry Gros
Sherry Gros
June 25, 2019 3:03 pm

Good Job!

Jerry Merritt
June 25, 2019 12:47 pm

Beautiful soap, very ingenious use of everything the coconut had to offer. Very imaginative photos.

June 25, 2019 12:13 pm

Very pretty Debi. Love the all coconut idea, and your stamp is perfect for these!

June 25, 2019 11:15 am

Beautiful soaps!

Cynthia Lage
June 25, 2019 8:16 am

Just a beautiful soap! Wow! I love all your explanations above too! Exquisite.

June 23, 2019 6:38 pm

I am so happy you went ahead and entered what you had, because they are brilliant! I really love them! Simple and bold, they go perfectly with coconuts. To me they look like they would match a high-end bag you would take to the beach. You are so right about the problems that “free reign” causes. Analysis paralysis with too many options seems to stifle creativity… at least for me.

Robyn French Smith
June 23, 2019 3:56 pm

Ummm… totally not a failure … beautiful beautiful soap as always Debi!

Tye Kind
Tye Kind
June 23, 2019 2:55 pm

That picture of your beautiful soap against the blue sky is breath taking.

Amy Warden
June 23, 2019 1:11 pm

It looks fantastic, Debi! I’m so intrigued by this coconut only soap!! Did you actually burn the coconut husks to create the activated charcoal then? So glad you didn’t give up!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x