My great-grandmother made the most delicious pound cake. Waiting for it to cool down was always a great exercise in patience and restraint. Sometimes she would top it with a simple dusting of powdered sugar, other times she would leave it as is. Either way, it was nearly impossible to eat just one slice.
Maybe for fear of being unable to create a cake that resembled hers, I waited years to attempt a recipe of my own. A yearning for a taste of her pound cake and a coconut cake I ate at a street fair inspired me to finally try.
An Easy Peasy Any Day Pound Cake
This coconut pound cake comes together with just a few simple ingredients: flour, butter, sugar, sour cream, and unsweetened shredded coconut and coconut milk for a boost of coconutty flavor. Plus, you can mix the batter in just one bowl with a spoon.
It turns out deliciously moist with a tender crumb. It’s nice and dense, as all pound cakes should be, yet pillowy soft. It’s not overly sweet—perfect with a cup of coffee, topped with a scoop of ice cream, or just as is. Serve it for a special occasion or have it out on the counter for your family to enjoy throughout the week.
For me, this passed the ultimate test: Was it hard to eat just one slice? Yes, it was.
How to Get the Best Coconut Flavor
- Look for unsweetened full-fat coconut milk, which is most likely sold in a can. Avoid coconut milk that is labeled “lite” or “coconut beverage.” Full-fat coconut milk will give this pound cake the best flavor and a very moist crumb.
- This recipe also calls for unsweetened shredded coconut. To avoid an overly textured or chewy cake, I simply blitzed the sugar and shredded coconut in a personal blender—I used my Ninja Personal Blender. A food processor or any blender works!
- Don’t over-process the coconut-sugar mixture. You’re just trying to grind the coconut until it’s about the size of granulated sugar. It’s fine if they are slightly bigger. The mixture will stick together a bit. The oils in the coconut will moisten the cake, creating a wonderfully soft texture.
- Avoid sweetened shredded coconut, which will yield a much, much sweeter and denser cake. It’s okay to use sweetened coconut for the topping, but I find that a simple powdered sugar glaze plus lightly toasted, unsweetened coconut sprinkled on top tastes just right. Also, it’s one less ingredient to purchase by using one type of coconut. It’s a win-win!
For an extra intense coconut flavor, add 1/2 teaspoon pure coconut extract.
Do Not Overmix the Batter
This is a simple recipe that opts for melting the butter and mixing the batter by hand, rather than creaming the butter and sugar with a stand mixer. It yields a dense pound cake, but that’s the wonderful nature of pound cakes—they should have some weight.
To get a tender and soft cake, make sure that the ingredients are at room temperature and do not to overmix the batter. Gently stir the wet and dry ingredients and stop mixing as soon as they are just combined. You can use a large spoon, but a whisk may be easier.
Make It Pretty in a Bundt Pan
This recipe calls for a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. You can double the recipe and bake it in a 12-cup bundt pan. Generously grease the bundt pan and add 15 minutes to the bake time, checking every 5 minutes if not baked through. A toothpick inserted in the center should out with just a few moist crumbs.
Decorate the Coconut Pound Cake
Allow the cake to fully cool before decorating. This recipe makes just glaze to help the shredded coconut stick to the top of the cake. If you’d like a heavier glaze, simply double or triple the ingredients.
Pound Cakes Galore!
Coconut Pound Cake
- For the cake
- 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the cake pan
- 1 cup (85g) unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- 3/4 cup (170g) sour cream, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsweetened full-fat coconut milk
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (58 ml) water, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (185g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- For the glaze
- 1/2 cup (43g) unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup (30g) powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
- 1/4 teaspoon water, plus more as needed
Preheat the oven:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease with butter then line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
Melt the butter and blitz the coconut:
In a small microwave-safe bowl, add the butter. Microwave for 20 seconds, then in 10-second increments until melted, stirring after each time. Set it aside to cool a little.
In a blender or food processor, add the shredded coconut and sugar. Blend or process for 15 seconds until the coconut looks finely ground. You may need to blitz it a few more times.
Combine the wet ingredients:
In a large bowl, add the melted butter, blitzed coconut and sugar, sour cream, coconut milk, eggs, and 1/4 cup water, and whisk until fully combined.
Add the dry ingredients:
Use a sifter or set a fine-mesh sieve over the bowl to sift the flour, baking powder, and salt right on top of the wet ingredients.
Gently whisk the batter until just combined, being careful not to overmix or stir too vigorously.
Bake the coconut pound cake:
Use a rubber spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
Cool the coconut pound cake:
Transfer the pan onto a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 325°F to make the topping while the cake cools. Tip the coconut pound cake out of the pan, and carefully peel off the parchment paper. Allow it to fully cool on the wire rack.
Toast the coconut:
On a foil-lined baking sheet, evenly spread 1/2 cup shredded coconut. Bake it for 3 minutes at 325°F, then stir it around and spread it out again. Bake it for 1 to 2 more minutes until toasted and golden brown. Remove it from the oven and let it cool a bit on the baking sheet.
Decorate the cooled cake:
In a small bowl, mix the powdered sugar and 1/4 teaspoon water. The glaze should be a little runny, so add more water as needed. Use a pastry brush to brush the top of the cake with the glaze. Sprinkle the toasted coconut evenly over the cake. Dust the tops with more powdered sugar, if you’d like.
Store the pound cake at room temperature in an airtight container or tightly covered with foil. The cake with keep on your kitchen counter for 4 to 5 days.
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