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Coconut Pound Cake

Coconut Pound Cake has an even crumb, melt-in-your-mouth texture and great coconut flavor. Coconut is added 5 different ways. This pretty cake will satisfy both your coconut and your pound cake cravings!

a slice of coconut pound cake on a plate with a fork.

I am officially ob-sessed with this cake. I love a good coconut cake and I love a great pound cake. I wanted to marry these two favorites into a pound cake with plenty of coconutty flavor. Easier said than done, my friends.

If you think about it (which I do and most normal people probably don’t) coconut cakes generally rely on the frosting for the signature flavor.

Pound cake is not layered with frosting. A great pound cake is all about a soft cake crumb that melts in your mouth. If you put actual coconut through the cake the cake texture will be too lumpy.

So, the problem for me was how to get plenty of coconut flavor without a pile of frosting or a gritty cake crumb. I’m glad you asked…

Once again we turn to the tried and true Baker’s Formula to develop a recipe for a spectacular Coconut Pound Cake.

How to make a great Coconut Pound Cake recipe:

Using my Pound Cake Perfection recipe as the starting point, I replaced the milk in the recipe with coconut milk. I wanted lots of coconut flavor so I increased the amount from 1/4 cup to a 1/2 cup. Because of the extra egg yolks and cake flour in the batter, I knew the recipe could accommodate a little more liquid.

To get even more coconut flavor in the cake I brushed another 1/2 cup of coconut milk directly on the cake as soon as it came out of the oven.

For a third layer of flavor, I made a coconut glaze for the cake.

Finally, I added a sprinkle of sweetened coconut flakes for a pretty finish and another layer of coconut flavor.

Round 1 recipe test results:

  • Round 1 was a bit disappointing on several levels. First of all, I baked the cake in my standard 9″x5″ loaf pan. The coconut milk in the batter caused the cake to brown more than usual. Because of the added liquid, the cake was in the oven a little longer than the standard pound cake. The cake was way too dark.
  • The coconut milk I brushed on the cake when it came out of the oven didn’t add enough flavor. I wanted a noticeable coconut flavor, not just a hint.
  • The cake was a bit dry and had a spongy texture that I didn’t really like. Whatever the flavor, I want a pound cake to be melt-in-your-mouth tender.
  • Clearly just swapping out milk for coconut milk changed the texture of the cake more than I expected. Back to the drawing board.

Scroll through the step-by-step process photos to see how to make a Coconut Pound Cake:

a cake pan filled with batter and shredded coconut
Pour 3/4 of the batter into the pan, then sprinkle the coconut over the batter.
a pan filled with cake batter
Dollop the remaining batter over the coconut. Spread the batter to cover the coconut.
Syrup being poured over a baked cake in a pan.
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour the coconut rum syrup over the cake.
A baked cake in a pan with syrup soaking in.
Allow the syrup to absorb into the warm cake.
A cake being glazed.
Pour the coconut glaze over the warm cake.
Coconut being sprinkled on a cake
Sprinkle the coconut over the glaze.
a coconut cake on a cooling rack
Allow the cake to cool completely before transferring to a serving plate.

Round 2 recipe testing:

  • I baked the cake in a 10″ tube pan instead of a loaf pan. Because a tube pan bakes from the sides and the center, the cake baked faster and had a perfect, light brown crust. As a bonus, more surface area means more places for the coconut glaze to stick. More glaze is always good!
  • For a more tender cake, I changed from 4 whole eggs + 3 yolks to 3 whole eggs + 4 yolks. Losing an egg white reduced the liquid and protein in the batter. Adding a yolk enriched the cake.
  • I sprinkled a layer of coconut flakes in the middle of the cake for more coconut flavor. By keeping the coconut in 1 layer rather than folding it through the batter, I didn’t mess up the even, tender crumb of the cake.
  • Instead of brushing the baked cake with straight coconut milk, I made a coconut rum syrup to pour over the cake as soon as it came out of the oven. Even though the syrup had less actual coconut milk, it had a more pronounced coconut flavor thanks to a little hint of rum. Remember, alcohol enhances flavor in complex ways.

These small changes made a huge difference. The final cake is perfectly moist and soft with a ton of coconut flavor. I also think the round shape is much prettier. It really shows off the coconut topping.

A coconut cake on a glass cake stand.
a slice of coconut pound cake on a glass plate.
a bite of coconut pound cake on a fork.

Hey Pound Cake lover! Try these other fabulous recipes; Chocolate Pound Cake, Marble Pound Cake, Honey Pound Cake, Sour Cream Pound Cake.

I haven’t forgotten you coconut lovers. Try these tropical delights; Snow White Coconut Cake, Dreamy Coconut Cake, Pina Colada Pie, and classic Coconut Macaroons.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please consider giving it a 5-star rating:

a slice of coconut pound cake

Coconut Pound Cake

Yield: 12 slices
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 35 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

A soft pound cake with an even crumb, melt-in-your-mouth texture and great coconut flavor. This is a really great pound cake that will satisfy your coconut cravings!

Ingredients

Cake Batter

  • 3 large eggs plus 4 yolks (9 oz, 255 g) room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 120ml) coconut milk , divided
  • 1 ¾ cups (8 oz, 225 g) cake flour
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 oz, 285 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (9 oz, 255g) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup (4 oz, 112g) sweetened coconut flakes

Assembly

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dark rum, divided (see note)
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 112g) coconut milk, divided
  • 2 cups (8 oz, 230g) confectioner's sugar
  • 1 cup (4 oz, 112g) sweetened coconut flakes (can be toasted or not)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to at 350°F. Butter and flour a 10" tube pan or Bundt pan. Combine the eggs, vanilla and half the coconut milk in a small bowl, whisk to combine and set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar to the flour and mix at low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter to the flour and mix until combined. Add the other ½ of the coconut milk and increase the speed to medium high. Mix for a full 2-3 minutes. The batter will lighten in color and texture. If your using a hand mixer add another minute or two to the mixing time.
  3. Scrape the bowl and beater thoroughly. On low speed, add the egg mixture in 3 increments, scraping the bowl after each addition. Mix just until the eggs are incorporated.
  4. Pour 3/4 of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth to an even layer. Sprinkle the coconut flakes over the batter, trying not let it touch the sides or middle of the pan. Dollop the remaining batter over the coconut and spread to cover the coconut.
  5. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (about 35 minutes).

Finish the Cake

  1. Combine the granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium high heat until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove the syrup from the heat. Add a tablespoon of rum and 1/4 cup coconut milk then set aside to cool.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the confectioner's sugar with the remaining rum and coconut milk. Whisk until smooth.
  3. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour the coconut syrup over the the top of the cake. Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn it out onto cooling rack set over a clean sheet pan. Allow to cool another 10 minutes until it is slightly warm.
  4. Pour the coconut glaze over the top of the slightly warm cake. Allow the glaze to drip down the middle and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the shredded coconut onto the glaze before it sets.
  5. Cool completely to allow the glaze to set then transfer to a serving plate. The cake keeps at room temperature, covered, for 2-3 days.

Notes

Vanilla can be used in place of the rum. Use a teaspoon in the syrup and a teaspoon in the glaze.

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