Saturday, November 16, 2013

Coconut Milk Pound Cake

The two basic items necessary to sustain life are sunshine and coconut milk. – Dustin Hoffman 


I’m not entirely sure about the second item, Mr. Hoffman, but it’s darned close...

I have been craving something coconut-y lately, which is a bit odd, because I’m not all that fond of it in some uses. My all-time most un-favourite cookie is coconut macaroon. It's a texture thing, I believe.

I do like pina coladas (who doesn’t?), and use a lot of coconut milk in curries,. But for some reason I recently have been craving a dessert. I found my muse in coconut milk pound cake. 

It is what it sounds like: the cow’s milk has entirely been replaced by coconut milk, with shredded coconut thrown in for good measure.

Many recipes for coconut pound cake – or coconut cake, for that matter – simply add coconut extract and shredded coconut to the batter and call it a day. That’s not coconut cake, at least not the way I envisioned it.

This recipe has probably been passed around like a doobie at a frat party. I found my start on food.com. The person who posted their recipe said they found it somewhere else, which was probably based on another’s recipe, ad infinitum. They said they “had perfected it.” I beg to differ.

Of course I couldn’t leave well enough alone either. My recipe is fairly close to what I found except for a few salient points. I used coconut extract (not vanilla), sweetened coconut and slightly more coconut milk. Can’t have enough of a good thing, can we? 

The cake is now cooling on the stove. It has domed and split like every good pound cake should, and the house smells like the inside of a coconut, if you can imagine that. I may very well have reached my goal.

When you buy coconut milk for this recipe don’t use the “lite” variety. I don’t know for sure, but I would imagine the amount of plant “fat” in regular coconut milk allows some sort of chemical reaction necessary to success.

One could go whole hog and use coconut cream. If you've never used it you should seek out a can. It is NOT the stuff you make mixed drinks from. That’s highly sweetened. Coconut cream is about four times as thick as coconut milk. It would be akin to cooking with partly whipped whipping cream. You can find it in most Asian groceries.

This is the classic "crack" in a pond cake. Note they're not
present in store made...
The cake has a wonderful crispy exterior. The flavour is quite coconut-y and the grain nice and tight like a pound cake should be.

The next person to perfect this recipe has their work cut out for them!


Coconut Milk Loaf Cake
Prep: 15 min  |  Bake: 1 hr 30 min
3/4 cup butter, softened
1-3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tsp coconut extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup coconut milk

Preheat over to 325°F. Butter and flour a 5x9 loaf pan. Set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar together until well mixed, about 5-6 minutes – scraping the sides and bottom a couple times.

Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating each well. Then add the coconut, baking powder and coconut extract. Add 1 cup of the flour and mix in. Then add 1/2 cup of coconut milk. Repeat with the remaining flour and coconut milk.

Pour the batter unto the prepared pan, making sure to get into the corners with the batter to avoid air pockets.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. If you have any doubt leave it in an extra 5 minutes. My cake took 1 hour 50 minutes.

This is the shape of a classic "pound cake". It humps up in the centre
and then cracks open. Test for "doneness" down through the crack.
............................................


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