Toasted Coconut Pound Cake
Oof. This WEEK. I-yi-yi.
Can't we just stop everything and do coffee and cake and not think for like an hour? Excellent.
You'd think the adjustment to a kindergarten schedule would be rougher on my kid than it is on me, but nay. She is a superstar. Handling the change like a champ. Me? I'm trapped in a vacuum-sealed jar of fail (not that I'm being overdramatic about it or anything). In a turn of events for which I was totally unprepared, the whole thing has ME feeling like I'm the new kid in school, all over again. And I'm doing it alllll wrong ("Are we going to be late, Mom? Are we? ARE WE?!"). The wakeup time, the getting everything together and getting out the door (including nursing a baby who doesn't quite understand why he's even awake at such an ungodly hour--I feel you, son), the driving time (hitting every stoplight, naturally), the search for a parking spot blocks away and the minutes it will take to physically get my kid into the school? Haven't gotten that down just yet. At. All.
And then doing the whole thing alllll wrong again ("Their class is going to be the first one out in front of the school!!"--OF COURSE THEY ARE), in reverse, five and a half hours later (a time span which passes so fast I don't know how it's scientfically possible). In between, I try to eat something, glare at laundry, exercise, sort of groom, write?, run errands, keep the baby happy and try to convince him to nap. And after the school pick up circus, there are still four entire hours before my husband gets home to help stop the bleeding.
Basically, I feel like I'm being punched in the face every five minutes All. Day. Long.
I am a total walking Mom Cliche now. How did I get here?
Until I can get my groove back (which I'm sure will eventually happen, right? Please, more experienced mothers than I--PLEASE tell me it will happen), can we please just talk cake? Because seriously. Cake.
This glorious Toasted Coconut Pound Cake is exactly the kind of thing you need to have up in your area at 2:30 in the afternoon, with a questionably large cup of coffee, to make you feel like everything is about to get okay. Which is to say it's for everybody in the universe. Unless you're not into coconut--in that case, you'll need this recipe, which was the base formula for this dreamy coconut version.
The flakes of toasted coconut tucked into the batter and sprinkled on top are fabulous enough, but I think the real magic of this cake comes from the dose of coconut milk used as the liquid. It makes this cake so unbeatably moist and flavorful, I can't even. There are a few cake recipes I've tried reworking a bit by swapping out milk, buttermilk, or sour cream for coconut milk, and I'm never disappointed. It doesn't so much add a coconut flavor (so don't freak out, coconut haters!) as it lends a certain richness in the background that you can't quite put your finger on--you don't know what it is, you just know it's the dreamiest cake you've ever had. And don't we all need more of that sometimes?
Like, don't make me think about the cake, just GIVE ME THE CAKE.
Also, Universe, please don't make me think about how I'm going to get there--just beam my kid into the school on time.
Toasted Coconut Pound Cake Makes 1 9-by-5-inch loaf
I love using the large unsweetened coconut flakes here, but if you can't find them, look for unsweetened dessicated coconut, which tends to be more widely available. Make sure you grab a can of full-fat coconut milk--lite just doesn't have the same amazing effect.
1 1/3 cups large unsweetened coconut flakes, divided 1 1/2 cups cake flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 3 large eggs, at room temperature 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk 1 tablespoon turbinado or other coarse sugar, for sprinkling
Position a rack to the lower third of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Spray the parchment, too.
While the oven is preheating, throw some of the coconut in to toast: Spread one cup of the coconut flakes onto a small baking sheet, and bake, stirring often, until golden, 7-10 minutes. Let the flakes cool, then crush them a bit with your hands. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat together the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Lower the speed to medium and beat in the eggs one at a time. Reduce the speed to low and stir in the dry ingredients just until combined. Stir in the coconut milk. Fold in the toasted coconut flakes by hand. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the stop. Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup of untoasted coconut over the top, followed by a sprinkling of turbinado or coarse sugar.
Bake until a toothpick comes out mostly clean, with just a few moist crumbs, 60 to 70 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before slicing.