March 3, 2011

Vanilla Bean Toasted Coconut Pound Cake {Naptime Everyday}

Vanilla Bean Loaf

What’s Going on Today: Retrieving computer from Genius Bar (phew!), trip to Goodwill, back in the swing of things.

Naptime Goals: Make Vanilla Bean Toasted Coconut Pound Cake, revel in fixed computer!

Tonight’s Menu: Leftover Chicken Enchiladas, fresh mexican rice, grilled peppers

More Great Cakes: Apple Spice Bundt Cake with Maple Glaze, Lemon Pudding Cake, Pear Butter Cake,

Winter vacation was pretty uneventful. We had what you would call a “staycation,” the popular term for staying at home for an entire vacation week. My daughter didn’t seem to mind, thankfully, and was happily entertained with plenty of playdates and a fun trip the Mystic Seaport Acquarium. I was busy with work, as was my husband, so all in all it was a pretty normal week. I’ll admit though, after a week-long break from our routine I was quite happy when things returned to normal. Though my daughter napped every day during break, I spent most of that free time working on the book for my upcoming deadline. It wasn’t until this week when she went back to school, in addition to taking her naps, that I had some extra time to do some fun baking.

Pound cake has always seems like a blank slate to me. Serve it up topped with ice cream, fruit, syrups, or pretty much whatever you want for a great dessert at home. Or, layer thick slices in a trifle dish with raspberries and cream for decadent party-worthy fare. The sky is the limit! You can even cut it into cubes for chocolate fondue! I’ve done all these things, and more, with my plain pound cake recipe. But this time I wanted to get down to brass tacks.  I wanted to experiment to see if I could enhance the actual cake with more flavor and oomph instead of it just being a vehicle for tasty toppings.

I whipped up the batter while my daughter napped after school. Using my standard pound cake recipe as a starting point, I doubled up on the vanilla extract and scraped in a full pod of vanilla beans to achieve the intense vanilla flavor I was aiming for. Then, I added some shredded coconut to the batter and scattered some on top for a pretty, and tasty, topping. After baking it in a loaf pan and filling the house with amazing smells, the cake was ready for a taste test. It was as dense and moist as the original recipe, but with a ton more flavor and texture. I think next time I might try adding some chopped macadamia nuts and maybe a few drops of Fiore de Sicilia for an extra tropical flare.

In order to be mindful of our spring break trip that IS coming up (a month later then her actual school break, but whatever), I cut the loaf in two and froze one of the halves. No need to eat an entire pound cake in one week! I’ll save the second half for next month when I can grill a few slices and serve them with whipped cream and peaches in syrup.

Recipe

Vanilla Bean Toasted Coconut Pound Cake

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 vanilla, seeds scraped into the batter, pod discarded
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, divided
½ cup heavy cream

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Butter a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.

2. In a small bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set side.

3. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and vanilla beans and mix well.

4. With the mixer on low, alternately add the heavy cream and the flour slowly until it is completely incorporated. Then, stir in ¾ of the coconut with  a spatula until evenly distributed.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for about an hour. At the 45 minute mark, scatter the remaining ¼ cup coconut on top of the cake and return the pan to the oven.

6. When a cake tester comes out clean remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes. Then turn it out onto a wire rack and allow it to cool completely.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

Slice it up and serve with toppings… or without!

Naptime Stopwatch

20 minutes prep time, 1 hour cook time

Naptime Reviews

This was a hit all around!