Saturday, May 17, 2014

Coconut Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Coconut Cream Cheese Pound Cake - made May 10, 2014 from The Examiner
I don't know about the weather where you live but it's starting to get hot in my area. As in hot enough that any cake with frosting is going to be a bad idea because the heat will prevent the frosting from setting properly or will melt it the minute you take it out of an air-conditioned environment.
That's where pound cakes come to the rescue. They can be glazed if you wish but they can also be kept simple and served as is without worrying too much what condition the heat will render them. And despite their modest appearance, they can be delicious as this one was. Normally I don't like cream cheese in baked goods and I'll never eat cheesecake but I do like incorporating cream cheese into a pound cake. You can't taste the tang from the cream cheese; instead it simply adds a velvety softness to the texture of the cake and cuts some of the butter flavor so you don't remember (clearly) that this has three sticks of butter in it.
The only thing to be wary of in this cake is if you beat the batter too much after the eggs are added in, the cake can form a meringue-y or crunchy crust. Not super crunchy but enough to crumbly a little when you cut into it. Not a big deal but try to beat air into the batter before you add the eggs. You'll notice there are no chemical leavenings in this recipe: no baking powder or baking soda. So the only time you'll really be beating air into the batter to give the cake some rise is when you beat the butter, cream cheese and sugar together. You don't want to beat too much after the eggs are in there (or it'll form that meringue crust in baking) and definitely not after you add the flour or the texture will be tough because of the gluten developing.
Also, be careful about underbaking (said the pot to the kettle). Underbaking a pound cake will cause an even heavier texture than pound cakes are known for. Of course overbaking is the bigger sin to me and will give you a dry cake. Sometimes it's hard to tell if a butter cake is done because the toothpick can come out clean and yet the cake might still need a few more minutes of baking time because of the high butter content. Time it, go by appearance (golden brown vs a darker brown - your choice) and your sense of smell as well as the toothpick test. If you're really unsure, turn the oven off when you think it's done and leave it in there for a few extra minutes. Just don't forget about it.
I liked this cake. It only had a mild coconut flavor but if you want more coconut, try using coconut milk, thinned with a little water so it's not quite so thick. I don't drink so I didn't have bourbon in my pantry and went with whole milk instead. Beyond the flavor, I also liked the texture of this cake. It had a velvety soft crumb, always a sign of a good pound cake.
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup bourbon (can substitute milk)
2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup fresh shredded coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a tube pan or a Bundt pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
  3. Gradually add the sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until the yolk disappears.
  5. Sift together flour and salt; add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture.
  6. Add the bourbon (or milk) followed by the remaining flour mixture.
  7. Beat the batter at low speed just until blended. Stir in the vanilla and coconut.
  8. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.
  9. Remove cake from oven and cool in pan on wire rack for 10-15 minutes. Loosen cake from pan with spatula and invert onto wire rack. Let cool completely.

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