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Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake

Fragrant toasted coconut makes this Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake a winning twist on a classic dessert! It’s dense and moist, with a tangy buttermilk glaze as the perfect finishing touch.

Sliced Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake on white plate

Buttermilk Pound Cake With Coconut

Pound cake is always a treat—it’s made with plenty of butter, eggs, and sugar, so how could it not be? But when you add buttermilk and coconut to the mix, you end up with something even better! The buttermilk gives the pound cake a hint of tanginess and a tender crumb, while the toasted coconut delivers that signature tropical flavor. So good!

The pound cake itself is fairly simple. It’s essentially a pound cake with toasted coconut mixed into the batter—over a cup of coconut in the batter and another 1/4 cup to garnish, so this is definitely the cake to make for coconut lovers! But the other thing that makes this pound cake special is the buttermilk glaze. While only made with two ingredients, the glaze is thick, rich, and tangy, with a more complex flavor than a glaze made with water or milk and confectioners’ sugar. 

What You’ll Need

While you can make your own buttermilk by combining an acid and milk, it’s hard to make 2 tablespoons’ worth, which is what’s needed for the glaze. For this reason, I recommend buying a bottle of buttermilk for this recipe.

For the cake:

  • Sweetened shredded coconut
  • All-purpose flour – Measure by weight for best results. Otherwise, use the spoon and sweep method to help avoid over-measuring.
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter – The butter needs to be softened, so let it sit on the countertop for about half an hour before you start baking.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Eggs – The eggs should be room temperature for best results.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Buttermilk – Let the buttermilk sit on the counter with the butter and eggs so it warms up a bit.

For the glaze:

  • Confectioners’ sugar – This is also known as powdered sugar.
  • Buttermilk
Overhead view of Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake with 3 slices cut

How to Make Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake

If you’ve made a traditional pound cake before, this recipe is very similar in terms of process! Here’s what you’ll need to do.

To make the cake:

Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease a 9″x 5″ loaf pan with butter or non-stick cooking spray. Make sure your pan is the correct size, as this batter fills the pan quite full as it bakes.

Toast the coconut. Line a small sheet pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, then spread the coconut in an even layer on the pan. Toast in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring a few times to prevent the coconut from burning. Set aside 1/4 cup of the coconut; this will be used for the topping. Alternatively, you can toast the coconut on the stovetop in a skillet. (Learn more: How to Toast Coconut)

Mix the dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Mix the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. In another mixing bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat the butter and sugar until they’re light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour in three portions, alternating with two portions of the buttermilk. Beat just until combined, then fold in the toasted coconut.

Bake. Transfer the batter to the loaf pan and use a spatula to spread it evenly. Bake for about an hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, with just a few moist crumbs.

Cool. Let the pound cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for an hour, then carefully remove the cake from the pan and allow it to finish cooling on the rack. (Learn more: Why Every Baker Needs Wire Cooling Racks)

To make the glaze and finish:

Make the glaze. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and buttermilk in a medium bowl until the mixture is smooth. 

Finish the cake. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake, then sprinkle with the reserved toasted coconut while the glaze is still wet.

Tips for Success

While this recipe is simple, here are some tips that can help ensure that it’s a success.

  • Mind your butter. Butter is such an integral ingredient in pound cake, so make sure you buy a high-quality butter. Then, ensure that it’s softened before you start the recipe. Don’t rush it! Soft butter and room temperature eggs and dairy are important for baking cakes and breads. (Learn more: How to Soften Butter)
  • Sift the confectioners’ sugar. It’s an extra step, but it helps ensure that you don’t have lumps of sugar in your glaze.
  • Serving suggestions. I love serving this with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream, but if you want to fancy things up and make an epic dessert, serve it with roasted or grilled pineapple and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

How to Store

Store this Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake by wrapping it well or by placing it in an airtight storage container. It will keep for 3 to 4 days at room temperature, or up to a week in the refrigerator.

Can This Recipe Be Frozen?

You can wrap the pound cake, place it in a freezer bag, or transfer it to an airtight storage container and freeze it for up to 3 months. Let it thaw at room temperature before serving.

Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake

Yield 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes

A sweet, toasted coconut twist to classic pound cake.

Sliced Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake on white plate

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups (127g) sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (236ml) buttermilk

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup (110g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk

Instructions

To make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9"x 5" loaf pan.*
  2. Line a small baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Spread the coconut in an even layer on the lining. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes to prevent burning. Remove from the oven when the coconut is lightly toasted.
  3. Set aside 1/4 cup of the coconut to use for the topping.
  4. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  5. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.
  6. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour in three portions, alternating with two portions of buttermilk. Mix just until combined.
  7. Stir in the toasted coconut not reserved for the topping.
  8. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake 1 hour, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  9. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 1 hour. Then, remove the cake from the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the glaze:

  1. Whisk together the confectioners' sugar and buttermilk until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled cake.
  2. Sprinkle the cake with the reserved toasted coconut.

Notes

*I have updated this from the suggested 8 & 1/2" x 4 & 1/2" pan, as many of you have said that you needed a bigger pan.

Recipe slightly adapted from Everyday Food.

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    38 Comments on “Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake”

  1. Sometimes life just isn’t fair. I married a nut hater. I’m in love with coconut and my hubby likes it too, so this is a must in my household!! Yah!!

  2. I,too, married a coconut hater and I love the stuff. I feel your pain. Sometimes though, you just have to bake something for yourself.

  3. The only thing better than coconut is toasted coconut! I never met a coconut dessert I didn’t like and this one looks absolutely wonderful. Love the idea of buttermilk in the glaze, too.

  4. I can’t get enough coconut!

  5. I love coconut too. I don’t get why people dislike it but I think it’s a texture thing. Oh well, more for us who like it!

  6. I have more recipes than I have time for. Oh, how I wish I could be a full time blogger. This coconut loaf looks wonderful. I may whip up a loaf to take to my grandparents this weekend. Yum!

  7. I do love all recipes that include coconut. The pound cake looks deliciously moist, too.

  8. I grew up with plenty of coconut, and love it like mad. That would be so hard to have a coconut hater in the house. Friends of mine hate it so I have to remember never to add that to things I bake for them! This cake looks so moist and delicious, and the buttermilk glaze sounds very unique. Coconut love!

  9. We should make a our-significant-others-hate-coconut support group!! I never make anything with it because Mike won’t eat it. Shame. Because I so want this in my life.

  10. My husband is not a huge fan of coconut but sometimes I can sneak it in! This cake looks absolutely delicious!

  11. I love a good pound cake recipe. My husband LOVES coconut. This would be a huge hit with him!

  12. This looks sooo moist and wonderful. And coconut is one of my favorite flavors. Can’t wait to try…

  13. Coconut is a favorite of mine. This looks absolutely delicious and great to have with a hot cup of coffee right now! Thanks for the recipe.

  14. Haha my father is a coconut hater and only now am I discovering the joys of coconut. I have a recipe blog about cooking on a boat circumnavigating the world and I bake quite a bit. I would love to get your feedback and comments on it when you have the time. Thanks! http://www.sallyinthegalley.net

  15. I have a practical question, ‘Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 1 hour’ – does that mean turn off the heat and leave it in the oven? Thanks!

  16. I also love coconut. This pound cake looks perfect!

  17. You didn’t put the oven temperature so I’m guessing 350. Is that correct?

  18. Recipe as prepared is too much batter for the size pan specified.
    I have one in the oven at this moment, dripping batter into the bottom of the oven. I would not make again without using a 9 x 5 loaf pan.

  19. This was absolutely delicious. The cake is moist and rich but not overly sweet. When I make it again though I am going to try it in a bundt pan and adjust the baking time. The loaf pan was a tight fit and I fretted that it was going to spill over. Because mine turned out so moist it was difficult to slice and I found myself slurping up the delicious crumbs on my plate. Everyone loved it no matter the shape. Great recipe

  20. I just made this cake and it is still cooling in the pan. I too think you need to put it into
    A 9×5 pan as there is just too much batter for an 8×4. Not sure there is enough batter to use a bundt pan either. I also think the oven temp should be lowered perhaps to 325. Most pound cakes that I have made use either 300 or 325 as you are baking for almost an hour.
    The batter looked rich and yummy and I am anxious to taste the finished product which I am taking to a church meeting in the morning!

  21. I made this recipe exactly as stated in a 9×5 heavy glass loaf pan, which somehow seems to hold more content than a similarly labeled non-stick loaf pan. The cake tasted great and looked as it did in the blog photos. The cake is actually better on the second day. It’s moist with a nice crumb. The tartness of the buttermilk glaze is a nice counterbalance to the sweet cake.

  22. I made this in a 9×5 pan and my oven is a mess! Either I did something wrong, or even a 9X5 isn’t large enough.

  23. Would this work in a bunt pan?

  24. This cake is absolutely fantastic. I am a fan of coconut and this cake melted in the mouth!

  25. the cake or loaf was not moust enough. nor was it sweet enough. next time i will add more sugar and more buttermilk

  26. I am wondering if I can use brown sugar instead and chop it down to 3/4 cup ( the original loaf was too sweet) and if I can use untoasted coconut ? 

  27. I just baked this loaf today. I used half white sugar and half brown. I used margarine not butter. I added one teaspoon of coconut extract , with the 1 tsp of the vanilla extract. I added chocolate chips and also walnuts. I made my own chocolate frosting for the top. I split the batter into two loaf pans and baked 60-70 mins at 330 degrees. The loaf came out moist and delicious. The family and my friends demolished it , I had two slices ! This recipe helped me a lot! great recipe, add in what you prefer as I did. 

  28. Oh my!  Delicious!  I had leftover buttermilk and shredded coconut from Christmas baking…and wanted to use them both up.  Googled recipes for “buttermilk and coconut” and found yours.  This will most definitely be a keeper and included in my baking recipe binder.  I too added some coconut extract because I had some to use up.  Do you ever bake like that?!  Thanks for the great recipe!

  29. What can I use as egg replacer in this recipe and it’s quantity. TIA

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