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Louisiana Crunch Cake

This moist, tender Louisiana Crunch Cake is a symphony of flavors and textures, featuring sweet coconut, almond accents, and a sugary glaze. It’s sure to become a favorite in your kitchen!

Louisiana Crunch Cake topped with a sweet glaze, toasted coconut, and chopped almonds

Louisiana Crunch Cake – A Favorite Southern Dessert

I have a soft spot for Southern desserts, due to growing up in Mississippi enjoying those sweet treats made by family and friends. And I love duplicating them here in my New York kitchen to share with all of you!

This Louisiana crunch cake is everything I want a Southern dessert to be. It’s simple to make, it has amazing flavor, and it’s deliciously indulgent. I mean, look at that glaze and those toppings!

What is a Louisiana Crunch Cake?

This cake features the delightful contrast of a tender crumb against a crunchy, toasted coconut topping. Coating the pan with sugar creates a sweet coating that adds flavor and texture. On top of that sugar-crusted cake is a sweet, buttery glaze and even more coconut along with crunchy almonds.

While the origin of this cake doesn’t seem very clear, it’s long been a popular dessert in the Southern United States. No matter how it came to be, count me among those who are so very glad it exists!

a slice of Louisiana Crunch Cake on a white and beige plate with more cake in the background

Why You’ll Love This Louisiana Crunch Cake Recipe

I think you’re going to adore this cake. Here are a few of my favorite things about it:

  • Irresistible flavor. The cake boasts a delightful combination of sweet coconut, nutty almonds, and a sugary glaze, creating a truly irresistible taste.
  • Easy to make. While the cake’s appearance is striking, its preparation is refreshingly uncomplicated, making it a great choice for both novice and experienced bakers.
  • Moist and tender. The addition of sour cream and buttermilk ensures the cake is incredibly moist and tender, with a perfect crumb texture.
  • Stunning presentation. The cake’s shape and the garnish of chopped almonds and toasted coconut make it a showstopper for any occasion.

What You’ll Need

See the recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions. Here are some notes about the ingredients you’ll need to make your Louisiana crunch cake.

Cake Ingredients

  • Granulated sugar – You’ll need sugar for coating your pan as well as for the cake.
  • Sweetened flaked coconut – Toast the coconut before adding to the pan. Learn more: How to Toast Coconut
  • Cake flour – See my note below about why we’re using cake flour in this recipe.
  • Baking powder and baking soda – These help make your cake rise.
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter – Soften the butter before mixing. That will usually take about 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • Eggs – Set these out along with the butter. I recommend baking with large eggs.
  • Sour cream – This needs to come to room temperature, too. Full-fat sour cream works best.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Almond extract
  • Buttermilk – Set out the buttermilk with the other refrigerated ingredients.

Topping Ingredients

  • Confectioners’ sugar – This is also called powdered sugar. For the smoothest glaze, sift it first.
  • Unsalted butter – The butter for the glaze needs to be melted and then cooled slightly before mixing.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Almond extract
  • Heavy cream – I like to use cream for texture and flavor, but you can substitute milk if you prefer.
  • Chopped almonds – Feel free to substitute another nut or omit them.
  • Toasted coconut – Toast a little extra for garnishing the cake.

Why Use Cake Flour Instead of All-Purpose Flour?

Cake flour has a lower protein content compared to all-purpose flour, resulting in a finer, softer crumb texture in your cake. It also has a finer, lighter consistency, which contributes to a lighter and fluffier cake. Your cake will rise better and achieve a more airy structure. It makes your cake more tender and delicate, which is ideal for cakes like this Louisiana crunch cake.

three slices of Louisiana Crunch Cake on white and beige plates

How to Make Louisiana Crunch Cake

You’ll be making two separate components – the cake and the glaze. But don’t worry; each is easy to make! Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Make the cake:

Prepare for baking. Heat the oven to 325°F. Use a cooking spray with flour to grease a 12-cup tube pan or Bundt pan. (I recommend Baker’s Joy or Pam Baking.)

Coat the pan. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar in the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Tilt the pan to help distribute the sugar evenly. Sprinkle 1/4 cup toasted coconut in the bottom of the pan.

Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Start mixing the wet ingredients. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and 2 cups of sugar until fluffy and lightened in color. (Learn more: The Creaming Method) Add the eggs one at a time, and mix well after adding each. Then mix in the sour cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract.

Finish mixing the batter. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three portions, alternating with two portions of buttermilk. Don’t over-mix; mix just until combined.

overhead view of Louisiana Crunch Cake batter in a tube pan

Bake. Carefully transfer the batter to the prepared pan, taking care not to disturb the coating. (Try spooning it into the pan instead of pouring.) Lightly tap the pan on the countertop a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a pick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool. Place the pan on a wire rack, and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Then invert the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the topping:

Make the glaze. Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, butter, vanilla extract, almond extract, and 3 tablespoons of the cream. Add more cream in small amounts as needed to make the glaze thick but pourable.

Add the toppings. Spoon or pour the glaze over the cooled cake. Top with more toasted coconut and chopped almonds.

Tips for Success

Read through my baking tips for beginners and then follow these additional tips to help your Louisiana crunch cake turn out perfectly.

  • Thoroughly grease the pan. That will keep the cake from sticking and also provide a sticky surface for the sugar to coat the pan. I recommend a cooking spray with flour, like Baker’s Joy or Pam Baking.
  • Use room temperature ingredients. Bring the butter almost to room temperature (see How to Soften Butter), and let the eggs, sour cream, and buttermilk come to room temperature before mixing. Your batter will be smoother and your cake will have a more even texture.
  • Don’t over-mix. Mix the batter until just combined. Over-mixing can result in a tougher cake.
  • Take care transferring the batter to the pan. I recommend spooning the batter instead of pouring it into the pan. That will allow you to distribute the batter evenly without disturbing the coconut in the bottom of the pan.
a slice of Louisiana Crunch Cake on a cake server being removed from the remaining cake

Variations

This cake can easily be adapted to suit your tastes. Add some zest from oranges, lemons, or limes to the cake batter for a citrusy flavor. Try adding a teaspoon of cinnamon or nutmeg to the dry ingredients for a warm and comforting spiced cake. You could also add about a tablespoon of your favorite liqueur, such as Amaretto, Grand Marnier, or coconut rum. Or add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of coconut extract for a bigger coconut flavor.

For the topping, you can use different nuts or omit them in favor of even more toasted coconut for added texture and flavor. For a simpler cake suitable for anytime, omit the glaze or simply sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, or top with ice cream or whipped cream before serving.

overhead view of a slice of Louisiana Crunch Cake on a white and beige plate with a bite of cake on a fork

How to Store

Store the cake covered at room temperature for a day or two. For longer storage, refrigerate in an airtight container, but bring it to room temperature before serving for the best flavor and texture. Keep in mind that storing in the refrigerator can make a cake dry, so be extra sure the container is airtight.

Can This Cake Be Frozen?

Yes, you can freeze this cake with or without the glaze. If freezing with the glaze, place the cooled cake or individual slices on a rimmed baking sheet, and freeze until the glaze is frozen solid (2-3 hours). Then wrap well in plastic wrap and place in an airtight, freezer-safe container or bag. Without the glaze, you can skip that initial freezing step. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Louisiana Crunch Cake on a white cake stand

Louisiana Crunch Cake

Yield 12 to 16 servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes

Louisiana Crunch Cake features sweet coconut, almond accents, and a mouthwatering glaze in an easy, irresistible Southern cake!

a slice of Louisiana Crunch Cake on a cake server being removed from the remaining cake

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 2 & 1/4 cups (450g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup (21g) sweetened flaked coconut, toasted*
  • 3 cups (360g) cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/2 cups (339g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup (236ml) buttermilk

For the glaze:

  • 2 cups (220g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped almonds (or other nut), for garnish
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons toasted coconut, for garnish

Instructions

To make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a 12-cup tube pan with a cooking spray with flour. 
  2. Sprinkle 1/4 cup (50g) of the sugar in the pan, tilting the pan to help ensure that the sugar coats the bottom and sides. Sprinkle 1/4 cup toasted coconut in the bottom of the pan.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and remaining 2 cups (400g) of sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the sour cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract.
  5. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in 3 portions, alternating with 2 portions of buttermilk. Mix just until combined.
  6. Transfer the cake to the prepared pan, spreading the batter evenly while taking care not to disturb the sugar and coconut coating. Tap the pan lightly on the counter a couple of times to disperse any air bubbles.
  7. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  8. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then invert the cake onto a wire rack, and allow it to cool completely.

To make the glaze:

  1. Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, butter, vanilla extract, almond extract, and 3 tablespoons of the cream. Add more cream, a small amount at a time, until the glaze reaches the desired consistency.
  2. Spoon or pour the glaze over the top of the cooled cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.
  3. Top with almonds and coconut.

Notes

*See my tips for toasting coconut if you need a refresher.

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    6 Comments on “Louisiana Crunch Cake”

  1. It’s been a while since lusting for a particular pan, such as you used for this cake. After sleuthing, I “think” you used a Nordicware round tube, and I’ve found it! Would love to get your confirmation before purchasing…the website says it is an 18 cup pan. All I know is that I never knew a straight sided heavy duty “non” Bundt pan existed. Perhaps I was Southern in a previous life, and cellular memory wants me to know from it again :). My first go will be your Louisiana Crunch Cake, but gosh almighty do I want to do poundcakes in this pan like all get out. Thank you Jennifer.

    • Yes, the Nordicware tube pan is one of my favorites, and it works well for this cake even though it has a larger capacity than needed. I do use it often for pound cakes, too, so you’re on the right track there. Enjoy!

  2. P.S.

    I am mortified now, as I just saw you’ve already given the link to this pan 🙂

  3. This cake has been on my mind, like a mantra….yesterday I found nirvana. The cake was fabulous. Un-characteristically I brought this cake to a gathering rather than trying it at home first. The definition of my trust in you :). There were 8 people last night who now know your name. Once again, your roadmap of weights made this cake a pure joy to craft. For some reason I did need a couple extra tbs. of cream for the crowning touch of the delicious glaze. The Almonds and Coconut on top is essential in my book…Also, the sugar on the sides of the pan (before filling with batter) gave such a textural surprise to the melt in your mouth crumb of the cake. Also un-characteristically, I brought 2 slices home for tonight’s dessert. I guess I am a bad guest :).

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