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When Pound Cake Gets a Makeover

March 3, 2014

Ann Mah

This recipe is what happens when pound cake cuts off all its hair and goes on a shopping spree: fragrant coconut oil replaces some of the butter, cocoa powder adds a luscious richness, buttermilk keeps the crumb nice and tender, while toasted coconut flakes adorn the top and add a nutty, crunchy texture. Meet pound cake 2.0.

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The fragrant richness of coconut oil and the tenderizing power of buttermilk make this the ultimate chocolate pound cake.


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

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Preheat oven to 325°. Butter an 8x4” loaf pan; line with parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang on long sides. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat oil, ¼ cup butter, and 1½ cups sugar until pale and fluffy, 5–7 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions; beat until mixture is very light and doubled in volume, 5–8 minutes. Add vanilla.

Reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients (do not overmix; it will cause cake to buckle and split). Scrape batter into prepared pan and run a spatula through the center, creating a canal. Sprinkle with coconut and remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar.

Bake cake, tenting with foil if coconut browns too much before cake is done (it should be very dark and toasted), until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 70–80 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cake cool in pan 20 minutes before turning out.

DO AHEAD: Cake can be baked 5 days ahead. Keep tightly wrapped at room temperature.

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