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Best Coconut Pound Cake Recipe (with Bonus Lessons)

The Best Coconut Pound Cake

My sister and brother went to college at LSU, pretty much like everyone in our family has for generations.  What was cool was they went to LSU with Shaquille O’Neal. In fact, he dated one of my sister’s roommates and often brought his giant, stinky size 23 feet (along with the rest of him) into her dorm room.  But that’s not even the highlight of their LSU experiences.  I think my sister may have been in her sophomore year when her friend Cheryl shared this family recipe for Coconut Pound Cake.  And that, my friends, is the best thing that came out of LSU during those years (except for their degrees, of course.) I’m pretty sure some of us cried the first time we tried it. Do you do the happy dance when something tastes so yummy you can’t stand it?  It was like that and so much better.

We’ve made this cake dozens and dozens of times over the past 25 years or so. And when I say “we,” I mean my mother, my sister and my dad.  I didn’t make them nearly as frequently as they did, but I sure have tons of experience eating them!  These days, the Coconut Pound Cake aficionado in the family is my 15 year old nephew. I don’t know what it is, but he’s got a magic touch and some epic baker’s intuition that can churn out some of the most beautiful and delicious Coconut Pound Cakes we’ve ever had.

For Mother’s Day, I decided that I wanted have a Coconut Pound Cake. I didn’t want to trust this task to my hubby, who doesn’t bake. He would have done it, but had so many questions that I would have taken over anyway. No, this was something I was going have to do myself.

I marched into the kitchen and pulled out all the ingredients.

The Best Coconut Pound Cake Ingredients

It such an old recipe that all of the ingredients are almost always on hand.  On the right is some of my Homemade Vanilla Extract. If you haven’t tried this yet, you really should give it a go. It couldn’t be easier.

Step number one, after sifting the dry ingredients together, so I guess it’s really step number 2…cream the butter and sugar.

The Best Coconut Pound Cake - Step 1

So far so good. Next I added the eggs, extracts, dry ingredients and milk.  I always make a bit of a mess when I bake, but so did Julia Child, and I’m ok with that.

The Best Coconut Pound Cake - Mixing the ingredients

Everything looks right so far. The batter was finished, so I poured it into a tube pan. I’m trying to be super fancy and anticipate what pictures will look like later, so I’m using this lovely, antique fluted Bundt pan.  Don’t you love it?

The Best Coconut Pound Cake - Batter

Hold on there, grasshopper. Only when the cake was finished did I realize why I had never seen a fancy pants Coconut Pound Cake.  The sucker won’t come out of the pan after it’s baked.  So…Lesson #1.

The Best Coconut Pound Cake - Lesson 1

I should have stuck to the tried-and-true straight-sided tube pan.

Into the oven my beautiful batter goes. I’m absolutely going to tell you that it already tastes delicious, but don’t ask me why I know that. I will deny any knowledge of licking the bowl to anyone who inquires.

The Best Coconut Pound Cake - Finished baking

While the cake baked, I made the coconut glaze that will be drizzled over the top.

I pulled the cake out when it got to this color.  You can let it go a little longer if you like it darker, but we tend to lean toward the less fully baked side of the spectrum.  You know what I mean…when it’s done, but barely!  (Brownies are good like that, too.) I’m so tempted to pick a piece off the top to taste.

The Best Coconut Pound Cake - Is It Done

I let the cake cool for about 10 minutes, then started poking holes all over the top so the coconut glaze could seep way down into it. In my head, this made complete sense.

The Best Coconut Pound Cake - Drizzle

OK.  I have to put on the brakes again.  I’m such a goofball. I wasn’t supposed to poke the holes in the top.  I should have inverted the cake from the pan onto a cake plate, then poked the holes.  After all, the recipe does say to brush the glaze on the sides.  Good grief.  Follow the directions, Tracy.  (Little did I realize at this point that the cake wasn’t gonna come out anyway…see Lesson #1.)

The Best Coconut Pound Cake - Lesson 2

In the end, it still tasted amazing. As for the photos, it was nothing that a some whipped cream and strategically placed strawberries couldn’t hide!  (That’ll be our little secret.)

The Best Coconut Pound Cake - Eat!


Cheryl’s Coconut Pound Cake


2 sticks butter (softened)

1/2 cup shortening

3 cups sugar

5 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon coconut extract (pure is best if you can find it)

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk


1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon coconut extract


Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, blend together the butter, shortening and sugar. (A hand mixer works just as well as a Kitchen Aid.) When light and fluffy, add the eggs one at time, beating 1 minute after each egg is added. Add the vanilla and coconut extracts.  Mix in half of the dry ingredient mixture, then half of the milk. Add the remaining dry ingredients, then the rest of the milk.

Pour into a greased straight-edged tube pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, mix the sugar and water for the glaze together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes then remove from the heat. Cool slightly, then add the coconut extract. (This glaze can be doubled to make it a little more moist and decadent!)

After allowing the cake to cool for about 10 minutes, invert it onto a cake plate. Poke holes in the cake with an ice pick or skewer. Pour the glaze over the cake and brush onto the sides.

Serve with berries and whipped cream, your favorite vanilla ice cream or chocolate syrup. Try a little pineapple ice cream topping for a tropical treat! It’s also fabulous just plain, and wonderful with coffee in the morning.

This is a great cake to make ahead as it freezes and travels very well.

The Best Coconut Pound Cake - Serve