27 January 2014

Coconut Nutella Pound Cake

I've never cared much for pound cake.  After eating one too many heavy, dry and flavorless bricks at the post-church coffee/snack table growing up, I avoided them completely.  But after succumbing to a beautiful looking cranberry loaf over the holidays, the hubs made a startling revelation...he loves pound cake.  Having never made one in all our pre-dating, post-proposal and mid-marriage years, I didn't know these dense little cakes were some of his favorite desserts, especially when served ice cream.  So I got pounding to find some recipes that would delight his palate. (Punny, isn't it?)

Now let me tell you an amusing little trait shared by both the hubs and the pup.  Both perk up at the sound of the someone entering the pantry.  Why?  Because they know that's where the good stuff is.  The hubs goes for chocolate, the pups for dentastix and both for peanut butter.  It's a favorite past time to just open the door and see who comes running first.  But as mentioned many, many, many times before, nothing disappears from our pantry at the same rate as Nutella.

A week or so ago I couldn't help but notice the hubs drooling onto my shoulder over this delicious moist coconut pound cake on Pinterest.  As it just so happened, the can count of light coconut milk in our pantry was in double digits (seriously...shopping fail) and I had been looking for ways to prevent their deliciously hostile takeover.  But in the hubs words, everything is better with chocolate...or chocolate hazelnut.  So I decided to get a bit kooky and give a coconut-Nutella partnership a try.

Best idea ever.  Even I was coo-coo for this cake, the unofficial spokesperson for pie worldwide.

Remember those three downfalls I listed above?  Let's go through them once again.  Heavy...ok, this one didn't change so much (if anything, the Nutella makes the cake even heavier!)  But dry?  Try the total opposite.  The layers of gooey chocolate spread plus an extra drizzling of coconut milk post-bake make for one of the moistest cakes I've ever tasted.  As for flavorless...um, how could that word possibly apply to a coconut chocolate swirl bread topped with chopped hazelnuts and toasted coconut flakes?  That's right, it can't.  Touch√©, pound cake.  You take this round.

The hubs was absolutely delighted...surprise surprise! As the original recipe predicted, the bread was even better on the second day.  I was a bit heavy-handed in my milky drizzle, particularly in the middle of the loaf and it sunk a bit more than I would have liked.  Next time I'll focus the drizzle on the outside edge of the bread, which is my favorite part by far.  It has a wonderfully chewy quality resulting from the crusty edge and extra moisture from the coconut milk.  Soooo good.

Oh my stars.  Time for another slice.....

Coconut Nutella Pound Cake
Adapted from Love Foodies Original Recipe

For the cake:
  • 3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 c sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 c light coconut milk
  • 1 c flour
  • 3/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 12 oz Nutella
For the topping:
  • 2 tbs unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tbs hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 c light coconut milk
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Grease a flour a bread pan (easy instructions here).  In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar.  Cream together until pale and light, about 3 minutes, pushing down with a spatula as needed.  Add the eggs individually, beating on medium until smooth.  

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flours, baking powder and salt.  Pour half of the flour mixture and half of the 3/4 cup coconut milk into the batter and mix together on the lowest speed.  Add the remaining flour, coconut milk and the flaked coconut and mix together until well combined.  

Spread a third of the cake batter in an even layer over the bottom of the prepared pan, then top with 6 ounces (about half the jar) of Nutella, gently spreading across the batter with a spatula.  Top with another third of the batter and the rest of the Nutella before finishing with the remaining batter.  Use a butter knife to swirl the bread together 3-4 times, but do not overmix.  Top with two tablespoons of unsweetened coconut and chopped hazelnuts.

Transfer the cake to the oven and bake for 1 hour and 20-25 minutes, or until a wooden skewer or toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the bread.  Use your skewer to poke several holes into the cake.  Pour the coconut milk over the top of the bread, letting it soak into the holes (and poking more if needed).  Let cool for 20 minutes, then remove from pan to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.  Slice and serve with a big glass of milk or a scoop of ice cream.

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