Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake – Nance & Robyn DO NOT make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake, found over at Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.

Robyn’s Take:

This week’s recipe was my choice. I don’t remember for sure where I found it, but it’s a safe bet that it was either on Pinterest or in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine. I like pound cake, I like coconut – how can you go wrong?

Remember, this is ME we’re talking about. I can always find a way to go wrong, though I do prefer to blame the recipe whenever possible.


Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake (1)

Butter, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs, buttermilk, toasted coconut, confectioner’s sugar. I should totally do a picture montage of that rum bottle of vanilla extract and how quickly it’s going down.

First thing you’ve gotta do is toast the coconut. Throw it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake at 350ºF for 5 – 10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. You’ve got to stay your ass in the kitchen and watch this stuff, because it burns in like half a second. BE VIGILANT, y’all. PS: Toasted coconut is SO DAMN GOOD. If you want to just take your bowl of toasted coconut and your bottle of “vanilla extract” and go consume them both at this point, I won’t tell on you.

Butter and flour (or spray with baking spray) a loaf pan. This is where I hit my first roadblock. I had a hissy fit because the directions specified a 4 1/2-by-8 1/2-inch loaf pan. When I got out the tape measure to make sure I had the right size loaf pan – AND I HAVE A LOT OF LOAF PANS – all of them were too big. I yelled, I stomped, I swore, and then I realized that you’re supposed to measure the BOTTOM of the loaf pan, not the top.

WHATEVS. You’d think Martha Stewart could have taken time out from her busy schedule of cleaning the bathroom grout with a toothbrush to MENTION that fact. Damn you, Martha Stewart. DAMN YOU.

Whisk together your flour, baking powder, and salt.

Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake (2)

Cream your butter and granulated sugar on medium high until light and fluffy. Martha says that’s going to take about 8 minutes, but I think Martha’s been inhaling too many paint fumes. I mean, I DID let the mixer run for 8 minutes, but I do not believe it takes that long to cream together butter and sugar, and you’re not going to convince me otherwise. NO, YOU ARE NOT.

Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake (3)

Add vanilla and then eggs, one at a time, and combine. Scrape down the sides of your bowl occasionally. WHATEVER, MARTHA.

Put your mixer on low and then add flour in three batches, alternating with two half-cup additions of buttermilk. You know what? Flour’s still going to fly everywhere. Good luck with stopping that from happening. Even the pouring shield won’t stop the flying of flour. FUCKING Martha.

Then take your bowl off the mixer and mix in 1 1/4 cups of toasted coconut, using a rubber spatula. Oh really, Martha? MUST it be a rubber spatula? What if I want to use a spoon? What if I want to use my hands? WHAT IF I WANT TO USE A CAT?

“Bitch, don’t even. I’ma cut you.”

So mix your coconut in.

Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake (4)

Again, if you were to take that bowl of batter and go off and eat it (with a “vanilla extract” chaser), you might be happier in the end.

Dump your batter in the loaf pan.

Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake (5)

Here is where the real problem came in. MARTHA said that the cake should be ready to take out of the oven at 60 minutes. I tested it with a toothpick, and it wasn’t done. Another 5 minutes? Not done. Another 5? Nope. It took an additional FIFTEEN FUCKING MINUTES past the one-hour mark until that cake was done. FUCKING MARTHA.

Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake (6)

Why, that doesn’t look dry at ALL, does it?

Let your dry brick of cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for an hour, then remove it from the pan and let it cool completely on the wire rack. When it’s been like six years and you just want to get the friggin’ cake MADE, mix buttermilk and confectioner’s sugar together.

Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake (7)

I used a measuring cup to do the mixing because that made it easier to do the next step, which was to drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake, and then sprinkle the remaining toasted coconut atop that.

Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake (8)

Lookit that fancypants of a sawdust cake. It’s like one of those cakes that looks pretty and tastes meh.

Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake (9)

The verdict? That fucking cake was REALLY DRY. The middle of the cake was a lot better than the ends, go figure. We didn’t immediately feed it to the chickens, but once the middle of the cake was gone, we did. The chickens ate it, because they’ll eat any damn thing.

I don’t even care where it all went wrong – I have no desire to ever make this stupid cake again, you hear me, MARTHA?


Nance’s Take:

Nance has no take. Nance is a slacker because she and Rick drove down here to visit us, and she’s still trying to catch up at home.

I guess I can’t blame her – I know that for every one day you’re away from home it takes three days to recover, so I’m sure she’s neck-deep in laundry and vacuuming and whatnot.

Next week, however, she better pony up with the tandem cooking shit (since the next recipe was HER choice, after all), or I’m going to sic Shirley AND Felina on her ass. You hear me, NANCE?

(No, we did no in-person tandem cooking because (1) Nance knows that I never get to go out to eat unless someone has come to visit so we went out to eat a lot, and (2) It was a last-minute trip, and we both suck at planning, and (3) We just wanted to hang out and shoot the shit, which we did and it was exactly what I needed!)

Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake - Nance & Robyn DO NOT make the same recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
: dessert
Cuisine: I don't know. French? Wtf? Has this category always been here?
Serves: How the hell would I know? Do I know what size pieces you're going to eat?
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, divided
  • 1½ cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted, divided
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  1. Toast coconut: 5 - 10 minutes in a 350º oven. Stir every couple of minutes, and watch it closely so it doesn't burn.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. (Except that it's probably already preheated, since you toasted that coconut. But just in case.)
  3. Butter and flour (or use Baker's Joy) a loaf pan. A regular loaf pan. Can you bake a loaf of bread in it? Then it's the right size. JEEZ.
  4. Whisk your flour, baking powder and salt together.
  5. Using a large bowl and a mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar on medium-high until it's light and fluffy. Martha says 8 minutes. I think she's high. Try 4 minutes.
  6. Don't forget to scrape down your bowl; apparently Martha's obsessed with scraping down your bowl.
  7. Add vanilla extract and then eggs one at a time. Beat well after each egg, and for the love of all that's holy don't forget to scrape down your bowl or Martha will come tear your head off your body and decorate her barn with it.
  8. Put the mixer on low and add flour in 3 batches, alternating with two ½-cup additions of buttermilk.
  9. Stir in 1¼ cups toasted coconut, using the stirring implement of your choice (probably a rubber spatula, but frankly I don't care what you use.)
  10. Put the batter in your buttered-and-floured (or Baker's Joy-sprayed) loaf pan. Bake for 60 minutes and use a wooden skewer or toothpick to test for doneness. If there are a few crumbs on the toothpick, it's done. If there's wet batter on the toothpick, it is not.
  11. Let cake cool on a wire rack for an hour. Remove cake from the pan and let cool completely. At this point, you could wrap the cake in plastic and keep at room temperature for up to four days. But why would you do that? Are you sooooo busy and important? Oh look at you, Miss Important Executive. SOOOOO busy and important. Excuse ME.
  12. Whisk together confectioner's sugar and 2 T buttermilk. Drizzle over the cake and sprinkle with remaining toasted coconut.



Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake – Nance & Robyn DO NOT make the same recipe — 57 Comments

  1. Hehehehe… angry baking results in the best entries!

    If you ever decide you want to make pound cake again, I have a recipe for cream cheese pound cake that is amazing and is the only pound cake (actually, the only *cake*) recipe that I do not manage to screw up. I usually use my mini bundt pan and make little mini-bundt pound cakes and they are amazing.

      • Geez, I need to do better about checking back for comments! That *might* be it because I remembered that mine uses a crap-ton of butter. I’ll check and make sure and if mine’s different, I’ll e-mail it :).

    • Oh, man. I’ve been wanting those mini bundt pans forever. I just can’t find a recipe that I think would be good in them (so feel free to email yours – it will give me a great excuse to buy those pans!).

      • You don’t need any special fancy-pants recipes for the mini-bundt pans – I use any old cake recipe (I have an AMAZING Melted Ice Cream cake that makes AMAZING mini bundt cakes! (Why the heck does spell check not recognize “bundt”?!)
        I love the angry cooking results – I always get a good laugh, and the comments are often as good as the post itself.

  2. You’re not the only one that didn’t realize that you’re supposed to measure the bottom of the pan. No wonder I never seem to have the right size pan! Gee, you think maybe I’ll have the right size loaf or casserole pan now using this method?

    Love the rewrite of the directions. Why don’t you know how big a piece I’ll cut?

    The cream cheese pound cake you linked to has 3 cups of sugar. Holy crap!

      • I never knew you were supposed to measure the bottom of the pan either.

        And a pound cake with 3 cups of sugar would kill me. My limit is 2. Heh.

  3. Damn Robyn, you are funny! I love step 11-hysterical.

    Sorry this didn’t come out well, it looks really wonderful. I feel an intense urge to toast coconut and then put it on some vanilla ice cream-doesn’t that sound good?

    • I have coconut, I have vanilla ice cream. And now I have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to eat tonight. Thanks!

      And it really does look beautiful. Damn Martha Stewart recipes. Hmph.

  4. I just read thru the recipe for Cream Cheese Poundcake from your link and noted this instruction: “beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy (do not over beat)” and it makes me wonder if your 8 minutes with the butter and sugar was the cause of the cake being dry?

  5. Jesus H., I’m just amazed that people take the time and effort to measure the got-damn pan! If I see the words “loaf pan”, that’s good enough for me. I use the one (ONE!) I have, set the timer for five minutes less than the recommended baking time, then check it every five minutes till it’s done. SERIOUSLY?? Y’all measure the damn PANS??

    • “Time and effort”? I just measured a loaf pan. It took me less than 30 seconds, and the majority of that time was spent digging the loaf pan out of the back of the cupboard. I like to know I’m using the right size pans.

      Martha is sobbing (and drying her tears with hundred dollar bills) at the idea of not measuring your pans.

      • FINE. I’m an asshole for not measuring my pans. Sad Lisa is sad. 🙁

        In my defense, I have ONE oblong baking dish, ONE square, and ONE loaf pan. Don’t even think about asking me what the dimensions are. Measuring them would serve no purpose, because I’m sure as shit not going to run out and buy a new one if my current pan doesn’t match the recipe.

        Don’t judge me! I’m a minimalist!

      • Martha is sobbing quietly into her lemon-scented handkerchief at the idea that you don’t have a glass loaf pan AND a nonstick loaf pan AND a loaf pan with the meatloaf insert.

  6. I remember in the TV movie about Martha Stewart (starring Cybill Shepherd) that there was a scene where a woman was complaining about her results from one of Martha’s recipes and Martha all but cut her a new one for suggesting that her directions were wrong! So you better watch your back Robyn! 😉

  7. I have never had a Martha recipe turn out well for me, except for a salmon & potato baked in parchment paper one. And I left out the spinach in that one, which is why it worked.

  8. The book Candy Freak gives the perfect description of coconut in anything – it’s like biting into a cuticle. Just gross.

    Coconut issues aside, I am not surprised that you had trouble with one of Martha’s recipes. Back in the day, I had a friend who was in publishing – specifically cookbook publishing. She always referred to Martha’s stuff as “product” – not recipes. Her theory was that Martha’s stuff was always about the photos and not about the taste of the resulting food.

    • Biting into a cuticle! Hahahah. Now I’m going to think of that whenever I have coconut anything (but it’s not going to stop me from eating it!)

      I’m not surprised that Martha’s food is all about appearances. Give me ugly food that tastes fantastic any ol’ day!

  9. Maybe it was dry because you used fat free buttermilk? I love me some coconut and some poundcake. I’m going to try the recipe using full fat buttermilk and will report back!

      • I’m pleased to report that I made the cake this weekend using full fat buttermilk and it was very moist!!!

        For those in Washington, DC area I found the full fat buttermilk at both Harris Teeter and Shopper’s Food Warehouse.

      • Yay, I’m so glad that it worked out for you, Liz!!! I’m thinking I may have to give it a try again with full-fat buttermilk, myself, since Fred’s such a pound cake/ coconut fan.

    • I have a few recipes that call for buttermilk and I also use buttermilk when the recipe calls for milk. But I could *never* find full-fat buttermilk; the ones I see are reduced fat (2%) and wondered if there is no such thing as full-fat buttermilk.

      • That’s a good point – I don’ t think I even noticed the fat content when I bought my container of buttermilk, but next time I’m in the store, I’m going to make a point of seeing if there is such a thing as full-fat.

      • It is really hard to find real, full-fat buttermilk these days. I use Darigold’s Bulgarian Buttermilk for my German chocolate cake.. I can find it maybe half the time.

      • Now that I know full-fat buttermilk exists, I’m going to keep looking out for it. I have a teenage boy who is very picky and skinny and I’m constantly trying to up the calories in the food that he would eat. (I shouldn’t worry too much because my husband and I were like him and we don’t have that problem now, but it’s still in the back of my mind…probably left-over from his babyhood/toddlerhood when I was always worrying about his weight.)

      • I just checked my buttermilk in the fridge and it’s full-fat (I did actually intend to make this with Robyn, but hell, I was traveling and you’re not shitting about 1 vacation day equaling 2 days of work once you get back!). I think I just grabbed it because it was the cheapest and never noticed 2% or anything else.

        Meanwhile, I’m debating making this to see if it worked or just saving the buttermilk for biscuits. FAT FATTY, FTW!

      • full fat butter milk sounds like an oxymoron to me.. because buttermilk is what is left over when you make butter – which is the fat in the milk.. so wouldn’t full fat butter milk be milk that wasn’t made into butter?

        if I remember correctly (and I am SOO not going to google cause I have five minutes to finish this comment and pack up my stuff so I can leave work on time) can’t you fake buttermilk using milk and vinegar??

      • Yeah, I’ve faked buttermilk using milk and vinegar.

        I don’t know how on earth they have fat free buttermilk, but they’ll drag the fat out of damn near anything these days, won’t they?

      • Here’s a very interesting piece on buttermilk. Buttermilk, in its authentic form, is low-fat. Cultured buttermilk, which is what most of us buy, is not made the authentic way and can be 1% or 2% or full-fat (3-4%) depending on the milk used. Thanks for making me curious enough to look into it, Connie!

  10. how do you make the vanilla? do you just add vanilla beans to the bottle of rum and let it sit? I’d have to make 2. cause vanilla flavored rum sounds awesome lol

    • Use 1 cup of alcohol (rum or vodka – I think you could also use bourbon if you wanted to) per 3 vanilla beans. Split the vanilla pods in half, scrape out the vanilla beans, put everything in a container, and shake well (I just put my pods and scraped-out bean goo into the bottle of rum). Leave the container in a cool dark place, shake it every couple of days, and start using after 2 months. You can strain out the vanilla pods and beans if you want to, but I leave everything in there.

      I’ve done it with both vodka and rum – they’re both good, but I think the vodka version has a bit more of a vanilla flavor to it.

      • I’m thinking you should make (and photograph) the vanilla making process as an entry and that way you can just refer everyone to it when asked like a big ol’ snob that can’t be bothered answering questions like this and then everyone we’ll know that we’re big time! 😀

      • I know, I need to – the only problem is that last time I made it, I made a metric ton of it (why did I not send a bottle of it home with you? Didn’t even think of it!) so I don’t *need* to make more… but then, I guess I can make a small batch for picture-taking purposes. God knows I’ll always use it eventually! 🙂

  11. My new fantasy is that La Stuart will invite Robyn on to her show for a do-over and Nance, Shirley, and Felina storm the soundstage. After Robyn quality-controls the vanilla extract for the umpteenth time with fellow guest Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson) fisticuffs with flour and toasted coconut ensue.

      • Yikes, I misspelled MARTHA’s surname; apparently I was conflating her with Mary Stewart. Surely she has more in common with Elizabeth I.

      • OMG, I was all confused and thought I was too much of an idiot for not knowing what the LA Stuart show was! Dammit, Kerry. You about tromped all over my self-esteem that day. Hee! And what the hell is conflating? Lord. I bet Amanda is just shaking her head right now at both of us!

  12. I’ve certainly measured pans, too, especially when I’m using a recipe I’ve never used before. I don’t think I’ve ever realized exactly how to measure, though. Thanks for the info!

  13. Am I the only one who can’t ever get pound cake to bake properly? I’ve tried everything, setting the baking racks higher/lower, testing different baking temps, even following recipes down to the exact ingredients (resisting the urge to substitute fat free/sugar free instead of full fat, etc). Even after baking the dang things for 2 WHOLE HOURS, they still won’t set in the middle. The odd thing is, even after all that time in the oven, they never seen to be dried out either, just really gooey in the middle.

    Is there some pound cake baking secret out there that I’m not cool enough to know?? Any tips?

    • Tina, you are. You ARE the only one! 😛

      I’m kidding. I can tell you that the pound cakes I make in a bundt pan tend to come out better than the ones in a loaf pan, and the ones that cook longer at a lower heat (the most recent success was one that cooked at 300 for an hour and 40 minutes. I was sure it was going to come out tasting like sawdust, and was amazed that it was really good!) Other than that – are pound cakes the only baked good you have an issue with, or is it other things, too? The only suggestion I can think of is – if you haven’t already – to buy an oven thermometer and double-check to be sure your oven is working like it should.

      Oh! Wait – altitude! Could it be altitude? Do you live in the mountains??

      • Alas, pound cakes are the only thing that I have trouble with. It’s definitely not altitude and I’m pretty sure my oven bakes at the temperature it’s telling me it’s baking at, since all other oven-related endeavors have come out without a hitch. Perhaps I’m just too trusting and my oven is making a fool out of me!

        I’ll definitely try out your suggestion of using a bundt pan, and I guess the cold weather is added incentive to check that my oven is heating to the correct temps. Until then, I’ll find some way to live with my gooey pound cakes. (insert dramatic sob)

      • No joke, I had the exact same thought…Don’t go causing trouble and making me want chickens!

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