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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Going Coconuts

I love Wednesdays.  It's the day the New York Times has its Dining section.  I wait all week for it and Dining, unlike almost everything else in life, never disappoints.  It's like porn... food porn.

Dining is always filled with articles and recipes that ignite my creative spirit, or at least my copy-cat spirit.  It makes me want to shoot over to the Union Square Farmer's Market in New York to pick up some small batch goat cheese and an artisanal bread to go with it.  Unfortunately, the only place I can shoot over to is the neighborhood Giant Eagle, but I'll take what I can get.  Wednesday night is always a good night for dinner around here because the Dining Section almost always has something that "I simply have to try".

Also in Dining are the weekly articles by my current favorite food writer, Melissa Clark.  I just love her column A Good Appetite.  First of all, I love Melissa's approach to food.  She'll try anything and then make it better.  She's not a food snob which I really like.  She often writes about things like pound cake and St. Louis Gooey Cake, which are certainly not  snobby foods.  The point is, Melissa Clark writes about food that I am likely to want to make and eat.

Melissa's most recent article was all about coconut oil.  I have to tell you, she is a brave soul.  I have seen coconut oil on grocery shelves and have rejected it out of hand.  First of all, like most of us, I assumed it was a bad oil, and second of all, it has the consistency of paraffin wax.  And, while I would be lying if I were to tell you I was a health junkie, the whole waxy thing was a big turn off for me.

Nonetheless, according to the article, recent research concludes that coconut oil isn't really an evil oil.  The long and short of it is that not all saturated fats are created equal.   Coconut oil, while not quite as beneficial as olive oil, isn't as bad as some others.  And, let me tell you, it adds a really fantastic taste, if you like coconut.  (NYT 3/2/11).

So, having read Melissa's article extolling the virtues of coconut oil, I zipped out and dropped $8 on a jar of virgin coconut oil.  I came home and whipped up (yes, it was quick) the Coconut Oil Pound Cake with Almonds and Lime Zest.  I have to tell you.  It was really good.  Dense and fragrant, it's a keeper.  The recipe for that cake, along with a few others, is included in the NYT link, above.

This got me to thinking.  I love pound cake and I love coconut.  Why not enhance the coconut flavor and make this a coconut pound cake instead.  I changed the ingredients up and below is my own take on pound cake with coconut oil.  Either cake is delicious.  You be the judge.  I think you'll love both.  I do.

Recipe:  You Little Tarte's Coconut Vanilla Bean Pound Cake


1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
3/4 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon coconut extract

Heat the oven to 350 and grease a 9-by-15-inch loaf pan.

Melt the coconut oil in a small pan.  Pour it into a large bowl and whisk in the eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla bean seeds, and coconut extract.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients to combine.  Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan.  Sprinkle the shredded coconut all over the top of the batter.

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 60 minutes.  Allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, before removing from the loaf pan.  Cool completely before serving.


  1. I adore the NYT dining section. Unfortunately the closest I get to the market is either Giant or Wegman's.

    Funny thing is Nadine, I just posted a cake that uses oil too. Go check out my blog.

    In the mean time, I'm contemplating on picking up a bottle of coconut oil myself. Coconut Pound Cake sounds awesome. Now, can you do something about the new fallen snow?

  2. I am also a big fan of coconuts, and was delighted to find out that it's no longer on the list of evil foods. This cake looks beautiful. I hope to try it soon.

  3. *love* how you adapted this and made it a coconut pound cake! It looks wonderful. I just made this also...it was so good, but was secretly wishing it were a coconut pound cake. :)

  4. Anything with coconut sounds great to me. I use coconut oil quite a lot because it is supposedly healthier to use at high heat than many other oils. And it does not turn rancid as easily as most other oils.

    In my experience, Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil has the least coconut-ty odor and flavor of any of the brands I've tried and is good for recipes where you don't necessarily want to notice it. Nature's Way is noticeably more coconut-ty. Unfortunately, you can't really open the jars to find out until you get them home.

    I keep a jar in the kitchen and a jar in the bathroom: it is a fantastic moisturizer and make-up remover, and it lasts forever. I've used it for years.

  5. I love this product It is a great moisturizer for my hair as well as my skin. The smell is subtle but pleasing. I leave it in my hair overnight and it easily washes out in the morning. It also keeps my skin soft. It works very well for dry cracked heels.