Toasted Coconut and Tangerine Pound Cake

I'd like to take a moment to brag............about my friends.

Somewhere in my 20s, I decided that being proud of my friends' accomplishments is so much easier, so much more fun, and so much less stressful and exhausting than being jealous of them.

And green is just not my color.

I mean, sure, I still get jealous, but it's stupid-jealous stuff.  I'm jealous that I didn't invent Spanx and become a billionaire.  I'm jealous of people who have "soooo much trouble gaining weight", no matter how many sleeves of Oreos they consume (you know that you're jealous too.)  I'm jealous of that chick in my hot yoga class who does every pose perfectly in perfect pink yoga outfits and sparkles rather than sweats.  I'm almost certain that she's a fairy.

But that stuff doesn't really count.

I've stopped being jealous of my friends in lieu of being proud that such awesome and accomplished people actually want to be my friend.  I mean, who the heck am I anyhow?  (The lucky girl with many talented friends, that's who.)  Besides, being jealous isn't very friend-like, now is it?

So today, I would like to take the opportunity to brag about just a few of my friends with impressive recent culinary accomplishments, plug a few of their web sites, and loosely tie one such accomplishment to the recipe below.  It's a bit of a stretch, so just go with it.

Today, my friend Lisa, who writes the blog Jersey Girl Cooks, makes an appearance on the Dr. Oz show, preparing a healthy quinoa recipe.  A few weeks ago, my other friend Lisa, who writes the blog Snappy Gourmet, won a waffle-off contest with her Crunchy Chicken-Stuffed Waffle Pops on The Rachael Ray Show.  Impressive stuff.  Way to go, Lisas--you both stole the show, er, I mean shows!

Another friend, fellow blogger, and cookbook author, Camilla Saulsbury, just published what I think is her 8 zillionth cookbook, (I might be slightly off on that number, so don't quote me.)  I don't think that she sleeps, and I'm also fairly certain that her days contain 36 hours.  Whatever her secret is, I'm excited to be attending my very first IACP conference with her in N.Y.C. next week (no, not the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Association of Culinary Professionals.) Hopefully some of her general awesomeness will rub off on me.  Anyone else going???  I'm super excited.

As I type, and as you read, several of my friends are on their way to Orlando, Florida to compete in the 45th Pillsbury Bake-Off, where one lucky contestant will walk away with a super-cool million smackers.  Being chosen as a finalist in this mother-of-all-cooking-contests is a serious feat in itself, but nothing would be sweeter than receiving some serious dough from the Doughboy (you had to know that play on words was coming.)

One such friend, Teri Ralston, a.k.a. Supermom, just appeared on The Martha Stewart Show to talk about her recipe, and she did such a fantastic job (well, Teri always does a fantastic job--it's her thing.)

One of my other friends, Brett "I just won a trip to Italy" Youmans, is competing with an Orange-Cream-Macadamia Torte, a tropical inspired sweet treat.  I could go on for paragraph after paragraph, giving shout-outs to my inspiring friends, but I know that your time is precious, so I'll now give a shout out to my recipe, loosely inspired by Brett's tropical sweet treat.

This recipe, at the very core, is based on Ina Garten's lemon pound cake.  I made several changes to suit my taste, but I think that her technique of adding the soaking syrup and the glaze are essential for an irresistible and moist citrus pound cake.

I found some great looking tangerines at the grocery store the other day, so I decided to use them in lieu of the orange in Brett's torte.  I also incorporated the toasted coconut aspect, as I had a bunch of it in the pantry.  Had I also had macadamia nuts, I might have thrown those in time 🙂

Are you jealous that I have this cake on my counter?  That's fair.  I'd be jealous too.

Here are my extra tips for making this citrusy coconut cake:

  • Although it might be hard to resist, I think that this cake tastes even better on the day after it has been prepared (it slices better too!)  Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and either refrigerate it or allow it to sit at room temperature.  The flavors really develop overnight!
  • If no tangerines are available, you can certainly substitute oranges.  Use zest from three medium oranges, and keep the quantities of juice the same.
  • The cakes freeze very well.  I recommend applying the soaking syrup, but not the glaze prior to freezing, but you can freeze them after glazing.  Double-wrap the loaves tightly with plastic wrap.
  • Cubed, this pound cake makes a killer trifle with fruit, whipped cream, mousse, or pudding.  Slices of the cake also taste great grilled and served with vanilla bean ice cream.

Toasted Coconut and Tangerine Pound Cake

Printable Recipe

Makes 2 9-inch loaves or 4-5 mini loaves 


8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 ¾ cups sugar

5 large eggs

Zest of 4 tangerines

⅓ cup tangerine juice

3 cups flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon coconut extract

¾ cup full-fat sour cream

1 ¾ cups lightly toasted shredded sweetened coconut

For the Tangerine Syrup

½ cup tangerine juice

½ cup sugar

For the Glaze

3 cups confectioners' sugar

5-6 tablespoons tangerine juice

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.  Spray two 9X5-inch loaf pans with nonstick baking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.  Spray the parchment.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until very light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Beat in the tangerine zest and the tangerine juice, and beat for an additional 2 minutes at medium-high speed.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing on low speed until incorporated.

Add the vanilla and coconut extracts and the sour cream, mixing until blended.  Mix in the toasted coconut.

Divide the batter between the prepared loaf pans, smoothing the tops with a spatula.  Bake the loafs until the tops are puffed and deep golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean, 45-55 minutes.  Allow the loaves to cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then carefully invert them onto a wire rack set over a baking sheet.

Prepare the syrup:  Place the tangering juice and the sugar in a microwave safe bowl, stirring to combine.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir, and microwave for an additional 20 seconds, or until the sugar has dissolved.

Use a toothpick to poke holes in the tops of the still warm loaves, then brush the warm syrup evenly over the loaves, allowing it to soak in.  Let the loaves cool completely.

Prepare the glaze:  Whisk together the confectioners' sugar and enough of the juice to achieve a thick glaze that is still pourable.  Pour the glaze over the two loaves, allowing it to drizzle down the sides.  Allow the glaze to set for at least 15 minutes before serving.

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  1. Hi Shelby, and thanks so much for such a flattering comment!!  It really made my day 🙂  Hope you are having a great week -- hello from a brief trip to NYC!!

  2. I am totally jealous of that cake! Its gorgeous. I would have to say that I'm very proud of my friends too! I can't be unhappy for someone else's success, I just wasn't made that way. I also believe that you are a successful person too Julie! I have been in awe of you ever since I found your blog way back in 2008!

  3. I haven't seen a tangerine recipe in a long time. This sounds fabulous! And I'm with you... celebrate what friends are accomplishing rather than coveting. It's a much happier lifestyle.

  4. Thank you so much!  I completely agree about the toasted coconut -- it seems to add a little something special to take recipes to the next level.

  5. Toasted coconut, somehow always adds a taste of spring to anything that's baked. I adore this pound cake, it looks so moist - - and the tangerine, I'm sure adds that extra little zing of deliciousness.

  6. Julie, your writing is just delightful! Almost as delicious as your granola! Keep up the good work! Another generous cooking friend . . .

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