Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake

I’ve always loved coconut. I can remember my mother baking coconut cakes and letting me eat shredded coconut straight out of the bag she kept in the freezer. Yeah, that kind of coconut love.

It’s not news to many of you that I married a coconut hater. Sure, I give away so much of what I bake, but I still feel a bit bad if I bake something Quinn won’t eat at all. So, now my coconut desserts are few and far between, and I think I enjoy them even more. Absence makes the heart (er… taste buds?) grow fonder, right?

Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake offers a sweet, toasted coconut twist to classic pound cake. - Bake or Break

I have had this pound cake recipe bookmarked for ages. That happens a lot around here, leaving me with stacks of recipes I’ve been meaning to bake for years. But, I digress. Anyway, I was on a pretty serious baking spree recently and thought that with all the other baked goods in the kitchen, it was a good time to break out the coconut.

The cake itself is fairly simple. It’s essentially a pound cake with some toasted coconut mixed into the batter. It’s perfectly delicious just like that. But, the glaze really makes it something special.

That glaze is simply a mixture of buttermilk and confectioners’ sugar. That’s it! Then, of course, a bonus sprinkling of toasted coconut makes the cake both beautiful and extra delectable.

Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake


    For the cake:
  • 1 & 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • For the glaze:
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk


To make the cake:

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9"x 5" loaf pan.*

Line a small baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Spread coconut in an even layer on the lining. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes to prevent burning. Remove from oven when coconut is lightly toasted.

Set aside 1/4 cup of coconut to use for the topping.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla.

Reduce mixer speed to low. Add flour in three portions, alternating with two portions of buttermilk. Mix just until combined.

Stir in toasted coconut not reserved for the topping.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake 1 hour, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 1 hour. Then, remove cake from pan and allow to cool completely on wire rack.

To make the glaze:

Whisk together confectioners' sugar and buttermilk until smooth. Drizzle over cake.

Sprinkle cake with reserved toasted coconut.


*I have updated this from the suggested 4 & 1/2" x 8 & 1/2" pan, as many of you have said that you needed a bigger pan. I used the smaller size without incident, but the larger size is a safer bet.

Recipe adapted from Everyday Food.

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  1. tahnycooks September 25, 2013 Reply

    Sometimes life just isn’t fair. I married a nut hater. I’m in love with coconut and my hubby likes it too, so this is a must in my household!! Yah!!

  2. msdaylily September 25, 2013 Reply

    I,too, married a coconut hater and I love the stuff. I feel your pain. Sometimes though, you just have to bake something for yourself.

  3. Cyndi September 25, 2013 Reply

    The only thing better than coconut is toasted coconut! I never met a coconut dessert I didn’t like and this one looks absolutely wonderful. Love the idea of buttermilk in the glaze, too.

  4. Holiday Baker Man September 25, 2013 Reply

    I can’t get enough coconut!

  5. I love coconut too. I don’t get why people dislike it but I think it’s a texture thing. Oh well, more for us who like it!

  6. Jennie @themessybakerblog September 25, 2013 Reply

    I have more recipes than I have time for. Oh, how I wish I could be a full time blogger. This coconut loaf looks wonderful. I may whip up a loaf to take to my grandparents this weekend. Yum!

  7. JEP September 25, 2013 Reply

    I do love all recipes that include coconut. The pound cake looks deliciously moist, too.

  8. Marcie September 25, 2013 Reply

    I grew up with plenty of coconut, and love it like mad. That would be so hard to have a coconut hater in the house. Friends of mine hate it so I have to remember never to add that to things I bake for them! This cake looks so moist and delicious, and the buttermilk glaze sounds very unique. Coconut love!

  9. Joanne September 25, 2013 Reply

    We should make a our-significant-others-hate-coconut support group!! I never make anything with it because Mike won’t eat it. Shame. Because I so want this in my life.

  10. Kathy September 26, 2013 Reply

    My husband is not a huge fan of coconut but sometimes I can sneak it in! This cake looks absolutely delicious!

  11. Stephanie @ PlainChicken September 26, 2013 Reply

    I love a good pound cake recipe. My husband LOVES coconut. This would be a huge hit with him!

  12. Susan@LunaCafe September 26, 2013 Reply

    This looks sooo moist and wonderful. And coconut is one of my favorite flavors. Can’t wait to try…

  13. Debra Rose September 26, 2013 Reply

    Coconut is a favorite of mine. This looks absolutely delicious and great to have with a hot cup of coffee right now! Thanks for the recipe.

  14. Sally September 26, 2013 Reply

    Haha my father is a coconut hater and only now am I discovering the joys of coconut. I have a recipe blog about cooking on a boat circumnavigating the world and I bake quite a bit. I would love to get your feedback and comments on it when you have the time. Thanks!

  15. Kristina September 27, 2013 Reply

    I have a practical question, ‘Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 1 hour’ – does that mean turn off the heat and leave it in the oven? Thanks!

    • Author
      jennifer September 27, 2013 Reply

      Kristina, you’ll need to take the cake out of the oven when it’s done and place it on a wire rack that’s on your counter. Then, let the cake cool there for an hour.

    • Lindalb831 November 11, 2014 Reply

      No, out of the oven.

  16. ATasteOfMadness September 28, 2013 Reply

    I also love coconut. This pound cake looks perfect!

  17. Shelly (Cookies and Cups) September 29, 2013 Reply

    Im lovin the coconut!!

  18. Dorothy January 3, 2014 Reply

    You didn’t put the oven temperature so I’m guessing 350. Is that correct?

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry January 3, 2014 Reply

      Hi, Dorothy. It is 350°. It’s in the first step of the directions.

  19. Pat Olson January 23, 2014 Reply

    Recipe as prepared is too much batter for the size pan specified.
    I have one in the oven at this moment, dripping batter into the bottom of the oven. I would not make again without using a 9 x 5 loaf pan.

  20. Ada Tolliver January 30, 2014 Reply

    This was absolutely delicious. The cake is moist and rich but not overly sweet. When I make it again though I am going to try it in a bundt pan and adjust the baking time. The loaf pan was a tight fit and I fretted that it was going to spill over. Because mine turned out so moist it was difficult to slice and I found myself slurping up the delicious crumbs on my plate. Everyone loved it no matter the shape. Great recipe

  21. Kathy Swonk April 28, 2014 Reply

    I just made this cake and it is still cooling in the pan. I too think you need to put it into
    A 9×5 pan as there is just too much batter for an 8×4. Not sure there is enough batter to use a bundt pan either. I also think the oven temp should be lowered perhaps to 325. Most pound cakes that I have made use either 300 or 325 as you are baking for almost an hour.
    The batter looked rich and yummy and I am anxious to taste the finished product which I am taking to a church meeting in the morning!

  22. Jen June 18, 2014 Reply

    Your coconut bread looked amazing so I had to try it for a party tonight. I usually check all comments before baking anything, but am pressed for time today. I poured the batter into the loaf pan and while it looked way too full, I went ahead anyway. I checked on it at 35 minutes and the batter had overflowed all over the bottom rack and the bottom of the oven.

    I thought…well, I have to keep going…at this point the house is all smoked up and each time I check on the bread the oven is full as well. I have the fans all going on high speed and the back door and windows opened.

    I just checked the comments, as well as the Marta Stewart ones and it looks as though others have had the same problem. I would like to add – in my opinion – a larger loaf pan would definitely work better for this recipe.

  23. Sandy Waters April 1, 2015 Reply

    I made this recipe exactly as stated in a 9×5 heavy glass loaf pan, which somehow seems to hold more content than a similarly labeled non-stick loaf pan. The cake tasted great and looked as it did in the blog photos. The cake is actually better on the second day. It’s moist with a nice crumb. The tartness of the buttermilk glaze is a nice counterbalance to the sweet cake.

  24. Jennifer April 12, 2015 Reply

    I made this in a 9×5 pan and my oven is a mess! Either I did something wrong, or even a 9X5 isn’t large enough.

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