Louisiana Crunch Cake
This version of the Southern staple falls somewhere between a Kentucky butter crunch cake, with its coconut topping and sugary-crisp exterior, and a sock-it-to-me cake, with its sweet, crunchy layer baked into the cake. You may know Louisiana crunch cake from the Entenmann’s box, but that version evolved from one baked by the Burny Bros. Bakery in Chicago. (The bakery was sold in 1963, and Entenmann’s eventually acquired its assets.) This cake will make you a coconut lover: Make sure to toast the coconut because it adds a nutty warmness; almond extract enhances that quality. It’s a perfect holiday cake, or anytime cake, ready to warm you up and get you talking.
- Serves: 14 persons
- Nonstick cooking spray
- ¼cup/50 grams plus 2 cups/400 grams granulated sugar
- ¼cup/35 grams packed sweetened, shredded coconut flakes, toasted and finely crushed in a food processor, plus ¼ cup left whole for optional topping
- 3cups/384 grams cake flour
- 1teaspoon baking powder
- 1teaspoon fine salt
- ½teaspoon baking soda
- 1cup/226 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4large eggs, at room temperature
- ¼cup/60 grams sour cream or cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1teaspoon almond extract
- 1teaspoon lime juice
- 1cup/240 milliliters buttermilk, at room temperature
- ¼cup/62 grams unsalted butter
- 4cups/408 grams confectioners’ sugar
- 6to 8 tablespoons whole milk
- 2tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
- 1teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½teaspoon almond extract
- ½teaspoon lime juice
- Chopped almonds (optional), toasted, for garnish
Step 1Place a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup Bundt cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Step 2Prepare the cake: In a small bowl, toss ¼ cup granulated sugar with the toasted coconut. Add to the pan and move the pan around to distribute the coconut sugar evenly all over the bottom and up the sides; set aside.
Step 3Sift the cake flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda into a medium bowl until combined; set aside.
Step 4In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light and creamy, 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 cups granulated sugar and continue to mix until it’s a pale yellow, another 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, waiting until each is completely incorporated before adding the next. Add the sour cream, vanilla extract, almond extract and lime juice. Reduce speed to low, then add the flour mixture in 3 batches, starting and ending with the flour mixture and alternating with the buttermilk. Do not overmix.
Step 5Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Make sure to spread the batter evenly all over and tap the pan on the counter to release any air. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center pulls out with a few to no crumbs, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
Step 6Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes at room temperature. Run a butter knife along the edge of the cake to make sure it isn't sticking to the pan. The cake should naturally start pulling away within a few minutes of being out of the oven. Let the cake sit for another 10 minutes before unmolding onto a serving platter.
Step 7As the cake sits, prepare the icing: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar, whole milk, condensed milk, vanilla and almond extracts, and lime juice.
Step 8Drizzle the glaze over top of the cake, allowing glaze to drip down the sides to fully coat, and sprinkle with almonds and more coconut flakes, if desired. Cake will keep, covered, at room temperature, for up to 4 days.