Pound Cake from Ben Mims with a Southern Twist
This not-too-sweet cake is from Sweet & Southernby Ben Mims and showcases the use of fresh coconut beautifully and gets a boost from coconut milk. The acidic addition of lime and nubbly texture from cornmeal make this a singular approach to pound cake. Check out his spectacular Sweet Potato Cake and don’t miss our interview to learn more about his perspective with southern baking and desserts and his favorite way to grate fresh coconut.
Excerpted with Permission. Sweet & Southern: Classic Desserts with a Twistby Ben Mims. Published by Rizzoli 2014. Photography by Noah Fecks.
The chef at a café in Starkville, Mississippi, where I worked after college, wanted me to come up with some kind of bread to serve with her curried chicken salad. Back then, curry meant the tropics to me, so I used a basic pound cake recipe, used half cornmeal and half flour, threw in some lime zest and sweetened shredded coconut, and this gem popped out of the oven. Because it’s not too sweet, this cake still makes a great accompaniment to a lunch that straddles the sweet-savory line.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
- Grated zest of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup freshly grated or packaged shredded coconut
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
- Grated zest of 1 lime
- Make the Cake: Heat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8- or 9-by-5-inch loaf pan evenly with baking spray.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the coconut milk, lime zest, vanilla, and lime juice.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. On low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the coconut milk mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in the coconut, then pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Lightly knock the pan on the counter to settle the batter into the pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
- Make the Glaze: Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, coconut milk, and lime zest in a bowl, then drizzle it over the cooled cake. Let sit for about 10 minutes to set the glaze.