When it comes to dessert, my motto is usually “More is More.” A pan of plain brownies doesn’t cut it in my world. They need to have Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate syrup, dark chocolate chips and a shot of Kahlua thrown in. There are, however, a few things for which I am a purist. Shortbread cookies and pound cake, for example. Some things are just better in their pure, simple forms.
Don’t get me wrong – you can still add stuff, but the key is to keep it simple. To enhance, not overshadow. Sometimes, that’s a thin line to balance. For a girl who trips over her own two feet and walks into walls (this girl), that can be tricky. This week, I tried something that could have pushed ‘simple’ over the edge, but didn’t. It worked beautifully and started with some of my favorite things:
1. Lots & lots of butter, cream cheese and some gorgeous brown eggs
2. A bowl of soft, fluffy, sifted all-purpose flour; I’m a messy sifter
3. Macadamia nuts, shredded coconut and Cream of Coconut
4. A bag of dried tropical fruits – mango, papaya and pineapple
The result was a soft, moist, not-too-dense pound cake with all of the flavors of the islands. I’m not going to lie. My heart melted at the first bite. This, to me, is a perfect cake. No layers. No frosting. Just pure, delicious cake. It was super easy to whip up, and made two large gorgeous loaves. Here’s how I did it.
NanaBread’s Tropical Cream Cheese Pound Cake:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup Cream of Coconut
3 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 6-oz. pkg. dried tropical fruit
To start, lay your butter, cream cheese and eggs out in advance. You’ll want them to be at room temperature when you start putting this together.
Preheat your oven to 325F. Spray 2 large non-stick loaf pans with Pam spray for baking (or grease & flour both pans).
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. With the mixer still running, gradually beat in the sugar, then add the salt, vanilla, almond extract and Cream of Coconut. Beat until thoroughly combined. Turning the mixer down a notch, add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder; whisk to blend well. Roughly chop the dried fruit into 1/2″ pieces, then add the fruit, macadamia nuts and coconut to the bowl of flour; stir until combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the butter/egg mixture. Using a spatula, gently fold until all of the flour mixture is incorporated. Divide the batter in half and spread evenly into each loaf pan. Tap the pans gently on the counter a few times to help remove air bubbles, then bake at 325F for 60-75 minutes, rotating once half-way through baking. The cakes are done when a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the top of the cake. You’ll want to keep an eye on it so you don’t over bake these. An over-baked cake is a dry cake.
Remove from the oven and place the pans onto wire racks for at least one hour. After one hour, remove them from the pans and allow them to cool on the racks for another hour. One loaf can be sliced and stored in an airtight container for now; the other loaf can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and zipped into a large freezer bag and stored in the freezer for later. Or you can make a friend’s day and share a loaf. It’s up to you, but I’d taste it first and then decide. You might just decide to hang on to both.
Note: This recipe was adapted from a cream cheese pound cake recipe by my blogging friend & baker Anne, the genius behind the From My Sweet Heart blog. If you haven’t seen Anne’s blog yet, you need to drop in for a visit. She’s a lovely lady and her love of baking shows in all of her recipes and photographs. If you drop in, please tell her I said hello.