Finding the right translation for this cake was not easy. Here’s why:
I made these cakes for my friends at the local Firenze Parkrun. Parkrun is a weekly collective timed run, available worldwide. It’s free and volunteer-based. Even the runners are asked (whoever can of course) to bring what they can, being food or water, for the after-run refreshments.
I usually try to bring some of my creations and they are usually quite popular. I usually come back with an empty tray.
They even started to call me “runner-chef”.
One of the Parkrun volunteers, Suzi, is an English woman living in Florence. She told me that the word we use for this cake, which we always thought to be an English word, is not English at all. Or at least it is not used in the same way.
We call this “plumcake” but the funny thing is it has no plums, nor any other kind of fruit!
Looking into this I found out that the closest thing to an Italian plumcake is a pound cake in the US or a fruitcake in the UK, with the latter having candied fruit inside.
In Spain there is something similar called matecada.
Not having candied fruit inside I decided to call it pound cake, although it lacks of the 1:1 ratio between ingredients. If you have any insight you are more than welcome to leave a comment below.
After tasting one of my pound cakes another Firenze Parkrun volunteer said: “these are perfect in the milk for breakfast”….which is a nicer way to say “they’re as dry as a bone”.
I try to listen to feedback so next time around I added a new ingredient: buttermilk. I sometimes use buttermilk to make similar preparations more moist. And it worked.
Usually our plumcake is big, the size of a pan loaf. I opted for the smaller molds instead, because they are better for situations like Parkrun, and more suitable for breakfast or as afternoon snacks.
These coconut and chocolate pound cakes came out soft and fragrant. The coconut oil gives them the right amount of fat and a nice distinctive flavor, whereas the buttermilk makes them moist. It’s possible to leave the ground coconut coarse, making the texture more like a “Bounty” bar.
Coconut and Chocolate Pound Cakes
- 90 g coconut oil 3.2 oz
- 150 g buttermilk 5.3 oz
- 100 g full-fat yogurt 3.5 oz
- 3 eggs
- 140 g brown sugar 4.9 oz
- 180 g white flour 6.3 oz
- 70 g potato starch 2.5 oz
- 16 g 0.5 oz dried baking powder (alternatively 2 tsp. baking soda)
- 60 g desiccated coconut 2.1 oz
- 120 g chocolate chips 4.2 oz
- 1 pinch of salt
- egg white for brushing 1 egg
- If the coconut oil is solid melt it in the microwave or on a small pot on low heat.
- Whisk the eggs with the sugar using a handheld mixer for about 4 minutes, until the eggs are light and fluffy. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven at 170° C (340° F).
- In a large bowl combine the melted coconut oil together with the buttermilk.
- Add the desiccated coconut and mix with an immersion blender. Skip this last step if you want a more grainy, bounty-like, texture.
- Add the yogurt and mix well. Add to the egg and sugar mixture and combine.
- Sift the flour together with the potato starch twice. Add salt.
- Slowly fold the flours in the mixture until well combined.
- Finally, fold in the chocolate chips.
- I used small silicon molds. Pour the dough in the molds only reaching 2/3 of their capacity (they rise during cooking).
- Cooking if using small molds: cook 11 minutes at 170° C (340° F) with a open valve (if no valve, leave the oven door slightly open using a small ball made of aluminium foil or a wooden spoon), then cook another 12 minutes with closed valve ( closed door).
- Take the pound cakes out of the oven and brush them with the whisked egg white. Sprinkle with desiccated coconut and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Let them cool before removing them from the molds.
- Cooking using a big loaf pan: cook 14 minutes at 180° C (355° F) with a open valve (if no valve, leave the oven door slightly open using a small ball made of aluminium foil or a wooden spoon), then cook another 16 minutes with closed valve ( closed door).
- Take the cake out of the oven and brush it with the whisked egg white. Sprinkle with desiccated coconut and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Let if cool off before removing it from the pan.