Louisiana Crunch Cake, a sweet taste of the South
If you're in college, this is prime Spring Break time. Time to pack up the car or grab the plane tickets and head for warmer parts elsewhere. If you're not in college, you're probably craving a trip somewhere warmer or at least more interesting to escape the boredom of the here and now. I've found myself scrolling through more "best budget vacations" posts than I care to admit in the past few weeks. Unfortunately I've got about a month until I get an official break. So when you can't go on that vacation, it's time to get in the kitchen and make the vacation come to you.
The only acceptable vacation option for Spring Break has to be heading to warmer climates. While the tropical islands of the Caribbean are always a solid choice, the Southern cities of the United States are just as much fun. Many years ago I went with my family to New Orleans and have been dying to go back ever since. Louisiana seems almost like a foreign country: Southern plantation homes in humid swamps, enormous river boats with paddles churning the murky Mississippi, and delicious, decadent dishes full of sugar and rich flavor. This Louisiana Crunch Cake recipe will transport you right down to the bayou and back bays of the Big Easy.
This Louisiana Crunch Cake is the third cake recipe in my Around the World in 28 Cakes series. It's the closest to home I've been so far and the most difficult recipe yet. I am NOT a baker, nor a lady who likes to be challenged. My Moroccan yogurt cake used the yogurt cup for measure and my Swedish chocolate cake had only six ingredients. So the fact that this recipe used cake flour, buttermilk, and involved creating a glaze must mean I'm ready to step up my game.
Louisiana Crunch Cake is a Southern classic that can be served at summer picnics or barbecues. A Northern girl, I've come to discover that Southerners like more of almost everything including butter and sugar. This recipe calls for two sticks of butter and sugar sprinkled on the outside. I tried to lighten it up a little by adding Greek yogurt, but it's really just a drop in the bucket. If you're on a diet, this is not the cake you want to try. But if you're on a diet, then why are you reading cake recipes anyway?
This cake calls for cake flour. Not being much of a baker, I did what every good 21st century novice baker does when encountering something new: Google it. I found out that cake flour has less gluten than all-purpose flour with the idea that the cake will be a lot lighter. Oh boy, it will definitely keep this pound cake much lighter than you're used to and it'll definitely be moist. Again, I am a novice and less frequent baker so I didn't want to invest in cake flour. Which was okay since I stumbled across the easy way to make cake flour by The Kitchn. Don't you just love the internet?
Since the cake itself is moist and fluffy, where does it get the name "crunch cake" from? Why, the layer of coconut and sugar you sprinkle across the bottom of your pan. Um, YES. That layer of crunch is so sweet and takes this cake from simple Southern pound cake to sweet, coconut-y, crunchy goodness. Another way to up the sweet factor is this vanilla glaze/frosting. If you like your cakes a little more "savory" then avoid the glaze or thin it out more.
This Louisiana Crunch cake is the perfect decadent and sugary escape to remind you that life is not all winter and work. There's plenty of sweetness and party to be have and warmer weather will be here before you know it.