This is a casual cake inspired by my favorite spring flavors. It's moist, dense-but-in-a-good way, and has lots of coconut and lemon flavor, thanks to lemon juice, lemon zest, coconut milk, and shredded coconut. I also added ground pistachios to the batter and a sprinkle of chopped pistachios on the top of the cake. They add a nutty depth of flavor to the cake and a pop of color and crunch on top.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a (8½ x 4½ x 2½-inch) loaf pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease the paper and flour the pan. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and 1 cup of the granulated sugar. Beat on medium speed for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Beat for one more minute, until the batter is pale and thick.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add the shredded coconut and set aside. Place the pistachios in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Remove 1½ tablespoons and set aside. Continue processing until the pistachios are very finely ground. Measure to make sure you have ¼ cup, and add it to the bowl with the dry ingredients.
In another bowl, combine ½ cup of the coconut milk, the lemon zest, 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice, and the vanilla extract. Add the wet and dry mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Do not overmix. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a rack set over a tray.
In a small saucepan, combine the remaining ¼ cup sugar, 2 tablespoons coconut milk, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then remove from the heat. While the cake is still warm, slowly pour the syrup over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with the reserved pistachios and shredded coconut, cool completely, and serve
I do recipe testing and social media for Ina and love to cook for my friends on the weekend. Ina has given me lots of tips for easy cooking and entertaining, and I'm excited to share them with you here!