Coconut Orange Cake

Some people prefer chocolate.
Some people prefer vanilla.

Me, well most days I’m a chocolate girl.
Rocky road ice cream or pralines and cream? – Rocky road.
Chocolate chip or sugar cookies? Tough call but I’d go for those warm melting dark chocolate bits of heaven any day.
White shoes or brown – brown.

Like I said, I’m a chocolate girl…..most days. But not today. Today I was pure, unadulterated, take me to Tahiti and call it day vanilla girl through and through. Today I made a different choice.

Why? Easy, this is why…..

But more about that later and yes the recipe is at the bottom …. because the reason for THAT is THIS!!


Last week I noticed I had nothing made from vanilla in my pantry but four tiny precious ounces of organic extract. That was it!  It was the saddest thing ever… well next to the death of Elvis (I’ll let it go, you need to give me time..yes I know it’s been over 30 years…I’m just not ready). I should also include the first time I found I didn’t fit into my size 8 jeans anymore and I also had a muffin top over the waist band. That wasn’t really was tragic.

So being vanilla bare I grabbed my coat, keys and sat down in my office chair and drove my internet over to The Vanilla Company where I ordered up a little (almost) everything.

“Yes I’d like some of the Madagascar Bourbon Extract please. What size? Oh hmm…let’s do a 32 oz….and you know let’s throw in a 32oz Tahitian Extract as well.”


“Ok I definitely need some beans. How about 1/2lb of the Bourbon beans. Oh the delights awaiting you my sweet little things.”


“I guess that’ll do…..Oh wait that will be excellent to have around..I’ll take some of the pure ground vanilla…that will be great in frosting, butter, for light dusting garnishes! Excellent.”

“And I guess while I’m here I might as well pick up some of the whole vanilla bean paste to round it all out.”

“I know I can use the paste and extra interchangeably but I can’t get those pretty little brown speckles from extract and besides my pantry just won’t seem complete without both so let’s throw one in.

“Wonderful, I am so excited, I’ll wait patiently watching for my dear mailman to drop off my box…5-7 days you say…oh I hope I can wait. Yes ma’am thank you Ms. Internet checkout cart.”

Tap…tap…tap…tick.tock…tick tock….

Finally after F.O.R.E.V.E.R (well it sure seemed like it.) my package arrived. Now the conundrum…what to make and which one of my lovelies will get used first?

Oh wicked decisions!!! You are so cruel!!
Wait…who says I have to decide? It’s my kitchen…my vanilla…yes..that’s what I’ll do!!

I’LL USE THEM ALL!! (insert inspirational whoop of joy here)

The first was easy. As you know I have a little (lot) obsession with butter so deciding on a sweet butter was a no brainer.

Honey Sweet Vanilla Butter

1 stick pure butter
1 1/2 Tbs honey
1/4 tsp ground vanilla powder (you can scoop out the inside of a split bean if you don’t have powder)

Blend all ingredients until butter is creamy and whipped. Store in fridge. Indulge!


In addition to the butter I needed dessert. Today is Easter (Happy Easter by the way).. and I made prime rib for dinner. That called for a special yummy dessert and believe it or not I was not in the mood for chocolate. Besides, today I was decidedly a vanilla girl.

I bought this adorable little mini-bunt pan and just had to find something to make in it. Went digging through my cupcake recipes and decided to use a coconut cupcake for my base. The rest was just added as I went. The best part was I was able to use my fresh vanilla beans and my extract and my paste.
If you don’t have all three you can use extra for all recipe wherever vanilla is called for.

I’m not sure what to call this recipe so I’ll leave it to my readers (however few you may be right now). If you have a good suggestion leave a comment. I’ll update the post at a later date.

So here’s that picture again and now the choice is yours….what should we call this?


What is it? Unofficially it’s an orange coconut bunt cake with chilled orange coconut compote and vanilla anglaise sauce. That’s all just too long to put into one title.

I just love it when inspiration strikes and even better when i don’t have to make a choice.

CocoNorange Mini Bundt Cake

The best thing about choices…you can always make a new one.

What will you choose?


Coconut Orange Cake With Orange Cream Anglaise
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
One reader said this was the best cake she ever made and was a huge hit at a family get together. Worth the time to make.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 18
  • 1¾ C. cake flour ( unbleached all-purpose will work too)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ C. shredded coconut
  • ¾ C. unsalted real butter (not substitutes), room temperature
  • 1⅓ C. sugar
  • 4 extra large eggs
  • 1½ tsp orange extra
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ C. heavy cream
  • zest of one orange peel.
Orange Compote Sauce
  • 3 fresh oranges, peeled, seeded, and all membranes removed. Cut slices into 3-4 small pieces (about the size of a cranberry)
  • ¼ C. shredded coconut
  • ½ C. sugar
  • 8 Tbs spiced rum (or grand marinier, regular rum or orange liqueur)
  • 1 vanilla bean split.
Anglaise Sauce
  • 1 vanilla bean split
  • 2½ C. whole milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • ¼ C. super fine sugar (regular sugar can be run through a food processor if needed or used on it's own).
  • 6 Tbs. heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (177 C). Line cupcake tin w/ liners or butter and lightly flour alternate pans
  2. Whisk together flour, salt & baking powder. With sharp knife or food processor chop coconut until finely ground & add to flour mixture with whisk along with orange zest.
  3. In large mixer bowl, cream butter & sugar until light & fluffy. Gradually add each egg, both extracts until incorporated. Slowly add flour mixture alternating with cream until combined and light and fluffy.
  4. Fill tins or cake pans ¾ full and bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and cook on wire rack.
  1. Add all ingredients to sauce pan and simmer for 10-12 minutes stirring carefully until sugar is dissolved and orange is tender.
  2. Leave compote to stand off heat for 10 minutes. Should thicken slightly. Chill in fridge until ready to use.
ANGLAISE SAUCE: (Le Cordon Blue Recipe)
  1. Add vanilla bean and milk to saucepan and bring slowly to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  2. In separate bowl beat yolks and sugar until pale yellow and thick.
  3. Slowly...yes slowly...a little at a time....pour milk into egg mixture...just a little at first to temper the yolks. Too much too soon and the yolks will scramble and then you'll have to start all over. So slowly..incorporate milk thoroughly into egg.
  4. Return cream back to pan and reheat stirring constantly until the cream coats the back of a spoon. Don NOT boil. Think sweet scrambled eggs. Bad...very bad.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream.
  1. Use your imagination here, there is no wrong way to plate any dessert. Try new things. How to plate it as pictured: Spoon a small amount of Anglaise sauce into the center of a plate and spread into even circle with back of spoon.
  2. Add cake to center of sauce and top just the edge of the top of the cake with another circle of sauce. Just enough to drizzle down the sides.
  3. Top center of cake with dollop of orange compote sauce. Garnish with orange and fresh cut mint.
If time contraints dictate, make the cakes ahead of time and store them in the freezer until ready to finish and serve.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cake
  • Heather

    I love reading your recipes Tara! You truly have a knack/talent for cooking and baking!

    I’m going to have to try the Honey Sweet Vanilla butter. It reminds me of the Tommy Bahama restaurant’s recipe for a Honey Nutmeg butter that comes with their freshly baked rolls, and it is dee-licious [it’s just butter, honey, and nutmeg, but I like to add some cinnamon to it as well:-) ]. There are many Tommy Bahama restaurant locations, one of which is in Orlando lol. You and Mr. Sweet Butter should check it out next time you go to Disney!!

    • Tara

      Thanks Heather!!!
      The nutmeg sounds wonderful. It actually got me thinking of a few other variations I’ll try. Maybe I’ll do a whole post on seasoned butters. 😀
      Seen Tommy Bahamas and love the clothes but have never tried to restaurants. Is there one in Baton Rouge? We will have to go! – ☺

  • Tara

    Happy to help Perry.

    As a tip – the Anglaise sauce freezes very well so if you have a lot left over you'll have plenty for future use.

    You can rewarm it on low heat as well.

    Let me know how they come out. I hope you like them.

  • Perry

    oh my goodness thank you so much !!!!!!!! I am on a deadline and couldn't have done it without your quick response.

  • Tara

    HI Perry!
    Whoops my goof! will update ASAP. it's 1 1/3 C.

    Thanks for letting me know.

  • Perry

    How much sugar in the cake?????? I have already started making it and just noticed that the amount is not listed.

  • Tara

    Fantastic! Can't wait to hear the outcome and if/how you liked them.

    I'll post a recipe for the pie crust soon for you.

  • Anonymous

    Great, it is on my list for next week. (must go to the market.) Please elaborate on the crumb use for pie crust. This sounds like something I could use.

    (love your use of parenthesis) I enjoy extra direction/clarification.

  • Tara

    HI Anonymous ☺:)
    Thanks. I'm glad you like the site and that you found your way here. –

    The bunt pan I used makes 12 cakes about the side of a medium muffin. Each will hold about 1/2 C of batter and I was able to make a total of 18 cakes.

    So for your pan you're looking at one and a 1/2 full pans.
    Don't fill them all the way to prevent to much doming of the top of the cake – you'll have to level them off. —

    A tip for any cake scraps though is you can use them to make pie crust or crumble topping for another dessert.

    Let me know how they turn out!.

  • Anonymous

    I found you on foodgawker. This looks delish. I have questions regarding cake pans. I only have one six 1-cup pan so how many cups of batter for this recipe? Very pretty site.


    This post makes me swoon. Love.