The holidays are here and we are limping along to the finish line — otherwise known as the last day of school before break. Four months of distance learning down (we’re doing a hybrid independent study/virtual learning model through our public school) and I can’t believe we’ve made it this far. We have at least two more months to go so the silver lining is that we have the routine down.
The yearly holiday baking has begun — I baked three rounds of Sarah Keiffer’s excellent lemon-cranberry cake from her first cookbook in small loaves that now rest in my freezer — and we have cookies to attend to (this year we’ll do sugar cookies with a bit of almond extract, chocolate sugar cookies, whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, gingerbread cookies, and a few more to be decided). I would also suggest this stellar coconut loaf as a teacher or neighbor gift – it’s sturdy, not-too-sweet, and pairs perfectly with the bag of locally-roasted coffee you’re also giving away.
I love this cake because it incorporates chewy flaked coconut. You can really taste the coconut, and who doesn’t want to taste the coconut (don’t answer that)? A generous sprinkle of sugar across the top makes the loaf sparkle and gives it a bit of a crackly crust. I also love slices of this bread toasted with a bit of butter.
Later today we’ll drop off our teacher gifts (mostly homemade) and bags of cookies for the ladies who work in the office (mini whole wheat chocolate chippers and chocolate cookies), with a stop at Hardcore Coffee on the way, then it’s home for the last virtual music class of the year, the final virtual class call of the year, and after that — sweet vacation! I’m going to immediately head out on a run. We’re in lockdown again in California so our trips are mostly spent going to the store for holiday ingredients and to the playgrounds — blessedly they are still open. I am hopeful 2021 will bring a return to somewhat normalcy, even if it takes awhile. Focusing on the positive — we’ve come this far and it feels like we’re nearly in the final stretch. We can do this! Coconut cake for fortitude.
[print_this]Coconut Loaf Cake, adapted from Bill Granger via smittenkitchen.com
Makes one regular loaf pan cake.
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry or white whole wheat flour OR 2 1/2 cups a-p flour
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.
In a medium bowl, sift together flours, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar. Add coconut and stir to mix. Make a well in the center, pour in egg mixture, then stir wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Add butter and stir until just smooth — be careful not to overmix.
Butter and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan — I used a longer, thinner pan. Spread batter in pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, anywhere from 1 to 1 1/4 hours — mine took one hour. Cool in pan five minutes, before turning out onto a cooling rack. [/print_this]