Classic Apricot & Coconut Loaf Cake

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As winter begins to reach its peak and the grass outside is laced with white frost, there is nothing better than having a mug of hot tea and a slice of cake. Or, at least in the UK, that is most definitely the case!

As you may know, I am not at all new to loaf cakes, with my first blog post ever being this wonderful chocolate and vanilla marble loaf. However, this time I decided that I wanted to make something a little different, which is how this cake was born.

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I love desiccated coconut in cakes, since it keeps the cake moist for a long period of time and gives a lovely crumbly texture as well. Nevertheless, a plain coconut loaf didn’t seem enough and I recall once reading about how strawberry jam works well with coconut in cakes.

I didn’t have any strawberry jam at the time, so I decided to call upon the great friend of patisserie: apricot jam. The subtle flavour 0f apricot works well with pretty much everything and didn’t fail me with this fantastic loaf either. Using the creaming method (that I always advocate in cakes) gives you a wonderful moist, light and delicately flavoured loaf- perfect with that much needed hot drink.

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To make this cake even more aesthetically pleasing (and to add yet another dimension of flavour) I decided to adorn my loaf with a mixture of toasted coconut flakes (which are slightly more nutty and deep in flavour) as well as untoasted… The end result was rather pretty, don’t you think?

For the cake:
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
180g caster sugar
120g plain (all-purpose) flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 large eggs
80g unsweetened desiccated coconut
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp good-quality apricot jam

For the glaze:
1½ tbsp apricot jam
1 tsp of desiccated coconut

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a 23x10cm loaf tin with greased parchment paper.

Place the butter and sugar in an electric stand mixer and cream until light and fluffy – the butter should turn from pale yellow to almost white. Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together, raising the sieve as much as possible to make the cake mixture airy and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together.

Add the egg in small additions to the creamed butter mix, making sure you beat in between each addition until the mixture has totally incorporated the egg you’ve added – add a tablespoon of flour about halfway through and again near the end to help prevent curdling. Afterwards, add the rest of the sifted flour mix and the desiccated coconut, folding with a spatula to combine. Add the milk and vanilla and stir briefly again until you have a uniform mixture.

Spoon a thick layer over the bottom of the tin then spread 3 tbsp of the jam over this. Scoop two-thirds of the cake batter on top and level it. Swirl in the remaining 3 tbsp of jam then top with the rest of the cake mixture and level off again. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes until deep golden brown and a skewer can be removed from the middle and no cake batter seen.

For the glaze, combine the jam with 1 tbsp water in a small saucepan and heat until you have a syrup. Brush it over the top of the hot cake, using a pastry brush. Toast half the coconut in a small frying pan  over medium to low heat until just golden, but be careful not to let it burn as this can happen very quickly! Sprinkle the coconut over the top. Leave to cool in the tin for five minutes then lift out onto a wire rack to cool. The loaf cake should keep for around 4-5 days in an airtight container.

 

 

 

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