Thursday, 24 October 2013
Now the days have become darker and the rain has started pounding on the windows, I've made myself a nest on the sofa. It started when some friends visited last weekend. When they left, they carefully stacked the duvets and pillows from the night before on the sofa. Instead of moving them, I fell straight into the (very comfortable) trap.
Obviously, aside from duvets and pillows, my nest has a large number of books and a laptop cable sneaking out to the nearest socket. All it needed was cake.
This recipe was initially inspired by a cake that I've had a few times at the Vaults in Oxford - I've been meaning to make a version of it for years. The base is a soft, fluffy coconut cake that doesn't dry out. It's laced with apricot jam, which creates a subtle flavour through the cake and a sticky, slightly caramelised bottom. It's a sweet cake, but not in an overwhelming or unwelcome way.
With a large mug of tea, it perfects my autumnal nest.
Apricot & Coconut Loaf Cake
For the cake:
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
180g caster sugar
120g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of fine sea salt
80g unsweetened desiccated coconut
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp apricot jam/preserve (I like to use a chunky jam that's not too sweet)
For the glaze:
1.5 tbsp apricot jam
1 tbsp water
about a tsp of desiccated coconut
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a 9 x 4"(23 x 10cm) loaf tin with greased parchment (or as I used here, greased parchment lined foil). Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a mixing bowl if using an electronic hand whisk) and cream until light and fluffy - this takes at least four or five minutes. Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together.
Whisk the eggs together. Add the egg in small additions to the creamed 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 half way through and again near the end to help prevent curdling. When you've finished the egg, add the rest of the flour mix and the coconut and briefly beat to combine. Add the milk and vanilla and stir briefly again until you have a uniform mixture.
Spread 3 tbsp of the jam over the bottom of the tin. Scoop 2/3 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 45-55 minutes until deep golden brown and a toothpick/skewer can be removed cleanly from the middle.
Combine the jam and water for the glaze in a small saucepan and heat until you have a syrup. Brush it over the top of the hot cake, using all of the glaze. Sprinkle the coconut over the top. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then lift out onto a wire rack to cool. Keeps for 3-4 days in an airtight tin.
(Makes 1 loaf cake, about 10 slices)
Three more loaf cakes:
Pear and Chocolate Loaf 2.0
Cardamon & Orange Pound Cake
Apricot & Fig Tea Loaf