Chris and I are going away later this week. We are not travelling far, nor for very long, but we are taking a break and getting out of town. We need some time away from our respective offices, ringing phones, and schedules. Some time just to walk on the beach, lie about with a book, and snooze in the midday sunshine. We are lucky enough to be able to go up to the Sunshine Coast and spend a few days there in a midwinter recharge before we come back and finish off our holidays with a few days of stay-cation.
Usually when I have a few days of holiday I set myself lofty goals to achieve, and I end up stressing myself out when I don’t achieve them all. This time I am setting myself only one goal: take each day as it comes and treat each one as a gift. I am going for low stress, high relaxation reward and maximum time in the winter sunshine.
I baked this loaf last Friday night while I was home alone rattling around in the kitchen listening to podcasts. Jess and I enjoyed thick slices with our warm beverages on Saturday morning at the markets and the rest of the loaf is tightly wrapped and waiting in the freezer for slow, lazy holiday breakfasts where I have time to linger with a book and a whole pot of tea to myself. I might even pack a slice or two to nibble when I get back from a morning beach walk. It feels like a holiday bread: coconut and fruit always remind me of waving palm trees and cool waves lapping against the sand.
The coconut in this cake is subtle but layered. Coconut milk, coconut essence, coconut flour, and toasted shredded coconut are all featured and the creamy sweetness is paired with slightly tart raspberries in a breakfast bread that is not too sweet. The crumb is fluffy from the presence of the coconut milk and coconut flour, the top of the bread is browned and sweet like all good crusts should be. Each bite is filled with strands of toasted coconut that lend a little crunch. It pairs perfectly with a cappuccino, or a pot of Irish breakfast tea. This is a quickly made quick bread too. I whisked the ingredients together in about 15 minutes and the largest amount of time was taken up by the baking, which the oven took care of while I put my feet up and started a new book.
A few notes before baking: this loaf is gluten free, so that everyone in my house (especially me) can enjoy a slice. If you do not require it to be gluten free you can always use 280 grams (about two cups) of plain flour in place of the brown rice flour, white rice flour, and almond meal. I would not suggest replacing the coconut flour as it is important to the texture and flour of the loaf. Coconut flour is becoming easier to find now too. You can buy it from health food stores, and recently I discovered two different brands in my local supermarket. If you are using frozen raspberries do not thaw them before adding them to the mixture. When thawed they are very fragile and break up easily, which will discolour your batter. You can buy pre-toasted coconut strands in the supermarket, but I save my money and toast my own. Simply spread out onto a cookie sheet and toast in the oven as it preheats. Shake every minute or two to ensure the coconut colours evenly. Toast until most strands are changed from white to a light tan. Remove from oven and allow to cool until required. Now, I think you’re ready to get into the baking!
Raspberry and Coconut Loaf
Gluten Free | Makes 8-10 slices | Will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to three days | Freeze well-wrapped for up to two months
- 100 grams brown rice flour + 1 tablespoon extra
- 80 grams white rice flour
- 100 grams almond meal
- 60 grams coconut flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup light coconut milk (not coconut cream)
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 teaspoon coconut essence
- 2/3 cup toasted shredded coconut
- 1 1/2 cups raspberries fresh or frozen (not thawed)
- Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Butter and line a 9 x 5 inch loaf tin. Set aside until required.
- In a large bowl whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, almond meal, coconut flour, salt, and baking powder.
- Reserve 1 tablespoon of coconut to top the bread and whisk the remainder through the dry ingredients.
- In a separate medium mixing bowl whisk together milk, coconut milk, eggs, caster sugar, rice bran oil, vanilla essence, and coconut essence. Whisk until well combined.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- In a small bowl combine raspberries and extra tablespoon of brown rice flour. Shake until all berries are covered. This will stop them from sinking in the batter.
- Gently stir berries into batter. Take care not to break them up too much.
- Pour batter into prepared tin and smooth top slightly. Sprinkle reserved coconut across top.
- Place in oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Remove loaf from oven and allow to cool in tin for 10 minutes before removing and allowing to cool on a rack before slicing.