simply coconut

Truth of the matter is that I’ve had this post lying in the depths of my drafts folder for months now, without the faintest idea of a captivating enough prose to accompany it. While I could easily blame it on several factors;– poor time management, a writer’s block, uninspiring photographs, a nondescript subject;– and simply forgo writing this altogether, I feel almost obliged to address a certain flavour that is often overlooked in this blog. And yet, here I am, pecking away at a slice of lemon-glazed strawberry yoghurt loaf cake on this cold and wet evening, wondering how I’m supposed to wax lyrical about a far-from-iridescent bake, when I currently have near-heaven in my mouth.

And yet, I must.

Now this is where you’ll stop reading if you’re not a coconut fan, for I do believe there are strictly yes-and-no camps when it comes to the flavour. So if you love it, or know someone who does, then this long-awaited post is for you. But if you’re not, I’m sorry that these unflattering photos taken hurriedly on a late evening with quickly diminishing natural light will not come close to convincing you to at least give this recipe a consideration.

For it was after baking this loaf of coconut bread that I finally understood why such a seemingly simple bake became a permanent signature item in Bill’s Cafe. As if the aroma of this quickbread baking away in the oven was not tantalising enough, the beautifully-cracked golden dome crust greets me as I open the oven door. The marriage of milk and shredded coconut lends itself to the moist and tight-crumbed texture of the bread, while the cinnamon complements the rich coconut flavour with a dash of warmth that certainly spells comfort.

I may not be that big a fan of coconut, but a bread so easy yet versatile (eat it on its own; toasted with a dust of confectioner’s sugar; slathered with lemon curd; or with a drizzle of chocolate sauce) is definitely not one to gloss over.

Coconut Bread
(adapted from Bill Granger’s Simply Bill)

2 large eggs
300 ml (1 1⁄4 cups) milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 1/2 cups flour, more for dusting pan
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup castor (superfine) sugar
150g (1 1⁄2 cups) shredded coconut
75g (2 1⁄2 oz) butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. In a small bowl, lightly whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Add sugar and coconut, and stir to mix. Make a well in the center, and pour in egg mixture. Gradually mix with dry ingredients, until just combined. Add melted butter, and stir until smooth. Do not overmix.
  4. Pour batter into a greased and floured 8 1/2-by-4-inch loaf pan. Bake for about 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Leave to cool in pan for 5 minutes, remove bread from pan, and finish cooling on a rack.
  5. Serve in thick slices, toasted lightly, buttered, and dust with confectioners’ sugar (or with a glug of chocolate sauce).

23 thoughts on “simply coconut

  1. the mister

    Oooh, the first picture looks softy-good to me (especially in my current condition)… 🙂

    I dunno if I’m a coconut fan but i do know that santan doth maketh goodeth lauketh….

  2. happygrub

    Where fo u get shredded coconut from? Its hard to find the type used in the U.S. here. You know the large shards seen in Dorie Greenspans baking from my home to yours, the one on the carrot cake! I wonder if our kelapa parut can be substituted with it. The dessicated coconut from bake shops isn’t the same is it?

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  4. grace

    i’m just in love with coconut, so no words are really necessary to draw me in! i love the shape of the loaf–it’s quite unique. 🙂

  5. ovenhaven Post author

    zurin: Glad to know I’m not the only one who loves the cracks!

    happygrub: For this one, I used unsweetened dessicated coconut, and add a lil bit more milk to balance off the liquid ratio. I’ve actually asked a local baker/chef about this before, and she said for cake recipes that call for shredded coconut, you can use kelapa parut (or my aforementioned substitution), but for decorating purposes, like the ones on Dorie’s carrot cake, you can use dessicated coconut, coz it’s dried i.e. no moisture.

    grace: Hehe, thanks dearie! And I guess the cinnamon flavour in it helps to lure you in as well, right? 😛

  6. percicilan

    I wish I had seen this post before I made THAT yoghurt cake I blogged about… shessh.
    But then again, I am no ovenhaven. Even if I had read this post earlier, mine would still be disastrous compared to these ones you write about and tried. 🙂

  7. ovenhaven Post author

    Awwww, you’re too kind lah, dearie! You really should try that yoghurt cake from Dorie; it’s absolutely fail-proof and versatile, and I think I’ve already made 3 variations of it 😛

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