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.
(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
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
- In a small bowl, lightly whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve in thick slices, toasted lightly, buttered, and dust with confectioners’ sugar (or with a glug of chocolate sauce).