First, before we go any further, let me just be completely clear that this cake contains coconut sugar instead of cane sugar. To me that’s not really sugar-free, although it does comply with the rules of this week’s Bake Off challenge. It may not be table sugar – the white, granulated stuff that we know and love, but it’s still sugar and once it gets in your system, as far as I am aware there’s no real difference from the white stuff, or honey, or agave syrup etc.
Coconut sugar is made by heating the sap of the coconut flower buds until the water is reduced and you end up with sugar crystals. I’d heard of it before but never tried it, so used this week’s Bake Off challenge as an excuse to buy some (it ain’t cheap!) for a cake.
A previous impulse buy in a health food shop which I discovered in my food cupboard last week was coconut flour, and as I always have coconut oil and desiccated coconut in the cupboard, I decided to make a proper coconut cake.
Having never used coconut flour, I searched google for various recipes, and eventually came across this one from Elana’s Pantry for coconut cupcakes with key lime icing. As I didn’t want an iced cake and a couple of Bake Off bakers had used pineapple in their recipes, I thought I’d do the same with my cake and create something tropical.
The cake is simple to make, and surprisingly nice (I expected it to be a total failure if I am honest). The coconut flavour in the cake is subtle, and reminded me of the taste of anzac biscuits. The crumb of the cake is a tight sponge and rather dense, but not in a bad way. There’s not much rise in the cake (maybe I was supposed to use baking powder instead of bicarb?), and I suspect it will go stale quite quickly, but it’s definitely worth a go and I think if you were on a free-from diet you’d be quite happy to have this cake as a regular part of your repertoire.
It’s not pretty, it got a bit randomly burnt, it didn’t rise, but it was tasty. Here’s the recipe.
1/2 tin of drained pineapple chunks in juice, 125g melted coconut oil, 125g coconut sugar, 3 eggs, 125g coconut flour, 125g desiccated coconut, pinch of salt, 1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
Lay the pineapple chunks in the bottom of your loaf tin and preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
Mix the coconut oil, eggs and coconut sugar in a freestanding mixer until combined, then add the other ingredients.
You’ll end up with a thick batter which has the consistency of peanut butter, but do your best to spread this sticky mixture onto the top of the pineapple.
Bake for 45-50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean, then cool on a rack.
Serve yourself a crumbly slice, filled with self-congratulation at making something nice when you expected it to be disgusting.
Have you ever used coconut sugar or flour, and if so, what tips do you have for using it?