Renée Kemps

Coconut Bread w/ Cream, Maple Strawberries & Orange Zest

Renee Kemps

I don’t exactly know why I didn’t use to like coconut – both texture and taste – but I guess it started when I ate a bounty chocolate bar, a long time ago, which was completely dried out on the inside and had this extremely bitter chocolate coating. I expected it to be really, really good, because my mum loved these bars; and when your mum loves something, it must be good, right? As you can guess, it was a huge disappointment, both for the coconut as well as my mum’s opinion. How could she like something you couldn’t even swallow? I wasn’t the only one who was unpleasantly surprised by this sweet ‘treat’. My sisters and brother didn’t like them, too. Maybe it was a wrong package, or they’re just not made for us/them, since we/they still don’t really like them.. However, I do know we all said we didn’t like coconut and that we would never eat a bounty chocolate bar again.

Years have passed by. We avoided everything coconut-y; we haven’t touched a single bounty chocolate bar. But, slightly and slowly things changed. I developed my passion for food, wanted to try all that I did not know. There was this excitement about different textures, favours and consistencies; making me want to try everything and anything and explore this world of food. So, one day, I ended up taking a bite from someone’s coffee cookie. Later on, it appeared to have lots of shredded coconut in it, making it more like a coconut-with-a-little-coffee-cookie. But, it was SO good. I had never tasted something like that; sweet, soft and silky. Tropical, exotic, so not Dutch. It was mind blowing.

Having made endless amounts of banana breads, carrot cakes, plain vanilla cakes and other bakings that can serve as breakfast like this; a slice of cake with some fruit and something creamy, it was now time for something else. Discovering the possibilities and deliciousness of coconut, a coconut bread could, of course, not stay behind. Thinking about coconut bread, I wanted it to be moist, but light. I wanted it to have a good crumb. I wanted it to be coconut-y, but not overpowering. I wanted it to be light of colour, but with a golden brown crust. I wanted it to be silky, soft and delicious. I wanted it to be like this. And I hope you do, too.

Notes on recipe
This bread is amazing on its own, directly from the oven (well, ok, let it cool for about 15 min), or the day itself.
This bread is amazing, too, a day/a few days later. Brush sides with a little butter/oil, grill, top/eat like that. To die for.
This combination of cream, strawberries and orange zest is my favourite. Sometimes I replace the cream for thick skinny yoghurt, if I want it to be a little ‘healthier’/more breakfast-y.
Any topping will do, though. Go for it.

Coconut Bread (w/ Cream, Maple Strawberries and Orange Zest)
Makes 1 loaf, 9 x 5 inch

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
85 grams unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup coconut (or any other) sugar
1 1/4 cup almond (or regular) milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 1/2 cup shredded coconut
coconut oil to grease your loaf pan
to top
whipped cream/ yoghurt
fresh strawberries
maple syrup
1 orange, zest and juice

Preheat your oven to 180C.
In a standing mixer, cream together the sugar and butter.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk until smooth. Add the vanilla and shredded coconut. Whisk until just combined.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add this flour mixture, alternating with the milk, to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined.
Grease your loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Spread batter in pan and bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, before turning it out onto a cooling rack.
Serve in thick slices.
Or, toast the slices, add some whipped cream or yoghurt. Cut strawberries and mix with a little maple syrup and a little orange juice. Add the strawberries + the juices and finish with some orange zest.