Amazing Cakes #25: Coconut Sugar Fruit Cake

I’ve been trying out recipes from The Big Book Of Amazing Cakes recently. The book has a chapter brimming full of Free-From recipes which is really useful. So far I’ve made the Gluten Free Brownies, the Vegan Marble Bundt Cake and the Vegan Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake. To fit in with dietary requirements, lifestyles and allergy needs, it’s fantastic to have a collection of recipes to fall back on.

One of the recipes was a Coconut Sugar Fruit Loaf Cake. Although the recipe contains natural sugars in the form of dried fruit, it does not contain refined sugar. Coconut sugar is palm sugar produced from the sap of the flower bud stem of the coconut palm. I have used coconut sugar before, in a vegan cake and it is definitely more expensive to buy than your average refined sugar. It’s roughly about twice as much as the same weight of soft brown sugar. I bought The Groovy Food Company’s Coconut Sugar to bake this recipe.

To start making the cake, I soaked mixed dried fruit in some hot tea the night before. I left the bowl covered in cling film overnight.

The following day when I got in from work in my day job, I started on the cookie and brownie order I had for that afternoon. When they were finished, I kept the oven on and started to make the fruit loaf.

I put self raising flour, the coconut sugar, some ground ginger and mixed spice into my mixing bowl and stirred it before adding in two beaten eggs, I then added it into the dried fruit and tea mixture.

I then spooned the mixture into my loaf tin. I use ready made loaf tin liners as I’m dead lazy and any shortcuts you can have are a massive help. I’ve bought some more recently from Tesco and they’re a godsend.

The cake baked in the oven at 160oC (fan) for about 55 minutes. I tested it and it was still a bit sticky right in the middle, so I gave it another 10 minutes. This did the trick. When it came out of the oven I left it to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes.

Usually when I have fruit loaf, I spread it with a bit of butter and serve it the Yorkshire way with a slice of Wensleydale cheese. I was so hungry, I ate a slice straightaway without either. The result was a moist and delicious cake but without feeling overly sweet.

Would I bake it again? Yes I would although the coconut sugar does make it a rather expensive bake. You can only get two loaves out of one bag of sugar.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Amazing Cakes #15: Banana And Chocolate Chip Loaf



On the first Monday of the second “lockdown” (don’t even get me started on that term!) I had a day at home.  I wasn’t even sure what was going to happen for some of that week.  Some of my work involves working in a day nursery on a regular basis and the other time I am teaching on supply in various primary schools in my area.  I knew I already had Friday booked but nothing for the three remaining days of the week. Although I love teaching, I am really anxious at the moment with the Covid situation.  I am really careful with keeping safe but I have to do my job.

To me, baking is a massive help and distraction from the crazy world we live in.  Even before the pandemic came I found baking on my days off extremely calm and therapeutic. I’d put on some of my favourite music in the kitchen and get lost in my own little baking world. I think back to why I started baking in the first place and that was over 20 years ago as a new mum.  Obviously baking was the last thing on my mind when I had a newborn but I bought a couple of Annabel Karmel’s recipe books to help give me ideas for family meals. 

In Annabel’s book The Family Meal Planner, she had a recipe for banana bread. I used to make this so often as my kids loved it and so did Mr S.  I still make this recipe to this day! Funny how my kids (especially my son)  wouldn’t eat many of her baby purees at the time but they loved all the cake recipes!
On this Monday morning I had some bananas to use up and thought about baking some banana loaf.  Annabel’s recipe includes optional nuts like walnuts or pecans but I sometimes substitute in dark chocolate chips or raisins.  It’s also a great way of using up stuff you have at home.  I also decided to try a slightly different Banana Loaf recipe and went for the one in my Great British Bake Off Amazing Cakes book. It is similar in quantities but it is a plain banana loaf with no chocolate or nuts in.

As per usual, the butter and sugar was mixed together first using the creaming method. Then beaten eggs were added in carefully, followed by  some vanilla extract.

In another bowl I weighed out the dry ingredients: plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and my own addition: a teaspoonful of cinnamon.  After the dry ingredients were folded in, I added in three ripe mashed bananas and some sour cream.  The Annabel Karmel recipe uses natural yoghurt here but I had sour cream left over from making fajitas a couple of days before.  I also added in 75g of dark chocolate chips to my mixture.

The loaf was baked in a 900g or 2lb loaf tin and I used one of my pre made loaf tin liners which I think came from Lakeland originally.

I followed the baking time carefully (one hour) and had the oven temperature on at 160o fan as stated but I felt as if the top of the cake looked burnt and unappealing.  It definitely wasn’t burnt inside and it tasted fine when I had a piece with a cup of tea later on.

Sliced up into pieces, we ate the banana bread over the next week. It keeps well for a couple of days in the tin but I always freeze it and get out exactly what we need for the day. 

Happy Baking!
Love Sam xx