Coconut Loaf Cake

 There is a deep need for rest in these days. Rest from work, duties, manners, social constraints, voices, noises, people, crowds, rush hours, public transports, high streets. There is a deep need for empty, hilly streets at dusk, bird noises, a little apartment that smells of cinnamon and baking bread, a couch, some lit candles in every room and nothing else. A deep need for neutrality: no sound, no color. A deep need for inner peace and inner brightness when everything gets too dark too early.

I find myself longing for solitude, and pure emptiness. For much that I got to know and yes, to love this city, sometimes I ache, I feel overwhelmed, I find myself panting, reaching for fresh air and hidden corners. I try to close my eyes and blank my mind and I can see the task getting harder and harder. Am I alone in this? Am I the strange one, the outsider?

I find relief in my empty kitchen, in an empty afternoon when nobody is home and I can free myself completely. The simple gestures of gathering bowls and measuring cups, ingredients and notes, aligning them on the table, turning on the oven solace my bewildered mind. I think, not free from guilt, that I could do something else instead, perhaps something more suitable to my age or my current location. But I chase these thoughts as I focus on measuring the ingredients, on following cooking instructions. My mind blanks as I pursue my goal of simply baking something, anything, as long as it fills my mind with silence and keeps my hands busy.

A coconut loaf has been in my plans for months and I simply felt its moment had come. Its purity, its triune coconut-y essence, its perfect synthesis of flavors, its light colored nature donated comfort and warmth to a lonely, happily lonely, or w happily-in-two-maximum afternoon, a time when everybody writes, or naps, or reads and no small talk breaks this peace.





Coconut Loaf Cake


1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2/3 cup natural light brown sugar
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup whole spelt flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin coconut oil, melted (plus more for the pan)
2 T chia seeds +  6 T water*
1 cup full fat coconut milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

* let sit the chia in water for at least 10 minutes: a gel will form and it can be used to replace 2 eggs in this recipe.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan with a bit of coconut oil. In a large mixing bowl, mix  the shredded coconut and the sugar. Add the flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and stir to combine. In another bowl, whisk the chia gel eggs with the coconut milk, coconut oil, and the vanilla. Add the wet mixture in to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean). Remove from the oven and let cool before slicing and serving. Serving suggestion: some coconut whipped cream (recipe here).


This bread keeps well for a few days in an airtight container, and can be frozen in slices and defrosted in a toaster.

10 Comments

  1. Cinzia December 13, 2012

    che bel post.. e che voglia di questa leggerezza e neutralità
    i semi di chia non li conosco, ma le uova penso andranno benissimo 🙂

    Reply
    • Valeria December 13, 2012

      è un seme antico, viene dall'america centrale ed è molto ricco di nutrienti. ma concordo con te, buona uova bio andranno (e fanno) benissimo! 😀

      Reply
  2. Peanut December 13, 2012

    stupendo questo cake <3 siccome i semi di chia non li trovo qui e poi anche se li trovassi costano un occhio della testa,posso usare in alternativa anche i semi di lino ridotti in polvere,vero? penso che lo proverò,mi piace davvero tanto 🙂 un abbraccio

    Reply
    • Valeria December 13, 2012

      si esattamente, li puoi usare nelle stesse quantità dei semi di chia, 2 cucchiai in 6 cucchiai d'acqua! sono curiosa di sapere come uscirà. un abbraccio a te, buona giornata!

      Reply
  3. Zita December 13, 2012

    You're not a strange outsider. I feel the same, especially before Christmas time. Public transport and traffic are so crowded and busy these days (in Budapest too).

    I baked a very similar loaf cake (http://www.ziziadventures.com/2011/02/coconut-bread.html) about 1,5 years ago. Your post reminds me that I should bake it again because I loved it!

    Reply
    • Valeria December 14, 2012

      Now I see your cake, Zita, yes, they are so close! I love the flavor of this loaf, and the texture, too –so crumbly and dense. yum!

      Reply
  4. Allie @ 6000 Miles to Home December 13, 2012

    Buongiorno, e grazie per il bel post. There really is something about this season that stirs up strange nostalgia and a need for peace, quiet and introspection. Baking, decorating, journaling and reading all make me feel better!

    http://6000milestohome.blogspot.it/

    Reply
    • Valeria December 14, 2012

      Agreed. I actually always loved Christmas but maybe it's because i've always spent it at home with my family at the countryside, where there is even too much rest and quiet. It's the first one far from home and beloved and the first one in a big city –I am bewildered, totally unprepared. I'll do my best to get through it, and this cake will help for sure.

      Reply
  5. alessia December 13, 2012

    While reading this post I saw myself again, 5 years ago, struggling to find a balance in such a vibrant and extraordinary city and I really understand you here. London fascinated me and treated me well but, after 4 years, I decided to leave to go back to 'empty, hilly streets at dusk, bird noises'. Thanks for bringing these memories back again.

    Reply
    • Valeria December 14, 2012

      I work in the centre on an High Street but thank god I live in wimbledon park, where I can get such peace without been too far away. i feel lucky for this, i can see myself craving such solitude more and more. Thank you for taking the time to leave your nice thoughts. x

      Reply

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