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This is a great little recipe from Mum Amie that I pinched from my friend Cristina after happily gobbling it at her house. Huey had gone round to play with her daughter Eva and Cristina had kindly done some baking for us! It’s brilliant for the kiddos because it’s got absolutely no processed sugar in it at all – only the naturally occurring sugar from the fruit. Do be aware that this is intended to be ‘loaf’ rather than ‘cake’, so don’t expect anything super-sweet. Its beauty is that it lacks this and is really tasty anyway. It’s really nutritious, due to the fruit it does taste ‘cakey’ enough to feel like a treat and the kids really love it. Huey was absolutely packing the stuff away! For the adults, it’s bloody lovely with a brew.

It’s an absolute doddle to make, uses hardly any ingredients and takes very little time. I’m pretty rubbish at baking as I usually only tend to make savoury dishes, and even I didn’t cock it up. It’s great for lunchboxes, after-school snacks and it’s also a brilliant weaning food as it holds together nicely for little fingers and doesn’t make too much mess. I love it!

COCONUT & STRAWBERRY LOAF
Serves 8
20 minutes prep time
45 minutes baking in the oven

INGREDIENTS

Banana (1 large, mashed)
Strawberries (8 diced, plus extra for decoration)
Oil (half a cup – I use rice bran oil or melted coconut oil)
Eggs (2 large)
Natural yogurt (half a cup)
Vanilla (1 tsp extract or seeds of 1 vanilla bean)
Self-raising flour (2 cups – I used gluten-free)
Baking powder (1 tsp)
Desiccated coconut (half a cup, plus extra for sprinkling on top at the end)

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METHOD

– In a large mixing bowl, mash the banana well with a fork.

Add the chopped strawberries. I had some raspberries that needed eating up, so I chucked a few of these in too with the strawberries and they worked really well.

Add the half cup of oil. The original recipe says she used olive oil, so that’s what I used the first time I made this. However, I’m not sure if it’s because ours was extra virgin olive oil, but I found that the olive-y taste was a little overpowering and wasn’t too keen on that. So on subsequent times that I’ve made this, I used oil that either has very little flavour (such as rice bran oil) or ideally melted coconut oil, which is absolutely lovely with it and obviously adds to the whole coconutty vibe too.

Add the two eggs and the half cup of natural yogurt and mix it all together well.

Add the teaspoon of (ideally sugar-free) vanilla extract. You can use seeds from a fresh vanilla bean if you want to be strict about sugar, or leave it out. Mix in well.

Add the self-raising flour, baking powder and desiccated coconut. At the supermarket I found that there are two kinds of dried coconut that seem to always sit next to each other – there’s the plain desiccated coconut (which is what you want for this recipe to keep it all sugar-free), but there is also usually a ‘dried sweetened coconut’ that you can get as well which looks almost identical so do keep an eye out for this (unless you do actually want to ‘accidentally’ buy the sweetened version!) For the self-raising flour I just substituted the same quantity of gluten-free (GF); with some recipes you need to use different quantities converting to GF, but for this one it seems to work fine swapping like for like. Mix together well.

Pour the mixture into a lined loaf tin

Decorate the top with sprinkled desiccated coconut and sliced strawberries (I used raspberries the time I made it in these photos, which worked fine too).

Bake in the oven at 180˚C / 360˚F / Gas Mark 4 for 45-60 minutes (until you can put a skewer in and it comes out clean).

– You can eat it warm straight from the oven, or it is just as nice after it’s cooled. I’ve never tried it (I am too greedy for this to last longer than a day or two) but apparently it also freezes well so you can always save some for later if you want to!

Hope you like it!

{Anna}