Do you like pina coladas? And getting caught in the rain? While I'm more likely to answer yes to the second question than the first, I can certainly get behind this tropical loaf cake made with fresh pineapple and fragrant toasted coconut. Sorry, I'm missing the rum.
Every fresh pineapple I've brought home in the past month has been juicy, sweet and flavorful. And while it's addicting to pop chunks of it straight in to your mouth, I was also looking for a way to incorporate it in to a delicious baked good. I was disappointed to find that so many pineapple baking recipes call for using fruit from a can. I have a whole pineapple right here, why would I want a can?!
The few recipes that didn't call for canned pineapple were for pineapple upside-down cake, a creation I consider one of the worst culinary trends of the 1980s (a decade much better with music than food), and not something I wanted to serve to anyone. So I set out on my own, combining finely chopped chunks of fresh pineapple with toasted coconut and baking them both in to a loaf cake dense enough to hold them and tasty enough to compete with their flavors.
Tip of the Day: There are times when I like to betray my fat-laden, sugar roots and bake something a little healthier (I said little, I am still baking). Switching out part of the fat in a recipe for applesauce is a great place to start, but I urge you not to replace it entirely - you'll miss it too much. I like to use half and half, and also sometimes use apple butter, applesauce's richer, sweeter cousin.
1 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup vegetable oil (or 3 tablespoons applesauce and 3 tablespoons oil)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup finely chopped pineapple chunks
Spread the coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and bake on 350 F for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Beat the oil and sugars together until well mixed. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
Add in the coconut milk, and mix well.
Add in the flours, baking powder and salt, and mix until just combined.
Gently stir in the toasted coconut and pineapple chunks.
Pour the batter in to a well-greased loaf pan and bake on 350 F for about an hour.