Lazy, solitary afternoons are always best for baking — afternoons just like this one. It’s Labor Day, hence a day off, and I’ve not only slept in, but I’m still lounging about my place in my sleepwear, sipping coffee out of my NYC mug, and looking out at a sunny Cairo through my modest kitchen window. In other words, it’s the perfect time to roll up my sleeves, turn on the music, and bake something amazing while the sun is still shining and the day is still young :). Breads and cakes are my favorite, mostly because they fill both my kitchen and entire house with an inexplicable warmth and sweetness. All is well when the oven’s on and something is rising inside it — especially if that something is a fusion of cake and bread. Namely, this humble afternoon creation is a cake-loaf.
With the zest of a ripe lime and a dash of vanilla, this loaf is not only extremely simple to make, but filled with goodness, moderate sweetness, and the nutty crunch of two amazing culinary heroes; desiccated coconut, and a generous handful or two of shaved almonds. The beauty of this loaf is that it rises so well as bread would; and as soon as you slice into the thick candied crust, you're met with coconutty goodness of a chunky, springy but nonetheless fluffy center that's not too sweet in its near-perfect composure (you can tell how happy I am with how this turned out, can't you? )). Alongside coconut and almond, the hints of vanilla, lime, and aniseed make it a treat to suit many tastes (or just one, if you're into flavor-medleys like me), and with the drizzle of lime-vanillia icing over the top and a generous sprinkle of shaved almonds, you're in for a something different and familiar, all at once.
Preheat oven to 180.C.
Butter a large loaf tin and set aside (I use a sliver of parchment paper cut to the size of my loaf tin as well, to be 100% sure nothing sticks).
Combine butter, eggs, vanilla, and sugar together, and whisk by hand.
Add salt, lime zest, and aniseed, and whisk
in a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, coconut and almonds, and whisk together
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, and stir using a spatula or fork until combined
Pour batter into prepared loaf tin, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes until toothpick comes out clean (note — the face of you loaf may start to brown before the inside is fully baked. if this happens, simply cover it up loosely with foil until it’s ready)
Set cake aside to cool for 15 minutes before removing from loaf tin. Leave to cool fully on a serving platter before drizzling with icing and shaved almonds. Enjoy!