Streusel-Topped Tropical Loaf Cake
This really is an ugly duckling of a loaf cake, but it makes up for it in deliciousness! This is one of my very favourite bakes – it is moist and full of flavour. The streusel-like, crumbly topping is popular in the Caribbean and the cake contains lots of ingredients traditionally used. Although the list looks quite long for a loaf cake, it really does mostly contain things you’d normally have in your cupboards so don’t panic! This recipe is also a great way of using up pesky left over nuts and dried fruits – what more of an excuse do you need to make it? The rum is optional but it is a nice addition; it is also the cook’s prerogative to have a cheeky sip while baking.
Butter and line a 2lb loaf tin (or use a loaf tin liner – readily available in supermarkets)
For the cake mixture:
60g unsalted butter, softened
60g caster sugar
60g soft light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large ripe banana, mashed
125g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
65ml coconut milk
1 tbsp rum
40g desiccated coconut
40g chopped pecans or brazil nuts (or a mix of both)
40g glacé cherries
For the streusel topping:
40g plain flour
40g demerara sugar
40g unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
10g desiccated coconut
40g pecans or brazil nuts (or a mix of both)
Preheat oven to 170C.
Tip: Prep the ingredients (except for the butter and sugars for the cake mixture) in separate bowls before you start (see picture above):
1. Mix the cake mixture flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and spices together.
2. Mix the coconut, chopped nuts, cherries and sultanas together.
3. Mash the bananas.
4. Measure the coconut milk and rum into a jug
5. Crack the egg into a bowl and add the vanilla extract
6. Measure all the streusel topping ingredients together into a bowl or food processor (a mini chopper is ideal for this.)
Make the streusel topping: Blitz the streusel ingredients using a mini food processor/ nut chopper until rubble-like. Don’t process until like dust! (Alternatively do this by hand, by rubbing the butter into the flour and spices then adding the sugar, coconut and chopped nuts.) Set aside.
Make the cake: Measure the butter and sugars into your mixing bowl and cream together until reasonably pale and fluffy. It’ll look quite ‘grainy’ as there’s twice as much sugar to butter. This is fine. I use a stand mixer with paddle attachment for this – a hand whisk or a wooden spoon and a bit of elbow grease would also work!
On a low speed, gradually add the egg, vanilla and mashed banana. Turn up the speed and mix well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time.
Slowly add the flour, bicarb, salt and spices and mix on a medium-high speed until thoroughly combined.
Lower the speed and slowly pour in the coconut and rum.
Finally, add the coconut, chopped nuts, cherries and sultanas and beat for a few seconds to combine.
Tip the mixture into your prepared tin and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
Sprinkle the rubbly streusel topping evenly all over the top of the cake. Or get a little helper to do it!
Bake for 50-55mins. Check after 50. This is quite a dense, moist cake so a skewer might not emerge completely clean; you’re looking for perhaps the merest hint of banana stuck to it, but not actual cake batter.
Allow to cool completely then gently remove from the tin and store. This cake improves over a day or two – if it lasts that long!