Feijoa season is upon us in New Zealand, and there are bags bulging with the fruit adorning roadsides if you aren’t fortunate enough to have a friend, neighbour or distant relative with a tree producing them in abundance at this time of year. For those not in the know, feijoas are egg-shaped fruit hailing from South America, with the almost gritty texture of a pear and tangy taste of … well, feijoa, but perhaps a little like a guava. April-May is prime feijoa time, and I have the most vivid childhood memories of piling up the skins in a tower while absolutely gorging myself on them.
As for this cake, it’s the ultimate autumnal afternoon tea treat. It’s moist (there’s really no other word to go here – soggy and wet cakes sound even worse, right?) with a delicate crumb, and made with coconut instead of refined sugar. This wasn’t so much for health reasons – sugar is sugar after all, as for the fact that the coconut variety lends itself a delicious caramelised flavour, which works incredibly with the fruit and coconut. The salted coconut syrup absolutely makes the cake, and by poking holes throughout the loaf and drizzling it on immediately on removing from the oven, each piece is an utter delight to eat. I should know, I had multiple. The cake is not so much rustic as it is ridiculously delicious for such simple, seasonal ingredients.
If you don’t happen to live in a region (I keep wanting to say fecund, but I feel like that’s a bit gross) full of feijoas, they could easily be substituted for an extra banana, or some tinned, diced pineapple. I made it gluten free, and while it is a little crumbly by nature, it is in no way dry – in fact, quite the opposite. It also can easily be made dairy free to please all parties.
salted coconut drizzled feijoa banana loaf cake
- 200g coconut oil, melted
- 200g coconut sugar
- 5 large free range eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 150g Greek or plain yoghurt (to make dairy free substitute with 1/2 cup of coconut milk and 1 tbsp lemon juice)
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- 250g gluten free flour
- 50g coconut flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 10-12 medium feijoas, peeled and roughly chopped
- 30g thread coconut (around 3 tbsp)
- 70g coconut sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup water
- Zest of 1 lime
- Preheat oven to 350F/175C fan bake. Grease and line a loaf tin with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, beat the melted coconut oil on high speed with the coconut sugar until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla essence in with the last egg. Mix in the yoghurt/milk subsitute and banana.
- In a separate bowl, sift the flours, baking powder and salt before gently mixing into the wet ingredients until just combined. Fold through the chopped feijoas.
- Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for 1 hour – 1 hour and 15 minutes depending on your oven strength – or when a skewer in the middle comes out clean.
- While the cake is baking, make the syrup. In a small frypan, toast the thread coconut over low-medium heat until golden, stirring frequently for even cooking. Add the coconut sugar, salt and water and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes or so, allowing the syrup to reduce to about half. Stir through the lime zest, remove from heat and set aside.
- On removing the cake from the oven, immediately poke many, many holes in the top of the cake with a small sharp knife or skewer. Pour the syrup all over the entire cake. Leave to cool for half an hour before removing from the tin to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Slice and serve immediately – this is an incredibly moist cake but is best eaten fresh!