Have you ever worked on something so much that you got weary of working on it, but you didn’t want to take a break, because you wanted to get it done and be done with it? That’s me today with this cake streusel thing for this here blog post. I spent the good part of this morning, just working on how much to put of each ingredient, what I expected each ingredient to contribute to the recipe and then making it, and then figuring out how to present it. Not to mention what to call it. Cake Loaf vs. Loaf Cake? Good Gawd. But I’m finally done with it. I think. I’m amazed at how long this took, but then again, this was a special case, because I’ve only previously worked with bottled tamarind paste, which doesn’t require rehydrating and sifting to remove the fibers and seeds.
By the way, here’s a good link on how to prep the pulp.
Tamarind is my new favorite thing. And I know I say that about practically everything I blog about, but I’m serious. I’m fascinated by its flavor. Sour with a tang, with something sweet to it. Something mysterious about it. Tamarind. Amazing.
As I made this this morning, it occurred to me that I’ve made a ton of quick bread recipes. I wonder if I’ll still be here in 20 or 30 years, posting about some quick bread I made. Maybe we will all have moved on from food blogging, and will all just telepathically convey to all interested what we did instead of writing out recipes and taking photos of them. I don’t know. Or maybe we won’t have the internet anymore because…the end is near?! I hope not!
For now, though, please enjoy! It goes well with the coconut flavor, but you can also make it without the coconut ingredients, if you are not a coconut fan, using instead regular vegetable oil in place of the coconut oil, vanilla extract instead of coconut extract, and whipping cream or other dairy product or dairy substitute for the cream of coconut. Just add another 1/4 cup of brown sugar with the cake batter, because cream of coconut is very sweet, and you’ll need the sweet to combat the strong sourness of the tamarind. You can probably also skip the streusel topping, although I wouldn’t recommend it–it’s so good, and adds a nice textural contrast with the rest of the cake, plus just the right amount of sweetness.
Tamarind Coconut Streusel Cake Loaf
for the streusel:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into about 18 small cubes
1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes, lightly toasted and cooled
for the cake loaf:
14 ounces tamarind pulp (found in Asian grocery stores, often sold in plastic-wrapped 14 ounce blocks.)
1 and 1/2 cups hot water
– – –
2 cups all purpose flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
– – –
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon coconut extract (can use vanilla extract)
– – –
1/2 cup sweetened cream of coconut (I used Coco Lopez brand)
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare a (9″x5″) loaf pan by greasing with butter or using a baking spray. Line with a narrow parchment paper that goes in the bottom and up the sides, overhanging from the short sides by a few inches, for easy removal.
Make the streusel, if using, by adding the brown sugar, flour, and cardamom to a small bowl and blending in the small cubes of butter into it with your clean fingers, until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Stir in the sweetened, lightly toasted coconut flakes. Set aside.
Prepare the tamarind pulp. Place the 14 ounce(net wt.) block of tamarind pulp into a medium bowl with the 1 and 1/2 cups of hot water. Using a knife or other utensil, or your hands, break up pulp into smaller parts to allow the water to soften it. Let sit for about 15 minutes. When ready, strain using a sieve and a rubber spatula into another medium bowl to collect both the water (which will be thickened), and pulp while separating it from the tough stringy parts and seeds. Discard the seeds and tough parts into your compost bin. You will have about 1 and a half cups of tamarind pulp that is the consistency of applesauce, but only need 1 cup for this recipe. You can use the remaining 1/2 cup for something else.
Sift the flour, baking soda, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt, into a medium-large bowl and stir with a whisk to ensure all ingredients are evenly distributed and mixed together.
In a medium-large bowl, cream the coconut oil and sugar with a hand held electric mixer with beaters . Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well before adding another. Add the extract, if using, and blend again.
Add the prepared 1 cup of tamarind pulp to the egg mixture and blend well.
Alternate adding small increments of the flour mixture and the cream of coconut to the egg mixture, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl, as needed.
Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and top with the streusel mixture.
Bake for an hour or so until the batter is not jiggly, the edges are slightly browned, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out without wetness. A few crumbs are ok.
Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack before carefully lifting out of the pan by the sides of the overhanging parchment paper. Place back on wire rack and cool further before slicing. Can be served while still warm, or cooled completely.