My Easy, Healthy Coconut & Raspberry Cake

A simple delicious and nutritious dessert. Why not treat yourself, your partner and your loved ones with this heart warming cake during this month of Love-uary.

Sometimes you can’t beat the classics…but a little bit of spice never hurts. Scroll straight to the bottom for my Coconut & Raspberry Cake recipe.


A cake is a cake at the end of the day, typically high in refine sugars, saturated fats and not the healthiest of foods. But when it comes to celebrating or simply sparing a moment ‘me’ time or even a work break, there aren’t many things that can beat a slice of cake with a cup of tea!


If you didn't already know the occasional high sugar, high fat, high salt food CAN be part of a balanced diet and is represented in eat well guides across the world: UK, India, China, Afro-Caribbean.


The truth of the matter is, we shouldn’t try to exclude all high sugar, high fat, high salt foods from the diet because they are more than just the calories they hold. As I mentioned earlier, we have these foods when we’re celebrating, need some time to rest and recuperate and to socialise with friends, family and even work colleagues.


If there’s a dessert or savoury snack that I like, I make it my mission to learn how to make it and adjust the recipe to be lower in added sugar and saturated fats. Let’s dive into the main attraction of this cake, coconut


Common and growing in abundance in tropical climates ie Caribbean islands parts of Africa and Asia, it is a very unique fruit because it is so much higher in fats in comparisons to other tropical fruits. From the flesh alone, you can make coconut milk, coconut crème, coconut oil, coconut flour and desiccated coconut. In the Caribbean, coconut is used to treat a variety of ailments and conditions including treating stomach pains, constipation and dry skin (there is limited research to confirm it's effectiveness)


Because of its naturally high fat content, it wouldn’t be recommended to use this ingredient too frequently especially for those who have a diet and lifestyle which puts them at a higher risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes or raised blood cholesterol. But it would be an ideal ingredient for someone with higher energy requirements, higher energy expenditure or in someone with a poor appetite and struggling to maintain their weight. Recent studies have also looked into the effects of coconut oil on improving memory in people with Alzheimer’s disease. You can read my blog on Alzheimer's disease myths and misconceptions here.


Some of its associated nutritional benefits include its ability to stabilize blood sugar and lower your fasting blood sugar and alter your gut bacteria to aid blood sugar control.

It could also improve immunity as it is a good source of manganese and antioxidants which can also help reduce inflammation.


‌Tips when Buying dried Coconut

1. Choose unsweetened dried coconut products or raw coconut in its shell instead of the sweetened variety

2. Packaged dried coconut will last for 4-6 months in a cupboard and 6-8 months in the fridge or the freezer but be mindful of the use buy date.

3. Desiccated coconut can be ground further in a food processor to make coconut flour. This can be used as a standard wheat flour replacement or can be incorporated in with flour to make a reduced carbohydrate, keto friendly baked treat.

4. Desiccated can absorb a lot of the moisture so something to bear in mind especially when baking. You can use milk, oils, or a slightly reduced cooking time to prevent your coconut baked foods from going dry.



 

Recipe

INGREDIENTS

3 large eggs

10 tbsp nut milk

1 teaspoon all spice

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons cinnamon

80 g demerara sugar

75 g desiccated coconut

180 g self raising

100 g very soft margarine

About one third jar seeded raspberry jam

1 handful of desiccated coconut for sprinkling over the top




METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160Fan/350F/Gas mark 4. Insert your cake liner into a loaf tin. 2. Place all the ingredients for the cake apart from the raspberry jam in a large mixing bowl and mix well for 2 minutes until you have a smooth, even batter. 3. Pour the batter into the lined tin and level the surface. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. You could also use a knife or 1 stick of dry spaghetti if you don’t have a skewer 4. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out and leaving to cool completely. 5. When the cake is cold, spread with the raspberry jam and sprinkle with the coconut.


 

1. Vijayakumar, V., Shankar, N.R., Mavathur, R., Mooventhan, A., Anju, S. and Manjunath, N. (2018). Diet enriched with fresh coconut decreases blood glucose levels and body weight in normal adults. Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, 15(3).

2. Narayanankutty, A., Mukesh, R.K., Ayoob, S.K., Ramavarma, S.K., Suseela, I.M., Manalil, J.J., Kuzhivelil, B.T. and Raghavamenon, A.C. (2015). Virgin coconut oil maintains redox status and improves glycemic conditions in high fructose fed rats. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 53(1), pp.895–901.

3. Newell-Fugate, A.E., Lenz, K., Skenandore, C., Nowak, R.A., White, B.A. and Braundmeier-Fleming, A. (2017). Effects of coconut oil on glycemia, inflammation, and urogenital microbial parameters in female Ossabaw mini-pigs. PLoS ONE, [online] 12(7).

Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5509134/.


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