Two loaf cakes, back to back? Yes, I am aware, let’s just say I was eating the previously-blogged dark chocolate molasses fruit loaf, and the power of suggestion worked even more expeditiously than usual, a loaf immediately begetting another loaf. And besides, it’s nearly Easter, the sanctified season of sugar, we can just roll with this delicious déjà cake and put off our adherence to content strategy structure till after the long weekend.
While my synapses are still able to ping with recipe ideas, I’m not exactly in a position (as you may have gathered from the vibe of recent posts) to be wildly testing recipes, hence why I applied this concept over an existing reliable framework, taking the Minimalist Baker cupcakes (which I’ve already enjoyed many times over), increasing the vanilla, spatula-ing the batter into a loaf tin, and hoping for the best. The icing recipe is squarely my own, such as it is, using the cheapest, stickiest jam to tint the frosting the delicate pink of Bloch split-sole leather ballet shoes and imbuing it with concentrated strawberry flavour.
I call it Double Vanilla because as above, so below, but I do think — and it could be that I was using cheap vanilla essence — that the cake could’ve withstood a little more; I certainly wouldn’t say no to folding through the scraped seeds from a real vanilla bean. The cake mix nobly shapeshifted from cupcakes to loaf form resulting in a golden slab with a light, moist crumb, a gentle crust, and a mellow, unobtrusive sweetness. Fine though it is, the loaf is really a seaworthy vessel for the necessary icing — if it’s a good plain loaf without icing that you’re after, then I’d recommend the ginger-molasses cake that last week’s recipe was based on. The icing itself tastes wonderful — and somehow a little buttery — with the hearty, practical sweetness of the jam turning dainty and soft when mixed with the coconut oil and icing sugar.
As a final note in its favour, this loaf cake comes together with just a bowl and a spoon, and if you’re assertive enough with your spatula you can make the icing in the same unwashed bowl that you used for the cake. It won’t keep as long as the molasses loaf from last week, but it’s very pretty, which must count for something. And should you be making this in northern hemisphere climes, where strawberries may well be coming into season, insofar as seasons mean anything anymore, you might consider decorating the surface with them; but the real joy of this recipe (aside from its utter deliciousness, of course) is that pretty much all the ingredients are long-lasting pantry items, so you can have your berry-pink sunshine year round, and eat it too.
Double Vanilla Loaf Cake with Strawberry Jam Icing
A light, fluffy vanilla-scented loaf cake with jammy-pink icing, as fantastically easy to make as it is to eat. I used the cheapest strawberry jam here, it worked perfectly. The loaf cake recipe is adapted very slightly from these Minimalist Baker cupcakes; icing recipe by myself.
- 1 cup (250ml) soy milk, or milk of your choice
- 1 teaspoon malt vinegar (or ACV)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup (125ml) olive oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1 and 1/2 cups flour
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Strawberry Jam Icing
- 1 tablespoon very soft refined coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons strawberry jam
- 1 teaspoon soy milk, plus extra if needed
- 1 cup icing sugar
- Very optional: powdered freeze-dried berries, for garnishing
1: Set your oven to 180C/350F and line a loaf tin (mine is 23x13cm, a little either side of this measurement is fine) with a sheet of baking paper.
2: Place the cup of soy milk and teaspoon of vinegar together in a large mixing bowl, and let them sit for a minute. Together they should curdle a little, giving a sort of buttermilk effect, which is entirely desirable, so don’t worry if it suddenly looks a bit lumpy.
3: Stir in the cup of sugar, the half cup of olive oil, the tablespoon of vanilla extract and the quarter teaspoon of salt, then sieve in the one and half cups flour, one and half teaspoons of baking powder, and the half teaspoon of baking soda. Fold the wet and dry ingredients together — don’t overmix, but make sure any errant lumps of flour are thoroughly incorporated.
4: Spatula your batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and springy on top. Allow the loaf to cool completely before frosting it.
5: To make the icing, beat together — perhaps in the same, scraped out bowl that you made the cake in — the tablespoon of soft coconut oil, the two tablespoons of jam, and the teaspoon of milk. This mixture will look very unlikely, but once you sieve in the cup of icing sugar and stir it together (carefully, so as not to send clouds of icing sugar everywhere) it will suddenly form a pale-pink icing. Add a splash extra milk if it’s too thick to spread easily, and smooth it across the surface of the cooled vanilla loaf. This doesn’t make a ton of icing, but it’s just enough to generously coat the cake. Dust the icing with a little freeze-dried berry powder (I admit, I mostly did it for the photos, it will taste great either way) if using.
Store the iced loaf in a sealed container, and consume within about 2 days to enjoy it at its best, though I wouldn’t turn it down on day 3.
Fancy by Reba McEntire, she absolutely pounces on this song and makes it her own and I adore this live performance (but then, I am always inordinately impressed and moved by a quick-change moment); I am, however, also a fan of Julia Murney’s worthy cover and Bobbie Gentry’s original, less bombastic but with that bewitching Gentry storytelling quality and sixties production.
Sinatra by Helmet, big and dark and mottled, like dragging a weighted blanket uphill but in a really good way, and the greatest use of the word “ME” isolated in a song since the coda of Defying Gravity (or vice versa, since the latter was obviously written several years later, but my point stands.)
Snake Eyes by Main Source, so warm and captivating with that record crackle-pop horn-filled melody, and extremely satisfying verses, I love it.
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