A sliced golden loaf cake, the top covered in snowy white shredded coconut, a bite missing from one of the slices.

Pineapple coconut whole wheat cake

The weather here in Shetland has been a bit disconcerting of late. We’ve encountered -over the course of several disconcerting meteorological events- snow and sleet at seriously pout-inducing frequency. “But it’s spring” I proclaim in outrage, and Buddy scoffs. So this weekend I’m bringing on the sunshine with some the sunny flavours of the tropics with pineapple coconut whole wheat cake.

Some times when working on a cake recipe everything falls into place, and the cake emerges, a triumph of well deployed baking principles and ratios, moist, soft perfection. At other times, however, this is far from the case, and the cake emerges tough and dry or -even worse- a sloppy mass of indistinguishable plap encased in a burnt and sagging crust. Usually after an attempt or two the issues can be rectified and the cake perfected, but sometimes it becomes an endless game of recipe tweaking resulting in a parade of horrible cakes with recipe perfection an elusive dream. This has been one of those cakes. I have attempted it with varying weird results about half a dozen times. So with the final adjustments to the recipe a success, I am now beyond thrilled with the results; a tropical whole-grain cake with the perfect balance of squidyness and texture.


For the recipe I used tinned crushed pineapple. I reserved the juice and reduced it over a low-ish heat to make a really yummy glaze with an intense pineapple flavour. In one of my attempts I glazed the cake and left it as is, and in another I glazed it and then sprinkled over some toasted coconut. Both were really lovely finishes, with one playing up the coconut flavours, and the other, the pineapple. Also, in order to nicely use one full tin of the pineapple the recipe makes two loaf-sized cakes. If you only want to make one you can easily halve the recipe and just reserve half of the pineapple for another use, or you can make the two and stash one away in the freezer (once fully cooled, wrap it in parchment or greaseproof paper and then seal it in a plastic bag) to bring out later.

This cake really is a bit of tropical sunshine on the coldest of days. It’s nutritious and loaded with whole grain fiber and is a nice change from more classical cake flavours.

I hope it brings some sunshine into your day!!

Coconut pineapple whole wheat cake
A healthy, moist, whole wheat cake, bright with the flavours of the tropics and sweetened with honey.
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  1. 430g tin of crushed pineapple (in juice, not syrup)drained, with the juice reserved
  2. 80g or 1/4 cup plain full-fat yogurt
  3. 200g or 1/2 cup runny honey
  4. 3 eggs
  5. 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  6. 375g or 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  7. 1 tsp baking powder
  8. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  9. 100g or 1 cup desiccated coconut, plus a bit for topping if you want
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and lightly grease two 2lb loaf tins.
  2. In a jug, combine the yogurt, honey, eggs and vanilla, and beat until evenly incorporated.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and coconut. Mix well.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir just until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Fold in the drained pineapple. The mixture should be quite thick.
  5. Scoop the batter evenly into the two tins and smooth out the tops a bit with the back of a spoon. Put them in the oven and leave to bake about 50- 55 minutes, until the tops are deep golden brown, the cakes feel springy, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. While the cakes are baking, pour the reserved pineapple juice into a small pot over medium heat and allow it to simmer for about 30 minutes, until the juice has reduced to a syrupy consistency. Keep it warm once it’s ready otherwise it will start to go a bit gummy. If you over reduce it, or let it cool down too much, just stir in a splash of boiling water.
  7. Once the cakes are baked, remove them from the oven and, leaving them in the to cool for 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack.
  8. Poke several deep holes in the tops of the cakes with a skewer, and pour the pineapple syrup over the tops. You can either leave them with just the glaze, or immediately after the glaze you can sprinkle them with toasted coconut (to toast the coconut, pour a bit into a dry frying pan over medium-low heat and, stirring frequently, allow it to brown a bit).
  9. Serve the cakes once cooled, or if you want to freeze one, allow it to cool completely then wrap it in parchment or grease proof paper, seal it in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer.
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