Coconut turmeric cake looks like a sunset and tastes like tropical paradise

 
By Becky Krystal
The Washington Post
Posted8/28/2018 6:00 AM
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  • Coconut Turmeric Sweet Bread is not your average sweet bread. Flavored with turmeric and coconut, it tastes like a tropical paradise.

    Coconut Turmeric Sweet Bread is not your average sweet bread. Flavored with turmeric and coconut, it tastes like a tropical paradise. Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post and food styling by Lisa Cherkasky

Sometimes you know what a dish will taste like before you even start cooking it.

For me, this Coconut Turmeric Sweet Bread was not one of those dishes.

When I came across the recipe in "Tahini and Turmeric: 101 Middle Eastern Classics -- Made Irresistibly Vegan," by Vicky Cohen and Ruth Fox, I didn't know what to expect, but I knew I wanted to make it.

Of course, I'm familiar with the flavors. I just wasn't sure how the whole thing would come together. The fact that it's vegan -- it relies on nondairy milk and coconut oil for fat and moisture -- threw another wrinkle in my expectations because that's not the kind of baking I do very often.

To say I was pleasantly surprised by the result would not be totally fair, because my expectations weren't necessarily low. Still, I was floored by how spectacular the result was. The tropical coconut flavor melded so well with the earthy turmeric, and the combination proved enticing and unusual enough to have me reaching for seconds, and even thirds.

Coating the baking pan with tahini was a new idea, too. It worked very well in terms of flavor, giving the cake a kind of halvah crust on the outside, and release. I was able to turn the entire slab out of the pan with no sticking whatsoever. The cake is also supremely moist, not to mention visually stunning. The burnished orange crumb flecked with red specks that result when turmeric interacts with baking powder, all topped by a grid of pistachios, give this dessert major plate appeal.

Take advantage of its looks by serving the cake on a brunch spread, or be greedy (we won't blame you!) and save it all for yourself to enjoy with a nice cup of tea. You'll be tempted to, I guarantee.

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