Claire Saffitz’s Morning Glorious Loaf Cake, combining apple, carrot ginger, coconut and other goodies, is ideal for that New Year summer tea party. The recipe, from Claire’s new book, What’s for Dessert (Murdoch Books), is just one of many delicious and decadent delights contained in its pages. The book offers ‘simple recipes for dessert people’ from the acclaimed author of New York Times best-seller, Dessert Person. Don’t start your New Year’s resolution diet until you’ve sampled this treat!
I tasted my first Morning Glory muffin, which was invented on Nantucket, while visiting a friend a couple of years ago at Martha’s Vineyard. Not being a fan of muffins, and knowing that the Morning Glory kind is considered “healthy,” I had low expectations. But I was surprised—it was tender, moist, lightly spiced, and pleasantly chewy in places from coconut and grated carrots. That gave me the idea for this cake, which marries a Morning Glory muffin and carrot cake. The ingredient list is long but the method is simple, and the finished cake, which is filled and covered with a maple-sweetened cream cheese, is a great option for home bakers who like carrot cake but don’t want the hassle of baking and assembling layers.
MAKES 1 LOAF
ACTIVE TIME: 45 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 3 hours 40 minutes
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: Metal loaf pan (4. × 8. inches, measured across the top)
Melted coconut oil for the pan
1 small Granny Smith apple (5 oz / 143g), peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
4 ounces (114g) carrots, peeled and grated on the small holes of a box grater (about 1 cup)
¼ cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut (0.8 oz / 23g)
¼ cup salted roasted sunflower seeds (1.2 oz / 35g)
12/3cups all-purpose flour (7.9 oz / 225g)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt or ½ teaspoon table salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup packed light brown sugar (3.9 oz / 110g)
2 large eggs (3.5 oz / 100g), at room temperature
½ cup unsweetened applesauce (4.2 oz / 120g)
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons maple syrup (5.2 oz / 148g), plus more for drizzling
2⁄3cup virgin coconut oil (5.3 oz / 149g), gently warmed to liquefy
8 ounces (227g) cream cheese, at room temperature
- Please note that this is US tablespoons = 15ml. AUS tablespoons = 20ml.
PREHEAT THE OVEN AND PREPARE THE PAN: Arrange an oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the bottom and sides of a 4 ½ × 8 ½ -inch metal loaf pan with a thin layer of melted coconut oil. Line the bottom and two longer sides with a piece of parchment paper, leaving an inch or two of overhang on both sides. Brush the parchment paper with more oil and set aside.
COMBINE THE MIX-INS: In a medium bowl, toss together the apple, carrot, coconut, and sunflower seeds to combine. Set the mix-ins aside.
MIX THE DRY INGREDIENTS: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, salt, and baking soda until combined. Set aside.
MIX THE WET INGREDIENTS: In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, applesauce, and ¼ cup (3 oz / 85g) of the maple syrup until combined, then whisk vigorously until the mixture is smooth and slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Add the coconut oil and whisk until the mixture is smooth and satiny, about 20 seconds.
MAKE THE BATTER: Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Whisk, starting at the center of the bowl and working outward, until you have a smooth, evenly mixed batter with no dry spots. Add the mix-ins and fold with a flexible spatula until everything is well combined.
FILL THE PAN AND BAKE: Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and use the spatula to work it into the corners, then smooth the surface. Bake until the surface of the cake is risen and split, the center of the split looks dry, and a skewer or cake tester inserted into the tallest part of the loaf comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then use a paring knife or small offset spatula to cut down between the cake and the pan along the shorter sides. Use the parchment overhang to lift out the loaf and transfer it to a wire rack. Let the cake cool completely.
MAKE THE FROSTING: In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese and the remaining 3 tablespoons maple syrup and work with a flexible spatula until the mixture is mostly smooth (a few lumps are fine). Switch to a whisk and beat vigorously until the mixture is lump-free and slightly fluffy, about 1 minute. Set the frosting aside.
SPLIT AND FROST THE CAKE: Rest the cooled loaf on one of its longer sides on a cutting board and use a serrated knife to slice lengthwise down through the loaf, splitting it into two horizontal layers. Place the bottom layer on a plate or serving platter and spread half of the frosting over the cut surface, working it all the way to the edges. Gently place the top layer back over the bottom and spread the remaining frosting over the top of the loaf. Transfer the loaf to the refrigerator and chill just until the frosting is set, 10 to 15 minutes.
SERVE: Drizzle the loaf with more maple syrup. Cut into slices with a serrated knife and serve.
Can I . . .
Make it ahead? Yes. The frosted cake, covered and refrigerated, will keep for up to 4 days (refrigerate the cake uncovered to set the frosting, then cover). Let it come to room temperature before serving. The baked but unsplit and unfrosted cake, well wrapped and stored at room temperature, will keep for up to 4 days. Split and frost before serving.
Make any substitutions? Yes. You can replace the coconut oil with an equal quantity of neutral oil, such as grapeseed or avocado, or olive oil. For the sunflower seeds, you can substitute an equal quantity of any other roasted seed or chopped nut, such as walnuts, pecans, or pumpkin seeds.
Bake this in a different pan? Yes. Bake the cake in an 8 × 8-inch metal baking pan brushed with oil and lined across the bottom and two opposite sides with parchment paper, or in a 9-inch round cake pan brushed with oil and lined with a silicone or parchment round. In either pan, start checking for doneness around 35 minutes. Leave the cake whole and frost just the top.
Images and text from What’s for Dessert by Claire Saffitz, photography by Jenny Huang. Murdoch Books RRP $55.00.