Well, we truly are in the throes of autumn. While it’s sad to farewell the sun, autumn yields some amazing fruit as a consolation. I am delighting in feijoas, persimmons and tamarillos. This truly is my absolute favourite thing about autumn – the daily gorge of seasonal fruit. Yum!
In Auckland, our temperate climate is the perfect environment for growing feijoas. If you’re unfamiliar with this fruit, you need to get acquainted. They’re slightly sour, gritty and apparently a bit like a guava, though I wouldn’t know. If you’ve grown up in New Zealand, you almost definitely adore them, however not all foreigners will like them; they’re a bit of an acquired taste. Most people here will know someone who has a tree or two in their back yards. Since moving into an apartment, I’ve had to buy feijoas for the first time in my life. It seems wrong, but I love them too much to miss out. Either that, or I head around to my parents’ and raid their trees. This year we seem to have had a particularly abundant harvest, so if you’re struggling to know what to do with your feijoas, might I suggest this cake?
I made this cake gluten-free as my in-laws were coming around, however if you don’t need to make this gluten-free, feel free to use normal flour and omit the xanthan gum. If feijoas aren’t available then you could use another fruit- plums or bananas would be great! Also, the icing is really worth the effort! You can either make it with feijoa juice, or lemon juice or a combination of the two. The sharp tang of the lemon/feijoa icing is such a great contrast against the soft sweet cake.
Feijoa and Coconut Cake (gluten and dairy-free)
For the cake:
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 150g brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 250g feijoa flesh (about 8 medium sized feijoas), mashed
- 100g ground almonds
- 150g all purpose gluten-free flour
- 50g desiccated coconut
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
For the topping:
- 150g icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter (or non-dairy spread), melted
- About 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and/or 3 juicy feijoas
- 2 tablespoons coconut thread
- 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan-bake. Thoroughly grease a bundt tin and dust with gluten-free flour.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, oil and honey. Add feijoas and combine.
- Add the remaining dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine.
- Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until golden, and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes before tipping out onto a wire rack.
For the topping:
- You can make the icing with feijoa juice, lemon juice or a combination of the two.
- Scoop feijoa flesh into a small saucepan. Mash and heat until you obtain feijoa juice. If necessary, add a splash of water. Strain to remove seeds and pulp. If you get lots of liquid from the feijoas, then use this to make the icing. If not, make up the difference with lemon juice or water.
- Combine icing sugar, melted butter/spread and add feijoa juice/lemon juice/water a spoonful at a time until you get a suitable consistency. Drizzle over cake and top with coconut thread and toasted slivered almonds.