Strawberry Lemon Red Currant Loaf (Vegan)
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I've been having my fair share of summer berries. Living on the east coast, there are only a few precious months when I can get locally grown, sweet berries that I know haven't been artificially fattened up to the size of tennis balls. When I lived in California for the first two decades of my life, I didn't realize that we were unique in our access to fresh, sweet, juicy fruit year-round.
Nowadays, I spend 9 months of the year eating gorging on apples and bananas, so you better believe I make every effort to enjoy all the summer fruit possible, even if that means spending $800 on berries. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration. But not really. Locally grown berries and fruits are mad expensive. I get why and I'm not complaining (well, I sort of am, but you know what I mean).
Given this obsession, I recently found myself with a large surplus of berries, and that's how this loaf was born. Literally, I had 10 baskets of various berries in my fridge, and my partner imposed a berry blockade until I could finish half of them. I made popsicles out of some of the berries, and then I decided I'd bake a cake. But since it was hot and sweaty out, I wanted to keep it light and summery.
I decided on strawberries and red currants because I thought it would make a pretty loaf with dotted red jewels. As you can see, I was right.
If you can't find red currants (unfortunately these beautiful gems are not so common), feel free to use raspberries or another small berry instead, or just use more strawberries. The lemon zest and generous amount of lemon juice in this recipe give the cake a nice zing and freshness, so be sure not to skimp on these ingredients.
I received a few questions on Instagram asking whether this loaf could be made with gluten-free flour. I haven't tried this specific recipe with gluten-free flour, but I have tried a few similar loaves with gluten-free flour. I like a 50:50 mix with a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend and a superfine almond flour.
With regards to the other ingredients, if you prefer not to use vegan butter and want something less processed, you can use coconut oil. If you don't want a coconut-y taste, use a refined coconut oil instead of a virgin coconut oil. And for the coconut yogurt and sour cream, I like the combination of both - the sour cream adds a slight tang, the coconut yogurt adds a little lightness, but you can definitely use just 1/2 cup sour cream or 1/2 cup vegan yogurt instead of half and half.
Those are all the tips I have for this loaf, so go get to baking!
Strawberry Lemon Red Currant Loaf
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk + 2 teaspoons lemon juice (use soy milk for nut-free)
4 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
1/4 cup coconut yogurt or other non-dairy yogurt
1/4 cup vegan sour cream
2/3 cup organic sugar
1 medium lemon, zested
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup strawberries, hulled and cut into small slices
1/2 cup red currants, removed from stalks
Sugar Glaze (optional, recipe below)
Preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C. Line a 8x4 loaf pan with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
Mix together the almond milk and lemon juice and stir. Set aside for 5 minutes to curdle.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.
In a large bowl, add the melted vegan butter, yogurt, sour cream, sugar, lemon zest, almond milk mixture, vanilla and lemon juice in a bowl and whisk until the sugar is well combined.
Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.
Spoon a third of the batter into the prepared loaf pan and scatter over a third of the strawberries and red currants. Repeat with another layer of batter and berries two more times, ending with a layer of berries.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick from the center comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes before lifting loaf from the pan. Cool on a wire rack and then drizzle with the Sugar Glaze, if desired.
1 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons almond milk
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pour the powdered sugar into a bowl. Gradually add the almond milk and lemon juice and whisk together until you achieve your desired consistency. Add more liquid for a thinner glaze.