Sara Forte and her husband, photographer Hugh Forte, are the kind of people you want for neighbors. Sweet, honest, and passionate about community and good, healthy food, they’ve built a loyal following on their blog, Sprouted Kitchen.
Sara readily admits that when she was growing up, her family preferred powdered sauce mixes and frozen Mexican food over actual recipes, so her journey to whole grain cheerleader and foodie seems unlikely. After she left her family’s home—and had to learn to cook for herself—she stumbled on her journey, turning first to the familiar processed foods. Then, in an effort to be healthier, she embraced low-fat, low-sodium, low-taste foods and felt satisfied until the day her first community supported agriculture (CSA) box appeared on her doorstep.
Suddenly, she was presented with alien foods, and, determined to not be wasteful, she dove into recipes. Sara says necessity, and then insatiable curiosity, were the driving forces behind the blog. As the online community grew, so did Sara’s cooking, and commenters encouraged her to think about recipes in even more new ways. As a result, she regularly visits different diets and includes tips to make most of her recipes gluten-free or vegan, if possible. In this way, Sprouted Kitchen has managed to opt out of labels and simply name the food—a refreshing change of pace from narrowly focused niches.
After two years of husband-wife collaboration, the duo published their first cookbook: The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods in August 2012. Below, Sara and Hugh have shared one of their favorite fall treats. —Courtney Sorrell
Serves 6 -8
The coconut flavor here is pretty subtle, despite it having three coconut-based ingredients. Fresh out of the oven, it is fairly crumbly. As it rests, it holds together better and a slice stands up well to a minute or two in the toaster oven before you garnish. Hugh believes you really must have a sweet to go with your coffee, so it’s nice to have this loaf around that can pass for a breakfast pastry, afternoon snack, or can dress up for dessert with a bit of fresh whipping cream or ice cream.
It is easier to come by sweetened coconut than unsweetened, and if that is all you can find, simply scale back the sugar by about 2-3 Tbsp. The cake can be made a day in advance, and kept covered. If serving to a group, lay the slices on a baking sheet and put them under the broiler for a minute or two to warm through and toast the edges. Add the garnishes from there.
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut, divided
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
13 oz. can coconut milk, divided
1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil, melted
1 tsp. real vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 cups fresh blackberries
1 cup organic powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350. Coat a loaf pan with a thin coat of butter or coconut oil.
Spread the coconut on a rimmed baking sheet, and toast until just golden brown, about 4 minutes. Watch it carefully, it toasts very quickly. Set aside 1/2 cup for topping the finished loaf.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the toasted coconut and the remaining dry ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the eggs together, then whisk in 1 Cup of the coconut milk, coconut oil and vanilla. Gently mix the wet mixture into the dry and stir until just combined. Pour the mix into the loaf pan and bake on the middle rack for 45-50 minutes, testing the center with a toothpick for doneness. Remove to cool.
While the cake bakes, add 1/3 cup of the remaining coconut milk and powdered sugar in a bowl and whisk until there are no clumps. Add more sugar or more coconut milk, depending on the consistency you prefer. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake and sprinkle the remaining toasted coconut. Serve with a handful of fresh blackberries and a bit of whipping cream or ice cream if you’re feeling decadent.