My Jewish Recipe Box: Coconut Marble Loaf


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“My grandparents ran Ratchick’s, a classic Ashkenazi Jewish bakery on Avenue J and 15th Street in Brookly, for decades,” writes cookbook author Julia Turshen in her new book “Simply Julia: 110 Recipes for Healthy Comfort Food.” The bakery closed before she was born, but “I feel like it’s a part of me. It sometimes feels like I miss something I never actually had,” she adds.

Her maternal grandparents Beatrice and Julius, who met in Minsk and fled the pogroms, ultimately made their way to New York City where they opened the bakery that bore their family name in 1948. Everyone in the family worked there. “My mother was one of three sisters and they all worked in the bakery, as did my uncle Marvin and all of my cousins,” Julia tells us. They sold loaves of bread made by her grandfather along with cakes, babka, and cookies made from recipes that came from distant relatives as well as bakers Julius hired.

The family sold the business in the early 1980s, but nearly 40 years later, the memory of their marbled baked goods hold a place in the family. “They sold marble pound cake and marble rye bread at Ratchick’s and they were also well-known for their babka, which is its own marbled thing,” says Julia. One of her favorite stories from the bakery is that everyone (but especially her mom and aunt Debby) would strategically pick crumbs from the top of the babka and coffee cakes to devour — and hope no one would notice.

Julia has been asking about her family and their recipes for as long as she can remember. “I’m desperate to know people that I will never actually meet and food makes this very intangible desire feel a bit more in reach,” she says. Inspired by the marble pound cake from Ratchick’s she developed her own marble loaf recipe and added three punches of coconut flavor, which she loves. The recipe, she writes, is “something tied to my past, but also tied to me.”

More from Julia: When food writer Julia’s aunt Renee passed away in 2005, Julia placed an obituary in the New York Times that read: “I will take care of the soup.” In 2017, she shared her aunt’s chicken soup with us. You can try it here.

Coconut Marble Loaf

Julia Turschen's Marble Cake_0069.jpg

Makes: 1 loaf / about 8 servings
Total Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Cooking spray (olive oil spray or any other non-stick sprays)
2 large eggs
1 cup [240 ml] canned coconut milk (shake before measuring; if seperated, blend before measuring)
½ cup [120 ml] canola oil (or other neutral oil such as vegetable)
1 cup [200 g] granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon coconut extract (or almond extract)
1 ½ cups [188 g] all-purpose flour
½ cup [56 g] coconut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup [85 g/3 ounces] dark or semisweet chocolate chips, melted

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F [175°].

2. Coat a 9-by-5-inch [23-by-12-cm] loaf pan with cooking spray.

3. Place the eggs in a large bowl and whisk well to combine. Add the coconut milk, canola oil, sugar and coconut extract and whisk well to combine.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt.

5. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients (hang onto the bowl you had the dry ingredients in). Transfer half the batter into the now-empty flour bowl. Stir the melted chocolate into one of the batter bowls. Two batters for the price of one!

6. Use two spoons to put alternating scoops of the plain and chocolate batters in the loaf pan. Depending on the size of your scoops (each about two tablespoons), you’ll probably end up doing two layers of scoops. Don’t stress about this; it’s not an exam, it’s just a loaf cake.

7. Bake the cake until a toothpick tests clean and no batter jiggles when you give the loaf a little shake, about 1 hour and 5 minutes.

8. Let the loaf cool, preferably on a wire rack to speed up cooling, until it reaches room temperature, then remove it from its pan. Cut into thick slices and serve.

From the book SIMPLY JULIA by Julia Turshen. Copyright © 2021 by Julia Turshen. Published by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.