Sweet Bread

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes



Appears in

Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago

Sweet Hands

By Ramin Ganeshram

Published 2018

  • About

This cake most closely resembles the traditional American or European Christmas fruitcakes with raisins and mixed candied fruits. However, the addition of coconut makes this loaf more flavorful. In Trinidad, sweet bread is an everyday pastry that is eaten with tea, as a snack, or at breakfast. This bread keeps for 2 weeks in the refrigerator and about a month in the freezer.


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • cups fresh or frozen grated unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ½ cup candied cherries, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup mixed candied citrus peel
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon mixed essence
  • 3 tablespoons currants or golden raisins, for garnish (optional)
  • Granulated sugar, for garnish (optional)

Sugar Syrup (optional)

  1. ½ cup sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease two 9 × 5-inch loaf pans.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Stir in the coconut, raisins, cherries, and candied peel.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the melted butter, milk, egg, vanilla, and mixed essence. Add to the dry ingredients and beat well. You will have a heavy batter. Divide the batter equally between the prepared loaf pans and sprinkle with currants or golden raisins, if using. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  4. Remove the sweet breads from the oven and let cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  5. While the breads are cooling, make the sugar syrup by mixing the sugar and ¾ cup of water in a small saucepan. Simmer until the sugar melts and the mixture slightly thickens to a thin syrup, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Brush the loaves with the sugar syrup and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Set aside to dry. Slice and serve with tea.