sweets

salted tahini caramel balls

9th October 2020

These lovely luxurious bite-sized balls of salted tahini caramel are so satisfying after a meal.  They are covered in a simple sweet maple glaze with equal amounts of maple syrup and coconut oil. When the cold balls get dipped into the glaze it instantly hardens creating magic!

VIOLAS in the garden, add them to salads, desserts, or fruit. They happily self-sow and despite their delicate appearance, violas are fairly robust.  Sow early spring, then again in late summer, to ensure violas throughout the winter.

salted tahini caramel balls

Inspired by this recipe.

Makes 15 small balls

dough ingredients

⅔ cup/60g dried shredded coconut

⅔ cup/130g medjool dates (approx 7 dates)

⅓ cup/80g tahini

⅛ tsp fine rock salt

⅓ cup/50g TOASTED pistachio or almonds

glaze ingredients

2 Tbsp/30g coconut oil

2 Tbsp/35g maple syrup

½ tsp vanilla extract

preparation

1. Make the dough: place the coconut, dates, tahini, and salt in a food processor or high-speed blender for 1 minute, scraping down the sides halfway through. Add the toasted nuts and blitz 3 – 4 times until well incorporated. If the dough is still too crumbly to form into balls, depending on the quality of your tahini, add 1 tablespoon of water.

2. Roll into balls, approximately 20g each, you should have 15 balls. Place in the freezer for 1 hour.

3. Meanwhile, make the glaze: melt the coconut oil on low heat, turn off the heat, then whisk in the syrup and vanilla. It will combine into a thin caramel-consistency. Set aside.

4. Once the balls are frozen, take out of the freezer. It is important that the balls are very cold to help the glaze harden. Place a toothpick in each ball and dip into the glaze, place on a cardboard box until the glaze hardens. Whisk the glaze each time before dipping the balls. Once set, re-dip them until the glaze is used up. Towards the end, you may need to place the glazed balls back in the freezer for 15 minutes and heat the glaze slightly again, then continue re-dipping.

5. The balls can be kept in the fridge for 10 days or up to 1 month in the freezer.

lemon poppy seed cake (vegan)

15th July 2020

Moist, tender, full of lemon flavour and filled with nutty poppy seeds. It’s covered with a tart passion fruit glaze. Divine!

I made this on my birthday to put on the birthday table with flowers and lovely gifts the boys put together. And then, made it again the next day for a friends birthday. It was enjoyed by all!

lemon poppy seed cake

Preparation – 10 minutes

Baking – 40 minutes

Serves 10 -12

Based on the beloved spice cake.

ingredients 

1 cup + 2 tsp/130g whole spelt flour

1 cup/120g white spelt flour

¾ cup/150g light brown sugar

¼ cup/35g poppy seeds

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp rock salt

½ cup/100g melted coconut oil

1¼ cup/280g almond milk

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

zest from 2 lemons

2 Tbsp/25g lemon juice

2 Tbsp vanilla essence

for the glaze 

1 cup/120g powdered sugar

20g passion fruit pulp (1 small passion fruit)

½ tsp lemon juice

preparation 

1.  Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.  Grease a ring pan or bundt pan well with oil, making sure to get every nook and cranny.

2.  In a medium bowl, add the flours, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt – whisk to combine.

3.  In another bowl, combine the coconut oil, nut milk, vinegar, lemon zest and vanilla – whisk until the ingredients are emulsified, then pour into the dry ingredients, whisking until all the liquid ingredients are absorbed. Don’t worry the batter will be quite wet.

4.  Pour the batter evenly into the greased cake tin. Place on a middle rack in the oven and bake for 40 – 45 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely before removing it.

5.   Make the glaze: place the sifted powdered sugar into a bowl and mix in the passionfruit and lemon juice, until you get a thick but pourable consistency.  Test the consistency by taking a spoonful from the bowl and drizzle back into the glaze; the drizzled glaze should leave a trail. If not, add a little more powder. Use a spoon or whisk to drizzle the glaze over the top, allow it to run over and down the sides. Before it sets, decorate with lemon zest or flowers. If desired and recommended, drizzle with more passionfruit pulp just before serving.

Enjoy with love, light and blessings!

variation

  • If making them into cupcakes, fill three-quarters full and bake for 35 minutes. Makes 14 cupcakes.

apricot blueberry crumble tart (vegan)

24th June 2020

I love this crumble tart, it’s so easy to pull together, no pre-chilling the dough, no rolling and whatever filling you choose, it tastes amazing. The original gluten-free recipe can be found here, however, I prefer this version using whole spelt. The crust is crispy and crunchy, with the perfect balance of sweetness.

THE NATURAL CALL FOR QUIETNESS

If we systematically and intentionally allow our mind to abide in stillness every day, morning and evening, then our mind will naturally become relaxed. Soon we will discover the presence of a kind of spontaneous JOY emerging.

The Sacred Tradition of Yoga by Dr Shankaranarayana Jois

apricot blueberry crumble tart

Recipe from Cannelle et Vanille.

Preparation 20 mins

Baking 50 mins

Serves 8 – 10

tools

14 x 4.75-inch or 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom

base ingredients

1 cup/120g whole spelt flour

1 cup/100g almond flour

½ cup/100g light brown sugar

1 tsp fine rock salt

10 Tbsp/140g virgin coconut oil, not melted

2 Tbsp ice water

⅓ cup/25g flaked or slivered almonds

filling ingredients

¾ cup/100g blueberry, fresh or frozen

6 medium apricots/340g – halved and seed removed

zest from 1 orange

1 Tbsp fresh orange juice

2 Tbsp/25g light brown sugar

1 – 2 Tbsp tapioca or corn starch

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/375F. Grease your tart mold.

prepare the base

2.  In a bowl, toss together the spelt flour, almond flour, sugar and salt. Add the coconut oil (solid) and work it into the flour using your fingertips until you have a dough that resembles coarse sand. The dough should clump up but feel slightly dry. Add 2 Tbsp ice water and mix it with your hands, it will feel more like a crumble than a dough.

3.  Take approximately two-thirds of the dough (approx 320g) and press it into your tart mold, bring it up around the edge. Try not to make the middle too thick. Any leftovers can be returned to the bowl.

4.  Mix the flaked almonds into the remaining dough to make the crumble topping. Refrigerate both the tart crust and the crumble topping while preparing the filling.

prepare the filling

5.  In a large bowl, toss together the blueberries, halved apricots, orange juice and zest, sugar, tapioca starch, and vanilla. If the filling is very wet, add 1 more tablespoon of tapioca starch.

6.  Add the fruit filling to the tart mold and sprinkle with the crumble topping, paying particular attention to fill the spaces close to the rim and around the apricots, leaving some of the pieces of fruit showing.

7.  Bake until the crust is golden and filling is bubbly, 45 – 50 minutes. Allow the tart to cool slightly before slicing.

variation

  • Replace apricots and berries with seasonal fruits.
  • gluten-free option: replace the spelt flour with 1 cup/140g superfine brown rice flour

helpful tip

  • Place a tray under the tart when baking to prevent leakage.

banana bread with sunflower seeds (vegan & gluten-free)

14th May 2020

I am not gluten-free, however, I am running very low on regular flour due to the situation at the moment, so this was a good opportunity to try recipes using other alternatives.

This cake surprised me. It has a perfect balance between sweetness, banana flavour and consistency which melts in your mouth.

~clivia-miniata~

banana bread with sunflower seeds

Slightly altered recipe from `Cannelle et Vanille´ by Aran Goyoaga.

Makes 1 x 28cm loaf or 12 cupcakes (bake – 35 mins)

Preparation – 20 minutes

Baking time – 50 – 55 minutes

ingredients

3 Tbsp/20g ground flaxseeds

½ cup/110g water

4 ripe medium bananas, peeled, divided

¾ cup/150g granulated sugar

½ cup/115g extra-virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil

1 Tbsp finely grated ginger

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup/100g almond flour

¾ cup/105g superfine brown rice flour

½ tsp fine rock salt

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

¼ cup/25g sunflower seeds, plus more for topping

preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 28 x 7-cm loaf pan and set aside.

2.  In a medium bowl, combine the flaxseed and water, whisk to combine and set aside for 10 – 15 minutes for the flax to thicken.

3.  To the flax mixture, add 3 bananas and mash with a fork until there are some chunks left but it is fairly pureed. Add the sugar, oil, ginger, and vanilla – mix until smooth.

4.  Whisk together the almond flour, rice flour, salt, baking soda and powder. Pour into the banana mixture and stir until the batter comes together.  Fold in the sunflower seeds.

5.  Pour into the loaf pan. Cut the remaining banana in half lengthwise, place gently on top of the batter and brush the banana pieces lightly with coconut oil.  Sprinkle a few sunflower seeds on top of the cake and bake for 55 – 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Set the pan on a cooling rack to cool.

note

  • Turn out of the tray when the cake is completely cool.
  • Bake in a long loaf pan for the best results.

variation

  • The rice flour can be replaced with regular all-purpose flour.
  • Replace the sunflower seeds with walnuts.

apple blackberry crumble tart (vegan & gluten-free)

22nd March 2020

The is a simple and foolproof tart. The dough is mixed in one bowl and pressed into a tart pan, so there is no kneading or rolling. The fruit can be changed to what you have on hand. Peaches, plums, pears or frozen berries are great, and the spices can be changed to suit the fruit. Delicious served warm with vanilla ice-cream!

~ first day of spring ~

apple blackberry crumble tart

Recipe by Aran Goyoaga.

Preparation  20 mins

Baking  50 mins

Serves  10

tools

9-inch tart pan with removable bottom

base ingredients

1 cup/140g superfine brown rice flour

1 cup/100g almond flour

½ cup/100g light brown sugar

1 tsp fine rock salt

10 Tbsp/140g virgin coconut oil, not melted

2 Tbsp ice water

⅓ cup/25g pine nuts

filling ingredients

1½ cups/180g blackberries, fresh or frozen

3 small or 2 large apples/300g – halved, cored and thinly sliced (2-mm)

1 small lemon, juiced and zested

2 Tbsp light brown sugar

1 – 2 Tbsp tapioca or corn starch

1 tsp pure vanilla extract ½ tsp ground cinnamon

preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/375F. Grease a 9-inch tart mold.

prepare the base

2.  In a bowl, toss together the rice flour, almond flour, sugar and salt. Add the coconut oil and work it into the flour using your fingertips until you have a dough that resembles coarse sand. The dough should clump up but feel slightly dry. Add 2 Tbsp ice water and mix it with your hands, it will feel more like a crumble than a dough.

3.  Take approximately two-thirds of the dough and press into a 9-inch tart mold, bring it up around the edge.

4.  Mix the pine nuts into the remaining dough to make the crumble topping. Refrigerate both the tart crust and the crumble topping while preparing the filling.

prepare the filling

5.  In a large bowl, toss together the blackberries, sliced apples, lemon juice and zest, sugar, tapioca starch, vanilla and cinnamon. If the filling is very wet, add 1 more tablespoon of tapioca starch.

6.  Add the fruit filling to the tart mold and sprinkle with the crumble topping, paying particular attention to fill the spaces close to the rim, leaving some of the pieces of fruit showing.

7.  Bake until the crust is golden and filling is bubbly, 45 – 50 minutes. Allow the tart to cool slightly before slicing.

variation

  • Replace apples and berries with seasonal fruits.
  • Replace the rice flour with all-purpose or spelt flour.
helpful tip
  • Place a tray under the tart when baking to prevent leakage.

pear ginger macadamia muffins (vegan & gluten free)

11th December 2019

For this recipe, I used Amy Chaplins gluten-free muffin base recipe from her new book ‘Whole Food Cooking Every Day’ and combined it with two of my favourite recipes – Peach Ginger Muffins and Pear Ginger Cornmeal Cake.

She goes on to say, “I discovered textural magic (and a gorgeous golden crumb) with a combination of millet flour, oat flour and almond flour. These flours, along with plenty of ground flax seeds, becomes a winning base from which an endless number of variations have stemmed.”

~marigold~

There are four parts to this recipe, the pear topping, the wet ingredients, dry ingredients, and macadamia crumb – once these four parts are assembled and ready, the muffins come together easily. I used the variation option (see below) in this photo and cut the pear into cubes, adding a ¼ cup into the batter and remaining on top.

pear ginger macadamia muffins

To make the different flours, place separately and in small quantities, whole millet, almond and oats in your high-speed blender and grind to a flour. Make in bigger amounts and store in the freezer.

Preparation – 20 minutes.

Baking – 35 minutes.

Makes 10 -12 muffins, depending on the size of your muffin cups.

pear topping

2 small/165g pears (the smaller fit nicely on top)

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1 Tbsp maple syrup/coconut sugar

1 heaped tsp grated ginger

macadamia crumb

½ cup/70g macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp coconut sugar

2 Tbsp maple syrup

cake

¼ cup/22g ground flax seeds

1 cup/225g almond milk

⅓ cup/70g melted coconut oil

¼ cup/75g pure maple syrup or coconut sugar

¼ cup/75g orange juice, freshly squeezed

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

½ tsp fine rock salt

1 small/80g pear, grated (skin and all)

2 heaped Tbsp/25g crystallized ginger, finely chopped 

2 Tbsp freshly grated ginger

~

1 cup/130g millet flour

½ cup/45g oat flour (gluten-free)

½ cup/45g almond flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a standard muffin pan with 10- 12 paper liners and set aside. 

2. In a medium bowl, combine the ground flax seeds and almond milk from the cake ingredients, whisk to combine and set aside while you prepare the pear topping.

pear topping

3.  Halve the pears, remove the seeds, cut into quarters and then each quarter into three slices about ¼-inch thick. Set aside.

4.  In a skillet over medium heat, add the oil, sugar and ginger, melt the mixture, stirring gently to combine. Cook until the mixture begins to bubble, about 2 minutes, then add the pears, toss the pears to coat them with syrup, cover and allow to simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

macadamia crumb

5. In a small bowl, place the macadamias nuts, sugar and maple syrup, stir to combine – set aside.

cake

6.  To the flax mixture, add the coconut oil, maple syrup, orange juice, vanilla, salt, grated pear, ginger and crystallized ginger.

7.  In another bowl, combine the millet flour, oat flour, almond flour and baking powder, breaking up any clumps of almond flour, using a spatula stir the wet ingredients into the dry until combined, then spoon the batter into the muffin cups filling them three-quarters full.

8.  Toss the pears to coat them with the pear juices and lay 2 – 3 slices over each of the muffins. Spoon any extra juices over the muffins.

9.  With your fingers, crumble the macadamia crumb on top of each muffin.

10.  Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow the muffins to sit for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool. Allow to cool completely before serving, this allows the structure to set resulting in a tender crumb.

Note:

  • If melted coconut oil is added to cold ingredients, it will clump and harden. If wet ingredients are cold, not at room temperature, don’t add the coconut oil until right before combining the wet and dry ingredients.

Variation:

  • For extra sweetness, replace the orange juice with maple syrup or coconut sugar.
  • Chop the pears into cubes instead of slivers, add ¼ cup/90g into the batter and the remaining on top.

carob walnut chip cookies (gluten-free, vegan)

22nd November 2019

These cookies have crunchy edges with a soft centre, a rich buttery flavour with studs of walnuts, oats and carob chips.  It’s surprising how delicious they are!

Chocolate contains theobromine – a stimulant. Like all stimulants, it is unsupportive for yogic practices that require focus of the mind. Carob is an excellent replacement for chocolate and has hardly a trace amount of theobromine. I have made them with both chocolate and carob, and prefer the softness of the carob.

carob walnut chip cookies

Preparation – 25 minutes

Baking – 12 – 15 minutes

Makes 12 medium or 8 large cookies.

Recipe slightly altered from Healthier Together by Liz Moody.

ingredients

1 flax egg (2 Tbsp ground flax seeds + 3 Tbsp water)

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup/120g homemade almond butter

¼ cup/25g almond flour

¼ tsp fine-grain rock salt

½ cup/65g coconut sugar

½ tsp baking soda

¼ cup/25g chopped walnuts

¼ cup/25g rolled oats (gluten-free)

¼ cup/35g unsweetened carob chips or chopped carob bar

preparation

1.   Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

2.   Mix together the ground flaxseed and water in a medium bowl. Allow to sit for 15 minutes to thicken.

3.  Add to the flaxseed, vanilla and almond butter – mix together with a spoon until well combined.

4.  In another bowl, mix together the almond flour, salt, coconut sugar, baking soda, walnuts, oats and carob chips.

5.  Add to the flax-almond mixture, mix, working the dough a bit to get everything distributed evenly (the dough may seem a bit dry and thick – keep mixing.)

6.  Scoop heaped teaspoon full into your hand and squeeze into balls. Place on the baking sheet, leaving about 1-inch between them, and slightly press down with your fingers.

7.  Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through until the edges turn golden. Remove from oven and let them cool on the tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. These cookies are best eaten warm from the oven, or later that same day. 

Note:  For freshly baked cookies anytime, refrigerate some of the dough for later.

Variation: Replace the carob with small currants or chopped raisins which have been soaked in water for 10 minutes.

apple walnut cake (vegan)

4th October 2019

This cake base originated from Amy Chaplin’s first book, ‘At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen’ and has been adapted, posted and baked many times with different variations to suit the seasons. In Spring, there is this rhubarb cardamom cake or these raspberry quinoa muffins.  In Summer, I replace the base with the recipe below and make these ginger peach muffins or when the tree is heavy with plums, the original, plum millet cake. When the cooler days creep in and the leaves start to fall, Autumn arrives and I halve figs to place over the top and sprinkle with almond flakes or a pear and macadamia based on this recipe. With Winter close behind this cinnamon apple walnut crumble is a good place to be or a spiced pumpkin version sounds inviting. As you can see when you have a good base recipe the variations are endless!

~ dried fennel seeds

~ leaf and light

~ fennel flowers

apple walnut cake

Preparation – 40 minutes

Baking – 35 minutes

Serves 8 or (9 muffins baked for 35 minutes using half the apple filling)

ingredients

¼ cup/50g millet

¾ cup/185ml water

walnut crumb

¾ cup/90g walnuts, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp/40g coconut sugar

2 Tbsp/40g maple syrup

1 tsp cinnamon powder

apple filling

4 small/2 large apples (245g), peeled and chopped into small uniformed cubes

1 Tbsp ghee/coconut oil

1 Tbsp brown sugar/maple syrup

½ tsp cinnamon powder

cake ingredients 

1½ cups/210g whole-spelt flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

¼ tsp fine rock salt

¾ cup/220g maple syrup (can replace with ½ cup/65g raw brown sugar plus ¼ cup/50g almond milk)

 cup/65g mild-tasting olive/coconut oil

¼ cup/50g almond milk

2 Tbsp/20g vanilla essence

cook the millet

1.  Rinse the millet, drain and place in a pan with water, bring to boil, simmer rapidly for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until water has evaporated. Remove from heat; let sit for 10 minutes before removing the lid. Measure out 1 cup/180g cooked millet – set aside.

2.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.  Line an 11 x 7-inch baking pan or favourite cake tin with baking paper.

walnut crumb

3.  In a small bowl, place the walnuts, sugar and maple syrup, stir to combine and set aside.

apple filling

4.  In a pan over medium heat, add the ghee/oil and sugar, melt the mixture, stirring to combine. Cook until the mixture begins to bubble, about 2 minutes, then add the apples and cinnamon, toss to coat them with syrup, cover and allow to simmer for 3 – 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

 assemble the cake

5.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.  Set aside.

6.  In a separate bowl, combine millet, maple syrup, oil, almond milk and vanilla essence – whisk to combine. Pour into the dry ingredients.  Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon; do not over mix.

7.  Spread the batter evenly in the baking pan and place the apple cubes over the top and let them rest on the surface.

8.  Crumble over the walnut crumb.

9.  Bake until golden for approximately 35 – 40 minutes, until golden or a toothpick comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool.

Serve with a generous dollop of thick cream.

Amy Chaplin’s chocolate hazelnut layer cake (vegan)

17th July 2019

Turning 50 requires a very special cake!

This cake is quite a journey, much of the time is in the preparation; removing the skin from the hazelnuts and pitting the cherries, once your past these steps it is easy from there onwards. The cake batter with the addition of the ground toasted hazelnuts makes it special and the cherry filling pairs well with the chocolate and nuts, adding a burst of tangy-sweet flavour.

Use fresh cherries when available, and save some to garnish the top.

NOTE

  • I recommend making all three components; chocolate ganache, cake and cherry filling in the morning and putting in the fridge for 2-3 hours to firm up, then assembling in the afternoon. Be sure to assemble the cake when all components are completely cool.
  • When making the chocolate ganache, it is important the agar flakes are very well dissolved. See note below.
  • The recipe makes more cherry filling than needed, use the leftovers to spoon over the cake when serving.

 

chocolate hazelnut layer cake with cherry filling and chocolate ganache

Recipe from ‘At Home in the Wholefoods Kitchen’ by Amy Chaplin.

‘For best results with the frosting, make it a day ahead, so it has plenty of time to cool and set. I recommend assembling it on either a round cardboard cake base or the bottom of a springform cake pan. This makes it easier to decorate the sides with hazelnuts, holding the base of the cake with one hand and pressing nuts into the sides with the other.’ – Amy Chaplin

Makes 1 tall 8-inch cake

Equipment – Two 8-inch cake pans

chocolate ganache

2 x 400ml can unsweeten full-fat coconut milk (13.5FL OZ each)

¼ cup/70g maple syrup

5 Tbsp agar flakes (I added 1 tsp more)

Pinch fine rock salt

¾ cup/100g dark chocolate(70%), broken into pieces (3½ OZ) (I used 55%)

½ cup fresh orange juice, strained (I used ¼ cup maple & ¼ cup orange juice) 

4 tsp vanilla extract

cake

2 cups/300g toasted hazelnuts*, skin removed – divided

2 cups/240g whole-spelt flour – divided

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ cup/50g cocoa powder

1 cup/200g boiling water

¼ cup/25g ground flaxseeds

½ cup/100g melted coconut oil

1½ cups/420g maple syrup

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

½ tsp fine rock salt

cherry filling

2½ cups/425g pitted cherries, fresh or frozen

1 Tbsp maple syrup

¼ tsp cinnamon

Pinch fine rock salt

¾ tsp arrowroot powder

2 tsp water

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp almond extract

½ cup/130g unsweetened black cherry jam (I used sweetened)

prepare the ganache

1.  In a medium saucepan over high heat, whisk together the coconut milk, maple syrup, agar flakes, and salt, bring up to the boil, whisking frequently. Cover pot, reduce heat to low – simmer for 20 minutes, whisking every 5 minutes. Check that the agar flakes are very well dissolved.*

2.  Remove from heat, add chocolate, and re-cover the pot for 2 minutes, then thoroughly whisk until completely smooth.

3.  Pour into a shallow bowl, and allow to cool, then place in the fridge until completely hard and set – approximately 1 – 2 hours.

4.  Cut the ganache into rough 1-inch pieces and place in a food processor with orange juice and vanilla: blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides as necessary, and check for unblended lumps. If the frosting separates, just keep blending until it comes together again – it can take up to 5 minutes. Transfer to a container and refrigerate for 1 hour before frosting the cake.

prepare the cake

5.  Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Oil cake pans and line bottom of each with a baking paper circle – set aside.

6.  Place ⅔ cup/90g toasted hazelnuts in a food processor and ¼ cup/30g spelt flour – blend until finely ground, about 30 seconds.

7.  Place in a medium bowl with remaining 1¾ cups spelt flour, baking powder and baking soda. Stir with a whisk to combine, and set aside.

8.  In another medium bowl, whisk the cocoa and boiling water until smooth, add flax seeds, coconut oil, maple syrup, vinegar, and salt – whisk to emulsify, then add flour mixture, whisk to mix batter.

9.  Divide the batter between cake pans (approximately 560g each) and bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until the cake pulls away from the pan. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool.

prepare the filling

10.  Combine the cherries, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt in a small pot, bring to boil over high heat, then cover and reduce heat to low – cook fresh cherries for 10 – 15 minutes or until softened and juicy or frozen for 5 minutes.

11.  Dissolve arrowroot in water and drizzle into simmering cherries; stir constantly until it thickens slightly and returns to a simmer. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and almond extract and jam. Pour in a shallow bowl, and refrigerate to cool.

assemble the cake

12.  Spread remaining 1⅓ cups toasted hazelnuts out on a rimmed baking sheet, lined with baking paper and crush them with a rolling pin – set aside.

13.  Run a butter knife around the edge of one of the cake pan and invert onto an 8-inch cardboard cake base, remove the paper and spread the surface with 1 cup frosting.

14.  Top with some cherry filling and spread out, leaving a ½-inch border around the edges.

15.  Invert second cake onto a flat surface, remove baking paper and slide the cake onto the bottom layer. Frost top and sides with remaining frosting and press crushed hazelnuts into sides of the cake.

Garnish with fresh cherries, and place in the fridge until ready to serve. It will improve after a few hours as the flavours settle, and can even spend the night in the fridge.

* To toast the hazelnuts, spread onto a baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes.  While they are still warm, rub the nuts in a towel to remove the skins.   Inevitably there will be some skins that refuse to peel away, but no matter.  

* When checking to see if the agar flakes are completely dissolved, take a spoonful of hot liquid and slowly pour it back into the pot; you will be able to see any flakes that have not dissolved on the spoon. They can be small so look carefully. Re-cover the pot, and continue simmering until no flakes appear.

rhubarb cardamom cake with rhubarb-vanilla compote (vegan)

19th May 2019

A recipe I make often based on these Raspberry Muffins. The sweet almond crumb adds a delicious crunchy texture which contrasts nicely with the sourness of the rhubarb. The maple syrup can be replaced with ½ cup brown sugar. If you don’t want to spend the time arranging the rhubarb, chop into 1 cm pieces and sprinkle over the cake.

rhubarb cardamon cake with a rhubarb-vanilla compote

Preparation – 30 minutes

Baking time – 45 minutes

Serves 8 – 10

for the millet

¼ cup/50g millet

¾ cup/185ml water

for the almond crumb

⅓ cup/25g flaked almonds

2 Tbsp coconut sugar

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 Tbsp lemon juice

for the cake

4 rhubarb stalks (250-300g)

1½ cup/210g whole-spelt flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp cardamom powder

¾ cup/220g maple syrup

 cup/65g mild-tasting olive/coconut oil

¼ cup/55g almond milk

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp grated ginger

zest of 1 lemon

¼ tsp fine rock salt

prepare the millet

1.   Rinse the millet, place in a pan with the water, bring to boil, simmer rapidly for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until water has evaporated. Remove from heat; let sit for 10 minutes before removing the lid. Measure out 1 cup/180g cooked millet – set aside.

2.  Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF and line an 11 x 7-inch baking tray or favourite cake tin with parchment paper.

prepare the almond crumb

3.  In a small bowl place the almonds, sugar, maple syrup and lemon juice, stir to combine and set aside.

prepare the rhubarb

4.  Unless the rhubarb stalks are very slender, cut them in half lengthwise, then cut the stalks at an angle, two pointing one way and the other two the opposite so that they will fit together in a herringbone pattern. Use your pan to do a trial run, cutting to size and arranging your stalks however you like – set aside.  

prepare the cake

5.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and cardamom – set aside.

6.  In a medium jug, whisk together the maple syrup, olive oil, almond milk, vanilla, ginger, lemon zest, salt and cooked millet.

7.  Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients, stir until well combined – be careful not to over-mix.

8.  Spread the batter evenly into the pan and arrange the rhubarb stalks on top. Spend a little extra time arranging your rhubarb – this is my favourite part! Don’t press the fruit into the batter – just place over the top and let it rest on the surface.

9.  Crumble over the almond crumb. 

10.  Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until golden or a toothpick comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool.  Make the compote.

Serve with a generous dollop of Greek yoghurt or cream and a spoon of rhubarb-vanilla compote.

rhubarb-vanilla compote

Preparation – 25 minutes

Makes 1 cup

ingredients

2 cups/225g rhubarb, diced (redder part of the stems or replace half with raspberries)

⅓ cup/90g maple syrup

½ tsp freshly grated ginger

½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise

preparation

1.  Place the rhubarb, maple syrup, ginger and in a medium saucepan.

2.  Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into a saucepan, adding the pod as well.

3.  Cook, covered over low heat. (It’s important to begin slowly so the rhubarb warms up and begins to release its liquid. Cook the rhubarb for about 15 minutes.

4.  Remove the cover and increase heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally until the rhubarb is completely broken down. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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