sweets

raspberry crumb sourdough muffins (vegan & GF)

15th April 2022

Streusel crumb topping is a wonderful way to elevate any cake or pastry by adding a layer of crunch. I love adding it to muffins, tarts, or any cake. This streusel recipe is from Aran Goyoaga’s new book ‘Cannelle et Vanille BAKES SIMPLE.’

The streusel recipe makes much more than you need. Freeze the remaining; Sprinkle it on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Freeze the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer the streusel to a ziplock bag or airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. There’s no need to thaw the streusel before baking; sprinkle it frozen on a cake, muffins or tart and bake as directed.

tips

  • *I take my starter (sourdough leaven) from the fridge in the evening, just before bed, and measure out 40g, and then feed it – 100g flour + 100g water. Allow it to sit overnight, by the morning, it may be fully active, or even if it has deflated already or hasn’t quite reached its full potential, no matter. With this starter, I make this raspberry crumb sourdough cake.
  • If you don’t have a sourdough starter, replace it with ½ cup/70g rice flour, and ⅓ cup/80g of water/buttermilk, and increase the baking powder to 1 ½ teaspoon.
  • Important! Let the muffins cool completely. This will allow the crumb to set nicely and not fall apart.
  • If you don’t want to make the streusel topping, omit and sprinkle the top with flaked almonds instead.

raspberry crumb sourdough muffins

Preparation 15 minutes

Baking 30-35 minutes

Makes 12-14 muffins or one pound cake (11 x 25cm loaf pan bake for 50 minutes) 

streusel crumb topping

1 cup/100g almond flour

¾ cup/100g superfine brown rice flour

½ cup/100g light brown sugar

¼ tsp fine rock salt

7 Tbsp/100g cold dairy-free butter or regular butter, cut into ½-inch pieces

cake ingredients

3 Tbsp/22g ground flaxseed + ½ cup/100g hot water (allow to sit for 10 mins as below)

¾ cup/150g light brown sugar

3 Tbsp finely grated orange zest (zest from 3 oranges)

2 Tbsp/50g maple syrup

½ cup + 2 Tbsp/200g sourdough starter

½ cup/110g extra virgin olive oil or neutral-tasting oil

¼ cup/55g orange juice (1 very juicy orange)

1 cup/140g brown rice flour

1 cup/100g almond flour

¼ cup/30g tapioca starch 

¾ tsp fine rock salt

¾ tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

125g fresh raspberries (Toss the raspberries in tapioca flour before adding them to your batter. This will stop them from sinking to the bottom.)

preparation

1. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line your muffin tray with 12 baking cups. (I use these ones)

2. Make the streusel; In a medium bowl, toss together both flours, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and work it into the flour until the mixture is sandy and crumbly.  Place in the fridge until ready to use.

3. Make the cake; Into a large bowl, add the flax with water and allow to sit for 10 minutes, then add sugar, zest, maple syrup, sourdough starter, oil and orange juice – whisk until smooth.

4. In a small bowl measure out the brown rice flour, almond flour, tapioca starch, salt, baking soda and powder.

5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until smooth, fold in the raspberries. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, distributing it evenly among them (they should be full). Generously cover with the streusel to form small domes over the batter, it’s optional to dot with a few extra raspberries. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until golden. Let cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

I hope that you have a wonderful festive weekend, here are some photos taken in the garden this week.

date-caramel and carob shortbread squares (V, GF)

4th March 2022

These date-caramel shortbread squares are from Aran Goyoaga new book ‘Cannelle et Vanille BAKES SIMPLE.’

‘Here, pecan shortbread is topped with date caramel and a thin layer of chocolate, nuts and seeds.  The date caramel is more of a paste than a traditional caramel, but it smells and taste just like the classic, with the benefit of being naturally sweet.’ – Aran Goyoaga 

The changes which were made to the original recipe:

  • Toasting the pecan nuts in the crust
  • Swapping the chocolate for a carob glaze
  • Mixing the toasted nuts and seeds with maple syrup over heat to make them extra sweet and crunchy on top.

date-caramel and carob shortbread squares

(If you don’t have carob pieces, you could use this carob glaze.)

makes 18 squares

preparation 20 mins

baking 25 mins

cooling and setting time 3 hours

date-nut crust

⅔ cup/100g pecans

115g (about 7) plump pitted Medjool dates 

¾ cup/105g superfine brown rice flour

¼ cup/30g tapioca starch

¼ tsp fine rock salt

6 Tbsp/85g cold vegan butter or coconut oil, cut into ½-inch pieces

date caramel

⅓ cup/90g canned full-fat coconut milk

⅓ cup/90g melted virgin coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

⅛ tsp fine rock salt

240g (about 13) plump pitted Medjool dates 

carob/chocolate glaze

150g finely chopped unsweetened carob or chocolate pieces (70%)

1 tsp coconut oil

nut topping

½ cup + 2 Tbsp/60g toasted pecans, pistachios, coarsely chopped

1 Tbsp raw sesame seeds

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp dried rose petals (optional)

preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Place the pecans in one pan, and the topping mix of pecans and pistachios in another pan, and toast for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Meanwhile, grease the inside of an 8-inch square pan with coconut oil and line with baking paper, letting some hang over thes sides. Set aside. 

2. To make the date-nut crust, combine the pecans, dates, brown rice flour, nuts, tapioca starch, and salt in a food processor and pulse ten times until the dates and nuts are pulverized. Add the butter and pulse 5 times, until the dough becomes a dry crumble, and sticks together when pressed. If it feels dry, add a tsp of ice cold water.

3. Firmly press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan, making sure it is evenly spread. *Use an extra square piece of baking paper to place over the top, run a flat bottomed cup over to even out. Use the edges of the baking paper, to fold over and run your finger along to create level sides and corners.

4. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until golden. Remove, and allow to cool while you prepare the rest of the layers.

5. To make the date caramel, in a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk, coconut oil, vanilla, salt and dates. Bring to a simmer, and simmer for 1 minute, then remove from heat.

6. Let the dates steep in the coconut milk for 10 minutes, then purree in a food processor. Be patient- it will take 3 – 5 minutes to puree to a fine and creamy texture. Scrape the date caramel onto the cooled crust and spread evenly. See above*.

7. To make the carob glaze, in a medium heatproof bowl, add the carob/chocolate pieces and coconut oil. Fill a small saucepan with one-quarter full with water and bring to a simmer. Place the bowl on top and stir until melted. Pour over the date caramel and spread evenly.

8. To make the nut topping, oven medium heat, place the toasted nuts and sesame seeds in a small pan, add the maple syrup and stir until all are coated and maple syrup is absorbed, 1 – 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.

9. Sprinkle the nuts and seeds, rose petals over the top of the carob. Transfer the pan to the refrigerator for 2 hours, or until the carob and caramel hardens. This is important, otherwise it will be difficult to cut.

10. Lift the shortbread from the pan using the baking paper, and cut it lengthwise into 4 equal pieces, then cut each piece into quarters. See below for cutting tips. Once cut, store them in the refrigerator.

notes

  • Leftover coconut milk can be measured in seperate 90g bags and frozen for future use!

tips for cutting 

  • Make sure the shortbread have been refrigerated for at least 2 hours and the carob and caramel has fully hardened. Otherwise, the middle will collaspe when cutting.
  • Use a ruler for the most precise results, measure the squares with a ruler and use the tip of a knife to make small marks where you’ll slice. 
  • A chef’s knife is the best tool for slicing. Before you cut, dip the knife in hot water and wipe with a dry kitchen towel, or coat the blade with cooking spray and wipe it clean with a paper towel, before making each cut. Repeat this process between slices.
  • When it’s time to cut, press the blade of the knife down firmly, and then drag it back in a single motion. 

orange saffron cake (GF & vegan)

19th December 2021

This Orange Saffron Cake is slightly adapted from Aran Goyoaga new book Cannelle et Vanille BAKES SIMPLE. I baked it for a special treat to serve at our end of year Sadvidya meeting and it was a true treat! It is incredibly moist, with a deeply fragrant orange flavour, and the saffron gives it a hint of earthiness. I made it vegan by replacing the 2 eggs with a flaxseed mixture and increasing baking powder.

NOTES

  • It’s important that the flaxseeds are ground as finely as possible so that they can absorb water well.
  • Use a superfine brown rice flour, I use this brand of flour for all my baking.
  • Orange-flower water, or agua de azahar, as it is called in Spanish, can be found in speciality and middle eastern markets. I actually did not use it in this recipe, as I didn’t have it on hand in my pantry. Even without it, it was incredibly fragrant.
  • This cake is very delicate, so handle gently and allow the cake to cool completely and for the crumb to set. 
  • The vegan cream can be replaced with regular cream – folding in the icing sugar and vanilla after whipping.

orange saffron cake (Aran Goyoaga)

Preparation 15 minutes

Baking 40-45 minutes

Assemblling 2-3 hours for the cream thicken, and cake to cool completely.

Makes one 8-inch layer cake

ingredients

3 Tbsp/18g ground flaxseed + 6 Tbsp/60g hot water (allow to sit for 10 mins as below)

½ cup/110g warm oat milk

⅛ tsp saffron threads

¾ cup/150g blond sugar

2 Tbsp finely grated orange zest (zest from 2 oranges), plus more for garnishing

3 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

1 Tbsp orange-flower water (optional)

½ cup/110g extra virgin olive oil 

1 cup/140g brown rice flour

1 cup/100g almond flour

¾ tsp fine rock salt

1 Tbsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

¼ cup/35g sliced almonds

powdered sugar, for dusting

cream

cup/60g vegan/regular butter (softened to room temperature)

1 tub (200g) Vegan Violife Cream Cheese, (available from Celeiro – out of the fridge for an hour)

cup/40g icing sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract or scrape 1 vanilla bean (halved lengthways and seeds scraped out)

preparation

1. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Generously oil the inside of a 8-inch cake pan and line the bottom with baking paper.

2. Into a large bowl, add the flaxseed with water and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

3. Combine the milk and saffron in a small pan and warm over low heat for 2 minutes. Do not boil. Remove from heat and steep for 5 minutes, then add to the flaxseed mixture.

4.  In a small bowl, combine the sugar and orange zest. Rub the mixture between your fingers so the zest releases its natural oils and becomes fragrant. Whisk into the flaxseed mixture along with the orange juice, orange-flower water (if using), and olive oil – whisk until smooth.

5. In a small bowl, combine the brown rice flour, almond flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add to the wet ingredients and whisk until well incorporated. Pour into the prepared pan and sprinkled over the sliced almonds.

6. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely in the pan, 3 – 4 hours is ideal.

7. Meanwhile make the cream: Beat together the butter with a hand mixer until soft. Add the violife cream cheese and beat again until well mixed (don’t overmix.) Sift over icing sugar and add the vanilla extract – beat again. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use – 2 hours. 

8. Place the cake on a cake stand. Using a serrated knife, cut the cake in half crosswise. I press one hand on the top center of the cake and cut with the other hand as you turn the cake, which helps in even cutting. The cake is delicate, so be gentle.

9. Spread the cream over the bottom cake layer. Place the top layer on the cream, sprinkle with orange zest and dust the cake with powdered sugar. 

carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting (vegan)

9th June 2021

I had my sights on a go-to celebration carrot cake that is walnut-studded and carrot-flecked, fragrant, moist and lavish with a decadent frosting.  So I revisited and reposted a recipe that was created a few years back and made a few adjustments. 

Variations can be found at the end of recipe!

This cake uses walnuts for crunch and flavour, with a lovely warmth coming through in the cardamom and cinnamon. The cake itself is deliciously moist and it is topped with a vegan cream cheese frosting and decorated with edible flowers. 

carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting

Inspired by the much-loved Spice Cake from The Voluptuous Vegan by Myra Kornfeld.

Makes one 9-inch cake or 12 cupcakes (Reduce baking time to 35 minutes)

The cardamom adds a rich warmth, so it is important to grind your own as the taste is much more fragrant, fresher and more flavour intense. 

ingredients 

1 cup/100g walnuts – divided

1 cup/120g whole-wheat flour

1 cup/120g unbleached white flour

2 tsp baking powder

1½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp fine rock salt

2 tsp cardamom powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon powder 

½ cup/110g neutral-tasting oil or mild-tasting olive oil

cup/190g maple syrup (can replace with cup/100g brown sugar)

¼ cup/45g brown sugar or coconut sugar

cup/160g almond/oat milk

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

¼ cup/50g golden raisins/dates, roughly chopped

2 cups/180g grated carrots (approx 2 medium)

cream cheese frosting

cup/60g vegan/regular butter (softened to room temperature)

1 tub (200g) Vegan Violife Cream Cheese, (available from Celeiro – out of the fridge for an hour)

cup/40g icing sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract or scrape 1 vanilla bean (halved lengthways and seeds scraped out)

prepare the cake 

1.  Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Oil a 9-inch springform pan with oil.

2.  Toast the walnuts: place them on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove half of the whole walnuts for garnishing on top (approx 23 pieces) and roughly chop the remaining (50g) to add to the cake batter – set aside.

3.  Make the cake: In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients –  flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Whisk to combine.

4.  In another medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients – oil, maple syrup, sugar, almond milk and vinegar. Whisk until the wet ingredients are emulsified. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry, whisking together just until all the dry ingredients are absorbed. Stir in the walnuts, sultanas, grated carrot- fold gently with a spatula to combine.

5.  Pour the batter into the oiled pan and bake for about 45 – 55 minutes, or until the cake is springy to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean. If the top looks like it’s getting dark, but the inside needs more time, cover loosely with aluminium foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.

6.  Prepare the frosting: Beat together the butter with a hand mixer until soft. Add the cream cheese and beat again until well mixed (*don’t overmix.) Sift over icing sugar and add the vanilla extract – beat again. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. *If for some reason the mixture starts to seperate from over beating. Place it in the blender, and blend until smooth, then place in the fridge for a few hours.

7.  When the cake is completely cool, flip the cake over so that the top is now the bottom and spread the frosting evenly over the cake. Decorate the cake with the remaining walnuts and edible flowers.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Variation

  • To make a crumble topping, sprinkle the top and sides with 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds and add a quarter of the chopped roasted walnuts to the cake dough, with the remaining make a crumble topping by adding 1 Tbsp sesame seeds, 1 Tbsp brown sugar and 1 Tbsp maple syrup to the walnuts, stir to combine. Spoon over the top of the dough before baking. (See image below)
  • Sprinkle the sides and bottom of the greased cake tin with 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds before baking.

lemon coconut cake with blueberry compote (vegan)

13th May 2021

This cake is lovely, moist, and tender with a delicate flavour. It is effortless to make, and the combination of yoghurt, blueberries, and coconut perfectly complements each other. The blueberry compote is divine!

Praia de Aguda

Every two weeks for my weekly shop, I drive a little further to a health food store north of where I live. It takes me through the Sintra mountain along narrow windy tree-lined roads; then it opens out into a wider, flatter landscape where the temperature is warmer. I arrive at a sweet health food store called Ideal in a little village named Janas. I like this place as they offer vegetable seedlings and the vegetables and fruits are abundant and fresh, newly picked from their garden. After finishing my shop, I continue up the road towards the sea, park my car and walk down the steps towards the beach. During the weekend this car park and beach is busy, but on weekdays there is nobody, especially on cloudy days. Sometimes I go just for the sunset, and it is especially magical when the mist rolls in off the ocean.

~

lemon coconut cake with blueberry compote

Recipe inspired by Nigella Lawson.

Preparation 45 minutes

Makes 8 – 12 slices

tools

1 x 9-inch springform cake pan (can be made in an 8-inch)

cake

1 cup/120g white spelt flour

¾ cup/100g whole spelt flour

1½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

¼ tsp fine rock salt

⅔ cup/130g coconut or vegetable oil

¾ cup/150g light brown sugar

1 cup/220g thick coconut milk (see note below)

2 lemons, zested

3 Tbsp/35g lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

blueberry compote

1 cup/130g blueberries

1 Tbsp/12g lemon juice

1 Tbsp/12g light brown sugar

3 Tbsp/35g + 1½ tsp cold water – divided

1½ tsp cornflour 

icing

1 cup/250g  thick vegan Greek yoghurt or milk-based Greek yoghurt 

1 tsp vanilla extract or scrap the seeds from a vanilla pod

¼ cup/35g icing sugar

preparation

1.  To make the cake: Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease sides and line base of a springform cake tin with baking paper.

2.  Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a medium bowl.

3.  In another bowl, whisk the oil, sugar and coconut milk together, followed by the zest, juice and vanilla extract.

4.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, whisking to combine, then pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside to cool completely.

5.  To make the blueberry compote: Put the blueberries, lemon juice, sugar and 3 Tbsp water into a saucepan, bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer, stirring every now and then, for a few minutes until the blueberries have softened.

6. Remove from heat, in a small cup, mix the cornflour with the remaining 1½ tsp water and stir this paste into the blueberries. Return to heat and stir gently for 30 seconds, the sauce will start to bubble and thicken. Pour the compote into a bowl to cool. It will set once cold.

7. To make the icing: Mix the yoghurt and vanilla together, sieve the icing sugar over the yoghurt and stir to combine.

8. To assemble the cake: Turn the cake over (so the underneath is now on top) onto a plate. Place most of the icing on top of the cake. Spread out and bring a small amount down the sides, evenly scraping so that you can actually see some of the cake through the icing (sides only.) Decorate with lemon zest, thyme, and blueberries. Dust the blueberries with icing sugar. Slice and spoon with a generous amount of the blueberry compote. If not serving immediately the cake can be refrigerated until ready to serve. 

note

  • Don’t shake the tin of coconut milk, try to get as much of the thick creamy part as possible and purchase a better quality can of coconut milk to ensure thick milk.

lemon-sourdough pound cake (vegan)

1st March 2021

Another delicious recipe by Aran Goyoaga which was shared in her newsletter. I adapted it slightly by making it vegan; replacing the 3 eggs with ground flaxseed, adding baking powder, using maple syrup instead of honey and reducing the glaze by half. 

I have recently entered the world of sourdough bread and every Monday I make a loaf of sourdough to bake the following day, so this recipe was perfect to use any leftover starter and use up the lemons which are hanging heavy from the trees in the garden. 

The sourdough starter does add more complexity to the crumb. I use a 1:1 ratio, meaning equal amounts of flour and water. 

If you don’t have a sourdough starter to discard, replace it with ½ cup/70g rice flour, and ⅓ cup/80g of water/buttermilk, and increase the baking powder to 1 ½ teaspoon.

Scroll down for the blueberry variation.

To save time, soak the flaxseed first, then grate the zest and prepare the other ingredients giving the flax the time it needs to thicken.

lemon-pound sourdough cake

Preparation 15 minutes

Baking 45 – 55 minutes

Makes one pound cake (11 x 25cm loaf pan)

*I take my starter (sourdough leaven) from the fridge in the evening, just before bed, and measure out 40g, and then feed it – 100g flour + 100g water. Allow it to sit overnight, by the morning, it may be fully active, or even if it has deflated already or hasn’t quite reached its full potential, no matter. With this starter, I make this lemon-pound sourdough cake.

ingredients

3 Tbsp/22g ground flaxseed + ½ cup/100g hot water (allow to sit for 10 mins as below)

¾ cup/150g light brown sugar

2 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest (zest from 3 lemons), plus more for garnishing

2 Tbsp/50g maple syrup (this gives a crisp caramelized exterior)

*½ cup + 2 Tbsp/200g sourdough starter

½ cup/110g extra virgin olive oil or neutral-tasting oil

¼ cup/55g lemon juice (1 very juicy lemon)

1 cup/140g brown rice flour

1 cup/100g almond flour

¼ cup/30g tapioca starch (or arrowroot powder)

¾ tsp fine rock salt

¾ tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

glaze

2 Tbsp/25g light brown sugar

2 Tbsp/27g lemon juice (½ of a very juicy lemon)

preparation

1. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Generously grease your loaf pan.

2. Into a large bowl add the flax with water and allow to sit for 10 minutes, then add sugar, zest, maple syrup, sourdough starter, oil and lemon juice – whisk until smooth.

3. In a small bowl measure out the brown rice flour, almond flour, tapioca starch, salt, baking soda and powder. 

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 45 – 55 minutes (my oven took 55 minutes.) Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely in the pan, then invert onto a platter.

5. Meanwhile, make the glaze by gently heating the sugar and lemon juice together in a small pan until the sugar dissolves – don’t heat for too long. Immediately brush the top of the cake allowing it to drip over the sides. Generously garnish the top with lemon zest (I like to use a combination of lime, lemon and orange.)  

note

  •  Use a metal pan, as suggested and grease it well. Alternately, you can line it with baking paper which makes it easier to lift out of the pan, but note that the exterior won’t caramelize, as it won’t be in direct contact with the metal.
  • Important! Let the cake cool completely. This will allow the crumb to set nicely and not fall apart.

variation with blueberries

  • Fold in 1 cup/125g of blueberries into the batter.

(Always toss the blueberries in cornstarch or tapioca flour before adding them to your batter. This will stop them from sinking to the bottom.)

sesame cake (vegan)

27th January 2021

“This cake gets a double dose of sesame, with tahini and sesame seeds in the batter and lots of crunchy sesame seeds to coat the pan, too” – Yossy Arefi. 

It’s simple to make as it only uses one bowl. To ensure even mixing, use the edge of a whisk to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. For best results, make sure you use a traditional brand of tahini that is runny and smooth. I like baking this in an 8-inch square pan to be cut into tidy squares for gifting to friends.

~ holy basil

~ holy Brahmin cow

~ frangipani tree

~ offerings

sesame cake

Preparation 15 minutes

Baking 35 – 40 minutes

Serves 10 – 12 (9 cupcakes)

Recipe slightly adapted from Snacking Cakes by Yossy Arefi.

ingredients

6 Tbsp/50g sesame seeds (a combination of black and white is nice) – divided

3 Tbsp/22g ground flaxseed

¾ cup/170g oat/almond milk

¾ cup/150g plus 1 Tbsp light brown/blond sugar – divided

½ cup/120g smooth runny tahini, well stirred

¼ cup/50g neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed

1 tsp vanilla extract

¾ tsp fine rock salt

1¼ cups/160g all-purpose flour

1½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp cardamom powder (freshly ground)

dried rose petals (optional)

preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Oil a sheet of parchment paper and line it in an 8-inch square baking pan, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons sesame seeds on the bottom and 1-inch up the sides.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flaxseeds and milk, allow to sit for 10 minutes, then add the sugar, tahini, oil, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until smooth.

3. Add the flour, 3 Tbsp of the sesame seeds, baking powder, baking soda and cardamom. Whisk until well combined and smooth.

4. Pour the batter into the lined pan, tap gently on the counter to release any air bubbles, and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining sugar and sesame seeds on top.

5. Bake until golden, and a tester comes out clean, 35 – 40 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Allow to cool completely before serving, otherwise, it may crumble. It’s optional to sprinkle with rose petals when serving.

flavour variations

peach and raspberry sesame cake: Slice 1 small pitted peach over the top, scatter ½ cup/70g fresh raspberries over the top, then sprinkle with sugar and sesame seeds.

date and sesame cake: Fold ½ cup chopped date into the batter.

use another pan

loaf: Bake in a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. (45 mins)

round: Bake in a 9-inch round pan. (35 – 40 mins)

cupcakes: 9 cupcakes, bake 25 – 30 mins (1 ½ recipe = 14 cupcakes)

cornbread date muffins (vegan)

11th January 2021

It’s been cold here, and our heating system along with the hot water boiler shut down on Friday, so the weekend was spent huddled around the fireplace dressed in layers, coats and wearing three pairs of socks! It was sunny and bright though, so yesterday we drove to our favourite lookout for a walk and filled two Ikea bags with pinecones, making it back before the 1 o’clock curfew.  I added some pinecones to the fire, turned the oven on for extra warmth and baked these muffins.

I love the grittiness of the cornmeal and the sweet addition of the dates. Slather them in butter with strawberry jam as you would a scone. The extra sweetness from the jam gives a perfect balance of sweet!

cornbread date muffins

Preparation 45 minutes

Serves 8 muffins (I use these sized baking cups)

Recipe from here.

ingredients

6 pitted Medjool dates (120g)

½ cup/100g boiling water

2 heaped Tbsp/18g ground flaxseed

3 Tbsp/30g melted coconut oil

1 cup/225g unsweetened warmed oat/rice milk

¾ cup/120g medium-ground yellow cornmeal (can use polenta)

¾ cup/90g white spelt flour

2 tbsp/15g coconut sugar/brown sugar

1 Tbsp baking powder

¼ tsp fine rock salt

preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Place 7 baking cups in your muffin tray. Set aside.

2. Put the dates and ground flaxseed in a medium bowl and pour in the boiling water – allow to soak for 10 minutes.

3. Then add in the melted coconut oil and proceed to mash the dates with a fork, until mostly creamy but with a few chunks remaining – this can also be done in a food processor. Gradually add in the warmed oat milk and whisk until well combined.

4. Add in the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix with a fork until the wet and dry are well combined.

5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, distributing it evenly among them (they should be full).

6. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until the muffins are golden. Let cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Serve them with butter and honey or almond butter and homemade jam.

double ginger molasses cookies (vegan)

26th December 2020

These cookies are soft and chewy on the inside and crispy around the edges. This is achieved in the baking by keeping the cookies dough round, rather than pressing them flat. The taller you make the dough the chewier the centre. The bottom of the cookie dough bakes first, spreads out and the top remains thick and chewy in the middle. I added finely chopped crystallized ginger for added texture and zing.  If wanting to make the cookies less sweet, skip the process of rolling in sugar. However, the cracking effect on the cookies will not be achieved. This happens when the cookies are rolled in granulated sugar (I use a combination of granulated blond sugar and brown sugar). 

Happy Holidays and Happy Baking!

double ginger molasses cookies

Preparation 20 minutes

Makes 14 cookies

Recipe adapted from here.

ingredients

1 cup/120g white spelt flour

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp ginger powder

½ tsp cinnamon powder

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

2 Tbsp/20g finely chopped crystallized ginger

⅓ cup/70g soft coconut oil (not melted) or vegan butter

¼ cup/35g brown sugar or coconut sugar

¼ cup/80g light coloured molasses (if using a dark molasses, use only 30g and add 50g date syrup)

1 Tbsp water

granulated brown sugar, for rolling

preparation

1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and crystallized ginger. Set aside.

3. With a hand beater or whisk, beat together the oil, sugar, molasses and water until creamy. Fold in the flour mixture until combine. It will seem dry at first; keep mixing until all the flour is incorporated. (If your cookie dough is too wet, the coconut oil was not solid enough. To fix this, cover and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.)

4. Scoop a spoon of dough (approx 20g) and roll into a ball, then into the sugar, place on the prepared baking sheet and bake 13 – 15 minutes until golden. Rotate the tray halfway through cooking. Allow to cool on the baking sheet.

tips

  • Avoid using blackstrap molasses in baking. It is very strong and bitter and will impart an unfavourable taste. Use a light tasting molasses and if not available, combine dark molasses and date syrup (silan) which will soften the taste making it perfect for baking. 
  • If your coconut oil is too liquid, the cookies will bake up flat. Place the measured amount in the freezer until solid – you want it to be solid, but just slightly soft enough for cutting.

 

salted tahini caramel balls (vegan)

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, and then whisk in the syrup and vanilla. It will combine into a thin caramel consistency. Set aside for 30 minutes.

4. Once the balls are frozen, take them out of the freezer. The balls must be icy 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.

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