cakes

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. 

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.

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/210g 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 really soft. Add the cream cheese and beat again until well mixed. Sift over icing sugar and add the vanilla extract – beat again until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

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

  • Sprinkle the sides and bottom of the greased cake tin with 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds before baking.
  • If wanting to avoid the frosting, sprinkle the top with 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds and extra chopped raw walnuts 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

It 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 and shared in her newsletter. I adapted it slightly by making it vegan; replaced the 3 eggs with ground flaxseed, added baking powder, used maple syrup instead of honey and reduced the glaze by half. 

I have recently entered into 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. Aran uses more liquid in her starter, 120% hydration ratio meaning 100g flour to 120g water the difference is small and does not affect the end result.

If you don’t have a starter, add an extra ½ cup/70g rice flour, and ⅓ cup/80g of water/buttermilk, and increase the baking powder to 1 ½ teaspoon.

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)

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 bubbling and ready to go 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 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

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)

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 friend’s 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 3 lemons

4 Tbsp/55g 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, lemon juice 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 by sifting 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, may need to add 2 Tablespoons of 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.

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.

Scroll down for the Banana-Tahini-Date Variation.

~clivia-miniata~

banana bread with sunflower seeds

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

Makes 1 x 28cm loaf /8-inch square pan or 12 cupcakes (bake – 35 mins)

Preparation – 20 minutes

Baking time – 50 – 55 minutes

ingredients

3 Tbsp/22g ground flaxseeds

½ cup/110g water

4 ripe medium bananas – divided

½ cup/100g 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

¾ tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

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

preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a 28 x 7-cm loaf pan with baking paper and set it 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. Add 3 bananas and mash with a fork to the flax mixture 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. For best results, allow the cake to completely cool before cutting, otherwise, it will crumble.

note

  • If using frozen bananas, make sure to drain some of the extra liquid from freezing, making the bread a bit too wet.
  • The crumb on this bread is delicate.  Let it cool completely in the pan before lifting it out.
  • 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.

Banana-Tahini-Date Variation

  • Use only 3 medium bananas (omitting the one on top.)
  • Reduce the sugar to ¼ cup/50g, add 6 large/120g Medjool chopped dates – roughly mash with the banana.
  • Add ¼ cup/55g runny tahini
  • Replace sunflower seeds with a 3 Tbsp mix of black and white sesame seeds. Using half in the cake batter and the other half to sprinkle in the pan and over the top of the cake.
  • Bake for 60 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.

Mary’s lemon semolina cake

28th January 2019

This cake recipe was shared via Kristin, who had received it from our dearest friend Mary. Mary is at the heart of our community, guiding us on this yogic path and as things progress she continues to be a joy-filled light leading the way for us all. I had the privilege of baking this cake with Leela (Mary’s daughter) while visiting Mary and her family in Boulder.

Heartfelt gratitude to Kristin for sharing this recipe with us and thank-you Leela for such an experience of contentment and joy in playful baking together. Such grace!

This cake actually improves with time, this allows the flavours to come together. You can serve it with yoghurt as a simple dessert, or with a cup of kashaya at the end of the meal. It is moist yet light in texture and aromatic with lemon.

Mary’s lemon semolina cake

Preparation  – 10 minutes

Baking time –  30 minutes

Serves 8 – 10

ingredients

½ cup/65g whole wheat flour or coconut flour

1½ tsp baking powder

1 cup/170g fine semolina

¼ + 2 Tbsp/75g raw sugar

½ cup/90g coconut oil

¾ cup/180g plain yoghurt

1 lemon, zest and juice

for the syrup

¼ cup/50g sugar

½ cup water

1 lemon, zest and juice

for garnishing

shredded coconut

icing powder

extra lemon zest

prepare the cake

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan lightly with ghee or coconut oil. Set aside.

2.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, semolina and sugar, stir to combine – set aside.

3.  In a small pan over low heat, slowly melt the coconut oil, remove from heat and stir in the yoghurt, lemon juice and zest.

4.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients – fold together until well combined, then using a spatula, scrape the batter into the greased cake pan and smooth or press down the top.

5.  Bake for about 30 minutes, until lightly golden, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

prepare the syrup

6.  Near the end of the baking time prepare the syrup. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and mix well with a wooden spoon, bring the syrup up to the boil, add the lemon juice and zest – simmer gently for 1 minute or until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the syrup from the heat, and set aside until the cake is ready.

finish the cake

7.  Once the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven – set aside to cool.

8.  Use a small, sharp knife to cut the cake down the centre, then 2 parallel lines either side 3 – 4 cm apart, followed by another set of lines at a 45-degree angle, creating a diamond pattern.

9.  Drizzle the syrup evenly over the cake and sprinkle with shredded coconut and icing sugar. Allow the cake to sit a few hours to allow the flavours to mingle.

Goodness shared by Stacey

Baked and assisted by Leela

Artwork by Kristin

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