Posts tagged frosting
Celebration cake.... where health and indulgence collide!

'Where health and indulgence collide' has always been a bit of a mantra for me as I've developed Including cake over the last few years.  

I simply don't believe the two are mutually exclusive. It was the challenge I most embraced as I ventured into the world of a plant based lifestyle around three years ago. If you have read my about page you'll see how this lifestyle first presented itself to me.

As time went on I began to research more and appreciate the incredible benefits of a plant based diet and then more importantly a 'whole food' plant based diet. It was at the time the refined sugars and 'white' products began to find there way out of my cupboards and into the bin. There was no turning back!

Did I ever deprive myself during this time? 

No

Did I ever feel as thought i was missing out?

Sometimes- but only in social situations  with limited options not in terms of what I could create myself

The challenge of creating indulgence in a way that did not compromise my health became my 'thing', and now in my coaching practice this is is something I am passionate to help others appreciate for themselves in their own lives.

Oh.... so you want to know about this cake...yes!

Ok, well I wont keep you waiting any longer. This cake is rich, moist, chocolatey, silky smooth, packed full of veg and other good stuff and topped with my Wholeplus product range (but you could use anything you like!)

It doesn't use loads of crazy specialist ingredients (just a few key ones like stevia) and doesn't take long to whip up. Its virtually foolproof. It's tried and tested with kids too.

Put simply... you have to make this cake!!

The base of the cake is actually my crazy courgette cake topped with a variation of my heathy chocolate frosting on top, (if you want a soy free frosting try this one) but since we're putting everything together i've rewritten it all out below. I then also topped it all off with my vanilla Wholeplus Squares.

I made this cake for a friends birthday a week or so ago (i made a big one plus some small ones- I doubled the recipe). I had advised her that it would keep well for a few days in the fridge...but I was quickly informed that within 24 hours the whole things had been eaten. To quote her she said "this cake is quite literally the nuts".

 

Recipe: Chocolate Celebration Cake

Makes 1 8” round or square cake

Base of the cake:

ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup packed dates (soak in hot water for a few minutes if they are very hard)

  • approx ½ tsp pure stevia

  • 1 heaped cup courgette puree (I approximated this by using 1 ½ cups smallsh chunks)

  • ½ cup water

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/3 cup oil of choice (I use coconut oil)

  • ¼ cup flax seed

  • ¾ cup cocoa powder

  • 1 cup oat flour (I ground up some regular oats)

  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (I used these)

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder

  • 1 heaped tsp baking soda

Method:

Blend the courgette with all the wet ingredients and the flax seed to form a smooth fairly runny paste. Allow to stand for a couple of minutes.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and then add the wet. Mix lightly but well to form a thick soft batter. Add a little extra water if necessary.

Spoon the batter into a lined/greased muffin pan or round cake tin (you could also make cupcakes?) and smooth the top as best you can.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for approx 25 minutes, after 10-15 minutes it is advisable to lightly cover the top of the pan with foil to prevent the top browning before the centre is cooked through.

Allow to cook before topping with frosting.

 

Frosting:

Note: you can make this in advance and keep in the fridge for a day or so, you'll also want to chill it before to topping the cake anyway.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 carton firm silken tofu (I use Mori nu)

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

  • 2 tbs melted coconut oil

  • 3 tbs agave nectar (plus a touch of stevia if needed)

  • 1/4 tsp stevia powder

  • 1 tsp orange extract (or another flavour if you prefer)

Method

So simple!! Put all ingredients into food processor and blend up very thoroughly. Spoon into a bowl and store in the fridge to firm up a little ready for use.

For toppings, I used my vanilla Wholeplus Squares plus some cacoa nibs and ground up goji berries on the big cake for a pretty sprinkle of colours- gojis make the perfect healthy sprinkles right? 

This cake keeps best in the fridge in keeping for more than a day. (yeah right!)

I'd love you to join me in other places too!  

Why not sign up for emails in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  Day to day you can also find me in these places:

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Date syrup and paste

This is a little quickie recipe…if you can even call it a recipe! My toffee granola bars posted last week and also my sticky toffee pudding called for using date syrup, and since it is so easy to make your own I thought I’d share a post dedicated to it.

Dates also have many nutritional benefits, particularly when compared with many other sweeteners and are also very popular with raw foodists. Without going into great detail here; dates are a rich source of dietary fibre, iron and a number of minerals, and are also very rich in antioxidant flavonoids offering protection to the cells in the body. For me the biggest reason to use them- they are a wholefood form of sweetener.

I use a lot of dates, particular in their raw form in my smoosh bar varieties, so I have bought a large box in bulk making for an economical syrup. I use organic deglet noor dates, but either deglet noor or medjoul dates (which are larger and slightly more juicy) should work fine. Medjoul may even be preferable but since I haven’t yet tried using these dates I cannot confirm this.

You can either make a date paste or a syrup simply depending on how much water you add. Paste like syrups work better at binding things together whereas a looser syrup works best to spoon over or mix through- i.e spooning over the sticky toffee pudding…Mmmmm!

Since dates naturally have a caramelly, toffee like flavour they make the perfect sweetener for a toffee or caramel flavoured dessert, this can be enhanced with other sweeteners such as brown rice syrup when a very sweet caramelly flavour is required in a desert, but on their own they provide a lovely subtle sweetness. I also add a touch of vanilla extract to the syrup to subtly enhance the flavour, but other flavours or spices could be used too.

The date syrup pictured used 1 cup of water.

Recipe: date paste/syrup

Ingredients

  • 1 heaped cup of dates (I used 1 heaped cup to compensate for the fact the dates were whole and not packed in- so you want to visually aim for a fairly packed cup)
  • ½ cup hot water-
  • for a thick paste
  • 1 cup hot water-
  • for a thick syrup ( used this for my granola bars)
  • 1.5 cups hot water
  • - for a smoother easily spoon-able syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract- optional

Method

Place the dates in a small/medium bowl. Pour the required amount of boiling water over the dates and leave to soften for approx. 30 minutes. Once softened pour the contents of the bowl, along with a little vanilla extract, in to a blender (I used my thermomix) and blend until smooth.

Pour the syrup into a jar and store in the fridge if not using straight away.  This keeps for at least two weeks in sealed container.

Note: the more water used the more 'dilute' the dates become and therefore less sweet the syrup. If you are afer a sweet syrup you may like to add a little stevia or brown rice syrup also.


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Sticky toffee pudding

Happy New Year to you all!

It has been a crazy few days and I have barely had the chance to sit down with my laptop and write my notes up. Now the holidays are over and I’m back at work, I realise so many of my Christmas plans to relax and read books fell by the wayside.

The holidays always feel like such a long stretch of time ‘off’, but once you have factored in catching up with friends and family…along with the fact I gave myself the big task of totally redecorating my bedroom, does time ‘off’ actually exist?  Not that I’m complaining, I love to be busy…but maybe I should just be a little more realistic about much I can actually fit in!

Any way back to food….

I (probably like everyone else) have succumbed to the sugar and naughtiness overload this holiday, despite my best intentions of self- control! I’m now craving healthy food so these next few weeks are most likely to feature more savoury snacks, I also fancy getting back into soup mode. But more on all that another time.

For now…one last indulgence I just couldn’t resist!  The great British classic- sticky toffee pudding!

I love this dessert and have been waiting to explore my own healthy vegan version for a few weeks now- but have only just found the time to do so in amongst the madness of Christmas and New Year.

The recipe is very closely based on my amazing blondie recipe, just a bit more datey, syrupy and gooey!  Since my blondies were super healthy, this pudding is also super healthy by default. Ok, the syrup topping maybe isn’t so much…but there certain limits in creating a healthy syrup and this is still healthy in comparison. The pudding itself is still very sticky and moist without the extra syrup, so it could be served straight with a little soy yoghurt if you are feeling a little more virtuous- it’s your call!

For those of you who’ve never had sticky toffee pudding, the so called ‘pudding’ is more like a dense moist cake. It is typically formed and served using a miniture singular dome shaped pudding mould, but here I have used the more practical blondie slice format and simply stacked two squares on top of one another.  The typical sauce would also be thinner and more ‘caramelly’ and although it is quite possible to make a vegan version this way, they typically involve lots and lots of refined sugar which I really wanted to avoid. Therefore my syrup is a thicker date syrup that I think really works well with the pudding. Also, I went down the route of using the GF subs optionally noted in the original blondie recipe.

Having just read this back to myself and uploaded the photos…I really want another piece right now!

Recipe: Sticky toffee pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked mashed sweet potato
  • ¼ cup soy yoghurt
  • 1/3 cup coconut butter- melted
  • 1/3 cup dates- softened
  • ½ cup mashed chickpeas
  • 3 tbs brown rice syrup (or maple syrup) plus ¼ tsp stevia
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white spelt flour (or GF subs below)
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • A pinch salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • NB: GF flour substitute- 1/3 cup each of almond meal, buckwheat flour, tapioca flour

(makes one 8” pan or approx. 8 servings of two squares)

For ‘toffee’sauce:

  • 1 cup softened dates
  • 1/3 cup brown rice syrup and a pinch of stevia to taste
  • ½ cup soy yoghurt
  • ¼ cup water
  • (makes just over 1 cup)

Method

Blend the wet ingredients in food processor until very smooth. Pour into a bowl, add dry ingredients and blend together until well mixed. Spoon mixture into a parchment lined 8x8 baking tin and smooth the  top. Bake in oven at 180C for approx. 10 minutes. Note- GF timings may be slightly shorter.

Whilst the pudding is in the oven blitz together the sauce ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a small sauce pan and heat for approx. 5 mins stirring continuously until bubbling. The mixture should form a thick sauce. If you would prefer a runnier syrup add a little more water.

Remove the pudding from the oven after 10 minutes and use a toothpick to make holes all over the top of the cake- approx. 100 holes. Spoon/pour approx. 1/3 of the sauce over the top and smooth over allowing to seep into the holes (much of the sauce will remain on top as a sticky layer).

Return to the oven for a final 5 minutes cooking time. Once cooked, allow to cool for a couple of minutes before slicing into squares. Serve whilst still hot with some of the extra sauce poured over the top as desired. Serve with soy yoghurt or ice cream.

The pudding and sauce will store well in the fridge for a couple of days. Best served hot.


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Christmas Day…done! (and Chocolate Cream Cranberry sponge)

So how long did you spend in your jammies Christmas day morning?

This year I was actually pretty good and got dressed well before lunch…but not until I’d opened my stocking (which usually includes some underwear and socks!)

Christmas day was spent at home with my family- mum, dad, brother and sister. All the presents were piled under the tree and every year that still seems so magical to me! We spent quite a few hours in the run up to lunch giving out the gifts, interspersed with trips back and forth to the kitchen to manage proceedings.

This year I packaged my gifts in brown paper with a minimal amount of sticky tape to help the recycling process! …but I do love lots of ribbon- it’s not Christmas without lots if ribbon! Part of the gifts to my family were bottles of my homemade  vanilla extract.

I also decided it would be a novelty to give homemade ‘vouchers’ so they could choose they own personalised cakes from my growing list of recipes. It will be interesting to see what they choose!

We all pitched in to help with Christmas lunch.  My main task was the brussel sprouts …so…many….sprouts…to…peel! I blanched them and then pan fried them with shallots and chestnuts. 

My other self-appointed roll was as ‘dessert creator’. I wanted to provide a lighter healthy vegan alternative to go alongside the traditional Christmas pud. It needed to be something pretty fool proof and easy to put together (no dramas on Christmas day thank you!).

I decided upon a combination of many of the recipes I have posted in recent days. The ingredients list may look long but the method is actually so simple.

…light fat-free chocolate sponge (based on this recipe)

...chocolate chestnut frosting (previously mentioned here) or you could use your own favourite.

…cranberry compote (based on this recipe) or any berries could be used.

…all layered up to create one fruity luxurious Christmas chocolate cream sponge! 

I really love the tart berries combined with the sweetly smooth and creamy frosting, topping the light and springy sponge base.  The perfect end to a sumptuous satisfying dinner…even those who claim they ‘couldn’t eat another thing’ could squeeze in a pieces of this!

Recipe: Chocolate cream cranberry sponge

Makes one 10x15 inch pan (or a thicker sponge for a slightly smaller pan)

Ingredients

Sponge base: (this can be made a day in advance)

  • 10 1/2 oz. firm silken tofu
  • 1/3 cup rapadura
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • 1 tbs water
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract 
  • 1 tbs ground flax mixed with 2tbs hot water (see egg replacer note below )
  • 1 cup whole wheat spelt flour
  • ¼ cup ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½  tsp salt
  • 1 tbs ground flax mixed with 2tbs hot water
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.

Chestnut cream frosting: (Can be made in advance). I used a two-layered approach with mychocolate frosting smoothed directly over the sponge (I had some reserved in the freezer) and then this chestnut frosting over that.

  • 100g silken tofu
  • 20g agave or brown rice syrup plus ¼ tsp stevia
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g chestnut puree (I used canned puree)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder

Cranberry compote:

  • Approx. 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 3 tbs rapadura (extra if you don’t like your cranberries too tart)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Method

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 10x15 inch pan with baking parchment. In food processor, mix the tofu, rapadura, agave, vinegar, water, vanilla and flax mix. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ground almonds, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour the blended tofu mixture into flour mixture; stir together thoroughly. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth batter evenly into pan and bake  for 10-12 minutes.

Allow to cool before lifting from the pan. The sponge can be made up to a day in advance.

To prepare the frostings, blend all ingredients listed together in a food processor until a smooth consistency forms. Layer the frostings up on top of the sponge.

To make the cranberry compote, add the fresh cranberries to a small sauce pan along with the rapadura, cinnamon and water. Simmer and stir every minute or so for 10- 15 minutes until the berries have softened and formed a thick compote.

Spoon the compote on top of the frosting and serve immediately.

The dessert can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days.

P.S. I know I also promised a boxing day pasty recipe!  We made the pasties for lunch today and now I just need to get it all written up…I promise this is on its way! It maybe too late for your Christmas day leftovers but it is also the perfect recipe idea for any ‘roast’.


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‘Twelve Days’ day 11: mini choco-nog sponges

I had really enjoyed my chocolate yule log, it was so indulgent yet not at all heavy and sickly sweet (meaning I could eat a lot in one go). It was the combination of the light and airy fat-free swiss roll sponge combined with the luxurious (but healthy)

chocolate frosting that made such an amazing pairing and so it got me thinking….how else could I achieve that same effect?

Frosting is the obvious answer, so this time instead of going for the obvious cupcake and frosting scenario, I decided to make another tray of swiss roll sponge but this time instead of rolling it up, I cut out circles with a cookie cutter and frosted those instead. So then you have mini chocolate sponges.  But the chocolate sponge needed something a little bit special and a little bit (ok, a lot bit) seasonal to top it. 

I’ve already given you a number of cranberry and mincemeat inspired creations (and I haven’t quite finished with the cranberries yet!) so I didn’t really want to go down the fruit route again.  This left the Christmas spiced combo up for grabs. Not that I mind…I love ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla- all warm and creamy dreamy. Mmmmm.

So egg nog anyone? Or maybe more accurately in this case, simply ‘nog’. Or even more appropriately… choco-nog mini sponges!

Ok, so now you’ll think I’m crazy…but…I have never actually tried egg nog. I’m not sure I’ve ever even come across it on the shelves (although often if you’re not looking for something you don’t realise it actually exists when its right in front of you face!)  So, here I am making what I call a ‘nog’ frosting having never actually tried egg nog before!  This may be nothing like real ‘nog’ but it’s a warm and creamy nutmeggy-vanillary frosting and to me that sounds like a noggy creation…or what I imagine one to be!

I’ve used banana in this recipe which does give a little bananary taste. If you would prefer a more neutral base to let the spices shout more loudly then feel free to reduce or omit the banana and substitute for more cashew (or other neutral) nut butter instead.

I know…I really must find some egg nog to try this Christmas, I’ve heard the vegan versions are pretty good so I just need to track some down! In the meantime whipping up a bit of this frosting with some almond milk and a dusting of nutmeg on the top may well just do the trick- I’d certainly recommend it and it's definitely the best way to clean up the remnants in your blender!

Recipe: mini choco-nog sponges

Ingredients

Frosting

  • ¾ cup cashew nut butter
  • 4 dates
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp rum extract
  • ¼- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ a frozen banana (or another ¼
  • cup nut butter)
  • ½ cup firm tofu (water pressed out)
  • 3 tbs maple syrup/brown rice syrup/agave nectar
  • Pinch of stevia powder (approx. 1/6 tsp or to taste)
  • 3 tbs coconut butter melted- if you want a thicker frosting (omit for a soft whippy frosting)
  • Makes approx. 1 ½ - 2 cups

Sponge

  • 10 1/2 oz. firm silken tofu
  • 1/3 cup rapadura
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • 1 tbs water
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract 
  • 1 tbs ground flax mixed with 2tbs hot water
  • 1 cup whole wheat spelt flour
  • ¼ cup ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½  tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.
  • Makes approx. 20 mini sponges (depending on their size and shape)

Method

Prepare frosting by adding all the ingredients to the food processor and blending together until smooth. If your blender is less powerful you may want to chop up the dates and soak them in a little hot water first. Once fully blended, the mixture will be thick but fairly runny. Set aside to use as a soft frosting or if you added the coconut butter for a thicker frosting, spoon into a bowl and allow to firm up in the fridge for an hour or two.

To make the mini sponges. Preheat oven to 180C degrees. Line a 10x15 inch pan with baking parchment.

In a food processor, mix tofu, rapadura, agave, vinegar, water, vanilla and flax mix (see note below). In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ground almonds, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour the blended tofu mixture into flour mixture; stir together thoroughly.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top of the batter evenly and bake for 10-12 minutes. 

Once the sponge is cool, lift out of the pan, place on a cutting board and using a circle (or any simple shape) cutter, cut rounds of sponge out of the slab. There will be a little wastage (or nibbles), so to avoid this you could cut the slab into squares.

Once the frosting is prepared, drizzle, spoon or pipe the nog frosting onto the individual sponges and serve immediately. The frosting and sponges can be prepared up to a day in advance and stored separately for last minute frosting.


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Healthy chocolate frosting (or mousse!)

I just love this stuff, so much so that I would probably rate it as one of my most successful recipes so far! Well, its so good it even made it to the blog banner! Aside from tasting super indulgent whilst being super healthy, it is so simple to make and can be used everywhere...

  • Filling for a cake spread with a spatula
  • Topping for a cupcake piped with a nozzle (or simply spooned on if you can’t wait!)
  • Layered up in a tall glass with fruit and vegan yoghurt/cream for a ‘posh’ dessert
  • Eaten as a chocolate mouse-y pudding in its own right

…Basically anywhere you need a rich, thick, creamy, chocolatey accompaniment… and where wouldn’t you want that??

Shhhh- I keep a tub of it in in the fridge for quick access when I’m in need of a little fix!

Recipe: Healthy chocolate frosting

Ingredients

  • 350g (I carton) firm silken tofu (I use Mori nu)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tbs melted coconut oil (use 2 tbs for a firmer frosting)
  • 2tbs lemon juice (not essential)
  • 2 tbs agave nectar
  • 1/6 tsp pure tsp stevia powder (or omit and add extra agave or powdered sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp alcohol free vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste/powder

(Note: This makes enough to fairly generously frost 12 cupcakes)

Method

So simple!! Put all ingredients into food processor and blend up very thoroughly. Spoon into a bowl and store in the fridge ready for use.

Some yummy frosting variations to try….

  1. Add 1tsp grated orange rind and 1 tsp orange essence to the mixture and reduce vanilla essence to 1tsp. (if want to make frosting slightly runnier like a mouse then add 1-2 tbs orange juice).This one is my favourite flavour combo.
  2. Add 1tsp instant coffee dissolved in 1tbs of boiling water. Reduce vanilla to 1tsp. Add to the mixture. 
  3. Add 1tsp peppermint essence and 1 tsp of ground mint leaves to the mixture and omit the vanilla.

Let me know of any more delicious variations you have tried!

P.S. You will notice above that I have included ‘Stevia’ in the ingredients list. You can find more info here on SteviaYou can also understand more about how and why I use Stevia in my recipes here.


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