cake

VEGAN MANGO AND CINNAMON CAKE

VEGAN MANGO AND CINNAMON CAKE

Some days only a cake will do. I baked this one on our very snowy Friday. School was closed, kids were defrosting from sledging and making snow angels, the dog was melting all over the floor. It sure seemed like a perfect time to make a cake.

I do not like to used too much sugar in my cooking, in this cake I used only 1/2 cup . It will serve 8 which means around 1 Tbs of sugar per serving. That is a fraction of sugar in most cakes. On top of this (of course) there is no butter, oil, or eggs used in this recipe. Quite a low cal, low fat treat.

This cake was tested over the weekend on my family and friends. My Brazilian friend H said she liked it even though she hates mangos! She told us when she was growing up in Brazil, kids would pick ripe mangos off the trees, eating them straight away with juices dripping all over their faces, hands and even hair. I thought that was an amazing image but apparently it put her off mangos for life.

If you feel the same way about mangos you can substitute your favourite fruit for them. I think peaches or cherries would be fantastic. How about blueberries or a large not too ripe pear. I have a feeling we are going to make many versions of this surprisingly light cake.

mango-cake

VEGAN MANGO AND CINNAMON CAKE
I used all whole meal (wheat) flour but to make the cake slightly more kids friendly you may want to use half white half whole meal. I must say my son enjoyed it as it was.

Makes 8 good slices

ingredients:
200g (1 and 1/2 cup) of fine whole meal (wheat) flour - or half white half whole meal
1 tsp bicarb of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbs ground linseed soaked in 3 Tbs water
100g (1/2 cup) unrefined (or raw) sugar
250ml (1 cup) almond milk
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 large mango, peeled and cut into large dice
2 Tbs flaked almonds

method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. In a large mixing bowl mix together the flour, bicarb of soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
  3. In a small bowl mix the ground linseeds with the water and let sit couple of minutes
  4. In a measuring jug or a medium bowl mix the almond milk, sugar and vinegar together. The mixture will curdle, that is expected no worries :)
  5. Add the soaked linseed, and the almond milk mixture to the flour mix. Mix well together using a large whisk or a wooden spoon.
  6. Fold the mango cubes into the cake batter.
  7. Pour into a 8 inch (20cm) spring form cake tin that has been lined with baking paper (or lightly greased).
  8. Sprinkle the flaked almonds on top of the cake batter.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for about 40min. Check halfway through, it the almonds are starting to brown to quickly cover the cake with aluminium foil for rest of the baking time.
  10. To check the cake is ready insert a skewer into middle of the cake, it should come out clean.

mango-cake-2
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ONE PROUD MUM/ MINI SPELT BANANA LOAVES

ONE PROUD MUM/ MINI SPELT BANANA LOAVES

My son spent 5 days on his school camp last week. In preparations, while packing, I was trying to give him lots of well meaning advice. The usual: listen to your teachers and instructors, don’t do anything silly, make sure you shower (at least twice please!), change your underwear daily, brush your teeth.... and of course :”Please try to eat at least a little bit healthy.”

I was hoping for the best, but I knew there would be temptations on every corner. He did come home with a huge bag of sweets, but also a present for his sister (aaahhhh). He had a pudding every day and quite a bit of cheese. On the other hand, he said, he made sure he ate salad and a bowl vegetable soups every day. Pizza was on offer as a part the salad buffet, but apparently he only had it once because he didn’t want to eat too much unhealthy food. “And mum, I always asked for extra vegetables!” This left me wanting to dance a jig! I restrained myself. First and foremost I don’t know how to dance a jig and I really needed to keep my cool. Pretend this is not a big deal... But I did tell him how proud I was.

Few weeks ago I had a conversation with one of my friends about my kids and foods. I did tell her how I do bore them out of their skin telling them about the nutrients in the food they eat. She did say to be careful so they don’t rebel few years down the road. And yes, this is a possibility, but what teenager doesn’t rebel? I do believe that some of this information will stick in their head and they will come to see healthy food as the norm. At the moment my 10 year old seems to be doing quite well.

As a parent you can hope for the best. There are far too many kids who see junk food as the norm and these habits are hart to break. Even if my kids deviate from “our norm” from time to time, going back to whole natural foods won’t ever be alien to them.

Whilst helping me cook pasta for dinner, my son said “I hate brown pasta, we had normal pasta at camp”. Still he managed to eat 2 plates of the horrible hated brown pasta, saying it was rather nice.... Nice try! Next thing is weaning him of the sweet stuff... spelt mini banana loaves without added sugar are a good start.

mini spelt banana loaf with a glass of almond milk
bananaloaf-with-milk

MINI SPELT BANANA LOAVES

These loaves are more dense than a regular cake, they remind me of bread pudding. One easily serves 2 people.

Makes 4 mini loaves or one standard loaf

ingredients:
2 Tbs ground chia seeds
125ml (1/2 cup) water
250ml (1 cup) of almond (or other non dairy) milk
3 Medjol dates
2 medium overripe (or very ripe) bananas
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tsp bicarb soda
260g (2 cups) wholegrain spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 medium apple
Walnuts about 2 Tbs per loaf

ready for the oven
bananaloaf-unbaked

method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. First mix the ground chia seeds and 125ml (1/2cup) water. Let sit for 10min, the mixture will sort of jellify....
  3. In the meant time put almond milk, dates and bananas into your blender and blend till smooth.
  4. Add the vinegar and bicarb soda to the almond milk mixture.
  5. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and pinch of salt.
  6. Grate the apple and add to the flour together with the almond milk mix and soaked chia seeds.
  7. Mix together well.
  8. You can mix in the walnuts now or leave them for the topping (you can double the amount of walnuts and use them both in the cake mix and on the top if you wish)
  9. Divide the mix between 4 non stick mini loaf pans.
  10. Top with the walnuts and bake 25-30min or until the cake springs back when you press it with your finger. You can also use a skewer - the loaf is cooked when it comes out clean.
  11. Let cool in the tins and invert carefully (any runaway nuts are an extra treat for the cook)

mini spelt banana loaves straight from the oven (one without nuts for my daughter)
bananaloaf-baked
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Healthy cake

HEALTHY CAKE

Sometimes I wake up with a recipe idea in my head that I quickly need to act on. Today was one of those days and after coming back from the school run and a dog walk I got stuck into creating a plant based brownie cake.

I admit I find this new way of baking a bit daunting. I went from baking with eggs and butter to dairy and egg free baking and now I am determined to crack even healthier baking without oils and as little refined sugar as possible. You can make a fabulous vegan muffins or cakes but that doesn’t mean these are healthy if you still use white flour and sugar, and replacing butter with oil or margarine. Plant based eating goes another step further.

Hence my challenge. An experiment. When the cake was in the oven I was anxious. To be honest I was expecting to pull out a flat dry mess of a cake. To my surprise I had a moist light chocolate cake thing...

There is a secret ingredient that made all this possible. Wait for it.....
prunes.They are soaked, pureed and serve as an astonishingly great replacement for fat. Believe me you won’t even know that this iron and fibre rich fruit is in the cake. Kids were certainly surprised!

Here is the family verdict:
My son: 7/10 ( he is not keen on chocolate cakes)
My daughter: 10/10; 20/20; 100/100 ( she got a bit carried away)
My husband: 8/10 (9/10 if it was sweeter)
I thought it went fabulously with a cup of tea!

Not bad for an experiment!
prunecake

CHOCOLATE PRUNE CAKE
The prunes I used were organic as these have no added preservatives. I also used 3 Tbs of maple syrup, use 4 if you want a sweeter cake.
I flavoured mine with orange zest but next time I will try vanilla extract. I am also thinking dairy-free chocolate chips, walnuts, almonds.... treat this as a base recipe.

ingredients
1 (140g) cup organic prunes (not the soft ones)
1 cup (250ml) almond milk (or other dairy free milk)
zest of 1 orange or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs cider or rice vinegar
3 - 4 Tbs maple syrup
1 1/4cup (160g) whole wheat self-raising flour
pinch of salt (optional)
1/4 cup (30g) cocoa
1/2 tsp bicarb soda (baking soda)

prune puree
prunepuree

method
  1. First soak the prunes in boiling water for about 20min or until they soften.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170C (I had my fan oven on 160).
  3. Put the prunes and about 80ml-90ml (1/3cup plus 1 Tbs) of the soaking liquid into your blender or food processor. Start with less liquid, process into a thick smooth puree (see photograph), if too thick add more water. Set aside.
  4. For the wet ingredients, in a medium bowl, mix the almond milk, zest (or vanilla extract), the vinegar and maple syrup. Stir in the prune puree.
  5. For the dry ingredients, in a large bowl, mix the flour, cocoa and bicarb soda.
  6. Add the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir together. You will get moose like cake batter.
  7. Line a 10 x 6 inch baking tin with greaseproof paper. Pour in the batter, spread evenly.
  8. Bake for 20 min or till cake springs back when pressed with your finger.
  9. Let cool, cut into squares and enjoy.
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