Vegan carrot cake

Another Birthday and another cake. This time my youngest brother.

I am trying to be resourceful in my baking now, using what I have in the cupboards rather than specifically going out to buy new things. So the bag of carrots in the fridge just screamed ‘carrot cake’. I had made a carrot cake sometime last year. I’d found a vegan recipe but I had used eggs – so, not so vegan! However this time I only had one egg left so I finally got to use my milled flax seeds as the vegan egg substitute.

The cake turned out fine. It cooked well. Nice springy texture. I covered it in butter icing (sunflower based) and chopped walnuts.

For the Carrot Cake:

Buttercream icing

200g icing sugar

100g butter

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Applesauce and walnut cake

Mother’s Day today.

I made a loaf cake for my mother applesauce and walnut cake

I found that I needed to cook this for a further 15 minutes (covered with foil to protect the topping) before it was ready. When it was finally done the texture was perfect – soft and spongy. It’s not overly sweet and the walnut add just about the right level of crunchiness and interest.

INGREDIENTS  

  • ½ cup room temperature butter (113 grams)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup walnuts chopped
  • ½ cup dates chopped
  • ½ cup raisins
  • Powdered sugar for serving if desired

INSTRUCTIONS 

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Spray a 7 inch x 11 inch pan with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl cream together the brown sugar and butter until combined well using an electric mixer, or a whisk or fork if by hand.
  • Add the eggs, applesauce and lemon juice and continue stirring with a mixer or spatula until well mixed.
  • Next add your dry ingredients including flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves and salt. Gently mix in an electric mixer or with a spatula until a batter forms.
  • Now stir in the nuts, dates and raisins until just combined to give your cake a delicious texture.
  • Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. Test to make sure your cake is done by inserting a toothpick into the cake. It should come out clean with no batter clinging to it. Sprinkle with powdered sugar to decorate if desired.

Torta caprese

I woke up this morning with a craving for chocolate cake. In truth the craving started on Friday evening, it feels like it been a hard week for women.

I thought it might be interesting to cook with almonds instead of flour and I found this very simple recipe on the Food52 website.

Ingredients 
  • 125 grams (4.4 oz) blanched almonds (or almond meal)
  • 125 grams (4.4 oz) good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 125 grams (4.4 oz or 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, chopped
  • 125 grams (4.4 oz or 1/2 cup) sugar
  • large eggs, separated and left to come to room temperature
  • powdered sugar for dusting

DIRECTIONS

1.Grease and line a 20 cm or 8 inch round cake tin with baking paper and preheat oven to 160ºC or 320ºF. 

2.If using whole blanched almonds, blitz them to a very fine, sandy texture in a food processor. Set aside.

3.Place the chocolate, broken up, in a metal or glass bowl set over a bain marie (double broiler, or a pot of simmering water). When melted, remove the bowl from the heat and add the butter, stirring with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula to help it melt. Then add the sugar and the almond meal.

4.Once the mixture is no longer hot, add the egg yolks and stir to combine with a wooden spoon. If adding any further ingredients (orange zest, rum, etc), stir them in now.

5.In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with beaters to soft, fluffy peaks. Fold the whites gently through the chocolate and almond batter.

6.Pour the batter into the cake tin, smooth over the top and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the top appears dry and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs attached (not wet batter). It is important not to overcook this cake so that it retains its wonderful moist consistency. Let cool completely in the tin before handling.

7.Dust with powdered sugar and, if desired, some lightly whipped cream. This cake keeps well for several days and is even better the next day.

Oh, yes, I started a podcast! Have a listen, I think it’s fun.

Prune and mixed fruit loaf cake

The prunes are all used up now!

I found this nice simple recipe, Prune and raisin loaf cake. This time I used mixed fruit instead of just plain raisins. I soaked the fruits and prunes in orange juice and I did not add sugar to the recipe. I also used ordinary plain flour instead of rice or gluten free flour.


What you need

  • 150g mixed fruit
  • 150g soft pitted prunes
  • 75g soft brown sugar
  • 150ml orange juice
  • Oil spray
  • 1 egg – free range
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp mixed sweet spices

What you do

  • Soak the fruit in the juice for a couple of hours, stir in the sugar until dissolved in a large baking bowl. I leave it covered with a tea towel in the kitchen
  • Oil spray and base line a 2lb loaf tin
  • Pare heat the oven to 170c
  • Sieve the flour, almonds, baking powder and spices on to a plate ready for adding to the bowl
  • Add the sieved flour and egg to the bowl containing the soaked fruits, mix thoroughly and then turn into the prepared loaf tin
  • Bake for 50 to 55 mins until golden and well risen
  • Cool initially in the tin and then cool fully on a wire rack
  • Stores well in an airtight tin.

This is the second time I have made this. I cooked for 50 minutes the second time round.

This loaf cake did not last long. Made Saturday morning, finished Monday morning