Friday, 28 February 2014

Vegan ginger spice cookies

I find I am stumbling across more and more vegan blogs as I look for lactose/dairy free recipes. I have no issue with eating eggs but I am happy to make entirely vegan recipes, its fun to try new things, and besides which I can bake for vegan friends when they visit.

These little ginger cookies are delicious, if I were to make them again I would flatten them more before baking just so that the texture was less cake like in the centre. I may also make them with treacle or half treacle, half golden syrup just for a variation in flavour.

Ginger spice cookies

makes ~ 12

1 tsp egg replacer (found easily at Holland and Barret)
50g golden syrup
50g dairy free spread
50g light brown sugar
110g spelt flour
25g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice
2 balls stem ginger, finely chopped

caster/granulated sugar for rolling

Preheat the oven to 170C/150C FAN and line a baking sheet with baking parchment. At the last minute I realised I had run out, a greased tray worked just fine too.

Mix the egg replacer with a couple of tablespoons of water. Beat the egg replacer, golden syrup, dairy free spread and sugar together until smooth and combined. Add the the rest of the ingredients, except the stem ginger, and beat until nearly combined. Finally stir in the stem ginger until evenly distributed. 

Dived the dough into 12, roll into balls then in caster or granulated sugar. 

Place onto the prepare baking sheet and flatten with your hand. 

Bake for 12 minutes till golden. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool. 

Almond topped treacle cake

Arggh I have just realised my scheduled posts have not been going up. So over the next few days there will be new ones all the time!

First up is this interesting cake, interesting in that I was not entirely convinced about it but everybody else loved it and it was demolished at an alarming rate. I concede that it must be a personal taste thing and the majority wins so up on the blog it goes!

Also interesting in that it does not contain treacle just molasses sugar which gives it a super treacle like flavour, if you cannot get hold of molasses sugar I would suggest using the darkest brown sugar that you can get your hands on.

Almond topped treacle cake

3 eggs
150g molasses sugar
tsp good vanilla extract or paste
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
75ml milk (I used almond milk)
75g butter, melted

125g butter
125 caster sugar
50ml milk
150g flaked almonds
sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 160C/140C FAN and lightly oil and line the base of a springform cake tin.

Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla until thick and foamy and much lighter in colour. Mix the flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl. Mix the butter and milk in a jug. Fold in 1/3 of the flour to the egg and sugar mix followed by 1/3 of the liquid in the jug. Alternate between the flour and the liquid until it has all been folded in. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes until risen and golden.

About 10 minutes before the cake finishes cooking start the topping. Melt the butter, sugar and milk in a saucepan, then add in the almonds, cook for 5 minutes or so until the mixture thickens slightly. Add sea salt to taste, I like salted caramel so a good teaspoon went in. 

Remove the the cake from the oven and pour over the hot praline topping. Turn the oven up to 200C/180C FAN and return the cake to the oven for a further 5-10 minutes until the topping is golden and crispy. Make sure you keep a close eye on it, it will catch quickly. 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Zucchini (courgette) and lemon bundt cake

Once again I am back from a week away in the Czech Republic and have subsequently gone baking mad this weekend.

First up is a simple but delicious cake, that is packed with some hidden veg! I am entering it into this months alpha bakes as the letter this month is the rather tricky z. I lived in America for a little while so I do not feel too cheeky using the American word, zucchini, instead of courgette.

The courgette adds moisture and pairs well with the zingy lemon. You could peel the courgette if you do not want flecks of green in your cake, or if you want to hide the courgette and feed it to a veg hater. I did not peel it because I was lazy and also think the green flecks are pretty.

Zuchinni and lemon bundt cake

2 medium courgettes
170g butter
3 eggs
300g caster sugar
Zest and juice of a lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla
200g self raising flour
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 160C/140C FAN and grease and flour a bundt tin. 

Coarsely grate the courgette and using a clean tea towel squeeze out the water. 

Gently melt the butter over a low heat and set aside.

With a fork whisk briefly the eggs and sugar together to combine them. Again with a fork, whisk in the butter, lemon zest, a tablespoon of lemon juice, vanilla and courgette. Finally whisk in the flour and salt.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes until golden and springy.

Allow the cake to cool in the tin for '15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

I like this cake just as it is, no glaze or icing, a sprinkle of icing sugar was all it needed to make it smart enough for morning tea.

This cake was so good, it had people coming back for seconds. The courgette made the cake moist but not damp, and the lemon provided freshness and flavour. This is one to make again and NOT take into work!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Cardamom loaf cake

This just looks like a simple loaf cake from the outside but if we delve within it is packed with the exotic and aromatic flavours of cardamom and vanilla.

It is a lovely cake to enjoy with a cup of earl grey, but to be honest with any tea or coffee or even by itself this is the cake for me (for this week at least!).

Cardamom loaf cake

190g butter
170g caster sugar
The seeds from 15 cardamom pods crushed in pestle and mortar
tsp vanilla paste
3 large eggs
190g plain flour
tsp baking powder
2 tablespoons natural yoghurt 

Preheat the oven to 160C/140C FAN and grease and flour a loaf tin.

Beat the butter, sugar, cardamom and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scrapping down the sides of the bowl in between each addition. 

Beat in the flour and baking powder until just combined before finally beating in the yoghurt. 
Tip into the prepared pan and level before baking in the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until golden and a cake skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the tin for a few moments before transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I completely forgot to take pictures of the finished loaf in my desire to eat it! It will keep in an airtight tin for a few days. The crust is AMAZING on day one! 

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Chocolate fondant

I have wanted to make (and EAT) chocolate fondant for a while but have not quite got round to it. With it being valentine day on Friday and my only ramekins being red and heart shaped I thought I may as we'll make them then.

They have a reputation for being tricky but really they are not, as long as you set the oven correctly and time them correctly they will be melting in the middle.

They are oozy lovely and perfect. What's not to love about hot melting chocolate? I served them with whipped coconut cream as I cannot have dairy but feel free to serve with cream, ice cream etc.

Chocolate fondants

50g dark chocolate
50g butter
Tsp vanilla paste extract
Tsp liquor of choice, I used brandy
1 egg
1 egg yolk
50g sugar
50g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Grease ramekins with a little butter and dust with cocoa powder. If you happen to run out of cocoa powder icing sugar works just fine. 

Put the chocolate, butter, and vanilla into a heatproof bowl, place over a pan of simmering water and heat gently until melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the liquor, set aside to cool for a few moments.

Beat the eggs and sugar until light and thick. Sift over the flour and baking powder and fold in with a spatula or metal spoon. Gently fold through the chocolate mix a third at a time. 

Divide between the prepared ramekins and chill for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C FAN and bake the fondants for 8 to 10 minutes. Leave to stand for one minute.
Turn out onto a serving plate, add whatever sides you desire and tuck in immediately.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Vegan chocolate torte

This is yummy, a nutty biscuity base, topped with a dreamy, creamy, smooth intense thick chocolate mousse.

There is just one slightly odd factor which, have you not tried it, you may freak out. The mouse is made of dark chocolate, maple syrup and.... avocado. A lot of avocado.

Now don't panic, the dessert is not a weird green colour, and you cannot taste avocado. I could not quite bring myself to tell my partner what it contained, so I simply told him it was a mousse-y chocolate torte. He loved it and did not even enquire/notice any odd ingredients.

The arrowroot in this recipe is essential, it will thicken the chocolate mousse without being heated, do not use cornflour. Arrowroot is in all the supermarkets and is under a pound, go buy some!

So chocolate is good for the soul and avocados are good for the body, a perfect dessert I think!

Vegan chocolate torte

75g plain flour
50g ground almonds
100g caster sugar
50g light brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp arrowroot
1 tsp salt
70g coconut oil
30g golden syrup
120ml almond milk

200g vegan friendly dark chocolate
350g ripe avocado
80ml almond milk
150g maple syrup
1 tbsp arrowroot
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract/paste

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C FAN and line a brownie pan with baking parchment.  For the base of the torte mix all the dry ingredients together (from plain flour to salt). Next gently warm the coconut oil in a pan until melted whisk in the golden syrup and almond milk then add to the dry ingredients and mix till thoroughly combined. 

Tip the base batter into a brownie tin and level, it will be a little tricky, the mixture is sticky! Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes until golden. Remove and allow to cool. 

For the topping melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water then set aside to cool. Blend all the other ingredients in a food processor until super super smooth, you may need to scrape down the sides a couple of times. Finally add the chocolate, a little at a time, to the processor and blend until thoroughly incorporated. Spread on top of the cooled base then freeze for at least 2 hours before slicing and eating. 

They keep well for at least a week in the freezer. Maybe more but they were all gone by then! I liked to take them out of the freezer 20-30 minutes before eating them, I thought the texture was better this way.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Lime and coconut cake

The second of bake from my mad weekend if baking. A simple lime and coconut loaf that came about thanks to coconut milk and limes lurking in my fridge.

The cake contains desiccated coconut, coconut milk and lime zest and I stopped with a sharp lime glaze.

Lime and coconut cake

150g butter
175g caster sugar
Zest of two limes
3 eggs
25ml coconut milk (or grams if you coconut milk is really thick)
175g self raising flour
40g desiccated coconut
Two (or more) tablespoons of coconut milk

Juice of one lime
Tablespoon if caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C FAN and grease and the base of a loaf tin.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy thn beat in the lime zest. Beat in the 3 eggs until well combined then briefly beat in the 25ml coconut milk. Gently beat in the flour until just combined then add in the desiccated coconut, finally beat in the remaining two tablespoons of coconut milk. If your batter is very thick and you have coconut milk to spare you can add a little more here.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and using a spatula make a gentle grove down the middle, this will help stop it rising too much in the middle.

Bake for 40-50 minutes until golden and a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tin whilst you make the glaze.

To make the glaze gently heat the lime juice and caster sugar in a pan until thick and syrupy.

Turn the cake out onto a wire rack and while still warm brush the top with the sticky glaze. If you like sprinkle a little desiccated coconut on the top for a pretty affect.

Mark really liked this cake but if I am being brutally honest I think I under baked it just a tad. The flavour was good but I think the texture would be greatly improved from an extra 5 minutes in the oven.