Archives for posts with tag: vegan

Birhtday cake with mousse and dusting

It has been far too long since I updated this blog, and it will be long before I can update it again. My half-term tests are coming up in the upcoming weeks, so my next recipe might be posted sometime during the summer holiday. I will use the break to create and try out new recipes – I guarantee delicious, egg-free dessert in the future. But first, let me share this celebration cake. Though it might not seem much from the pictures, this awesome egg-free (and vegan) creation consists of two layers of chocolate cake, two layers with my favorite egg-free chocolate and orange mousse and a generous topping of freeze-dried raspberries.

Its components have been published here before; banana muffins are here disguised as layer cake, and the orange and chocolate mousse was a key part of a chocolate mousse tart. They make a surprisingly wonderful and refreshing combination. As the title suggests, I made this cake for my own birthday party last week. It was a huge success!

I’ve decorated the cake with a dusted layer of cocoa and freeze-dried raspberries. If you seek a less rustic look, it is possible to use an icing bag when covering the cake with chocolate mousse, or to top it with fresh raspberries, blueberries or strawberries. I would not recommend icing fondant – it usually contains egg whites (and sometimes palm oil as well). In addition, it spoils the otherwise refreshing and light cake.

As mentioned in the original chocolate mousse recipe, it is important that you use chocolate with approximately 35% fat – if not, the chocolate mouse will not be able to emulate. The mousse has a quite strong taste of chocolate, so if you’re using dark chocolate for this, feel free to add sugar.

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Recipe adapted from Frie kaker by Anne Spurkland

For six people (or one small cake):

For the orange and chocolate mousse:

200 g chocolate (dark or milk chocolate, as long as it contains approximately 35 g fat)

2-3 (organic) oranges or sufficient for 2 dl orange juice

For the cake:

100 g chocolate

200 g very ripe banana

50 g neutral-tasting oil (I used soy oil) + extra for greasing the form

25 g cocoa powder

100 g flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

For decoration:

cocoa powder and freeze-dried raspberries

Start with the chocolate mousse: chop the chocolate. It is an advantage to chop it finely – then the chocolate melts quicker. Put the chocolate in a medium sized bowl that fits in a sauce pan. Then, squeeze the oranges until you have 2 dl juice. Strain the juice into the bowl with chocolate. Place the bowl on the small casserole with boiling water. Stir well with a spoon until it the chocolate and orange juice have melted together and the mixture looks smooth. Place the mixture in the fridge until it’s at room temperature.

Then, make the cake: Heat oven to 250℃, and grease a small spring form (approximately 15 cm diameter, see tips). Chop the chocolate coarsely. In a smoothie maker/food processor, weigh up the banana, oil and sugar. Let it mix until the mixture is creamy; it should have a smoothie-like texture. Sift cocoa powder, flour and baking soda into the mixture. Let it mix in the processor. Gently fold in the chopped chocolate – try to keep the batter airy. Pour the mixture the spring form, and place it in the oven.  Let the cake bake at 250℃ for 3 minutes. Lower the temperature to 180℃ and bake it an additional 10-15 minutes. Check with a wooden stick if they it is finished before letting them cool off on a cooling rack.

When both the cake and the orange and chocolate mixture are cold, whip the mixture with a mixer or kitchen machine. This takes several minutes, so don’t give up! The mix should have the same consistency as softly whipped cream.

Divide the cake horizontally into two layers (using a long, serrated knife makes this easier). Distribute one third of the mousse on the bottom layer of the cake. Carefully place the other cake layer on top. Again, use one third of the mousse you have left on the sides of the cake, making them smooth. Use the last of the mousse for decoration; I used a spatula to give the cake a rounded top, but you can put it in a icing bag and make small rosettes or other decorative stuff if you want to.

Dust the cocoa powder on the top and sides of the cake. Top the cocoa with sifted, freeze-dried raspberries. Gently move the cake to the presentation plate before consuming.

Tips:
– I used a small spring form for the cake – approximately 15 cm in diameter. It is of course possible to bake it in larger forms, but that will make the cake shorter and more difficult to separate horizontally. (But again, you can skip the whole separation of the cake and put all the mousse on top.) You can also bake the cake in two separate forms to avoid separation.

– The cake is originally a muffin recipe, so why not make muffins? You could still make the mousse and top the muffins with it (thus making them cupcakes) – just use the muffin recipe here.

 

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Square Granola bars

This is likely to become the simplest recipe ever published on this blog. And what more, it is vegan, healthy (no added sugar or fat) and consists of only two ingredients. If you have a smoothie maker or blender, the dough can be made in a few seconds.

Granola bars pre-oven

I have written about the benefits of bananas in pastry before. Bananas can be an excellent substitute for eggs (especially if you mash them in a blender until smooth and frothy, as done in these chocolate muffins) and are naturally very sweet. This means that you don’t have to add any sugar to the recipe. Though this recipe is – in its basic form – super-simple, easy to make and (I guess?) healthy, the cookies/bars aren’t tasteless, and the recipe can be varied indefinitely.  What about chocolate chunks or cocoa powder? Cinnamon? Apple? Cranberries?

Granola bars post-oven

Recipe adapted from this Norwegian recipe.

For 8 small cookies or bars:

1 small banana (about 90g without peel)

50g rolled oats

Optional additional ingredients; e.g. dried fruits, nuts or dark chocolate, or spices; cinnamon, vanilla, or salt. (I used 30g dried and chopped raisins and apricots, and a pinch of cinnamon.)

Set the oven to 190℃. Peel the banana mash with a fork or in a blender until it has a  smoothie-like consistency. Add the oats to the mixture and mix the two together. Add any additional ingredients, and scoop the cookies out on a sheet. Put the tray in the middle of the oven bake them until the edges look golden (about 15 minutes; the cookies are supposed to be soft and chewy). Let the cookies cool on a rack before devouring.

Notes:

– Use gluten-free oats to make gluten-free cookies.

– If you want to make granola bars, it is possible to roll out the cookie dough on the tray before baking, and cut out small bars from it after baking while it is still hot.

Plum cake

We made orange and plum marmalade last week. Even though the plum season is long gone, we have discovered just how easily plums can be frozen and used later. After we had filled three large jars with jam, we still had a few plums left. Naturally, it became my task to include them in a cake. I googled around in search of appetizing, eggless plum cakes. None of them seemed perfect. In the end, however, I found and decided to try an Indian plum cake recipe.

The recipe needed a bit of modification; I used oatmeal in stead of cashews, replaced oil with butter and milk and simplified the procedure. I have also included an additional, optional step in the process for a truly moist cake.

However, the interesting flavor of the cake remains.

Plum cakes!

Recipe adapted from Veg Recipes of India

For one cake (or 6 persons):

100 g plums (4-5 small ones)

140 g all purpose flour

70 g whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon vanilla powder

Pinch grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

70 g sugar, white or demerara

40 g oatmeal

1 dl and 3/4 dl milk

1,5 tablespoon apple cider

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

100 g melted butter + extra for greasing the pan

Peel and remove the stones from the plums. Chop them coarsely. If they are very juicy or have been frozen, remove as much moisture as possible by resting them on a sieve while preparing the batter.

Grease a small spring form or cake loaf pan with oil or butter. Preheat oven to 170℃. Sieve all the dry ingredients (except baking soda and oatmeal) into a large bowl. Add the butter and 3/4 dl of the milk to the bowl and mix thoroughly. The batter will get a doughy consistency.Add the plums and the oatmeal to the batter.

Now, get ready for the fun part: mix apple cider and the remaining 1 dl milk in a small bowl. Add baking soda to the liquid and mix carefully. It will froth and become bubbly. Fold the mixture gently into the batter. I recommend to whisk the dough carefully to dissolve all lumps. Pour the batter into the greased form, and let the cake bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Part 2 (optional):

approximately 1,5 dl plum juice or freshly pressed orange juice

Once the cake is out of the oven (it should still be warm), poke through the crust with a knitting pin. The holes should be roughly 2 cm from each other. Pour the juice over the holes and let the cake absorb the liquid.

Notes:

– the cake can be turned vegan by using soy milk and oil in stead of butter and dairy milk.

– If you’re making the cake for the first time and are unsure about whether to try step 2, it is possible to only poke the cake on one side. However, make sure to tilt the cake when pouring juice over it, to avoid juice from getting on the unpoked side.

– If you’re skipping part 2, let the cake cool on a rack before taking it out of the form and eating it with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or orange sauce.

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One of my new year resolutions for 2015 was to improve my lunchbox – I aspired to make filling and healthy salads, sandwiches, wraps – you name it. Three weeks ago, this seemed achievable. Now, only two weeks into the semester: not so much. Admitted, I don’t prioritize making fancy lunches as I should – in the morning, I don’t have time to make it. In the evening, I’m too tired. However, there is a solution for lazy lunch-makers (like me). This filling banana bread is one of them.

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The recipe is adapted from Jack Monroe’s book A girl called jack – one of my favorite cookbooks with a truly inspirational message (check out Jack’s blog here – she has loads of cheap, fool-proof recipes, including egg-free, vegetarian and vegan meals and treats).

The bread is easy to make, it stays fresh for a week, it’s super freezer-friendly, and it’s egg-free and vegan. Jack recommends consuming the bread toasted with peanut butter, but apricot or orange jam is also excellent. I’m already planning to make a jacked-up version of this bread with chocolate à la Smitten Kitchen for a seriously indulgent treat.

For 1 small bread (approximately 15 small slices)

2 dl dried fruit (can be skipped)

3 large bananas (roughly 400 g when peeled)

75 g oil (I used soy oil, but any mild-flavoured oil will do)

50 g sugar (white, brown or demerara)

225 g flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180°C, and lightly grease a 1.5 l bread pan.

Peel the bananas and mash them with a fork in a bowl (or let the blender do the work) until they have formed a smooth mixture. Pour into a bowl, and add oil and sugar to the mixture. Stir. Then sift in flour, baking powder and cinnamon and stir well. Chop the dried fruit coarsely (unless you are only using sultanas, which can be added whole) and fold into the lumpy batter.

Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake it for 1 hour in the middle of the oven until it has risen, looks golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Let the bread cool on a cooling rack before turning it out of the pan. It stays fresh for a week if covered in cling film.

Notes:

– If the bananas aren’t over ripe, use extra sugar, and feel free to add some of the oil when mashing them.

– for more lunchbox friendliness, make banana bread muffins; scoop the dough into a muffin tray until each tray is 2/3 full. Bake the muffins for 15 minutes, or until they have risen and look golden.

Spice and honey loaf cake cut

Not in Christmas mood yet?

It’s less than four weeks until Christmas (help!) and christmas shopping is in full swing. Every year, I have an ambition of being done with all Christmas gifts before the end of November. But then I end up here – 25 days left, and I’ve only bought two gifts… Chopped apricots

Stress is at an all-time high (cause: Christmas rush combined with half-term tests). Luckily, there is a cure for everything: cake. Especially a dense honey cake with a spicy kick from pepper, ginger, cloves and cinnamon. The cake is perfect for lunch boxes for  instant christmas spirits. Once more, the recipe was found in Frie Kaker (guess what’s on top of my wish list), but I’ve adapted it slightly. The cake butter-free. For a completely vegan cake, exchange honey with syrup, and use coffee or apple juice instead of milk.

Spice and honey loaf cake

For one dense loaf cake:

125 g white sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

125 g honey (or syrup)

2 1/2 dl milk (can be exchanged with apple juice or coffee)

5 dried apricots (can be skipped)

peel of one organic orange

Heat oven to 170℃. Grease a small bread pan. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Gently heat up honey in a small sauce pan until it melts. Add milk to the melted honey and stir until it has completely dissolved. Set aside. Chop the apricots finely. Add peel of the orange to the milk and honey mix. When the mixture has cooled down, add it to the dry ingredients. Mix well. Add the apricots and stir thoroughly.

Place the cake in the middle of the oven, and let it bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool on a cooling rack.

Note: the cake is best a few days after it’s made.