Tag Archives: cake

Christmas Pudding Cakes (Vegan Life Issue 2)

When Vegan Life launched in September, I don’t know if anyone anticipated just how well the magazine would be received. It was such a hit that it won this year’s VegfestUK Awards for best publication, and that accolade was purely based on the first issue!

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Issue 2, and was especially excited that it would be the Christmas edition. When it arrived, I was hoping to savour it over a few days but alas, once I got started I couldn’t put it down.

Vegan Life Issue 2 300

Just like the first issue, this one is packed with articles that I found both inspiring and thought-provoking. One feature in particular that caught my eye was the debate on whether vegans should feed pets meat. This is one issue that I’ve been struggling to get my head round. The Vegan Life article prompted a lively debate amongst my Twitter friends. I think I’ve finally decided my stance, but it’s a very tricky issue, and definitely one that people need to decide for themselves ;o)

I’m looking forward to trying all the recipes in Issue 2, but the one that immediately grabbed my attention was the Christmas Pudding Cakes by Harriet Emily. I love Christmas Pudding and Christmas Cake, but I’ve never had a Christmas Pudding Cake before! I was intrigued to see how it would turn out. I had a quick scan down the recipe and it didn’t look too tricky at all.

Vegan Life Issue 2 - Christmas Pudding Cakes

The recipe is gluten free, cane sugar free, dairy free, egg free and soy free, so it ticks lots of allergy friendly boxes. It does include almonds, but I’m sure these could be subbed to make it nut free too.

The recipe uses two of my favourite ingredients – coconut sugar and coconut butter. I tend to buy these online as they’re not always available in my local health food shop. If you’re not so fussed about making these cakes super healthy, then I’m pretty confident you could sub them with cane sugar and non dairy spread. The recipe also calls for millet flour which I couldn’t find locally, so I used buckwheat flour instead. It worked absolutely fine. I’m sure you could use regular whole wheat flour too if you didn’t need to make it gluten free.

And the verdict?
I was so happy with the way the cakes turned out. They were moist and flavourful, plus they made the house smell amazing while they baked! They were a huge hit with the family. Hubbie has already requested another batch, and Lil’ L said they were absolutely delicious (and this is someone that usually avoids dried fruits!)

Hubbie preferred his pudding cake straight up with no toppings, while Lil’ L and I enjoyed it drizzled in salted caramel. We used the Considerit Special Edition Salted Caramel from November’s The Vegan Kind Box, but Harriet Emily also shared a recipe for home-made salted caramel, which looks super easy to make.

Christmas Pudding Cake

The treats certainly live up to their name. I really can’t decide whether they are a cake or a pudding. Definitely somewhere in between. They’re baked in ramekins, so you could serve them straight out of the oven, more like a pudding …

Christmas Pudding Cake

Or you could pop them out of the ramekins and serve them like cake. I did find that the portions were a little on the large side. While hubbie easily devoured a whole cake, I couldn’t manage a whole one by myself (and believe me I tried). Next time I make them, I’ll try baking six instead of five and see how the size compares.

Christmas Pudding Cake

I did make a few tweaks to the recipe. I subbed a couple of ingredients that I didn’t have on hand, and adjusted the spice quantities (I used ¼ tsp nutmeg instead of 1 tsp as I find the flavour of nutmeg really strong, plus I omitted the allspice as I didn’t have any). I also reduced the baking temperature from 200C to 180C and the baking time from 40 to 30 minutes. They came out perfect, so I’m guessing the recipe is pretty flexible.

Big thank you to Harriet Emily for sharing her fab recipe If you’re interested in vegan, sugar free and gluten free cooking, definitely go check out her blog. I can’t wait to try her Chocolate Caramel Tarts. They look amazing!


Products used in this recipe (UK sources)

Biona Organic Coconut Sugar
Tiana Organic Coconut Butter (Aroma Free)
Clarks Original Maple Syrup
Doves Farm Wholemeal Buckwheat Flour (this does contain traces of gluten so use Doves Gluten Free Buckwheat Flour or Millet Flour for a 100% GF option)

In Vegan Life, Harriet Emily also shares a recipe for Caramel Sauce, which uses coconut sugar as its base. I’ll update this post once I’ve had a chance to try it (sadly I’ve run out of coconut sugar, but it’s on order).

I also have two caramel recipes by The Vegan 8 bookmarked, both of which I’d love to try with these Christmas pudding cakes. The first one – Caramel Sauce – has melted coconut butter as its base, and the second one – Salted Caramel – is made with sweet potato and coconut milk! It sounds weird but it’s received rave reviews so I’m excited to try it!

Did you get Vegan Life Issue 2? If so I’d love to know what you thought of it. Have you tried any of the recipes yet?

 

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Filed under Baking & Desserts, Desserts, Treats & Sweets, Vegan magazines

Apple & Walnut Cake with Cinnamon Caramel Frosting (Raw / No Bake)

Autumn has officially arrived! And this is the season where one of my all-time favourite flavour combinations comes into its own. Sweet, warming and comforting, that’s how I would describe apple & cinnamon

I’ll be welcoming in the new season with lots of delicious recipes that showcase this beautiful flavour combo, including old favourites like Apple & Cinnamon Pancakes and Monkey Bread as well as some new tasty discoveries.

One recipe that recently caught my attention was The Rawtarian’s Raw Apple Walnut Cake which featured in the first issue of Vegan Life.

Vegan Life Apple & Walnut Cake Collage

There are so many things I love about raw/no bake cakes. Besides being packed with nutrient-rich ingredients, beautiful flavours and contrasting textures, they’re also incredibly simple to make. I’ve had many baking fails over the years, but I’ve yet to mess up a raw cake. Throw the ingredients in a food processor, pulse, press into a tin and chill. What could possibly go wrong?

Apple & Walnut Cake (Raw / No Bake)

As is the norm with me, I did make a couple of tweaks to the original recipe to suit my personal tastes. The first time I made it, I found that the apple flavour got a little lost, so second time round, I pulsed in the apple at the end to keep it chunkier. This worked a treat and I loved the extra texture dimension of the apple, alongside the nuts and dried fruits. I also subbed some of the raisins with sultanas (I love the apple/sultana combo) and added some ground nutmeg and a pinch of salt. For me, this really helped to make the flavours ‘pop’.

Apple & Walnut Cake (Raw / No Bake)

The original frosting recipe doesn’t call for the cashews to be softened first, but my blender just isn’t capable of blending raw nuts. They just say gritty (which isn’t nice in frosting!) So, instead, I opted to blend the cashews using the method I use for my dairy-free cheesecakes. I also added some cinnamon and coconut sugar, which gave the frosting a deliciously warming, caramel-like flavour. I then sprinkled cinnamon sugar on top for good measure. The coconut sugar drew in moisture from the cake and gave it an unexpected (but pretty) glazed finish.

Apple & Walnut Cake (Raw / No Bake)

This cake has been a huge hit with the family. Even Lil’ L loves it! And this is definitely the kind of cake I’m happy to serve him as an after school treat or dessert 😉 This recipe is a keeper. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Products used in this recipe
Waitrose LOVE life walnuts
Happiness is Homemade organic raisins and sultanas
Clarks maple syrup
East End desiccated coconut (available in Tesco on the world food aisle)
Aasani cashews (available in Tesco on the world food aisle)
Biona organic coconut sugar
Essential organic virgin coconut oil
Magimix Food Processor

Apple & Walnut Cake

Did you get the first issue of Vegan Life? If so, I’d love to hear if you’ve made any of the recipes yet. I think I’ll try the Khao Suey next. It sounds scrumptious! If you missed Issue 1, it’s currently available to purchase as a back issue from the Vegan Life online shop.

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Filed under Desserts, Healthy Snacking, Treats & Sweets

Old-Fashioned English Tea Loaf (Dairy-Free / Egg-Free / Fat-Free)

It might be old-fashioned, but I love tea loaf! It’s perfect for serving for ‘elevenses’ or as a mid-afternoon ‘pick me up’ with a lovely cup of tea

It also makes a great lunchbox treat, after school snack, or tasty sustenance for long road trips. While Lil’ L still won’t eat dried fruits in trail mixes or granolas (still a texture thing apparently!), he’ll happily eat them in this tea loaf. 😉

English Fruity Tea Loaf (Dairy-free / Egg-free / Fat-free / Vegan)

As cakes go, this tea loaf is pretty healthy. It’s filled with nutrient-rich dried fruits and wholegrain flour, contains a relatively low amount of sugar (compared to regular cakes) and it’s fat free!

English Fruity Tea Loaf (Dairy-free / Egg-free / Fat-free / Vegan)

I have my mum’s friend to thank for the recipe. I arrived at my mum’s house one day to discover this incredible smell wafting out of the kitchen. It turned out to be this tea loaf! Back home, I couldn’t wait to have a try at making my own. The original recipe contained an egg but I always bake it eggless and it turns out absolutely fine. I can’t actually tell the difference!

I’ve made countless loaves in the past year or so and I’ve yet to have a fail…

Vegan Fruity Tea Loaf (Fat-free)

… that said, I’ve yet to attempt a gluten-free version of the loaf. Lately, every time I try baking gluten-free, it ends up a total fail! If anyone does attempt a GF version of this loaf, I’d love to hear how you get on.

This loaf is incredibly simple to make! You simply soak the dried fruit in a cup of tea for a few hours, then mix all the ingredients together and bake!

Dried Fruit for Tea Loaf


Lovely cup of tea and English fruity tea loaf

 Are you a fan of fruity cakes? If so, what’s your all-time favourite? If you’ve got any recipes, please do link up below.

Have a great weekend everyone! xx

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Filed under Baking & Desserts, Healthy Snacking, Treats & Sweets

Lil’ L turns 10! and a Recipe for Scrumptious Vegan Chocolate Cake (Dairy-Free / Egg-Free)

At the start of the Autumn half term school holidays, Lil’ L moved into double digits. I’m still dumbfounded as to how my boy grew up so fast. Seriously, where did all those years go?

His day kicked off with present & card opening. I love watching his facial expressions as he opens presents!Lil L 10th Bday Morning 2013

Another sign that he’s growing up is the lack of toys on his birthday wish list. Instead, he wanted new wheels for his scooter, a skater helmet and books (so glad he still enjoys reading!)

We spent his birthday at Longleat Safari Park. We were able to use my Tesco vouchers, which meant we could enter the park for free (saving us over £70!)  There’s so much to see at the Park, including a whole bunch of cool Deadly 60 attractions that have appeared since we last visited.

Longleat Deadly 60 500

For me, the highlights of the day were seeing the penguins, taking part in the Deadly 60 challenge with Lil’ L, and watching a male lion playing with his cub. The highlight for Lil’ L was going on the simulators. It was the first time he’s been on a simulator and he found it thrilling (whereas I just felt incredibly sick & kept my eyes shut the whole time… I’m such a wimp!)

In the evening, we went to Lil’ L’s favourite Indian restaurant in Bath – Rajpoot on Pulteney Bridge.

Rajpoot Bath

The birthday celebrations then continued for the next few days (one of the perks of having a birthday in the school hols!) and included a Laser Quest party; a trip to Dorset to visit his Nan; walks in the forest; and bike rides with his Dad and cousin. What a lucky boy he is!

Lil L 10th Bday Activities 2013

As usual, he requested a vegan chocolate cake for his birthday. This year, I made a very simple chocolate victoria sponge sandwich cake, which worked out surprisingly well. It was moist, held together well when sliced, and wasn’t too rich or sickly sweet.

I was all set to use cashew cream frosting (which I prefer a million times over to regular frosting) … but then had a change of heart. This cake wasn’t for me, it was for Lil’ L and his friends. Rather than impose my preferences on them, I ditched the cashews and dug out an old box of icing sugar from the back of the cupboard. I even went to the shops and bought some sugar sprinkles.

Vegan Chocolate Victoria Sponge Sandwich Cake 400 copy

The cake got great feedback from the family (including my mum!) as well as Lil’ L’s friends. I was particularly surprised when Lil’ L’s best friend came up to me after the party to tell me how much he’d enjoyed the cake. This meant a lot as he isn’t normally a ‘cake person’ (you’re much more likely to seeing him diving into a fruit bowl or tucking into roasted nuts and seeds!)

Vegan Chocolate Cake 2 copy

The cake was super easy to make. Here’s how I did it:

Products used in this recipe
Morrisons 23cm Non-Stick Springform Cake Tins – These are made in the UK, cost only £4 each and have a 5-year guarantee!
Salter Aquatronic Electronic Kitchen Scale – These scales are great as you can weigh everything directly into the same bowl. As an added bonus, they come with a 15 year guarantee!
Tesco Chapatti Flour – I use this flour in all my baked goods. It’s a very fine wholemeal flour and super cheap too!
– Dr Oetker Sugar Stars and Sugar Strands – Purchased from The Co-Op; also available from Tesco

Vegan Chocolate Cake 3 copy

For those of you that dislike the traditional Christmas fruit cake, I think this would make a great alternative. You could even add some festive sprinkles!

 

Please note: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links – if you click on the link and purchase something I will receive a small percentage from Amazon which will go towards the development of Bit of the Good Stuff. Thanks in advance!

 

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Filed under Baking & Desserts, Holidays, Treats & Sweets

Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins & Our 2nd Mother’s Day Treat

I hope all the international mothers had a wonderful day of rest, relaxation and pampering last Sunday 🙂  Unlike the rest of the world, here in the UK we celebrate Mother’s Day in March rather than in May but, despite this, last Sunday did feel like Mother’s Day as we had lovely day out with my parents’ in law at Wisley Gardens.  We even had some Mother’s Day gifts for my mother-in-law as we didn’t get to her on the UK Mother’s Day.

Rhododendrons at Wisley in May

www.rhs.org.uk/Gardens/Wisley/

Funnily enough, M thought it was Mother’s Day last Sunday as the date was printed on his works calendar.  Shame I didn’t keep my mouth shut otherwise I could have been in for another treat 😉  He said he was going to remind Lil’ L to make me a card.   I didn’t need another card though as the one I received on our first Mother’s Day was perfect.  In fact, I still haven’t put it away as it makes me smile every time I re-read it.  Here’s what he wrote:

My Mothers Day Card 2013

How sweet is that?

He sure knows how to encourage me to keep baking him treats 😉

Since he loves lemon cake so much, I thought I’d treat him (and M) to some lemon poppy seed muffins this week.  I’m happy to report that they turned out really well and received great feedback from the family 🙂  Even though they’re made with wholegrain flour, they’re light, fluffy and moist.

Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin

This is what they look like inside:

Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin

They’re very easy to make.  Here’s how I did it:

 

Here’s another of our favourite muffin recipes: Mama Pea’s Blueberry Streusel Muffin

Mama Pea Blueberry Streusel Muffin

And if you like lemon cakes, how about a slice of Vegan Lemon Drizzle Cake?

Lemon Drizzle Cake

I don’t know about you, but I find that muffins are a bit too big for me to eat in one go.  I often slice them and save half in the fridge for another day.  It’s my birthday next month and on my wish list is one of these mini muffin trays.  They look so cute and this muffin size would be perfect for me.  They’ll also be great for lunchboxes (and waistlines) too!

What’s your favourite muffin flavour?  The next two flavours I’d like to try baking are raspberry & coconut, and maple syrup with maple glazed walnuts.  I just need to wait until I have a bit of space in the freezer then I can get recipe testing 🙂

 

Please note: This post contains an Amazon Affiliate link – if you click on the link and purchase something I will receive a small percentage from Amazon which will goes towards the development of Bit of the Good Stuff. Thanks in advance!

 

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Filed under Baking & Desserts