allergies, gluten free, Nutrition

Healthy Vegan Carrot/Celebration Cake

This cake isn’t the crisp white that people may be used to with a celebration cake, but then it isn’t full of processed sugar either. I like the rustic look of the icing, and it looks especially pretty when decorated with fresh fruit.  If you just want to eat it as a wholesome but plain carrot cake, make it without the icing, and if you want something extra special for an occasion, double up the recipe.  This cake freezes beautifully without the icing, so you could make one half in advance and make the second half of the cake on another  day.  You can ice the cake while frozen and allow to defrost once the icing is in place.

For the carrot cake:

  • 2 cups buckwheat flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 and 1/3 cups grated carrot
  • 1 cup dates
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 medium/large bananas
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder or extract
  • 1 orange (zested and juiced)
  • 1 cup ground walnuts (grind in coffee grinder or food processor) plus half cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 half cup sultanas
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups water

For the icing:

  • 200g dates (soaked in warm water for 30 minutes)
  • Fat from a can of coconut milk (you will need to leave in the fridge overnight so the fat solidifies at the top)
  • Juice of one lemon (optional)

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 160 degrees centigrade (fan oven). 180 degrees without a fan (though this depends on your oven – if it runs on the hotter side, you may need to adjust the temperature.)
  • Grease 1 10” cake tin or 2 7” cake tins, and line the bottoms with greaseproof baking paper.
  • Blend banana, oil, dates, vanilla, maple syrup, orange juice, lemon juice, zest and 1 cup of water (in a blender or food processor). 
  • Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a mixing bowl.
  • Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then add the walnuts, sultanas and carrots.
  • Allow to stand for a minute or so, and if the mixture is too dry, add more water, a little at a time.  Remember to not over-beat.
  • Put into the cake pans (I prefer the larger 10 inch pan).  For this larger cake, bake for 45-50 minutes before testing. If a toothpick is inserted and doesn’t come out clean, cook for another 5-10 minutes.
  • If using the 7” trays, cook for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • All the cakes to cool on a cooling rack
  • For the icing, blend the dates, coconut milk fat and lemon juice.
  • Once the cake is cooled, decorate with the icing.  You have a few options here:
  1. For the 10 inch cake – simply put the icing on the top and sides, or slice the cake horizontally down the middle and ice the middle of the cake as well as the top and sides.
  2. For the 7 inch cake – ice the top of one cake, then sit the other on top, then ice the top of the second cake and the sides.
  3. For a bigger (celebration) cake, double up on the 10 inch cake recipe (and the frosting recipe), then decorate as for the 7 inch cakes.

You will have plenty of icing left over, and this can used as be a nice dip for apple or pear slices.

NB. You may want to use other gluten free or wholegrain flours, but please be aware that the liquid ratio may change.  Buckwheat tends to soak up quite a lot of water and become quite thick. You may also prefer this as an oil free cake, but in that case, you will have to adjust the liquids. Coffee or orange would be nice additional flavours, instead of vanilla, that would suit this cake.

allergies

More Microbiome Amazingness!

The human gut, or digestive tract, is home to trillions of microorganisms, including more than 1,000 species of bacteria. These microbes play crucial roles in health and disease.

Medical News Today

Although, as you can probably tell by the title, I never cease to be amazed by the role of the microbiome on our health and wellbeing, I was particularly excited to read that new research has shown there may be a way to temper immune reactions in those with food allergies by replenishing specific missing bacteria in the gut.

Although currently only tested in mice, this study follows on from other similar studies, and shows there may be a way forward for those suffering with food allergies. As the microbiome and the immune system work together in a close partnership, when these these particular microbes are missing, the immune system lacks a specific component required in order to work effectively. When these microbes are introduced, it has been found to lead to a rewiring of the immune system, which then has a protective effect on the host.

Rather than targeting any particular food allergen, this method could potentially treat all food allergies in one go.

MEDICAL NEWS TODAY

Although science isn’t fully there yet in treating people with food allergies, it does give hope to those who suffer with serious food reactions. It also gives us more reason to look at what we eat, as the delicate balance of the microbiome is so easily disturbed and can have far reaching consequences.

To read the whole article about the reasoning behind the study and results, please click the link here: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325560.php