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)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 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 170 degrees centigrade (fan oven). 180 degrees without a fan.
  • 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 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.

food, gluten free

GLUTEN FREE POTATO PASTRY

WARNING: gluten free eaters keep this a secret as your non-gluten free pastry-loving partner and friends will eat your left overs when you’re not looking. I speak from BITTER experience!

Ever wanted to have your GLUTEN FREE pie and eat it? 

Have you been looking for a pastry recipe that only contains a few ingredients, and DOESN’T include a load of binders and additives? 

Well here it is!

This pastry is adapted from a Hairy Dieters recipe in their GO VEGGIE cookbook. It is delicious and counts towards your daily vegetables (if using sweet potato or parsnips -yes I know, that seems just weird, but try it and see) and is more nutrient dense (the buckwheat is a complete protein).  Also, although I don’t advocate using great quantities of oil, the coconut oil used also has nutritional benefits.  At Christmas time, I used this recipe (with the parsnips) to make mince-pies, and everyone enjoyed them. We all need a little comfort sometimes. Go on, treat yourself!

INGREDIENTS

  • 275g floury potatoes such as Maris Piper or King Edwards, or parsnips, or sweet potatoes
  • 40g coconut oil
  • 80g gluten free buckwheat flour
  • 1-2 tbsp plant milk (if using potatoes, otherwise you may not need this extra milk)
  • Pinch of salt

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6

First make some mash.  Peel the potatoes/parsnips, and cut them into chunks of about 3 cm.  I prefer to steam them to retain more nutrients, but you can boil them for about 10-15 minutes or until very tender.  Drain the potatoes, then leave them to dry out.  The drier they are the better.  Mash until smooth (I use a food processor) without any oil or liquid, then leave to cool.

To make the pastry, rub the coconut oil into the buckwheat flour in a bowl, then add 200g of the cooled mash (if using white potatoes add a tablespoon of plant milk) and season with a touch of salt.  Work everything together into a dough, handling it as lightly as possible (I do all of this in a food processor using  the dough making attachment, but it is fine to do it by hand).  If it’s too dry, add more milk, but only a teaspoon at a time.

When you have a smooth dough, roll it into a ball, cover with cling film and chill for at least half an hour before using.

TO MAKE PASTIES YOU WILL NEED:

  • 2 quantities of potato pastry
  • 50mls coconut milk from a tin
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • A filling of your choice

PASTY METHOD

Mix together the coconut milk and turmeric and leave the mixture to one side.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces and roll each piece into a circle with a 12-13cm diameter (about the size of a saucer).  Use plenty of buckwheat flour on the worktop surface and the rolling pin to stop the pastry sticking while you are working it.

Take a circle of pastry and place a tablespoon of filling in a line along the middle of the circle, leaving a gap along the edge of the pastry.  Brush the exposed edge of the pastry with the turmeric milk mixture, then bring the two halves together and seal, crimping the edges, Cornish-pasty style.  Repeat to make all the pasties, then brush with the turmeric milk, and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Bake the pasties in the oven for about 45 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.  Transfer the pasties to a cooling rack to cool down so the underside of the pastry does not go soggy.  Nice hot or cold.

Hope you enjoy, and leave me a comment to let me know what you think.