Bacon and Cabbage Frittata paint

This delicious GF/Vegan chocolate cake came about when our friend Nisheeth Tak, patron of our favourite restaurant “Rasam” www.rasam.ie in Glastule phoned me on Saturday evening with a dilemma. Where could he source a vegan and gluten free birthday cake!?…

As well as being one of life’s true gentlemen, Nisheeth is a wonderful host who makes every guest feel extra special. After years of being spoiled rotten by Nisheeth and Rasam team, I finally saw the chance to return some of their kindness. So with true pleasure I volunteered myself for cake duty.

I find vegan cakes (gateaux/sponges) like) quite difficult to create. I am really not an expert in this area. When I check them out on cake counters, they are often rather grey, with an unappealing, anaemic aura. Also, they often come with a high sugar content and questionable ingredients.

So I set out to create a wholesome vegan cake full of flavour, texture and quality – so on Sunday morning, I donned my chef’s hat and started experimenting.

I adapted this recipe from the one I posted for St Valentines day. I’d already worked out the GF bit – my vegan challenge was to replace the butter and eggs. I hope you’ll agree that I nailed it!

There are many substitutes you can use to replace dairy and eggs. As in GF cooking I find a combinations usually work better than just a single ingredient.

To replace butter: 50% Coconut oil and 50% avocado flesh give the right balance of flavour and creaminess. Though it does depend on what you are making: cake, cookies, pastry etc.

Chia seeds, flax seeds and banana are some of the common ingredients used to replace egg. I used ½ a banana and a brand new product I recently found at the Natural and Organic Products Show in London, called VeganEgg. Its GF,DF,SF, non GMO and when scrambled it actually tastes like egg – scary! VeganEgg is made mostly from sea vegetables and their extracts. I find it quite a good egg replacer, though I’ll need more practice to be sure. Check out www.followyourheart.com for more on this novel food. I know it is imported into Ireland, but right now I can’t remember who by. I’m sure you can buy on line anyway.

 

Serves 8-12 or more

Ingredients

  • 225 grams dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  • 125 grams coconut oil
  • Zest of 1 blood orange
  • 20 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoon VeganEgg replacer
  • 150 ml chilled water
  • 200 grams coconut or rapadura sugar or stevia erylite
  • 200 ml soya yoghurt
  • 125 grams avocado flesh (1 large avocado)
  • ½ banana
  • 300 grams ground almonds
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 70 grams chopped pistachio nuts
  • 3-4 slices thinly sliced blood orange (opt*)
  • 8” cake tin with removable base
  • Vegetarian
  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Vegan
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Method

  1. Break chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl, add in coconut oil. Sit over a pan (bain-marie) of barely simmering water and let chocolate melt, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly. Blitz avocado, banana and soya yoghurt to a puree and add to cooled chocolate mixture. Lightly grease cake tin, set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl lightly whisk VeganEgg replacer with 150 ml chilled water. Add sugar, orange zest and orange juice and continue to whisk. Add to cooled chocolate mixture and gently mix.
  3. Mix in ground almonds, cardamom and ¾ of the chopped pistachio.
  4. Bake at 150 C for 1 hour or until baked. 10 minutes before it is ready, sprinkle leftover pistachio nuts on top of cake.
  5. Remove from oven, leave to cool before removing from tin.
  6. Store in airtight container.

Maggie's Tips

  • Best baked a day ahead of time as it is easier to handle and cut.
  • Replace pistachio nuts with walnuts or hazelnuts
  • Be warned! – the VeganEgg has a rather strong aroma when mixed with water.