I have decided to try and increase my baking knowledge and dip my toes in an area I am unfamiliar with, but would like to conquer. That may be a little over optimistic. Just to present something which doesn’t taste inedible would be a start.
Of course, I am referring to the vegan family of cakes. Actually, more specifically, vegan cakes that are not chocolate based.
And why is this? I hear you ask.
Well, there are a few people in our lives that, for one reason or another, have opted to go down the strict vegetarian or vegan route. Savoury food doesn’t present a problem, but I am sick and tired of having to whip something up that isn’t really in my repertoire and therefore tastes like cardboard. Or vinegar. Or vinegar’d cardboard. It just seems totally unfair.
So it is to this end that I am taking the bull by the horns and forcing myself to learn. This has been made easier by recently meeting someone who runs an interesting blog called Veggie Runners. Well, interesting if you’re vegetarian and a runner, not quite so compelling if you are neither, but still, they have some great recipes, and this is one of them.
But wait, just before I reel off the ingredients, there’s something you should know. This little number has Chia seeds in it.
For those of you who may not be completely au fait with Chia, they are being hailed as one of the world’s superfoods.
A foodstuff that has an enormous amount of health properties which can only aid in making you feel tip top and Bristol fashion about almost everything. I would list those properties here but it would take too long, so just click on Chia and read up on them yourself. Suffice to say they are linked to the Mayans. Chia being the Mayan word for ‘strength’. You make up your own mind.
So, the ingredients are as follows:
250ml soya milk, 125ml vegetable oil, 225ml soya yoghurt, 70g glace cherries, 250g plain flour, 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 175g brown sugar, 100g ground almonds, 1 tablespoon chia seeds
Whisk the vegetable oil, soya milk and sugar together until frothy then add all the other ingredients. Mix. Pour into a greased and lined tin – one of those rectangular ‘tray bake’ style ones – and put into the oven gas mark 4 for 30 – 35 minutes.
It is at this juncture that I have to admit to not using the original flavourings (go to veggie runners and check it out) of rosewater and pistachio nuts, however, to be honest, you could use any combination you fancied. We just happen to like almond and cherry. Although after the following conversation, it may just be me.
Wee boy: Ooo cherries
Me: would you like one?
WB: yes please
Eats a cherry
WB: so mummy, what are these?
Anyway, when you bring it out of the oven, let it cool before turning out onto the rack. It has a similar density and texture to what my auntie Sheilagh used to call tea bread, but does genuinely taste delicious and, to my delight, there is absolutely no after taste of cardboard or vinegar.
We put a very plain liquid icing sugar topping on, and covered in cherries.
You could do whatever takes your fancy.