Posts Tagged With: cake

Mango and Cashew Cake

Mango and Cashew Cake

Mango and Cashew Cake

With one eye on a lovely summer, here’s a quick and easy cake filled with some delicious tropical flavas! Served warm with whipped coconut cream and we’re talking something quite heavenly. I’ve added a few bananas meaning only a little sugar is needed, each slice is sweet in a naturally good way. The mango keeps the cake moist and there’s a little ginger there to give it all a kick.

This could quite easily be called a Keralan cake, a part of the world I love.  Any diet that is high in mangoes, cashews, coconuts etc I know I’m going to like.  A vegans paradise!!


Even though I have now flown the Beach House, I’m going to try and keep the tasty recipes flowing. I love sharing what we’re cooking with you guys. I always manage to find a kitchen no matter where I end up.  Right now I’m in a little fishing man’s social club and men are playing dominos and quaffing brandy.

I don’t think I told you guys what we’re up to…….Jane is over in the States at the minute, having a wonderful time and I am in Murcia, Spain. Its a long story, but basically my U.S. visa didn’t work out so I’ll be travelling around the Med (Italy, the Balkans, Greece) and then joining Jane in Asia for some time travelling around Indonesia and beyond. We’ve got some freedom and we’re diving into it!!

Unfortunately, my new gadget has the worst camera imaginable attached to it, making every plate of food look like it’s made from limp cardboard. I’ll therefore not be on instagram for a while, but check out twitter and facebook (see side bars) for more regular updates and photos of our meanderings.  We’re both working on exciting projects and look forward to sharing news about them soon.

Back to the old school with Mum's scales - whats an ounce again!!????!

Back to the old school with Mum’s scales – whats an ounce again!!????!

Recipe Notes

The texture will be improved by 2 tbs aquafaba which is the liquid in a tin of chickpeas or leftover chickpea cooking broth (cooled). Most beans will also work well. This aquafaba works a little like an egg in that it helps to hold things together.

You don’t have to use a heart based baking tin. This is the only cake tin that I could find in Mum’s kitchen. How cool is that!!!

Fresh out of the oven

Fresh out of the oven

The BitsFor 10-12 slices
175g self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground ginger
75g soft brown sugar

3 bananas
100g sunflower/ vegan spread (melted)
1 tsp vanilla extract

125g or half a medium-sized mango (finely diced)
2 handfuls cashews (roughly chopped)

A little more cashews or coconut for topping

Whipped Coconut Cream – For 4

1 tin coconut milk (chilled in the fridge)

Do It
Preheat oven 180oC, grab a 2lb loaf tin or 10 inch cake tin, lightly oil and line with baking parchment.

Sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl.

Beat the banana, melted margarine and vanilla extract together.

Add the banana mix to the dry ingredients and then fold in the mango until all is combined.

Pour into your waiting tin and top with sprinkles of cashews or coconut. Make sure to press any nuts sticking out down. They will catch the heat and burn.

Bake 45 – 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire cooling rack and leave to cool for 20 minutes before tucking in.

For the coconut cream – it’s oh so simple!! Grab the tin from the fridge, turn upside down and open.

Pour out the coconut water, this makes a nice drink (I’m thinking a mocktail) or base for a soup or stew. Scoop out the coconut cream and whip with a whisk of fork for a couple of minutes. You may like to add a little sweetener to it or even some lime juice and zest can be amazing.

Serve the cream straight away or put back into the freezer and give a quick whip before serving, it will go soft and floppy at most room temperatures.

Mango and Cashew Cake

Mango and Cashew Cake

Categories: Baking, Cakes, Recipes, Summer, Treats, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Banana, Buckwheat and Walnut Slices (Yummy, easy and don’t cost the earth!)

Banana, Buckwheat and Walnut Slices

Banana, Buckwheat and Walnut Slices

A nice slice of proper, old fashioned cake here. I love baking these traditional style cakes, you can’t go wrong with them.  Its so quick and easy to get together and it is also very cheap.  I doubt you’ll be able to cobble a cake together for much less.  This recipe is a request from one of our lovely guests at Trigonos, Debbie. It is a Trigonos classic and a variation on Ed’s (long serving chef and all around superhero) recipe that has been served to many thousands of artists, meditators, yoga students etc over the years. One of the best things about it, is its ease in preparation. Never a bad thing when working in a busy kitchen!

I was going to make Jack Monroe’s awesome looking Extra-Wholesome Banana Loaf and will be soon as I am always open to adding coconut oil to cakes.  I think its the closest we vegans can get to butter in baking and certainly adds richness and a fuller texture to your favourite slab of sweet happiness.  The extra-wholesome element in this cake is the buckwheat.  Adding great nutrition and a depth to the flavour of the cake.


Afternoon tea at Trigonos is always a highlight for most of our guests. It seems that this tradition is fast disappearing, maybe Great British Bake Off is reversing the trend a little, but a nice sit down with a cup of tea is a British institution that is dwindling due to our now fast paced lifestyles.  I think eating cake is essential to a balance, healthy, blissed out existence.  A little sweetness brings a smile.  Even if its a piece of fruit or one of the vast array of healthy cakes out there now; no sugar, gluten free etc.  We’re making one today actually, something revolving around polenta, garden blackberries and gram flour.  Watch this space (idea pinched from the brilliant Laura at Whole Ingredient blog!)


Trigonos is rocking at the minute with local produce.  I’m the luckiest chef living to be able to cook everyday with glorious organic produce.  Its all thanks to Judy and Owain who work their socks off year round to make the conditions right for these summer gluts.  The team have just podded over 200lb of peas alone, the sun has been out a little recently meaning the tomatoes are finally going red and we’ve a whole poly tunnel of them to munch, roast and/ or jar up.

Lovely to see the Ruby Chard back on the Trigonos Menu

Lovely to see the Ruby Chard back on the Trigonos Menu

As a cook, its a busy time of year, but a wonderfully satisfying one.  Our freezers are beginning to burst at the seams with blanched and fresh veggies, prepared for the more leaner months.  Our guests at the retreat centre really appreciate the fact that a lot of the food they eat was grown on the land, it certainly adds to the dining experience.  You can’t beat the flavour and vibrancy!

The courgettes are just taking off and that’s always interesting, overnight they can turn into something resembling a canoe crossed with a marrow.  They just blow up!  Sometimes these are great stuffed, as a real centre piece.  Basil has also ran wild this year, meaning many pesto/ pistou’s.  An abundance of basil is always a rare gift.  I’ve been loving Toasted Cashew and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, hopefully I’ll get the recipe on the BHK soon.  Jane and I are also doing a few house renovations and working on plenty of Beach House/ Peace & Parsnips based projects.  More news of those to follow soon.

Overall, I’m consistently amazed at how the Trigo guys eek out such abundant harvests from what is quite a damp and overcast part of the world with fairly dodgy volcanic soil. Its taken 17 years to get it to this stage.  I think that is the main lesson with organic farming/ veg growing.  Patience.

Gorgeous summer peas - post pod

Gorgeous summer peas – post pod

This recipe makes roughly 24 slices. It comes directly from my Trigonos recipe book (a cluster of precious, undecipherable scrap paper) where recipes are normally fit to serve 20-30.  Please feel free to scale it down a little.  I’ve also made this with added tahini and sesame seeds (no walnuts) and it becomes even richer with a nice chewy texture.  You may also like to add seasonal berries to the cake.  Raspberries and blackberries, for example, work beautifully.  As ever, use this recipe as a base and go wild!  Feel ever free to experiment…………  Use any oil you like, of course unrefined is much better, preferably with a neutral flavour.  If you don’t have buckwheat flour, you can use all wholemeal.


The bananas here act as a egg replacer.  Other vegan options for helping to bind things together when baking are apple sauce (cooked apples), silken tofu, mashed sweet potato/ squash, ground flax seeds……there are loads of healthy and effective plant based options.

This one’s for you Debbie!!!!!!!x

Trigonos farm - looking a bit misty yesterday.  We're having a pretty good year with produce, but unfortunately, much less sunshine than last year.

Trigonos farm – looking a bit misty yesterday. We’re having a pretty good year with produce, but much less sunshine than last year.

The Bits – 24 Slices

Do It

11 oz (310g) self raising wholemeal flour

5 oz (140g) buckwheat flour

10 oz (285g) unrefined brown sugar


1/2 pint (285ml) sunflower oil

1/2 pint (285ml) soya/ rice milk

4 ripe bananas

3 oz (85g) crushed walnuts


Do It

Oil and line a 10 inch x 14 inch (roughly) pan with baking parchment.  Preheat an oven to 375oF (190oC).

Sieve the flour and sugar into a large mixing bowl.   Mash your bananas in a seperate bowl with a fork, until smooth.  Make a well in the flour and sugar, gradually pour in your oil and milk followed by your bananas.  Stir until all is nicely combined (not too much).

Pour into the baking pan and pop in the oven for 40-45 mins.  Until your trusty skewer comes out clean when pressed into the centre of the cake.

Turn out onto a wire rack (removing the baking parchment) and leave to cool for 20 minutes.  Devour at will.

Banana. Buckwheat and Walnut Slices - This recipe makes a load, but don't worry, it freezes well!

Banana. Buckwheat and Walnut Slices – This recipe makes a load, but don’t worry, it freezes well!


Big cups of tea with your neighbour or granny.   Cats are also nice to have around when eating good cake.

Foodie Fact

Buckwheat is a great, gluten free alternative when used as a flour or grain.  Buckwheat is classed as a whole grain but is actually a fruit and is related to sorrel and rhubarb.  Buckwheat is a good source of magnesium and has other properties that promote good cardiovascular health.   Fibre is so important in a well balanced diet and buckwheat, being a whole wholegrain, is full of it.

I use buckwheat, both flour and grain, loads in Peace & Parsnips, things like Buckwheat Pancakes, Toasted Almond Buckwheat Crumble, Kasha with Rosemary, Apricots and Walnuts…….  It’s such a nutritious and tasty thang.

Categories: Baking, Cakes, Dairy/ Lactose Free, Local food, photography, Recipes, Wales | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gertrude’s Chocolate Cake filled with Dark Cherry Jam

Gertrude's Chocolate Cake filled with Dark Cherry Jam

Gertrude’s Chocolate Cake filled with Dark Cherry Jam

A quick one here that goes out to the Tasmania crew, Fran and Steve of The Road to Serendipity fame.  Fran has requested Gertrude’s (Jane’s Nan) recipe ever since seeing it on a previous post.  Well Fran, here it is, better late than later.  Soz…….

Just to rave about Fran and Steve for a moment, their blog is a massive slice of living off grid (with two cool dogs Bezial and the mighty Earl and bags of awesome looking food, nature, ideas, good livin’, love and plenty of peaceful vibrations).  They really are shining examples of living close to nature and Tasmania looks incredibly beautiful judging by their photos.  There can be few more dedicated and prolific bloggers than our Fran and we always appreciate her enthused feedback.  It is people like Fran who keep this little old blog rocking!  Cheers guys for your constant stream of inspiration and kindness.  You make the blog world a brighter place to be.

This recipe is taken from a scrap of paper written by Gertrude, who is no longer with us.  Gertrude lived to the ripe old age of 96 and dictated this recipe as Jane made it and Keith (Jane’s Dad) scribbled it all down word for word, quaint little sayings and all.  Goodness knows how many times this cake was made, Jane was brought up on it.  All of this means that this is a recipe we hold very dear and even closer to our hearts.  It also makes a lovely light chocolate cake and is ever so easy to make.

This will make one small sandwich cake, double the mix for a big ‘un.

The Bits

4oz margarine (good stuff), 4oz caster sugar, 1/2 teas vanilla essence, 2 eggs (beaten), 4 oz self raising flour (sieved), 1 heaped tbs cocoa (sieved), pinch salt, 1 teas milk (if needed)

Do It

Preheat oven to 190oC (360F)

In a mixing bowl, paste the margarine and caster sugar together with a wooden spoon.

Slowly add the eggs to the paste, stirring nicely.

Gently add the the flour and cocoa, fold into mix.

Add salt and milk if mixture is too dry, should be thick batter texture (that plops off a spoon).

Pour into two small round baking tins (6 inch) with marg rubbed on sides and bottom.  Use baking parchment if you don’t trust the non-stickness of your tin.

Clean out bowl with finger, give to Jane.

Get Nan to smooth it over.

Slam tins on table twice each.

Place in oven, 2/3 the way up.

Check in 1/4 hour with a wooden chopstick or skewer.  It should be clean when retracted.


We filled our with a fine dark cherry jam and grated dark chocolate on top. Although I hear Gertrude was quite partial to a little butter icing.

We Love It!

‘Cause Gertrude made it.

Foodie Fact

Eating cake makes you happy.


Categories: Baking, Budget, Cakes, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Strawberry Tofu Ice Cream Cake with Fig and Poppy Base (Raw/Vegan/Gluten-Free) + The Best Way To Wash Your Veggies

Strawberry Tofu Cheesecake with Fig and Poppy Seed Base (Raw/ Vegan/ Gluten Free)

Strawberry Tofu Cheesecake with Fig and Poppy Seed Base (Raw/ Vegan/ Gluten Free)

Please don’t be put off by the sound of tofu in a dessert, it is a truly wonderful addition.  Vegans wouldn’t get very far without it!!!!  Tofu has a bad rep, this cake will change it all…..Tofu is a real hero and if bought organic, is a nutritional wonder to boot with a smooth as silk texture.

It really is amazing what you can do with a blender.  This is a light, refreshing take on a cheesecake, only frozen and with the added interest of being made with tofu.  It takes minutes to prepare and sits happily in the freezer.  This has to be one of the healthiest desserts we’ve made at the BHK with bags of strawberries and only a small amount of figs in the base.

Raw desserts are amazing, but some hide huge quantities of sugar, normally in the form of dried fruits (primarily dates).  It is natural sugar, but it is still sugar.  This dessert is lower in sugar than most, the strawberries go a long way to sweetening the cake.  Raw desserts are not always healthier than other desserts, its worth bearing in mind.

Silken tofu is a vegan staple for dessert, baking and all sort of textural fun.  Tofu is high in protein and is a wonderful vehicle for flavours, of course by itself it is bland, its like a blank canvas for a creative cook.  We have used it in cakes to substitute eggs and it does an admirable job.

The base of this cake goes all seedy.  We have found that going raw can cost alot more, a main contributor is nuts.  You can get through alot of them, especially when making desserts.  Instead of flour, you use cashews.  In fact, many of our staples ie rice, cous cous, pasta etc go out of the window on raw and are replaced by fruit and veg.  Certainly not a bad thing for the body, but it can hit you in the wallet/ purse/ piggy bank.  Seeds are the answer and almost equally as flavourful.  For a crunch base like this, they are perfect.  We have also been making butters with them and they are just as tasty as their nutty compadres.  Go seed!


–  Big C, very big C.  Super packed with Vitamin C (8 strawbs =150% rda)

–  High in fibre (meaning that even though they are beautifully sweet, they have a low GI index)

–  Member of the rose family (how romantic!)

–  Virtually fat free (for those who think that matters. Fat doesn’t make you fat, to be covered in a later post.  Fat is actually very cool.)

–  Full of manganese=great for bones and growth.

–  They fight the big C (Cancer) with something called anthocyanin.

–  Some scientists have said that strawberries are actually anti-aging.

–  Super high in the vitamin B’s, which help metabolism.

Beauty Strawbssss!

Beauty Strawbssss!


We’d always recommend that you give strawberries a good wash.  They can attract all sorts of wonderful creep crawlies and dusty dirt.  Here are some top tips for cleaning fruit and vegetables, especially those bought in supermarkets (i.e. not particularly fresh and probably covered with chemicals and pesticides)  This makes a HUGE difference:

This cake is not made with an ice cream maker, so expect a few ice crystals if eaten frozen.  We find it best semi-thawed.  Take it out the freezer an hour before serving and it should soften up nicely.

Makes one large tart, enough for six slices.

The Bits

Topping: 1 punnet strawberries, 1 box silken tofu (350g), 2 tablespoons of sweetener of choice (we used a cane sugar syrup), 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ cup of soaked cashews

Base: 1 cup of dried figs (soaked), ½ cup ground flaxseeds, ½ cup sunflower seeds, ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds, 2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Fresh from the freezer

Fresh from the freezer

Do It

Easy as pie (cake)!

Put all the filling bits in a blender and blend so that you get a thick double cream texture.

Put all the base ingredients into a blender and blend so you get a sticky clumpy mixture that can be rolled into balls.  This will take a few goes, make sure you scrape down the side to incorporate the chunks.

Press the base into a 9” dish circular tart dish lined with cling film.  Pour in the filling and pop in the freezer.  We decided to make two small fat ones, so we could eat one who cake between the two of us.  Some call this greed, we call this the good life!!!!!

Strawberry Tofu Ice Cream Cake

Strawberry Tofu Ice Cream Cake


Take it out of the freezer before service and it will have a soft scoop ice cream feel with a nice crunchy base.  You will no doubt have some strawberries or other berries lurking around your fruit bowl, this cake is great with them.

We Love It!

The closest we’ve come to a really healthy dessert that doesn’t taste healthy (you know what we mean here).  This is the perfect summer cooler and has a nice richness even though dairy has not entered the building.

Foodie Fact

(Yawn)  Where do you get your protein in a vegan diet? (Yawn again)  The question on the tip of most carnivores tongue could be simply answered with TOFU.   Tofu is an amazing plant based source of protein and is now readily available in most parts of the world.  It has no cholesterol, is low in fat and contains a similar amount of protein to dairy and meat.  Firm tofu is also high in calcium.  As I mentioned above, just make sure it’s organic and not GMO.

Categories: Cakes, Desserts, gluten-free, Raw Food, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Dark Chocolate, Ginger and Beetroot Cake with Orange Cream

Dark Chocolate, Beetroot and Ginger Cake with Orange Cream

Dark Chocolate, Beetroot and Ginger Cake with Orange Cream

This was Jane’s birthday cake this year and quite a treat it turned out to be.  I was trying to combine J’s favourite things into a delicious lump of sweet goodness.  It’s a turned into a flavour explosion!  I think it worked out rather well and has been gobbled up in double quick time.

Everytime I make a cake, Jane and I say the same thing; ‘we’ll never eat all of this’.  Two days later we have an empty cake tin and smiles on our faces!  This is our last blast of cake for a while as Raw Earth Month approaches, we’re going raw again but taking it to another level, more to info will follow.  What a way to go out though!

Jane’s birthday was spent wandering around a beautiful local estate with champagne and a picnic under some redwoods, we then had coffee up at the local vineyard, Pant Du, and even managed to wander across to Beaumaris on Anglesey for a slap up feast with free flowing wine.  Not bad for a couple of country bumpkins!

This makes a large cake (probably enough for ten slices) in the Beach House that means a day’s worth of cake!  This recipe is supposed to be light, but I found it to be quite heavy, like a brownie texture.  I’m sure I did something wrong, but I’m not sure what?  I made it in a hectic blur of birthday preparation and was wrapping presents and whipping eggs at the same time, multi-tasking has never been a strong point of mine.  Let us know if yours turns out all light a fluffy.

I served the cake with whipped cream, I thought about a chocolate ganache, but that seemed like chocolate overkill.  The orange cream works out nicely, adding a touch of citrus to what is a slice of real richness.

I am not a huge fan of following elaborate baking recipes, but this was lovely J’s bday, so extra effort and focus was required.  The thing about baking like this is that you end up using every bowl and utensil in the kitchen and cover every work surface with globs of ingredients and flour ends up in the strangest of places.  I did enjoy making this, I loved the ingredients and got some extra special chocolate and cocoa in, working with good ingredients is always special.

Kitchen carnage - the caking making process in full swing

Kitchen carnage – the caking making process in full swing

I’ve used ounces here as that what the original recipe was in and I don’t have any prejudice regarding metric units etc.  An ounce is an ounce, a cup a cup, a whatever a whatever.  Hope it doesn’t cause any hassle.

Use any excuse to make this cake, a distant cousins birthday, the anniversary of your local post office, whatever it takes…BAKE IT!

The Bits

8 ounces fresh beets, 7 ounces fine dark chocolate (70%) 125g, 2 tbs coffee liquer, 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons butter, 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder, 1 1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder, 1/2 cup finely diced crystallised ginger, 5 eggs, 1 cup caster sugar

To Serve – 2 cups whipped cream, 1 tbs orange zest

Do It

Lightly butter an 8-inch cake tin (spring form is good). Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line base with baking parchment if you prefer.

Cook the beets, whole and unpeeled, in boiling unsalted water. Depending on their size, they will be tender within 30 to 40 minutes. Young ones may take slightly less. Drain them, let them cool under running water, then peel them, slice off their stem and root, and process in a blender or food processor until a coarse purée.

Melt the chocolate, broken into small pieces, in a small bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Don’t stir.  When the chocolate looks almost melted, cut the butter into small pieces and add to the melted chocolate, leave to soften.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a large mixing bowl. Stir the yolks together.

Now, working quickly but gently, remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and stir until the butter has melted into the chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes, then stir in the egg yolks and coffee liqueur. Fold in the beetroot.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold in the sugar. Firmly but gently, fold the beaten egg whites and sugar into the chocolate mixture. A large metal spoon is what you want here; work in a deep, figure-eight movement but take care not to over-mix. Lastly, fold in the flour and cocoa.

Transfer quickly to the prepared cake pan and put in the oven, decreasing the heat immediately to 325 degrees F. Bake for 40 minutes. The rim of the cake will feel spongy, the inner part should still wobble a little when gently shaken. Test with a toothpick , if it is still gooey in the center, continue baking just until moist crumbs cling to the tester.

Chocolate and Beetroot Cake

Chocolate and Beetroot Cake

Set the cake aside to cool (it will sink a tad in the center), loosening it around the edges with a thin icing spatula after half an hour or so. It is not a good idea to remove the cake from its pan until it is completely cold.

Whip up some cream until getting thick and stiff, mix in orange zest and combine well.


In very thick slices, with lashings of whipped orange cream and poppy seeds (if you have them, we didn’t!).  The more whipped cream, the better.

Dark Chocolate, Ginger and Beetroot Cake

Dark Chocolate, Ginger and Beetroot Cake

We Love It!

This is a dark, rich cake and has a pleasing full texture.  It is dense, but still moist and certainly beats your average chocolate sponge.  The beetroot adds a little earthiness and the peices of ginger are a pleasant surprise.

Foodie Fact

This is a cake with added healthy benefits, yes you’ve got your sugar and all but there is also ginger, beetroot and some wickedly dark chocolate.

Dark chocolate is just a wonderful thing, much, much better than milk or white it also boasts bags of nutritional extras.  Good for the heart and brain, full of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, it even packs a mild stimulant similar to caffeine to give you a little bump in the right direction.  Eaten in moderation, dark chocolate is a real super food hero.

Jane and I heading out for a birthday dinner bonanza

Jane and I heading out for a birthday dinner bonanza


Categories: Baking, Cakes, Desserts, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Happy Nutter Cake with Almond Chocolate Ganache

Happy Nutter

This is a completely unique recipe.  I can safely say that nobody has ever made a cake like this before (and maybe never again!).

It was my birthday recently and I felt like knocking up a cake packed with all the good things I enjoy, and so was born the ‘Happy Nutter Cake’.  Probably not the greatest name for a cake, but it was made up on the spot, as was this recipe.  I decided to free style with this one and just enjoy myself, no recipes, it was my birthday cake after all.  By my baking standards it was actually like a cake and not a strange loaf-like experiment.  Most people actually enjoyed it!

We have relaxed our normally healthy eating ways here, it was treat time!  This is a rich, dense cake but crisps up nicely around the edges and should be golden and soft in the middle.  The nuts add great crunchy surprises and if you like, you could top with an almond chocolate ganache (see below).

As usual, I cannot bring myself to use white flour, so I use sifted wholemeal.  I like polenta and the texture it gives a cake. I use cups when baking, they seem easier.  This recipe will make one big cake.

The ‘Nutter’ Bits

The Bits 

1 1/2 cups of sifted wholemeal flour, 1 cup polenta, 1 cup of creamy yoghurt, 50g soft butter, 3/4 cup good brown sugar (I use natural molasses sugar), 1 banana (chopped), 1/2 cup whole hazelnuts, 1 cup of dried mango (chopped), 2 teas bicarb of soda, 1/2 cup of almonds (roughly chopped), 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of almond milk (or milk of your liking).

In the mix

Do It

Sift flour, polenta and bicarb into a big bowl, add butter, peanut butter, yoghurt, sugar and milk and mix together well.  Then add the nuts, mango and finally the banana.  Make sure it is all nicely mixed and add to a suitable cake tin, buttered and lined with baking paper.

Bake for 45 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 oC.  Check that it is cooked in the middle, stick a knife in and it should come out only slightly sticky.

Allow to sit for 5 minutes in the tin and then carefully turn out onto a cake stand.

When cooled, put whole into a lidded container/ cake tin.  Slice wedges when needed, its stays fresher this way.

Almond Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate ganache is simple, in a bowl melt your favourite chocolate over a hot pan of water, take off the heat and slowly mix in double the chocolate quantity of double cream and a handful of roughly chopped almonds.  Allow to cool and then set in the fridge.

When needed, whip out of the fridge and lather on your cake.


I would recommend a few minutes in the oven before serving, then add the ganache to melt slowly.  YUM!

This is the last picture of the cake, it was devoured soon after.

We Love It! 

It has been several days since my birthday and the ‘Happy Nutter’ is long gone, which is a good sign, writing up the ingredients reminds me how tasty it was.  The ‘Happy Nutter’ is a keeper!

Foodie Fact

Almonds are full of calcium and phyto-chemicals, which help us fight off all sorts of nasties.

Categories: Baking, Cakes, Desserts, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Special Occasion, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moist Almond and Olive Oil Cake

Mary at her tiger pool in the jungles near the Ganges

Yesterday was Mary’s birthday.  A special day for great cake, wine and song (isn’t everyday!).

Mary is my dear friend who I met on the old Hindustan-Tibetan Highway, somewhere in the Himalayas, India.  She now lives in a cosy log cabin close to the end of Llyn Peninsula, Wales.

This cake went down a treat after a veggie banquet of salad, roast things and Mary’s ace chickpea stew.  We hardly had room for cake, but we soldiered on anyway and ate until we could hardly stand.  Hoorah for birthday excess!

People who know me, know that I am not into my frilly little cup cakes.  I like a dense cake that has some substance and is not packed full of white stuff and butter.  This fits this bill and then some….

I had been sitting on this recipe for a while, looking for an excuse to whip it up.  I liked the sound of almonds and olive oil (although the original had pistachios instead, see link below), the polenta is also an interesting addition.  I have made many changes to the original, no sugar, but honey and dates, brown flour instead of white (we didn’t have white in), cardamom added…..etc.

I also managed to use our goose eggs from Ernie (see ‘Ernie’s eggs’ article from Easter).  It was a beast, breaking into it required a lumberjack hack with my knife and the yolk was truly something to behold.  Vivid yellow.

Ernie's giant goose egg

The olive oil here keeps the cake moist and gives it a lovely fruity flavour.  It is quite a dense cake with a subtle orange tang.  I would recommend white flour here, as it will make the cake lighter.

This will make a large-ish cake, fit for around 12 good slices.

The Bits

1 cup polenta, 1 cup of white flour (sieved), 2 cups of almonds (ground), 1 goose egg (or 3 hens eggs), 1 teas baking powder (sieved), 2 cups of olive oil (mild), 100g unsalted butter, 1 cup dates (well chopped), 1 big teas good honey, 1 orange (cut into segments, little pith) and juice of 1 lemon, 2 cardamom pods (optional) zest of lemon, spare almonds, dried fruit and sunflower seeds for decoration.

I added cardamom to the recipe, because I love it with orange.

Do It

We ground our almonds in our little coffee grinder.  This is preferable as there are some nice lumps of nut left.

In a pan, melt butter in warm olive oil, take off heat, add your orange segments and cardamom.  Allow to cool and infuse for a while (outside on the step with a lid on works).

Gently mix polenta, almonds, flour and b.p. in a bowl.

Whisk egg, date and honey in a blender.  Add flavoured butter (remove cardamom pods) and oil slowly as you blend.

Empty wet ingredients into a large bowl and gradually add dry mix, stirring and folding in, then the zest and juice of lemon.

The mix should be quite wet and shiny with all that lovely oil.

Put into your favourite baking tin, preferably quite a flat one and grease well (I used more olive oil for this job).  Decorate in an ostentatious way using nuts, dried berries and seeds.

Bake at 160oC for 40 mins.

The cake should be a little underdone in the middle, it finishes off on the cooling rack.  Leave to cool for 10 mins in tin, before removing to the rack.


Preferably warm, we had ours with a rhubarb ice cream.  Then another time with local Welsh yoghurt and some of Mary’s spiced apple compote.

We Love It!

Definitely not your average Victoria Sponge.  The olive oil and almonds work a treat and the sweetness of the dates with the tang of the citrus makes this a very interesting, rich little number.  One for the cool Auntie Ji in your life.

Foodie Fact

Almonds are low in saturated fats and full of calcium and magnesium, good for the bones.  They are also an intense source of phytochemicals which battle against the big ‘C’ and keep your heart ticking nicely.

Almond and Olive Oil Cake (I lost the better picture, apologise)

This is a link for the original pistachio recipe on the ‘Welsh Rarebits’ site:

Categories: Baking, Cakes, Desserts, Recipes, Special Occasion, Travel, Vegetarian, Wales | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Abigail’s Apple and Pumpkin Vegan Loaf

The heavyweight cake

This is cake in loaf shape.

If you’re looking for something that goes well with a cup of tea, tastes amazing and does your body some good, this fruity loaf’s for you.

I took this recipe from Abigail’s blog which has a lot better pictures than mine and importantly, the loaf seemed to have turned out well.  Although I did change and add to the original.  As you can see, my didn’t rise particularly well, I put it down to not having baking powder!  Otherwise, this is a very simple cake recipe and very tasty.

This loaf really packs a punch!  It’s a heavyweight and really feels like ‘food’, not just a dessert.  Its packed full of fruit and nutrition, no dairy and only has a little added sweetness.

I used honey instead of agave, which I prefer.

With this amount of mixture, I made one big loaf and six small muffins, although Abigail seemed to have fed the five thousand!!!

The Bits

Dry Ingredients: 1 c. oatmeal (plus more to sprinkle on top), 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour, 1/2 c. white flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2  tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. allspice, 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 c. chopped apple (about 1/3 of a large apple; use the rest with the wet ingredients), 1 c. chopped walnuts (or hazelnuts)
Wet Ingredients: 1 1/2 c. roasted pumpkin, 1 banana, 1 1/2 tsp. fresh grated ginger, 1 c. chopped apple (about 2/3 of a large apple, what you have left over from the wet ingredients), 1/2 c. agave (or 2 tbs honey), 3/4 c. coconut milk (half of a can), 1 1/2 tsp. almond extract, 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.

Do It

Get your pumpkin nicely soft and coloured in a pan and set aside, then:

1. Preheat oven to 200oC. Oil and flour a large loaf tin and muffin tray.
2. In a large bowl, stir together all dry ingredients except the nuts and 1/2 c. chopped apple.
3. In a blender, blend together all wet ingredients (including the 1 c. chopped apple).
4. Mix the pumpkin into the dry ingredients. Once almost completely combined, add the chopped walnuts and apples. Mix up with a nice wooden spoon.
5. Divide the batter evenly between the loaf pan and muffin tray. Sprinkle oatmeal on top of the batter and press the oats into the batter a little.
6. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  The loaf will take longer than the muffins.
7. Remove from oven, and cover loaves (still inside their pans) tightly with foil. Allow to steam for 10 minutes. Remove foil, and turn out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely.


With a dollop of creamy yoghurt.

We Love It

This is a lovely moist spiced nibble at this time of year.  Its pretty much guilt free (if you get guilty about eating food) and is almost a meal in itself.

Foodie Fact

Cinnamon, originally from Sri Lanka, is a wonder bark.  It  has the highest levels of anti-oxidant strength of all foods.  Cinnamon is also anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, rich in minerals and is proven to be soothing.  In Ayurveda, Cinnamon is used to treat diabetes, colds and indigestion.

Categories: Baking, Cakes, Dairy/ Lactose Free, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Treats, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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