Saturday, 15 December 2012

EV Series Herbs and Spices Event Roundup

 I got this award for contributing a recipe to Julie at Erivum Puliyam's Herbs and Spices event. Click here to see the roundup of  delicious recipes hosted by "Divya's culinary Journey"... I contributed Green Pea Hummus , btw.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Rich Chocolate Truffle Cake- vegan

I just smoothed the frosting on the top and sprinkled with chocolate curls and edible glitter, but it could easily be piped if you have the time for a show-stopping party piece
This really is a decadently wicked cake, with a velvety truffle filling and frosting- special enough to be an alternative to Christmas cake
 It would also make a brilliant Yule log cake, too

This is possibly the richest, creamiest cake I have ever made -but it contains no egg or dairy products whatsoever! The cake itself is soft and slightly fudge-y because of the melted gour/soft brown sugar and the frosting and filling is actually soft vegan chocolate truffle. It definitely has that "wow" factor which means it would be at home at a dinner party, Christmas celebration or family get-together alike- I made it for my husband's birthday. Another "plus" to this recipe is that it's really simple and quick to make if you keep the decoration simple. It's a large cake; the recipe I have given here would easily make 20 portions. (You can just halve all the ingredients if you don't want that much cake.) If you prefer a sugar-free vegan chocolate cake, try this recipe.

800g white self-raising flour
8 tsps baking powder
6 rounded tabs cocoa powder
400g gour or soft brown sugar
300ml ricebran oil
800ml soya milk

To frost and fill:
200g vegan margarine
200g unrefined icing sugar
200g vegan dark chocolate (and if it's Belgian chocolate, so much the better!)
2 tabs soya milk

  • Measure out the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and cocoa) and mix together in a large bowl.
  • Meanwhile, melt the gour /brown sugar carefully over a low heat, stirring to ensure it doesn't burn on the bottom. 
  • When melted, stir in the oil, then gradually add the soya milk, making sure you keep the mixture warm. Use a balloon whisk to get it homogenous. 
  • Beat the warm liquid mixture into the dry mixture (that's why you need a large bowl), using a balloon whisk to get it really smooth.
  • Turn into 2 dampened round silicone cake moulds  (10"/26cm in diameter or the equivalent) and bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven at 180C for about 25 minutes, or until a thin skewer inserted into the centre of the cake emerges clean.
  • Leave to cool on wire racks while you get the frosting and filling ready:
  • The frosting/ filling needs careful putting together to ensure it is not lumpy: Melt the chocolate in a bowl over steaming hot water, but leave aside a couple of squares for decorating the cake if you like.
  • In a separate bowl, cream together the sugar and vegan margarine to a smooth consistency; you will probably need to sift the icing sugar. Carefully mix in the soya milk. Remove the bowl of melted chocolate from the heat source and whisk until perfectly smooth. Then whisk in the buttercream mixture. 
  • When the cake is completely cold, sandwich it together with half the filling and top with the rest. It can be piped and decorated however you like.
  • Store in an airtight container. The topping/ filling will solidify a little more over time.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

How to 7: Make Marzipan- vegan, gluten-free

This is a lot easier than you might think! Home-made marzipan is great because the stuff you get in the shops, even if it is "natural" and doesn't contain any yellow colouring, invariably contains glucose-fructose syrup, which is often derived from grains like wheat.  It can be used to make little sweets, fill home made chocolates or go on a Christmas or wedding rich fruit cake.

To cover the sides and top of  a small fruit cake (double this amount for Cranberry Christmas Cake) you will need:
200g ground almonds
200g icing sugar (preferably unrefined)
3 tsps almond essence
2 tabs maple syrup/ agave nectar
1 tab water (only if you need it)

1:Mix sugar and ground almonds together in a large bowl.

2: Add the almond essence and stir well.

3: Next mix in the maple syrup/agave nectar...

4: ....And rub in with your fingers to make an even mixture. If it is too dry, add the water .

5: If the marzipan is a little too wet, you can add a bit more sugar at this stage. Pat into a ball and keep it wrapped in a sealed plastic bag until you need it.