I love that fully vegan restaurants and shops exist, but I also find great pleasure every time I find vegan food in unexpected places. For me it is a sign we are becoming mainstream.
I had one such experience recently when I was in the shopping centre in Doncaster. I had headed out there to go to the Apple Store and things took slightly longer than I expected. By the time I was leaving to go home I needed some sort of snack to ward off hunger.
I didn’t want to eat chips – I’ve eaten more chips as a vegan than I did in a lifetime of being an omni, as so often they are the only choice.
Just as I was despairing of finding anything remotely vegan (other than chips) in a large shopping centre, I walked past Joy Cupcakes. In amongst the regular cakes, they had several vegan ones and a prominent sign to let me know. They also make gluten free cupcakes, and there are even some that are both vegan and gluten free.
I grabbed two flavours because I couldn’t decide, a Red Velvet and an Orange with Popcorn. Both delicious and with a good texture.
A nice find in the middle of otherwise unlikely vegan territory.
It’s winter and I have a fruit bowl full of navel oranges begging to be used. I cannot think of a better use for them than this wonderful cake.
This recipe is a vegan version of a beautiful Sicilian/Sephardic Jewish orange and almond cake. Navels work best in this cake because they have no seeds to remove – the oranges are pureed whole. The only non vegan ingredient in the original recipe is eggs. While eggs are reasonably easy to replace in a cake, this one has a lot. Six in fact. So I approached it with some unease, thinking it would turn out like a brick. I need not have feared. It is a fairly dense cake, sort of like a pudding in texture, but so is the original.
It is the easiest cake to make. It is really suitable to make vegan because it is such a fudgy cake to begin with. It doesn’t suffer from having the eggs replaced with a vegan alternative, as it doesn’t need the eggs for lightness like say, a sponge.
The original is an old faithful recipe that’s been in my family for years. There are lots of versions of it out there, some with fewer oranges, some with and without flour. This is the one that seems to have settled in as my favourite.
It is utterly delicious with its combination of nutty, bitter and sweet flavours.
My only problem with this cake is I could happily scoff the lot at two or three sittings.
My dessert loving vegan best friend had her birthday recently and I wanted to make something delicious for her birthday cake.
A few weeks ago I had dinner with a group of vegan gourmand friends at Monk Bodi Dharma. The desserts there were sensational, (we ate them all!). The best one by far was a white chocolate and raspberry deconstructed raw cheesecake. This got me thinking about cheesecake as a possibility.
I found an old recipe on Novel Eats for a chocolate cheesecake that looked pretty good. It isn’t a raw cheesecake but a cooked one. I made a baby one in a small 8cm springform pan to give it a test drive. Of course I tinkered with it, changing the crumb base to a nut one, adding raspberries to the filling and using slightly less chocolate.
It tasted wonderful and the texture was perfect, but when I was unmoulding it from the springform pan it fell to bits and it became an accidental deconstructed cake! This was probably because I added the raspberries, thus breaking the texture of the filling too much.
I wanted to leave the raspberries in the cake for the flavour and didn’t want to make a large one for the birthday party and risk having it fall apart. So I decided to make individual ones for the party in large muffin-sized patty pans. They look good, don’t run the risk of falling to bits at unmoulding and are easier to eat at a stand up function.
They were such a success that I took some more to another birthday picnic a couple of days later.
It’s hard to go wrong with chocolate and raspberries.