Sunday, 11 April 2021

Vegan Blueberry and Strawberry Cake


Looking at my most recent posts, you would think this is turning into a full on cake appreciation blog, but my mum's birthday was a couple of days ago and in keeping with tradition, I baked her a scrumptious vegan cake to celebrate. After posting the picture/video on Instagram, a lot of interest rolled in for the recipe. Here we are! This cake is soft, succulent and fresh, with bursts of juicy blueberry in every mouthful. I hope you enjoy trying it out and I would love to hear what you think.

It's hard to believe it's been a whole year since I made the vegan orange cake for my mum's birthday - definitely check it out if you haven't because it is fabulous! This year, I kept the fruit theme going as my mum's a big fan of fresh fruit in cakes. The blueberries really take centre stage in this, with the strawberries acting as a featured guest.

The recipe below is enough to make one layer of the cake, but if you are making a two layer celebration cake like I did, you can go ahead and double the ingredients and sandwich the cake with your buttercream of choice, such as the strawberry one below or chocolate buttercream or vanilla buttercream

You'll see below that the measurements are in cups and spoons. I recommend this set of stainless steel measuring cups and spoons. There are also online tools that allow you to convert from cups to grams if necessary.

On a side note, I've been considering setting up a vegan cake delivery business here in London. A side project to indulge my love of baking while providing people with tasty treats. If anything comes of it, you'll hear about it. In the meantime, if you know for sure that it's something you'd be into, feel free to message me on Instagram to express your interest.

Where appropriate, I have included links to the exact brands (ingredients and equipment) I used to make this cake. If you need any more product recommendations, just drop me a comment or message.

Ingredients

For one layer of cake

- 2 cups self-raising flour 

- 1 tsp baking soda

- pinch of salt

- 1 cup caster sugar

- 1/3 cup sunflower/vegetable oil

- 1 cup vegan milk (such as almond, oat, soya etc.)

- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste 

- 1 cup fresh blueberries (approx. 200g)

- 2-3 strawberries (thinly sliced)

For the strawberry buttercream and toppings

- 4 heap tablespoons vegan margarine 

- 1 cup icing sugar

- 1 tablespoon strawberry jam

- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

- 4 drops red gel food colouring 

- 1 cup chopped cashews 

- fresh blueberries and strawberries

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.

2. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and caster sugar in a large mixing bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, vegan milk and vanilla together. Pour this into the dry ingredients and use a spatula to gently fold the mixture until a cake batter forms. Do not over whisk or stir too vigorously otherwise you may lose the fluffy cake texture.

4. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over the blueberries (in a bowl) and toss together until the berries are well coated. Gently fold this into the cake batter.

5. Lightly grease a round 20cm cake tin with oil or vegan margarine then line the bottom with a round piece of baking paper. Pour the batter into the tin and use a spatula to smooth out the top. Layer the slices of fresh strawberry over the top. If you are icing the cake later, no need to be too neat. If you are not icing the cake, you may wish to make a pretty pattern with the strawberries.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick stuck in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack before icing/serving

6. To make the strawberry buttercream, combine the vegan margarine, icing sugar, strawberry jam, vanilla bean paste and red food colouring. Whisk until you have a fluffy buttercream.

7. Decorate the cooled cake with the strawberry buttercream and garnish with chopped cashews and more fresh berries. As mentioned earlier, you can turn this into a 2 layer sandwich cake by doubling the ingredient quantities. 

I made mine a two-layer cake and put the buttercream between the layers and around the side. I then pressed the chopped cashews into the buttercream all the way around and sprinkled some more on top.


Sunday, 28 March 2021

Vegan Edible Dish Sponge Cake | April Fool's Prank | Illusion Cake

vegan edible dish sponge cake

April Fool's day is just around the corner and who doesn't love a good prank? Throw food in the mix and even better! I first saw this illusion cake concept on Emmymade's YouTube channel, by way of Emma's Goodie's YouTube channel. I stored the video at the back of my mind, determined to make a vegan version some day. Now's the perfect time!

I used a 28cm by 21cm rectangular tin. You can also use a brownie tin. 

Ingredients

(makes approx. 8 "sponges")

- 4 cups self-raising flour

- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

- pinch of salt

- 1.5 cups caster sugar

- 2/3 cup sunflower oil

- 2 cups vegan milk (such as almond, oat or soya)

- 1 tsp vanilla extract or juice from half a lemon

- yellow gel food colouring

- green gel food colouring

- 1 tbsp golden syrup or maple syrup or marmalade

- 1/4 cup extra vegan milk (optional)

edible dish sponge cake

Method

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, sugar, oil and vegan milk in a large mixing bowl. Fold gently to form a thick cake batter. Flavour with either lemon juice or vanilla extract. Mix to combine.

Divide the cake batter into two separate bowls in the fraction of 1/3 and 2/3. 

Add a few drops of green gel food colouring to 1/3 of the batter. Add 2-3 drops of yellow gel food colouring to 2/3 of the batter.

Pour the green cake batter into a 28 by 21cm cake tin that has been lightly greased and lined with baking paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.

Pour the yellow cake batter into a 28 by 21cm cake tin that has been lightly greased and lined with baking paper. Bake for 20 minutes until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.

Take the cakes out of the tin and allow to cool completely. If the top of the cakes are a little bumpy, use a serrated knife to even them out.

Spread a thin layer of syrup or marmalade or jam over the yellow cake (this will act as a glue) and gently place the green cake on top so that all the edges match. Use a serrated knife to trim around the edges of the cake. Cut the cake into 8 "sponges".

To add to the illusion effect, whisk 1/4 cup vegan milk until frothy. Scoop some of the froth over the sponge to mimic soap suds.

Friday, 26 March 2021

Lentils in the Style of Ewa Riro (Nigerian Stewed Beans)


Ewa Riro is the Yoruba name for one-pot stewed beans. The honey beans (also known as oloyin beans) are soaked overnight and then boiled for what can seem like hours until very tender/mushy. It is then cooked with palm oil and often a blend of red peppers and tomatoes. I have a recipe post for that if you want to check it out. 

But this post here is for my fellow lazy home cooks who can't be bothered (sometimes) to make Ewa from scratch. Red lentils are a great alternative because they take a fraction of the time. If you're into meal prep, I recommend making a big batch of this and freezing portions of this to have during the week.

Serve with a side of sweet fried plantain and you've got a winning dish on your hands.

Ingredients

(serves 6-8)

- 4 cups red lentils

- 4 cups red stew mix

- 1 cup warm water

- 2 tablespoons palm oil or coconut oil

- salt to taste

Method

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot and cook on medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes until the lentils are tender and the sauce has thickened slightly.

Serve hot with a side of fried plantain, a chunk of soft bread or a sprinkling of garri over the top.

Friday, 12 March 2021

Cheesy Garlic Plantain Bread | Easy Vegan Recipe

When that craving for garlic bread hits, you just have to follow suit. I was minding my business one morning when I saw a recipe video for garlic bread pop up on my feed. Recipe videos are my guilty pleasure; I could spend hours watching them and that is no exaggeration. This particular video caught my eye because of the shape and construction of the garlic. Although a non-vegan recipe, I sat through the whole thing and resolved that a vegan version needed to be made. Even better if I could put my own spin on it and use up some old, neglected plantain we had lying around in the kitchen. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe. If you make it and like it, please share your photos with me on Instagram. I love seeing your creations and I love reposting them to my stories.

Recipe notes

  • I used a similar dough recipe as the one I used in my steamed buns recipe. Worked out pretty great, with a focaccia-style crumb. For a more chewy dough, you could use bread flour instead of regular plain flour. 
  • If you do not have access to vegan margarine, coconut oil is a fantastic substitute. Imagine the flavour if the oil is scented and coconut-ty too...yum!
  • I bought my vegan cheese from a local supermarket, but if you really cannot find any then you can make your own at home (there are so many amazing vegan cheese recipes online these days) or leave it out completely.

Ingredients

For the dough

- 3/4 cup vegan milk

- 2 tbsp caster sugar

- 2 tsp instant yeast

- 2 tbsp vegan margarine (melted)

- 2.5 cups plain/all-purpose flour

For the toppings

- 50g vegan cheese (cut into thin batons)

- 1 heap tbsp vegan margarine (melted)

- 1/4 red onion (finely chopped)

- 1 tsp dried parsley

- 10 cloves garlic (finely chopped or minced)

- 1/4 tsp salt

Method

To make the dough, add the vegan milk, sugar, yeast and margarine to a large mixing bowl. Add the flour and mix to form a sticky dough. Knead the dough inside the bowl for a few minutes until it is smooth and less sticky (see video above for results).

Place the dough on a lined baking tray and use your fingers to flatten it into a thick, round shape. Cover with a clean cloth and leave to stand for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

After an hour, gently press down the dough to remove any excess air bubbles. 

Cut deep lines along and across the length and width of the dough. Press the vegan cheese batons into the lines.

Make the "garlic butter" by combining the melted margarine with red onion, parsley, garlic and salt. Mix well then brush over the cheesy dough, making sure to cover the edges as well.

Bake for 30 minutes, then place under a grill for another 5 minutes for extra browning on top.

Serve warm and enjoy!

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Vegan Prosecco and Pink Lemonade Cake | 4 Layer Celebration Cake

I dreamt this cake up in my mind, knew exactly how I wanted it to look, and was curious to experiment with cake flavours I'd never tried before. Something about celebrating my birthday during lockdown made we want to go all out with my cake this year. Sure, I could have looked up vegan bakeries in my city and had something delivered, but I had the unquenchable urge to take on this cake project myself. Not only because baking is my idea of fun, but because I had all the ingredients I needed to bring this to life. 

If you try this cake at home, please share your feedback and pictures with me over on Instagram. Tag @vegannigerian for a repost!


Flavours, Textures and Inspiration

When you think of Prosecco, you think sparkles and bubbles and having a flipping social life. I miss attending those in-person events where copious glasses of Prosecco are handed out while you make awkward conversation with groups of people you just met. Sigh. A vegan Prosecco cake certainly has that air of sophistication about it, wouldn't you agree? 

Just as sophisticated as pink lemonade. I first came to know about this drink from watching The Sound of Music as a kid. There's a scene where the elegant Baroness Scraeder, Captain Von Trapp and Uncle Max sip this rose-tinted concoction on the terrace of the Von Trapp mansion. Très chic...though Uncle Max seemed to be put off by the colour. Seeing as lemon cake happens to be one of my all time favourites, I thought I'd elevate it slightly with this rosy twist, which includes whole fresh strawberries, fragrant lemon zest and lashings of freshly squeezed lemon juice. 

Once baked, the sponges were doused with their corresponding liquids to intensify the flavours and keep them moist during the decorating process. The cream-coloured layers were soaked with more Prosecco. The pink layers were soaked with more fresh lemon juice. 

The sponges are incredibly light, delicate, fluffy and aromatic. Each mouthful had me wanting to waltz across a bunch of soft, puffy clouds. 

The rich chocolate ganache drip topping and fresh berries are a beautiful addition. Think sparkling wine served with chocolate dipped strawberries, and you get the luxurious intention of this cake.

4-Layer Cake

The cake is ambitiously made up of four alternating layers of Prosecco and pink lemonade sponges, held together with thin layers of vanilla buttercream. If you are looking to make a more respectable two-layer version, simply halve the ingredients below.

The pink layer contains fresh lemon juice and strawberries. You can certainly stop there and have a pale pink coloured sponge, but I wanted to intensify the colour slightly, so I added a few drops of red gel food colouring.

Timing

I recommend giving yourself two days to make this cake. One day to bake the sponges, the second day to decorate. You could technically do both on the same day, but it will be a lot of work. Furthermore, refrigerating the cakes overnight help the sponges become a bit more solid, preventing them from potentially falling apart or splitting whilst decorating. Remember that these are going to be extremely moist, fluffy and delicate cakes when straight out of the oven.

Gluten-Free Version

I can't say for sure how this cake will turn out using gluten-free flour, but I would certainly encourage you to experiment. Try using a blended gluten-free self-raising flour such as this one. I would also recommend adding some xantham gum (2 tsp per cake batter) as a stabiliser.

Equipment

To execute this cake, you'll need two 20cm sandwich cake tins. If you only have one at home, that's okay, but you'll have to do 4 rounds of baking instead of two if you're making four layers. 

Also handy to have an immersion hand blender to make the strawberry milk for the pink lemonade layer. 

Then your life will be a whole lot easier if you have a hand mixer for the buttercream, but you can use a good old wooden spoon to beat the margarine and sugar together instead. 

An offset spatula will make the decorating process a breeze.

Ingredients

For the Prosecco sponges

- 4 cups self-raising flour (or all-purpose flour mixed with 3 tsp baking powder)

- 3 teaspoons baking soda

- pinch of salt

- 1.5 cups caster sugar

- 2/3 cup vegetable or sunflower oil

-2 cups Prosecco (plus extra 1/4 cup)

For the Pink Lemonade sponges

- 4 cups self-raising flour (or all-purpose flour mixed with 3 tsp baking powder)

- 3 teaspoons baking soda

- pinch of salt

- 1.5 cups caster sugar

- 2/3 cup vegetable or sunflower oil

- 1.5 cups vegan milk (such as almond, oat or soya)

- 8 fresh strawberries (topped and roughly chopped)

- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

- 2 tablespoons lemon zest (plus extra 1/4 cup)

- few drops of red gel food colouring (optional)

For the buttercream frosting 

- 2 cups vegan margarine 

- 4 cups icing sugar

- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 

- 2-3 tablespoons Prosecco or vegan milk

- 3-4 drops red gel food colouring (optional)

For the chocolate ganache and fruit topping

- 2 cups dark or vegan chocolate buttons

- 1/2 cup vegan milk 

- 2-3 cups of fresh fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, sliced mango, raspberries, etc.

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Lightly grease two round 20cm sandwich cake tins with some vegan margarine and line the bottom of each cake tin with a round of parchment paper.

2. To make the Prosecco cakes, add all the ingredients to a large bowl and gently fold until the mixture is well combined and smooth. Do not over mix and do not stir too vigorously - this is to ensure a light, fluffy sponge. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake tins, smooth out the tops and bake in the middle shelf for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Once baked, allow to cool in the cake tins for 15 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cool, spoon the extra 1/4 cup of Prosecco over both sponges to soak them slightly.

3. To make the pink lemonade cakes, start by blending the vegan milk, fresh strawberries and lemon juice together in a jug using an immersion blender. You can also use a regular blender for this. Then add all ingredients into a large bowl, including the strawberry/lemon milk and fold gently until well combined. Do not over mix or stir too vigorously - this is to ensure a light, fluffy sponge. Transfer the cake batter into two prepared 20cm cake sandwich tins, smooth out the tops and bake in the middle shelf for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the cake tins for 15 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cool, spoon the extra 1/4 cup of lemon juice over both sponges to soak them slightly.

4. Gently wrap all 4 sponges individually in cling film and refrigerate overnight. 

5. Make the vanilla buttercream by combining all the buttercream ingredients in a large bowl with a hand mixer. If you have a stand mixer, that works great too. I wanted a pinkish streak to my cake frosting and so I added a few drops of red gel food colouring to about a quarter of my frosting - this is entirely optional.

6. Assemble the cake on a cake stand or cake board by sandwiching the sponges with thin layers of buttercream. Frost the sides and top of the cake with a large offset spatula. The top doesn't need to be too perfect as you will be covering it with chocolate ganache, but make it as smooth as you can to avoid too many lumps. I don't like a lot of icing on my cakes, so the buttercream was spread pretty thinly around, almost resembling a semi-naked cake. (Note: if you want more buttercream frosting around your cake, by all means double the buttercream ingredient quantities)

7. To make the chocolate ganache topping, melt the dark chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring the chocolate after each interval. When you see it starting to melt, add the vegan milk and heat for another 30 seconds. Stir well until the chocolate is completely melted (you may need to give it an extra 20 seconds or so). You should have a smooth, shiny, thick but pourable ganache. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes before pouring over the top of your cake. Use an offset spatula to gently spread it over the top, allowing some to naturally drip down the sides to create a drip effect. 

8. Decorate the top of the cake with chopped or whole fresh fruit. You can even sprinkle on some desiccated coconut or chopped nuts and seeds for added decoration. Totally up to you!

Enjoy! Remember to share your creations with me on Instagram



Monday, 1 March 2021

Savoury Rice and Cassava Pancakes | Vegan and Gluten-Free

 

For pancake day last month, I thought I'd switch things up with this savoury pancake recipe. I've shared multiple sweet pancake recipes over the years, from sweet potato to banana to hemp to plantain to pounded yam pancakes. It's fair to say that I love my pancakes.

This particular recipe was a challenge. I've been on an oil-free kick and so frying was out of the question. Tough when you're working with a messy, sticky batter. So these are baked instead. Can they even be called pancakes anymore??

The cassava in this recipe is in the form of garri (grated, dried, fermented cassava) but I can see this working with fine cassava flour as well. If you try it this way, please share your feedback with me. Click here for the brand of garri I like to use.

Enjoy the recipe video above!

Ingredients

- 1 cup jasmine rice

- 1.5 cups garri (plus extra for dusting)

- 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced

- 1 small red onion, finely chopped

- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

- 1 small aubergine, finely chopped

- 1 cup shredded cabbage

- handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped

- 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs

- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

- pinch of salt

Method

Pre-heat your oven to 200C.

Cook the jasmine rice with 4 cups of water until completely soft and most of the water has been absorbed. Allow to cool.

Blend the cooked rice in a food processor with one cup of water until smooth. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Add the garri, along with all the other vegetables and seasonings. Stir until well incorporated.

Prepare a baking tray by lining with some baking paper or foil. Scoop one heap tablespoon of the batter into into clean palm, dust with a little extra garri and gently shape into a medium-sized pancake. Place on the baking tray and repeat the process with the rest of the batter.

Bake for 30-35 minutes then leave to cool slightly before serving. I served mine with some Efo Riro (spinach stew), chopped parsley and more shredded cabbage. 

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Chewy Chocolate Banana Cookies | Vegan | With Plantain Flour

I made these gooey chewy chocolate banana cookies for breakfast, but these are also great for when you want to reach for a healthy snack. The cookies are free from gluten, refined sugar and oil, making it suitable for several dietary requirements. 

For more recipe inspiration be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook. I would love to see your recipe creations too, so do tag me and let's connect :)

  

Ingredients 

Makes 12 

- 3 heap tablespoons plantain flour (or other gluten-free flour) 
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds 
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder 
- 2 large ripe bananas, mashed

Preheat your oven to 200C.

Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and combine. Leave to stand for 5 minutes so that the plantain flour can become more hydrated.

Spoon the cookies onto a lined baking tray, using the back of a spoon to smooth out the top. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Leave to cool for 20 minutes before removing from the tray. Enjoy with a cup of tea!

My Go-To Lentil Soup | Easy Vegan Recipe


During these winter months, cosy soups are the name of the game. Whenever I fancy something quick and nutritious, I always seem to turn to this recipe or some variation of it. It's budget-friendly, easy to make and packed full of flavour.

At the moment I'm trying to reduce the level of sodium in my food, so you'll notice that I left out salt in the ingredient list below. My taste buds have certainly developed over the last few years to the point where I don't like super salty meals. I also find that the spices in this really provide a decent flavour kick. Having said that, feel free to add a dash of salt to yours. 

You'll also see that I do the cheat thing of using frozen mixed vegetables but if you've got some spare veg lying around that needs using up, go ahead and chop them up and add to this dish. Soup is very forgiving. You can play around with it, customise to your heart's content, so don't hold back.

Ingredients
Serves 2

- 1 cup split red lentils
- 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
- generous handful shredded cabbage
- 1 tablespoon hot curry powder
- 1 tsp crushed chilli flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- approx 4 measuring cups hot water

Method

Place all the ingredients in a pot/saucepan. Cook on medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes until the lentils are soft. Serve hot with an extra dash of chilli flakes over the top.