Tuesday 23 April 2024

Healthy Vegan Smash Cake | Sugar Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free

A smash cake is a cute way to mark your little one's first birthday. They are smaller than your average celebration cake - perfect for those little hands to dig into. As the name suggests, the whole idea is for your baby to smash the cake and eat it freely. As a result, smash cakes are often made with baby friendly ingredients, free from refined sugar, and packed full of nutritionally dense goodness. 
This plant-based smash cake recipe is one I trialed ahead of my daughter's first birthday. As strawberries are her favourite fruit at the moment, I incorporated some strawberry puree into the cake (those strawberry and apple baby food pouches came in handy!)

To make this cake allergy friendly, simply use a different plant-based milk such as rice milk, and use a gluten-free flour blend instead of spelt flour. You can also choose to leave out the olive oil for an oil-free version, though this will affect the moistness of the cake.

You'll need a couple of four inch cake tins for this cake. The batter can make up to 4 layers. I only made 2 layers and used the rest for cupcakes. 

For the frosting, I've gone for whipped coconut cream, which is made by refrigerating a tin of full fat coconut milk overnight. The coconut fat solidifies at the top of the tin, making it easy to scoop out. You can use as is or sweeten it with a dash of natural fruit puree. 

(Makes four 4" layers)


2 cups spelt flour 

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 ripe bananas, mashed

Pouch of apple and strawberry purée (approx. 120g)

1 cup soy milk 

2 tbsp olive oil 

1 tsp mixed spice


1 tin coconut cream (full fat coconut milk refrigerated overnight)

1 tbsp apple strawberry puree


Strawberries, chopped 

Cake topper


1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.

2. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix until just combined.

3. Divide the batter into the cake tins. For each 4" cake tin, you'll need about two heap tablespoons of batter. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the centre comes out clean. Once the cakes are ready, leave them to cool completely.

4. Make the coconut frosting by scooping out the solid coconut fat from a tin of refrigerated (overnight) coconut milk. Be careful not to add the water that has settled at the bottom of the tin, as you want the frosting to be as thick as possible. You can sweeten the coconut with a tablespoon of apple/strawberry puree if you wish. Whisk until nice and creamy. if not using immediately, keep refrigerated until you are ready to frost the cake.

5. Assemble the cake by filling and covering the cake layers with the whipped coconut frosting. Decorate with fresh strawberries or any chopped fruit of your choice. 

Saturday 6 April 2024

30 Tips for Fuelling Your Body on a Vegan Diet

Veganism has seen a marked increase in popularity as a lifestyle choice over recent years, with a growing number of individuals opting for a plant-based diet for reasons spanning health, ethics, and environmental concerns. Nonetheless, there's curiosity around how one can effectively fuel their body for exercise while following a vegan diet. 

Is it feasible for a vegan diet to provide all the essential nutrients required for peak fitness performance? 

In this piece, we will delve into the synergy between a vegan diet, appropriate training, and nutrition to energise the body for physical activity and enhance athletic prowess. Insights will be offered on the crucial nutrients necessary for optimum fitness outcomes and the capability of a plant-based diet to meet these requirements.

30 Tips and Tactics:

  1. Ensure you're consuming enough calories to satisfy your daily energy requirements.
  2. Adopt a diverse and balanced diet, rich in nutrient-packed foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes.
  3. Include plant-based protein sources like tofu, lentils, nuts, and beans in your diet.
  4. Plan your meals ahead and always have healthy snacks on hand for workout sessions.
  5. Drink ample water to maintain hydration throughout the day.
  6. Make sure that your intake of vitamins and minerals is adequate, particularly vitamin B12, calcium, and iron.
  7. Opt for whole grains to benefit from a steady release of energy.
  8. Consume small, frequent meals to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
  9. Focus on gut health by including probiotics, fibre, and prebiotics in your diet.
  10. Time your meals to coincide with your workout regime for optimal nutritional benefits.
  11. Post-workout, have a plant-based protein shake or smoothie to support muscle recuperation.
  12. Select healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts, and seeds, to bolster heart health.
  13. Add essential fatty acids from flaxseed or chia seeds to your diet to minimise inflammation.
  14. Contemplate plant-based supplements to bolster an active lifestyle.
  15. If necessary, utilise high-quality vegan protein powders to meet your protein needs through your diet.
  16. Emphasise nutrient-rich, vibrant produce for overall wellness.
  17. Pay attention to portion sizes to prevent overindulgence.
  18. Limit processed foods and snacks.
  19. Incorporate strength training to increase lean muscle.
  20. Never overlook the significance of rest and recuperation.
  21. Maintain a food diary to track your nutritional intake.
  22. Explore various plant-based protein sources to keep your diet interesting.
  23. Consult a registered dietitian to guarantee your nutritional intake is sufficient.
  24. Prioritise sleep to enhance your exercise capability.
  25. Engage in restorative practices such as yoga and stretching.
  26. Monitor your carbohydrate intake to ensure it meets your energy needs.
  27. Avoid heavy meals before exercise to sidestep gastrointestinal discomfort.
  28. Consider a plant-based protein bar as a handy snack alternative.
  29. Include antioxidant-rich foods like berries and leafy greens to aid recovery.
  30. Remain patient, consistent, and dedicated to your health objectives.

In summary, a vegan diet can indeed supply all the essential nutrients needed to energise your body for exercise and support athletic performance. With meticulous planning and a keen focus on nutrient intake, a vegan diet can cater to the nutritional demands of those leading an active lifestyle. Key considerations encompass adequate consumption of proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, meal planning to optimise nutrition, hydration, and the importance of rest and recovery. With these guidelines and strategies, vegans can effectively fuel their bodies for physical activity and excel in their athletic endeavours. Additionally, enlisting the support of a registered dietitian can ensure comprehensive nutritional needs are met.