When you start cooking without animal products you can make millions of dishes that are easy and fast and entirely plant-based. Baking, however, is another story. Baking involves so many animal products – eggs for starters –therefore, trying to find replacements that work in the same way might not be the easiest thing. And by the way – ready-made vegan custard is a god sent. Just saying.
Now by the way of admission – I like to bake; however, you will find that a traybake is lots more common in my kitchen than an aquafaba meringue, besides my cakes need to taste first look second, and easier and faster to make the better.
Finding this recipe was a revelation of sorts, it is so easy and versatile that I am now constantly changing it to try new flavours. So far, we had lemon and poppy seed, chocolate, coffee and walnut, vanilla with coconut cream and strawberries, rhubarb and vanilla, rhubarb and gooseberry, plum, chocolate and raspberry, chocolate and cherry. Possibilities are endless if you follow a few rules. If you add liquid (i.e. coffee) remove some other fluid (i.e. mylk) if you add some dry ingredients (i.e. cocoa powder) remove some flour. Easy.
This cake works on proportions, it’s easy to downscale or multiply as needed. I’m using a mixture of measurements, as it was the easiest to do it for me so for a standard rectangular traybake I use:
3 cups of self-rising flour*
- cups of sugar**
500 ml of plant-based mylk ***
1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
12 tbsp. of vegetable oil
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl (you can sieve the flour if you want) then in a jug mix the mylk, vinegar and oil. Pour the wet ingredients into a bowl and mix it all well.
At this stage you add all the flavourings you would like. Like a grated lemon rind and a 0 .25 cup of dry poppy seeds. Substitute 0.5 cup of flour with 0.5 cups of cocoa powder then add some chopped dark chocolate pieces and few nuts or cherries, or a big pinch of chilli. Mix in vanilla powder and 3 chopped stalks of rhubarb. Let your imagination run wild.
Transfer into a lined baking tray and bake for about 30-45 min in 170ºC until an inserted skewer comes out dry.
Give this cake a go, unleash your adventurer in the kitchen. It will be worth it- I promise.
* plain flour with 1 tsp of baking soda works too. When making it chocolate substitute 0.5 cups of flour with the same quantity of cocoa powder – remember to use Fairtrade one!
** caster, granulated, brown – your choice, just remember that brown will be better for chocolatey cakes as it might add some chewiness and a bit of flavour. And avoid the white cane sugar, processing cane to white sugar involves animal products, namely bone char. Nobody needs that type of negativity in their life.
***Soy or oat or whatever you have to hand, just not rice. However, rice mylk does not behave the same way in bakes, also you can use hazelnut mylk for a delicate flavouring
Also, note that a cup always equals 250ml
Bean brownies are another version of classic brownies. However, those deserve a title of light and healthy. Still lovely flavour and still very decadent. Just lots fewer calories. High in protein and fibre, which makes it perfect for weekday lunch box or as a reward after a day in the office.
For vegan option replace eggs with 2/3 of a cup of soaked chia seeds. To prepare them you need to soak 2 tbsp of chia in a cup of warm plant-based milk or water. Leave it for 15 min, then stir and leave for further half an hour.
ingredients for fit bean brownies
1 can of red kidney beans – drained and rinsed. You can as well dry them with kitchen towel from excess moisture
1 small ripe banana
2 eggs + 1 egg white or chia seeds
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp of coconut oil (put the jar in hot water for few minutes and it will melt, makes it easier to blend)
100g of brown sugar (or any solid sweetener you want to use)
1 tsp of baking powder
Optional – raisins / cherries / nuts
Blend everything together until very smooth. Add an option of your choice ( I like it with chopped walnuts) and mix it gently together. Pour the mix into lined baking tray. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes in 180C / Gas mark 4 / Fan 160C
When it’s ready, take it out of the oven and let it cool on the cooling rack. Cut into squares. You can serve it with fresh fruit, icing sugar or make a very decadent chocolate glaze.
Decadent chocolate glaze: 1 cup of coconut milk (watery part) or plant milk of your choice, 1 tbsp of agar, 2 tbsp of icing sugar, 1tsp of vanilla extract and 1 tbsp of cocoa powder. Mix everything together and bring it to boil. Boil for 1 min stirring constantly. Pour it over warm cake and leave it to cool. It will set in about 15-20 minutes. Then just enjoy.
Wonderful mouthful of happiness!
Takes time, but really worth it. I made it from Pauls Hollywood recipe- pinched from BBC foods. You don’t need many ingredients, just time and patience.
300g/10½oz strong plain flour, plus extra for dusting
5g fast-action yeast
1 tsp salt
200ml/7fl oz warm water
25g/1oz unsalted butter, melted
250g/9oz cold unsalted butter, in a block
100g/3½oz caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
Make the dough- use mixer, makes it so much easier, I didn’t put any sugar in the dough as I planned for plenty of it in the layers. When the dough is rising, porm the butter into a rectangle and cool it in the fridge.
When the dough doubled in size, tip it on the working surface (sprinkled with more flour) and roll out into a big square. Put the butter in the middle and cover with the dough. Roll into a rectangle, fold in thirds, cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge. Half a hour later roll it out into a rectangle, fold again and fridge. Repeat at least once more.
Roll out the pastry, sprinkle with sugar (I used mixture of brown and white and a bit of cinnamon), fold over and cut into squares. Put those squares into a muffin tray with corners forming a crown.
Bake for 30-40 minutes in hot oven (gas 7, 220C) until golden brown.
Use only real butter- you will be able to taste it. Enjoy!