Vegan Fruit and Nut Loaf

“I recently made a delicious fruit and nut loaf from one of Bill Grainger’s beautiful cookbooks.  It was light and fragrant with nice chunky pieces of dried fruit and crunchy nuts.  Because it didn’t have a lot of butter or eggs in it I decided to try and convert it to a vegan version.  After a few attempts I got the right balance that doesn’t lack any of the flavours or textures of the original.  It also works great toasted after a few days and freezes well. Of course I do have it smothered with butter, but you can always find a vegan alternative. Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 50g oats
  • 300ml almond milk
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 250g dried fruit, roughly chopped (Dates, raisins, apricots, figs etc)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 70g almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 lemon, rind and juice
  • 30g almonds roughly chopped for topping
Method
  1. Place oats and almond milk in a bowl and allow to soak for 20 minutes.
  2. Combine the flour, spices, sugar and salt and mix together.
  3. Add the oats and milk, dried fruit, almonds, maple syrup, banana and lemon juice and rind and mix together.
  4. Pour the mixture into a lined loaf tin and smooth the top.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining almonds on top.
  6. Bake in a 180 celcius oven for 40 – 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool for 30 minutes then remove from the tin.  Slather with butter and enjoy.

 

 

 

Caramel Mud Cake With Ginger Butter Cream

“It’s been far too long since my last post.  I blame it on moving house, orchestrating and conducting a ballet and catering.  But I thought it was time to put a decadent cake recipe on my site that always gets the taste buds going.  This cake is quite easy to make but takes a bit of time and patience to get it looking pretty.  I also use this recipe for a cupcake version with a swirl of the butter cream on top.  Beware, it’s pretty rich and definitely not for the diet-conscious.  Enjoy!”

(Photo by Gary Corbett)

Ingredients

  • 220g butter
  • 220g white chocolate
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 220g brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1 cup plain flour

For butter cream

  • 300g softened butter
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C
  2. Grease and line 2 20cm cake tins
  3. Put butter, white chocolate, golden syrup, water, vanilla and salt in a saucepan and gently melt together, stirring constantly.  Once all the ingredients are melted and mixed together leave to sit for 1/2 an hour
  4. Beat sugar and eggs together until combined.
  5. Add the cooled melted ingredients and then the flours.
  6. Pour into prepared tines and bake for 1/2 and hour or until centre is cooked when a skewer is inserted.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool in the tins.  Refrigerate until you are ready to ice.  (This type of cake is much easier to cut and ice when completely cold so it can be made a day ahead if necessary.)
  8. Carefully cut the domes of each cake to get a flat top then cut each cake into 2 discs.  Keep the most even surface (usually the bottom) for the top layer of the cake.
  9. To make the butter cream put icing sugar and ginger in a food processor and slowly add the softened butter until combined.
  10. Heat the apricot jam in the microwave until runny and paint liberally on to 3 of the cake discs.
  11. When the jam has cooled add a layer of the butter cream.
  12. Assemble the layers finishing with the un-iced top layer.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  13. Remove from the fridge and put a thin layer of butter cream on the top and sides of the cake making sure to fill any gaps.  This “Crumb layer” will make it much easier to get a smooth finish later.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  14. Put the final layer of butter cream on top and sides smoothing down to get a perfect finish.  This cake is best served at room temperature.