{Recipe} Pear and Walnut Cake (plus, ‘what’s going on at Made of Stars?’)

Hello friends!

This is my first recipe post in over 3 months, and it may be my last for a little while too. Let me explain…..

During my blogging break, I took on a commitment that is very important to me and which requires a significant time outlay. Namely, I was offered a role as an Associate Editor at The Scavenger, an online magazine run by Katrina Fox. Naturally, I said ‘yes’!

I wrote a couple of articles for the Scavenger in 2011, about vegan pregnancy and vegan diets for children, and I am thrilled to be involved more directly with the magazine.

In my role as Associate Editor, I plan to continue to write – and source – articles on topics that I am passionate about: animal rights, veganism, vegan parenting and social justice. Some of you know that I have a background in social work, and that I currently work in the community, not-for-profit sector. This also inspires my writing.

So, what does that mean for Made of Stars?

Regretfully, I will no longer be able to commit to a weekly recipe post. Rather, I will post recipes on an irregular basis, as inspiration strikes me. However, I promise I won’t take 3 months to post my next recipe!

Also, I plan to continue working on my A-Z of veganism series (L is for… is currently in the works). In addition, I will link to my articles on The Scavenger if I think they may be of interest to readers of Made of Stars.

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I developed this recipe when we had an abundance of very ripe pears in our fruit bowl. I have made it several times now. It is a moreish and scrumptious cake, suitable for afternoon tea with friends or as a lunch box treat (I have been know to pack a slice in my lunch box for work).

Moreover, the pears can be replaced with thinly sliced apples. I did this on one occasion, and was very happy with the result.

I use coconut sugar, but you could substitute with your preferred sugar if you don’t have coconut sugar in your pantry.

The tiny vegans also enjoy this cake but I am sure that doesn’t surprise you. 🙂 Little Baker enjoys helping with the preparation. When he sees a mixing bowl, he calls out: ‘mix, Mummy, mix’.  Which means: ‘hand over the spatula, Mum’!

Ingredients

(quantity: 10-12 slices)

1 1/4 cups wholemeal plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda, sifted

3/4 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup walnut pieces

1/3 cup sunflower oil

3/4 cup soy milk (or other plant-based milk)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp white vinegar

1 large ripe pear

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F. Grease and line a spring form cake tin.

2. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, including the walnuts. Mix well, then set aside.

3. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the pear, then core and cut into thin slices. Set aside.

4. To a jug or small mixing bowl, add the oil, soy milk, vanilla and vinegar. Mix well with a fork or whisk, then add to the dry ingredients. Mix well until combined, but do not over-stir.

5. Transfer the batter to the cake tin, and smooth the top. Then arrange the pear slices on the top. I also add a walnut half to the centre. Bake for 35 mins (or until an inserted skewer comes out clean).

6. Store leftovers in an air tight container.

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Wishing you all a beautiful week.

Ally 🙂

 

{Recipe} Raspberry Jam Tea Cake

You know the saying about books and refraining from judging their covers? Well, today, I am asking you to extend this sentiment to cakes. Specifically, my cake.

In the spirit of upside-down cakes, I bring you Raspberry Jam Tea Cake. What it lacks in visual appeal, it well and truly makes up for in taste.  This cake would make a delicious accompaniment to a steaming cup of hot tea on a chilly day.

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I am not laying on the hyperbole when I tell you that this entire cake was eaten in under 10 minutes in my household!

Raspberry Jam Tea Cake consists of organic frozen raspberries, wholemeal spelt flour, freshly squeezed lemon juice, brown sugar, and desiccated coconut. I bestowed it with this name because the syrupy, berry topping is very reminiscent of a fine raspberry jam.

Ingredients

Quantity – 8-10 slices

1 cup organic frozen raspberries

1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup + 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar 

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1 1/2 cups wholemeal spelt flour

3/4 cup desiccated coconut

1/2 cup caster sugar

3/4 tsp bicarbonate soda

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

5 Tbsp unsweetened apple sauce

additional desiccated coconut for decoration

Method

1. Line a 18 cm x 18 cm (7 in x 7 in) square cake pan with baking paper. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F.

2. In a small saucepan, heat coconut oil. Add 1/4 cup of brown sugar and lemon juice. Stir until a syrup forms. Add raspberries, and stir well until coated with the sugar syrup.

3. Cook berries for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool slightly.

4.  In a large mixing bowl, add flour, caster sugar, sifted bicarb soda, and coconut. Mix well to combine.

5. In a measuring jug, add almond milk and applesauce. Whisk with a fork.

6. Pour almond milk mixture into the mixing bowl. Mix well until just combined.

7. Sprinkle half a tablespoon of brown sugar across the base of the cake pan. Pour berry mixture into the pan, and spread evenly across the base.

8. Pour the cake batter into the cake pan on top of the berry mixture. Do not worry if some of the berry mixture seeps into the batter.

9. Bake for about 30 minutes. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.

10. Allow the cake pan to sit on a kitchen counter for 20 minutes before removing the cake from the pan. This is an important step. It allows the berry mixture to thicken as it cools.

11. Transfer the cake to a plate or cake stand, berry-side facing up. Use a knife to distribute the berry mixture evenly across the surface of the cake. Then sprinkle the top with desiccated coconut.

12. Slice immediately, and serve while the cake is still warm.

We ate it as is, but I imagine it would be delicious with vanilla (soy or coconut) ice cream or whipped coconut cream.

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The Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts

Do I really need to make a point of mentioning that the Tiny Vegans were enamoured with this cake?

Master 6 sneaked back for a second piece, and boasted about how he had cut it all by himself. I heard Master 4 announce that he had eaten two slices. Well that partly explains why the cake disappeared so fast! I may or may not have consumed more than one piece. I suggested that we save some for ‘later’ but, clearly, my proposal was disregarded.

My daughter likened the experience to eating freshly baked bread with jam, and commented: ‘You have to make this again’.

If you refrain from judging this cake by its cover… um… appearance, you will be entranced by it’s flavour.

Humble tea cake, you may just become a regular treat in our home!

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Every Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my own family – I hope your family enjoys it too!

Ally

{Recipe} Raw Brownie

If you are looking for a chocolate treat that isn’t laden with refined sugar, this is the recipe for you.

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Raw Brownie

This recipe is a Dreena Burton creation, from one of the most used cookbooks in my house, Let Them Eat VeganDreena calls it Frosted B-raw-nie, and mentions that she took home first prize when she entered this slice in a baking contest.

The frosting is moreish and decadent.

My children enjoy the brownie as an afternoon snack. I have also found it to be very popular with my non-vegan friends. It is scrumptious with a cup of vanilla rooibos tea or a soy latte.

I store it in the freezer, unsliced. Upon removal from the freezer, it can be sliced effortlessly with a sharp knife whenever a chocolate fix is required!

frosting1

The recipe is available here.

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Variations

CAROB – My children’s school does not permit them to bring chocolate-based foods to school in their lunchboxes. To ensure that this slice is suitable for their lunchboxes, I replace the cacao with carob.  I also jazz it up by sprinkling the top with shredded coconut. This is a delicious alternative.

VEGAN WHIPPED CREAM  – On one occasion when I was making the brownie, I decided to top the chocolate frosting with Orange-Scented Whipped Cream. This cream is based on Dreena Burton’s Lemon-Scented Whipped Cream (also in Let Them Eat Vegan).

I am a fan of the coupling of chocolate and orange. The ‘experiment’ was a success, and I still make the slice this way occasionally.

I trust that Orange-Scented Whipped Cream would be a delicious accompaniment to other chocolate-based treats. I also imagine that this cream would be delicious without the orange zest if a plain cream is required.

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To Assemble

Once the chocolate frosting has set on the brownie, spread the whipped cream over the top of the unsliced brownie. Place in the fridge to allow the cream to ‘set’. It will be ready to slice (and eat!) in a couple of hours. Store the uneaten portion in the fridge.

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I celebrated my birthday last week. My beautiful mum made a scrumptious Chocolate, Beetroot, and Walnut cake.

The cake is sweetened with maple syrup, rather then refined sugar. It uses spelt flour, and contains walnuts. And, beetroot!

It was very popular with the party-goers. The cake has an earthy, rich taste without being overly sweet.

My mum iced it with a rich chocolate ganache (rather than the icing mentioned in the recipe). She decorated it with chocolate shards and finely grated white chocolate (dairy free, of course).

My mum is quite the vegan baker. Chocolate cakes and cheesecakes are her specialties!

This was the second birthday cake that she baked this month. She also made a delicious car-shaped chocolate cake for my son’s 4th birthday earlier in the month.

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The recipe is available here.

What is your favourite flavour (or type) of birthday cake?

Each Monday, I feature a couple of delicious vegan recipes that are enjoyed by my own family. I hope your family enjoys them too.

Ally

{Recipe} Cucumber and Nut Cheese Bites | Lime Cheesecake (vegan).

We celebrated my dad’s 70th birthday yesterday.

My sister, my brother-in-law, and my dad’s brother arrived from Sydney to join our family and local friends for the festivities.

We enjoyed lots of delicious food, and I indulged in a couple of drinks. My brother-in-law makes a mean Espresso Martini!

We shared tonnes of laughs. As the evening progressed, we put on our dancing shoes. We sung, we reminisced. The evening will always hold a special place in my memory.

On to the food!

We all pitched in to prepare a scrumptious vegan spread. I made Uberdish’s gluten-free  savoury crepes. They are delicious smeared with non-dairy cream cheese and other dips. I also enjoy them plain.

Savoury crepes

Savoury crepes

Mat made cucumber and nut cheese bites (recipe below).

My mum baked two birthday cakes (both vegan, of course) – Chocolate Cake with Cacao Icing, and Lime Cheesecake (recipe below).

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Delicious finger food

Delicious finger food

Cucumber and Nut Cheese Bites

Ingredients

1/2 continental cucumber (or 1 large Lebanese cucumber)

1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered

Nut cheese (recipe below)

Alfalfa sprouts

Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

Method
1. Slice cucumber into the desired number of pieces.
2. Smear nut cheese on each piece of cucumber.
3. Top with olives, tomato and sprouts in preferred combinations.

***

nut cheese

Nut Cheese

Adapted from: Living on Live Food by Alissa Cohen (Mozarella Cheese).

Ingredients:

1 cup raw macadamia nuts (soaked overnight)

1 cup raw cashew nuts (soaked overnight)

1 Tbsp soy sauce/tamari OR 2 tbsp Bragg liquid aminos

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 – 1 Tbsp water (optional)

Cashews and macadamia nuts

Cashews and macadamia nuts

Method

1. Add all ingredients, except optional water, to a blender (I use an immersion blender).
2. Blend until all ingredients are smooth. Add additional water if required (I added an additional 1/2 tbsp).

* Use leftover nut cheese on crackers, or as a dip with raw vegies. It complements beautifully this raw pasta dish.

***

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Lime Cheesecake with Soy Whip

My mum is the vegan cheesecake expert in our family. This Lime Cheesecake recipe is the product of two recipes, plus some trial, error and ingenuity.

Incidentally, my mum is well known (in our family at least!) for a delightful dessert known as Upside-Down Cheesecake. The secret method for Upside-Down Cheesecake is to cause the bottom of the springform pan to collapse as you are removing the baked cheesecake from the oven. This takes great skill and timing! Then, salvage the cheesecake that has fallen onto the oven door, and transfer it to a container. Refrigerate. Serve in a bowl, eat with a spoon. Delicious!

lime cheesecake1

Lime Cheesecake

Ingredients

For the base (adapted from The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook) –

125g (4 oz) vegan margarine/butter

200g (7 oz) plain, sweet vegan biscuits, finely crushed

2 tbsp brown sugar

Method
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C/350 F, and line a springform tin with baking paper.
2. Melt the margarine in a saucepan, then add the biscuit crumbs. Mix well.
3. Stir in the sugar.
4. Press the biscuit mixture into the base of the springform tin. Smooth the top.
5. Refrigerate the base while you prepare the filling.

For the filling (adapted from this recipe by Michael Greger) –

450g/16 oz non-dairy cream cheese

2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tsp lime zest

2/3 cup caster sugar

1/4 cup water

2 Tbsp cornflour

Method
1. Process the cream cheese in a food processor.
2. Add the caster sugar, lime juice and lime zest. Process again until ingredients are incorporated.
3. In a large mixing bowl, add water and cornflour. Whisk until combined.
4. Add the cream cheese mixture to the mixing bowl, and combine.
5. Remove cake tin from the fridge.
6. Pour filling into cake tin, and smooth the top.
7. Bake for approximately 35 minutes, until a golden brown skin forms on the top.
8. Allow cake to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Serve with homemade non-dairy cream or Soyatoo soy whip.

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Each Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe (or two!) – one that is enjoyed by my family (and a few friends). I hope your family enjoys it too.

Ally

{Recipe} Mango and Macadamia Cous Cous Salad | Cherry Cake


I am posting two recipes today. Both recipes are suitable for an Aussie Christmas lunch (or dinner). The Cherry Cake is suitable any time of year!

Mango and Macadamia Cous Cous Salad takes advantage of the Summertime abundance of delectable mangoes. Macadamia nuts, fresh herbs and spices also feature in this easy recipe. This salad is adapted from a vegetarian Weight Watchers recipe book that belonged to my mother-in-law, Maureen, many moons ago.

I also present Cherry Cake – a decadent, moreish treat that is my ‘go to’ cake for special events. I have found it to be popular with non-vegans too. The original source of the recipe is unknown, unfortunately. A non-vegan version of this recipe was passed on to my mum by a friend who had copied it out of a magazine. My mum veganized it, and I made further small amendments.

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Mango and Macadamia Cous Cous Salad

Quantity: Serves 6 people as a side dish

(For a gluten-free version, use gluten-free cous cous).

You will need:

1 1/2 cups wholewheat cous cous (I use Macro brand)

1 3/4 cups boiling water

2 small mangoes, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

50g raisins or sultanas

75g macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground cardamon

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped (I use garlic chives)

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 -1 /2 cup extra virgin olive oil (optional)

Method

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1. Prepare the cous cous first. Prepare as per instructions on the pack, or use the following simple method that aims to avoid added oil.

Boil water in a kettle. Pour cous cous grains into a saucepan, then add the boiled water. Stir the grains briefly. Cover the saucepan. Do not place the saucepan on a hot plate. After 5 minutes, remove the saucepan lid and use a fork to separate the grains.

The grains should appear fluffy and light, like this:

cooked cous cous

2. Transfer the cous cous to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

3. Place a fry pan on a medium heat, add approximately two tablespoons of water, and heat. If you prefer to cook with oil, use that instead of water.

4. Add the spices and stir until fragrant, then add the onions and cook until soft, stirring occasionally to ensure the onions are coated with the spices. Add the garlic, stir.

5. Add macadamia nuts and raisins, mix well, then turn off the heat.

6. Add the onion mixture to the cooked cous cous. If using olive oil, pour it in now. Mix well.

7. Add the mango and herbs. Stir gently. Transfer the salad to a serving bowl and decorate with parsley sprigs and blades of chives.

Mango and Macadamia cous cous1

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Mango and Macadamia Cous Cous2

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Cherry Cake1

Cherry Cake

Quantity – 12 slices

Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C/350 F

You will need:

For the cake:

1 1/4 cups wholemeal flour

1/2 cup raw sugar

1/4 tsp salt

175g vegan margarine, melted

1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp soy or almond milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling:

 400g can/jar of Black cherries OR Morello cherries, drained and cut in half

1/4 tsp lemon juice

For the topping:

1/2 cup plain flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp vegan margarine, melted

Method

Grease and line a spring form cake tin.

For the filling: Although I always buy pitted cherries, I cut each cherry in half to ensure that no pits are present. Invariably, I find one or two. In a small mixing bowl, add cherries and lemon juice. Stir, then set aside:

Morello Cherries

For the topping: In a small mixing bowl, add flour and brown sugar, mix well. Pour melted vegan margarine over the mixture, and use a fork to combine the ingredients until they form coarse breadcrumbs:

Topping

Topping

For the cake: In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, raw sugar and salt. Add melted vegan margarine, soy milk and vanilla. Stir only until ingredients are incorported. Do not over stir.

To assemble the cake:

Pour mixture into the cake tin:

cake batter

Cake mixture

Sprinkle half of the topping over the cake:

Add topping

Add half the topping

Next, spread the cherries across the surface of the cake:

Add cherries

Add the cherries

Then, sprinkle the remaining topping over the cherries:

Sprinkle topping

Ready for the oven!

Bake in the oven for approximately 35 minutes. I always check this cake at the 25 minute mark (I have a temperamental oven). If the top already looks very golden, I cover the cake tin with foil for the last 5-10 minutes of baking.

Allow the cake to cool on the bench for 10-20 minutes before removing the sides of the cake tin. Carefully remove the bottom section of the cake tin, and transfer the cake to a rack to cool entirely. Or, indulge while it is still warm.

Cherry cake is delightful on its own, or you can serve it with vanilla soy ice cream or non-dairy cream.

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Each Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe (or two!) that is enjoyed by my own family. I hope your family enjoys it too.

Ally

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