{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.

pear1

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.

pear2

Wishing you all a beautiful week.

Ally 🙂

 

{Recipe; Vegan MoFo} Blueberry Cake

blueberry cake

This gluten-free cake is loaded with fruit and flavour. It is delicious and moreish, and contains millet flour and sorghum flour.

I discovered this Laurie Sadowski recipe at Uberdish.

The original recipe uses 2 cups of blueberries. The first time I made this recipe, I used 1.5 cups of frozen organic blueberries. I didn’t allow the blueberries to defrost. After I added them (as the last step, thankfully!), the batter began to solidify! I had to work quickly to spread the batter evenly in the cake tin.  I am assuming this is unique to these particular gluten-free flours, as I have added frozen blueberries to spelt and wheat flours, and never had a problem with the batter solidifying.

So, I recommend using fresh blueberries, or allowing frozen ones to defrost adequately. 🙂 Despite this ‘error’, the cake turned out beautifully and I was keen to make it again.

blueberry2I made a couple of minor changes: I used coconut cream rather than coconut milk (as this is what I usually have in my pantry) and raw sugar (rather than an unrefined sugar, like coconut). Also, I used millet flour instead of quinoa flour (thanks for the tip Angela!). My cake took 55 minutes to cook.

I do not own a stand mixer, and using a basic hand mixer for this recipe was a little bit challenging, as the batter kept climbing up the beaters! It is not impossible though, and I did not want the absence of a stand mixer to prevent me from making this scrumptious cake.

**The recipe is available here.**

Strawberry Cake

On the next occasion, I replaced the blueberries with 1 cup of fresh, chopped strawberries. I scooped the batter into a loaf tin, and the cake was ready in 45 mins.

strawberrycake2

Strawberry cake

In winter, strawberries are grown in sub-tropical areas of Australia. I think of strawberries as a ‘winter fruit’ because they are abundant and cheap in my region in the colder months of the year. Summer-grown strawberries travel further to reach my part of the country, so they are generally more pricey (and less abundant).

strawberrycake3

Strawberry cake

The Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts

The tiny vegans enjoyed the strawberry cake. The school-aged kids were fortunate to be treated to a couple of small slices in their lunchboxes.

What did they think of the blueberry cake?

Well…they didn’t know about it! [shh, don’t tell them]. I made it while they were at school and pre-school. Little Baker, who was at home, may have had a small slice – I can’t remember. Mat and I polished it off over a couple of days – all in the name of recipe research, of course. 😉

Which do you prefer – blueberries or strawberries?

Ally

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