Vegan Blueberry Lemon Yogurt cake (1st Birthday smash cake)

One of the things I was most excited about doing for my daughters first birthday was definitely the cake smash! She was a lot more gentle with it than I anticipated so I had to help her along a little, but she absolutely loved it (to be honest, I’m glad she didn’t obliterate it completely because I loved it too haha) 😅

Bea is quite a little foodie and two of her favourite things to eat are lemon wedges and blueberries, lucky for me those are a perfect pair so I didn’t need to look far for inspiration! This lemon yogurt cake may be small, but it’s big in the flavour department. The layers of cake are sandwiched between blueberry chia jam and topped off with some blueberry coconut frosting.

The perks of having a mom who develops recipes is that you get to have a cake smash session times two, because I always double/triple check my recipes before sharing them with you guys. I made some minor tweaks and she loved it even more the second time, so it’s safe to say this recipe will be a hit with babies and adults alike!

It’s vegan, refined sugar free, gluten free, and one of my favourite recipes so far, now I know I shouldn’t have favourites, but I could really eat this cake all day long and I hope you love it too!

The recipe makes a generous amount of jam, so don’t worry about using it all. My Mantra is to rather have too much of something than too little. I like using the extra jam to spoon over our oats with some fresh berries in the morning, or on some toast with peanut butter!

Now for the technical stuff, I used four mini cake pans to create two separate smash cakes. I then sliced each cake in half using a bread knife, so I had 4 layers to work with. If however you want to make a regular sized cake, use a small cake tin (around 20cm) and wait for it to cool down completely before slicing the cake in half . If however you are doing this cake for a crowd, I highly recommend doubling the recipes cake batter and filling, and making use of two cake tins for baking. For the oat flour, you can easily make your own by blending rolled oats in your food processor for around 2 minutes or until really fine and soft.

Vegan Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Cake

Cake:

  • 2 tbsp flax meal + 6 tbsp water
  • 1 cup yogurt (I use yoko’s cultured coconut)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (honey if not vegan)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Frosting and chia jam:

  • 1 can coconut milk (refrigerated overnight)
  • 2 cups blueberries (I used frozen)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (honey if not vegan)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds

Cake:

  1. Set oven to 176c and prepare baking tins with cooking spray.
  2. Make a gel by combining the flax meal and water and set aside to thicken.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, beat together the flax mixture, yogurt, lemon juice, zest, maple syrup and vanilla essence.
  4. In a separate larger bowl, sieve together the oat flour, almond flour, coconut sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk lightly to evenly incorporate everything.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat until just combined.
  6. Pour into your prepared tins and bake for 35-40 minutes and golden around the edges (test with a skewer for doneness)
  7. Allow to Cool completely before slicing in half with bread knife, and start working on the jam and frosting.

Chia jam:

  1. Add the blueberries, water, maple syrup and cornflour to a pot and allow to simmer over medium heat. Stir occasionally until berries are soft and the mixture has thickened, about 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and puree using an immersion blender (alternatively you can use your blender) and blend until smooth.
  3. Reserve 2 tbsp of the berry sauce to colour the frosting, add the rest to a small bowl with the chia seeds to create the jam and mix well. Allow jam to thicken in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

Blueberry Frosting:

  1. Remove the coconut milk from the fridge and Scoop off the creamy solid part, add to a mixing bowl and beat until fluffy with stiff peaks.
  2. Add the reserved blueberry sauce (start with 1 tbsp, and add more if you’d like) Beat until combined and your frosting is light purple.
  3. If not using immediately, return the frosting to the refrigerator in a sealed container (you may need to rewhip later if its very stiff)

Assemble:

  1. Spread a nice thick layer of jam onto your cake. If your making the mini cakes, I like spreading the filling over all the layers before I start stacking the cakes.
  2. Once your cake is filled, spoon over the blueberry frosting with a spatula. You can add some to a piping bag if you’d like to get a bit fancy, and decorate with fresh blueberries! Store in the fridge

Vegan Walnut and Quinoa Quesadillas

I’m a huge lover of Mexican food, as you might have gathered by now 🙂 So I’m on a mission to veganise all my old favourites, and trust me when I say these are way more delicious than any meat stuffed quesadilla I’ve ever had! Its a healthy meal filled with all the nutrients you need when following a plant based diet, and I hope you love eating them as much as I enjoyed creating them!

I was so happy when I got the balance of flavour and texture just right for my vegan “taco meat”, its a recipe I’ve been really excited to share with you guys! The filling consists of a very easy and flavourful homemade salsa, walnuts and quinoa, which all go into the oven to cook and get nice and toasty.

I like folding in some beans, freshly chopped coriander and grilled mielies once the taco meat is out the oven, but it’s just as great on its own, with all the cheese of course, the cheese is our glue that will keep these sticking together! I’ve given you step by step instructions for the most fuss free way to assemble these below. Serve with some fresh guacamole or extra salsa to finish off, and enjoy!

Vegan Walnut and Quinoa Quesadillas (serves 4)

Taco meat:

  • 100 g walnuts
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (use parmesan if not vegan)

Salsa:

  • 1 can peeled tomato, drained.
  • half red onion
  • hand full coriander
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small chilli (I use mild, but its up to you)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked chipotle powder

*Use your favourite store-bought tortillas to make these.

*Head over to the link below for a great vegan cheese sauce, or simply use your favourite vegan/non vegan cheese and grate that over instead.

Salsa:

  1. Roughly chop the onion, coriander and chilli, add to food processor or blender.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend until everything is chopped up well and you are left with a liquid ( it doesn’t have to be hundred percent smooth)

Taco meat:

  1. Preheat oven to 190 c, line a large baking tray with foil and spray with cooking spray, set aside.
  2. Combine quinoa and vegetable stock in a saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until all the stock has been absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool and add to mixing bowl.
  3. Pulse walnuts in food processor until you’ve achieved a chunky crumb, add to quinoa with nutritional yeast and mix to incorporate.
  4. Add 1 cup of salsa (reserve the rest for later) and mix to coat taco meat.
  5. Spread taco meat out onto prepared baking tray in an even layer.
  6. Place tray in oven to bake for 15 minutes, remove and mix everything to make sure its browning evenly .Repeat this process two more times after the 10 minute mark ( better safe than sorry)
  7. After the 35 minutes have passed, remove tray from oven and pour over the reserved salsa, mix to combine and Taste for extra seasoning.
  8. I like adding some beans, charred corn and coriander to the mixture, but its just as delicious on its own!

Assembly and cooking:

  1. Lay down a tortilla, spread cheesy mixture/grated cheese over in an even layer.
  2. Top one half of the tortilla with taco meat and fold over so you have a sandwich ( if your using grated cheese, top with more cheese) Repeat with remaining tortillas
  3. Lightly oil a pan big enough to fit tortillas, place 2 in the pan side by side and flip after about 2-3 minutes, to cook reverse side until browned.
  4. Cut into thirds and enjoy with some extra salsa and guacamole!

Vegan Mess

So this recipe was meant to be a spectacular and sophisticated looking meringue stack, layered with sweetened coconut cream and fresh fruit, but that dream came crashing to the floor just before a styled shoot, which called for a plan B. 

I was left with delicious pieces of shattered meringue, so naturally I whipped up some coconut cream with a dash of vanilla and maple, added some store bought berry coulis and to finish it off, I decorated it with some fresh berries (I highly recommend adding some toasted almond shavings) I encourage you to come up with your own creation of toppings.

Vegan meringue is ridiculously easy to make, and doesn’t involve any finicky egg cracking or separating. The only separating you will be doing here, is when you are draining the chickpeas so that you can whip that brine called “aquafaba” up into soft dreamy clouds! 

The trick to success here is refrigerating the reserved chickpea brine in a container overnight so its chilled and become even more syrupy. I usually plan ahead and make a recipe requiring chickpeas the day before, that way the liquid gold you usually pour down the drain wont go to waste. You will also need to refrigerate a can of coconut milk for the cream , so make sure to pop that in the fridge too. Ready to get started?

Vegan mess (serves 4)

Meringue:

  • 1 x 400g can chickpeas ( brine only, refrigerated overnight)
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Coconut cream:

  • 1 can Coconut milk, refrigerated overnight (use only the thick top part)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste

Meringue:

  1. Preheat oven to 150c and prepare 2 baking trays lined with parchment paper.
  2. Add chickpea brine to a bowl and whisk on low speed until it starts foaming up, add the vinegar and cream of tartar.
  3. Gradually add the sugar while whisking on medium speed.
  4. Once all the sugar is incorporated , whisk on high speed until you have thick, glossy peaks. The mixture should be firm and spreadable.
  5. Add vanilla and whisk to incorporate.
  6. Dollop meringue mix onto prepared trays and use spatula to create two circles.
  7. Reduce oven temperature to 120 and bake meringue for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If the meringue doesn’t feel firm to the touch,  allow to bake for a few minutes longer.
  8. Turn oven off and leave door ajar to allow the meringue to cool. Once cool, use your hands to shatter into pieces and set aside (keep in airtight container if not using immediately)

Coconut cream:

  1. As mentioned above, we want to start with a can of coconut milk that’s been chilled overnight. This helps separate the milk from the cream and is a necessary step for it to thicken.
  2. Scoop out the thickened cream part and reserve the remaining liquid for a smoothie.
  3. Add maple syrup and vanilla to the cream, and beat until you have thickened, fluffy soft peaks. Keep stored n fridge if you will only be assembling at a later stage

Assembly:

Start by dolloping some coconut cream into each bowl, swirl in some berry coulis, and top with crumbled meringue, fresh berries and some toasted almond flakes.

Vegan Sweet Potato Brownies

I absolutely love these Sweet potato brownies, when I’m busy developing a recipe and the end result is this good, I can’t help but be chuffed with myself. It’s a really easy recipe and doesn’t require any special ingredients, these can be made by using your every day staples. Don’t let the “oat flour” put you off, it’s really simple to make your own; Simply transfer the oats to a blender/food procesor and blend until you’ve achieved a flour (this takes less than a minute)

You will start by roughly chopping the sweet potato’s into small chunks and then roasting them in the oven until cooked through and caramelised. Next, you’ll be transferring them to a blender to create a purée, this will be the base and the delicious, sweet “glue” holding these brownies together. Then it’s pretty much adding ingredients to your mixer until you are left with a thick gooey batter, and lastly smothering over some more chocolate once they have been baked!

I love stirring in some walnuts for added crunch, but feel free to replace this with any nuts of your choice, or even extra chocolate pieces if you have a severe chocolate craving 😜 either way, these brownies will totally sort you out! They just so happen to be refined sugar free (depending on the chocolate you choose to use for the topping) gluten free, and of course vegan, so everybody gets to tuck in and enjoy them.

Vegan Sweet Potato Brownies

Sweet potato brownie:

  • 500 g peeled sweet potato
  • 80 g almond flour
  • 70 g oat flour (read recipe intro to see how to make your own)
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 coconut sugar (can sub brown sugar)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup almond butter (cashew/peanut butter)
  • 1/4 cup maple (honey if not vegan)
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 50 g walnuts + more to decorate

Ganache:

  • 180 g chocolate (I use Afrikoa 70%)
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Sweet potato brownie:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 c. Prepare baking pan with over hanging parchment paper and cooking spray (I use a 20×20 square pan)
  2. Roughly chop sweet potato into small chunks (about 5 cm pieces) transfer to ovenproof pan and coat with 1 tbsp coconut oil. Bake for 45 minutes or until cooked through and soft.
  3. Allow sweet potato to cool slightly, then transfer to food processor/ use immersion blender. Blend until you’ve achieved a smooth purée.
  4. Add sweet potato purée, almond butter, maple syrup, left over coconut oil and vanilla to bowl. Mix until combined.
  5. Combine dry ingredients in bowl and mix together, add to wet ingredients and beat until evenly incorporated. You will have a very thick mixture, if you don’t have a great mixer, you can fold mixture with spatula.
  6. Now fold in chopped walnuts and transfer mixture to prepared baking pan, smooth the top with a wet spatula and bake in oven for 25 minutes.
  7. Remove brownies from oven and allow to cool, meanwhile make the ganache topping.

Ganache:

  1. Finely chop chocolate and add to heat proof bowl with coconut oil.
  2. Heat coconut cream on the stovetop, pour over chocolate and allow to stand for 2 minutes, whisk with a fork until smooth.
  3. Pour over cooled brownies, smooth with spatula and place in fridge to fully set (about 4 hours)

To serve!

  • Remove brownies from the fridge, lift out overhanging parchment paper and slice into squares with a large sharp knife. To keep brownies moist, keep stored in an airtight container.

Vegan Pita Pockets

This is the perfect summer/autumn dish; light, fresh and punchy! It’s a fuss free meal that comes together really fast. Make it early in the day so that the vinaigrette has time to develop and mingle with the salad well be using for the filling.

To complete the dish, I usually just heat up a few store bought pita breads, but it’s just as good in a wrap or served with some fresh ciabatta bread. Saying that, this salad is bold enough to stand on its own if your looking to cut out those carbs. You might have realised I don’t like telling you guys what to do too much, so I’m giving you everything you need to recreate the dish, but I encourage you to make it your own, that’s always the fun part!

Vegan Pita Pockets (serves 4)

Salad Ingredients:

  • 2 cup boiling water
  • 1 sachet vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1/4 cup pearl barley
  • Half a medium cucumber
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 yellow or red pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 packet JUICY sundried tomatoes
  • 12 olives pitted
  • 100 g packet slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup basil
  • 1/3 cup mint
  • A few hand fulls of rocket

Vinaigrette :

  • 3 cloves finely diced garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried organum
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp red vinegar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind

Vinaigrette :

1.Combine all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake until well combined. Refrigerate and let flavours blend until needed.

Salad:

  1. Start by combining the lentils with 2 cups of boiling water and the sachet vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and then cover, reduce to simmer, and cook until done, this takes about 30 minutes (we want them cooked, but still firm and not sloppy)
  2.  Drain and set aside to cool, then stir in enough vinaigrette so the lentil and barley mixture is well moistened, about 2 tablespoons (save the rest to use on the salad.)
  3. Now lets get to chopping those veggies and herbs: Finely dice the red onion, basil and mint. Roughly dice all the rest of the vegetables into smaller bites!
  4. Combine the cooled barley and lentils with the veggies, olives and almonds and scatter over some rocket.Dress with the vinaigrette and toss thoroughly to combine.
  5. Fill pita bread, a wrap or simply enjoy as a salad, Serve cold or at room temperature

Vegan Baked Lemon Squares

I’ve said it once, but Im going to say it again, these vegan baked lemon squares taste like sunshine exploded in your mouth! They are the perfect tea time treat, and its almost impossible to have just one square!

When I make something with “lemon” in the title, you best believe it’s going to be pronounced enough that you will pull that sour lemon face after having a bite. The tangy citrus flavour is however not overpowering, between the sweetness of the coconut condense milk and the slight saltiness of the cashew and coconut crumb, everything is in perfect harmony. Texture-wise, these remind me of a kind of creme brullee cheesecake fusion ( just typing that out makes me want to go make another batch)

I’m trying to get this all done while I have a sleeping baby, so I’m not going to elaborate too much, but I hope you’ll give these a try! They are one of my favourite creations thus far, and I make them all the time. They also freeze well, so sometime I take a few blocks out to thaw as my little treat for the week!

Vegan Baked Lemon Squares

Base:

  • 200 g cashews (roasted and salted)
  • 70 g desiccated coconut
  • 1 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp maple syrup (honey if not vegan)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Coconut condense milk:

  • 150 g coconut milk powder
  • 150 g castor sugar
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 30 g coconut oil melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Lemon layer:

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 400 g can coconut cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 batch coconut condense milk (ingrediens above, recipe below)
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp water

Base:

  1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and blitz until you have a crumb like texture. The mixture should stick together when pressed, if it’s too dry, add some more melted coconut oil.
  2. Prepare baking tin with overhanging parchment paper, pour in crust and press down firmly until you have a level base. ( I used a 20cmx20cm square cake tin)
  3. Move to refrigerator.

Coconut condense milk: (equivalent to about 1 can condense milk)

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend for 2 minutes until combined and smooth.
  2. Set aside for later

Lemon layer:

  1. Preheat oven to 175 c.
  2. Add lemon juice, coconut cream, zest, salt and coconut condense milk to a pot, stir over medium heat until combined. Allow to simmer and infuse for 25 minutes, giving mixture a stir every now and then( don’t allow mixture to boil)
  3. In the meantime, make a slurry by combining the cornstarch and water in a small bowl, and mix until you have a smooth paste.
  4. Remove pot from heat and stir in the slurry mixture, whisking constantly until mixture has thickened (this happens very quickly, about 2 minutes)
  5. If there are some lumps, don’t worry, just pass the mixture through a sieve to discard those bits.
  6. Pour mixture over the base and give it a few taps so the top is nice and smooth. Bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature, then move to the refrigerator to firm up and cool for at least 5 hours.
  8. Once set, lift parchment paper out of baking tin and slice into squares with a large sharp knife.
  9. Sift over icing sugar and serve with cream and extra toasted coconut shavings.

*Note: Keep stored in refrigerator in an airtight container.

( These squares also freeze well and can be thawed in the fridge)

Vegan Jackfruit Tacos

Tacos own a big piece of my heart, and Ive never met a taco I didn’t like! I was a bit worried I would be missing out on these guys when we stopped eating meat, but then I discovered a little something called jackfruit, and I just knew it would be the perfect match!

It’s basically cruelty free pulled pork with a whole load of health benefits since it’s packed with potassium, fibre and antioxidants. If your wondering where you can find this delectable “meaty” wonder, I buy mine from faithful to nature online, I’ll include the link below: https://www.faithful-to-nature.co.za/natures-charm-young-green-jackfruit-confiture

Jackfruit has a great texture, and takes on the taste of whatever you pair it with, so I start by making a barbecue sauce and then adding the jackfruit to the pot to simmer away and soak up all that flavour! What you’ll be left with is like barbecued pulled “meat” , and already very tasty. To take it to the next level, I then pop it into the oven for 20 minutes to get a slight char and to make the texture a less sloppy, which I think suits these tacos better. Don’t let the long list of ingredients in the filling put you off, all you’ll be doing is measuring them out and pouring them into a saucepan! If you don’t have time to make your own barbecue sauce, just sauté the onion and garlic together and add about 3/4 cup of your favourite store-bought brand.

You can really get creative with the garnish, and I never use exactly the same combination twice (our veggie selection can be limiting here in the countryside so I make due with whatever we have) Everybody’s taste varies, so do what works for you! As long as you add something crisp and fresh, something with a bit of tang, and something creamy, your good to go. I have however added my favourite garnish combo for you as a suggestion!

The homemade tortilla recipe isn’t my own, but why mess with something that is absolutely perfect to begin with! Trust me, once you make these, you will never buy store bought tortillas again, they are that delicious! They also happen to be freezer friendly, so if you’ve got the time, I suggest making a whole load so you can just reheat them for future use. I’ve changed the method a bit, as well as cutting down the measurements to accommodate my taco recipe, but I’m including the link to the original tortilla recipe with the step by step photos below (I’ve just summarised it for the blog)

https://thecafesucrefarine.com/best-ever-homemade-flour-tortillas/

Jackfruit tacos (makes 8-9)

Jackfruit filling:

  • 3 x 200g tins jackfruit
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (or reserve oil from jackfruit tins and use that)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 gloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup or brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste

Tortillas:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, vegetable oil or other fairly neutral oil
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Garnish suggestion:

  • Coriander
  • Coleslaw ( I buy ready made carrot and cabbage mix)
  • Avocado
  • Radish
  • Spring onion
  • Squirt of lime juice
  • Vegan sour cream

Jackfruit taco:

  1. Preheat oven to 200c and prepare baking tray with cooking spray.
  2. Shred jackfruit and set aside.
  3. Add olive oil to a warm sauce pan and sautee onion until soft and fragrant, then add garlic and stir for a few more minutes.
  4. Add all the remaining ingredients, apart from the jackfruit, and let simmer away for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
  5. Now add the jackfruit and mix to incorporate, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 more minutes.
  6. Remove the sauce pan from the stove top and transfer the jackfruit mixture to the prepared baking tray, spreading it out as evenly as possible and set aside.
  7. Just before you are ready to assemble your tacos, Spread the jackfruit mixture out onto your prepared baking tray and bake for 20 minutes ( or until edges are charred, but not burned.

Tortillas:

  1. Add all dry ingredients to a bowl and mix to combine.
  2. Make a well in the middle and pour in water and oil.
  3. Use a fork to make circular movements that will start bringing the mixture together. Now begin to knead until the mixture forms a ball and continue doing so until dough is smooth. Allow to rest in bowl, covered for about 30 minutes.
  4. After rest period, transfer dough to a lightly covered work surface and divide into 8 balls. Roll each ball into a thin disc (keep surface and rolling pin lightly dusted with flour)
  5. Heat large pan over medium heat and brush with small amount of oil. Once the pan is hot, add the first tortilla and allow to cook for 1 minute or until brown spots have appeared. Flip to other side and cook for about 40 seconds. The tortillas should be soft with a few brown spots.
  6. Remove tortilla from pan and stack in covered container to keep soft. Brush the pan with a little bit more olive oil as needed before starting on the next tortilla.

Garnish:

I’m not getting specific here, add as much as you like, spice it up with some extra chilli, do as your taco loving heart desires 🙂