Decadent Choc Hazelnut Cheesecake

A few weeks ago, I found myself channel surfing and consquently fixated on an episode of Nigellissima, where a Nutella Cheesecake was being born. “Utter brilliance”, I thought. I love chocolate-anything. It was a fairly straight forward recipe and all the ingredients were pre-packaged. As I began to mull over how to make a vegan version of this, I found myself getting a little too carried away and complicating things.

I’ve held back greatly on the many ideas whirring around in my head here – the one thing that I wasn’t going to compromise on, though, was a gluten free base. And one that doesn’t use packaged biscuits – because I’ve done that before. I wanted to try something different, so the base is an adaptation of this recipe – literally the first Google search result for “vegan rice crispy recipe”.

Decadent Choc Hazelnut Cheesecake 4

Decadent Choc Hazelnut Cheesecake

The Base:

4 C Crispy Rice Cereal, NOT soft puffed rice (read the ingredients, most brands list “barley malt” which contains gluten, check your health food aisle rather than the cereal aisle)
1/8 C Flax Meal
1/2 C Agave Nectar
1/3 C Hazelnut Butter/Spread (or other nut butter of your choice – almond or peanut would also be good!)
1 t Vanilla Extract
Vegan margarine, such as Nuttelex

  • Lightly grease a 25cm springform pan with vegan margarine, then line with baking paper. You can use a smaller springform tin, but don’t use a larger one.
  • Pule 3 C of the crispy rice cereal in a food processor or high speed blender until broken up, but not powdery. Place in a mixing bowl with the remaining 1 C of crispy rice cereal and the flax meal.
  • On low heat in a small pot, stir together the agave nectar, hazelnut butter and vanilla extract. Once combined, pour into the mixing bowl and mix, mix, mix! If you’re afraid to get your hands dirty, you can wear gloves.
  • Press mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the springform pan and leave in the fridge to set for an hour or so.

Decadent Choc Hazelnut Cheesecake 3

Because all the vegan chocolate spreads I have access to are allergen-friendly, they’re nut free – which means I had to mix together chocolate spread and hazelnut butter to get the “Nutella” effect. I found this frustrating at first, but later realised that it’s great if you want to change it up and use a different nut (e.g. peanuts or almonds).

The Filling:

300g Dark Chocolate Spread (I used the fair trade Oxfam one, which is available at Woolies)
100g Hazelnut Butter/Spread (or other nut butter of your choice)
2 tubs + 2 TBSP Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese (500g)
3/4 – 1 1/4 C GF Icing Sugar (3/4 C will give you a bittersweet dark chocolate taste, whereas 1 1/4 C will give you a more widely palatable milk chocolate taste)
3 pinches of Salt

  • Bring the cream cheese to room temperature, then beat with the chocolate spread and hazelnut butter.
  • Sift in the icing sugar and beat until smooth and combined.
  • Pour into the springform pan on top of the rice crispy base and leave to set overnight.
  • Carefully remove from springform pan and place on a plate or platter.

Decadent Choc Hazelnut Cheesecake 1

The Topping:

1 C Strawberries, sliced
2-3 TBSP Hazelnuts (or other nut of your choice)
Agave

  • Roast the hazelnuts at 150C for about 10 minutes; keep an eye on them. When the skins start to split, remove them from the oven and leave to cool. You can remove the skins the slow/hard way (by hand), or you can rub a handful of them in a clean tea towel. You don’t need to remove all the skins, just the loose ones. Leaving some on will give you some extra texture and a rustic look.
  • Roughly chop the hazelnuts.
  • Scatter the strawberries on the cake, followed by the chopped hazelnuts, then lightly drizzle some agave on top.

Decadent Choc Hazelnut Cheesecake 2

Voilà! A party favourite that will literally get devoured before any other dessert on offer (that’s a tried and true fact).

Tips:

  • Serve this straight from the fridge. If you let it cool or serve it on a hot day, it’ll soften and be more of a mousse-cake than a cheesecake!
  • If using peanut butter, make sure you select one that’s natural/doesn’t contain any salt or sugar.

Mister Nice Guy’s Bake Shop!

Mister Nice Guy - Outside
Mister Nice Guy
151 Union Rd
Ascot Vale
VIC 3032
AUSTRALIA

OK, guys. Get your bandwidth ready because I have quite a few photos here! Whittling this down to three or four wasn’t really an option – you’d be missing too much eye candy!

Mister Nice Guy - Inside

I loved the shop’s retro, kitschy fit out. I’m no stranger to lovin’ vintage and these guys had gone to some great lengths with detail – from the rounded 50s style fridge behind the counter to the pastel vintage cannisters up on the top shelf! This was right up there on my list of “things to marry”.

Betty White Cake
Betty White Cake (choc/coconut) – gluten free.

These guys make a point of having several gluten free options available daily, so celiacs don’t miss out! And I’m telling you from experience that you can’t tell by taste that the items are gluten free.

Rockin' Roller Cake
Rockin’ Roller Cake.

Sign
I didn’t realise these guys used organic ingredients! Yay!

Cinnamon Buns
Cinnamon buns – I really regret not buying one of these.

Mister Nice Guy - Cabinet 1
The cabinet where sugar comas are born! There’s some raw cupcakes on the bottom shelf… I regret not trying those, too.

Sampler
I bought a variety of things to share, but couldn’t get through it all. It’s been a while since I gorged on sweets – which is a good thing, really.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes.

These were my favourite of the cupcakes I tried. They were adorable, bite-sized and the perfect little burst of creamy sweetness.

Beetlejuice Cupcakes (Cookies & Cream)
Mini Beetlejuice Cupcakes (cookies & cream).

These were also really delicious, but the name is a little misleading. Turns out “Beetlejuice” flavour is actually cookies and cream, not liquorice! I think I would have prefered a chocolate cupcake as opposed to the vanilla and the icing was a little grainy which I suspect was from the cookies, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t eat them again!

Pebbles Cupcake
Pebbles Cupcake (raspberry & white chocolate) – gluten free.

SO GOOD. The cupcake was light, fluffy and not as all recognisable as “gluten free”. Loved these.

Pecan Pie
Pecan Pie.

This tasted a lot better than it looks, though sadly, I probably wouldn’t buy this again. It has sultanas in it, which ruined it for me. Without the sultanas, I’d love it a whole lot more, but I understand that not everyone would feel that way. If you dig sultanas, grab a slice!

Baked NY Cheesecake
Baked NY Cheesecake/Cheezecake.

This was a hundred times more impressive than I was expecting! It was so smooth and creamy and, well, cheesecake-like! Both non-vegans that I shared it with agreed that it was very much like the real deal. I’d love to see Mister Nice Guy make more cheesecake flavours – they’ve executed the concept beautifully.

Banoffee Pie
Banoffee Pie – gluten free. Photo courtesy of Mister Nice Guy (my photo was hideous!).

I’ve saved the best for last! This dessert has single handedly raised the vegan-sweets-bar for me. If I had a third thumb, I’d give it three thumbs up. The whipped centre melts in your mouth, the banana is there without being over powering and the decadent caramel is set off in your mouth by chunks of salt. It’s literally one of the most divine things I’ve ever eaten – if you go to Mister Nice Guy’s for one thing, let it be this. Or the cheesecake. But mostly this.

Mister Nice Guy - Business Cards

There’s a good variety of both hot and cold drinks on offer, which didn’t even make it into the equation for me because I took my desserts away to eat at a friend’s house – but I’d be keen to hang around for a coffee next time. The staff were so lovely, I must have spent 10-15 minutes in there just having a chat. If you like them on Facebook, you can get updates of what’s available in the bake shop – the menu changes daily. I made a not-so-subtle suggestion that something peanut-buttery should always be there because it was the only thing that disappointed me during my visit!

Mister Nice Guy's Bakeshop on Urbanspoon

Recipe Review: Mini Raw Sweet Potato Caramel Pecan Pies

Raw Swt Potato Pie 1
Mini Raw Sweet Potato Caramel Pecan Pies

A friend of mine form out of town visited yesterday – she’s a raw food lover and requested that I make this pie for her from Fragrant Vanilla Cake. Admittedly, I was pretty apprehensive about eating raw sweet potato because I know it can get that floury coating on it like regular potatoes so I decided to make a back up recipe as well. To my surprise, the sweet potato was superb and my back up recipe was the one that failed!

Raw Swt Potato Pie 2

The most time consuming part of this was soaking, sprouting and dehydrating the buckwheat for the crust. The rest was fairly easy to put together, but it ended up being a very expensive dessert – I used about $15 worth of pecans, $10 of medjool dates, $5 of vanilla extract & beans, plus all the other specialty items (coconut oil, coconut butter, raw cashews etc.), some of which I thankfully already had on hand.

That being said, the recipe yielded double what I expected. Instead of two mini pies, I actually had four – so you could easily use this recipe to make one small to normal sized cake.

Raw Swt Potato Pie 3

Flavour-wise, it was pretty impressive. The caramel alone was the best sweet thing I’ve eaten in ages and I could have downed it by the spoonful (ok, maybe I did). The sweet potato filling was bursting with flavour – heavily spiced and no trace of floury-ness from the raw sweet potato – though to be sure, I whizzed it up in my Blendtec rather than my food processor. I didn’t want to risk any grainyness. And the crust has a great texture – which included a little extra crunch from the buckwheat. Individually, each element of the pies was astoundingly delicious, but altogether it was a little too sweet and rich for me. It probably doesn’t need the caramel, but I wouldn’t skip it, because that’s the best part.

The price alone will turn me off making these adorable little pies again, but the caramel is most likely going to be a staple in my repertoire. I can’t get enough of it and want to eat it over and over again. Perhaps even with my sweet quinoa porridge or a basic chia pudding!

Death Star Cake Pops

Well, here it is: Mr. AA’s birthday “cake” – a fleet of nerdy, edible Death Stars.

Death Star Cake Pop - Vader 1
Darth Vader endorses Death Star cake pops.*

Despite them being a bit of a “craze”, I didn’t really know much about cake pops until this experiment – and although I did a bit of research and asked a friend of mine plenty of questions, I still ran into a few problems. I’ll talk you through the process with some photos below.

First up, I was horrified to learn that the inside of a standard cake pop is crumbled cake mixed with icing to bind it all together. This just seems like WAY too much sugar for my liking. Mr. AA isn’t much of a sweet tooth, so I tried to find a way around this by purchasing one of these silicone moulds that will bake your cake into spheres (hence eliminating the icing altogether). I thought this was a rather brilliant solution. The outside of a standard cake pop is made from “candy melts” – something that isn’t even remotely vegan. The next best thing? Melt some chocolate. Easy peasy.

To make the process a little quicker, easier and gluten-free-friendly, I started by using an Orgran cake mix. This back fired on me a little – the gluten free gal I shared them with thought they were great, but this was hands down one of the worst cakes I’ve ever tasted. It was rubbery in texture and fairly bland. You could tell it was made with water and the sugar and chocolate flavours just weren’t strong enough. The cake mix also didn’t rise too well, leaving my spheres a little flat and lop sided.

Death Star Cake Pop Tray
Silicone cake pop tray in action. Cakes pictured contain gluten.

So… I went ahead and made two more batches of cake batter from scratch. I used the “basic chocolate cupcakes” and “simple vanilla & agave nectar cupcakes” from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. These worked brilliantly – they rose the right amount and tasted amazing.

Tips/notes:

  • Use a cupcake recipe rather than a cake recipe for the batter.
  • Don’t be conservative – fill the pods to the top.
  • The holes in the top half of the silicone tray are for releasing steam. Don’t try and poke your sticks through there.
  • Place the silicone tray on a metal tray or it’ll flop around and you’ll make a mess with your batter.
  • After cooking, leave to cool for a couple of minutes before peeling off the top half of the silicone tray.
  • Leave to cool a little longer before removing the spheres and popping onto a cooling rack. If you’re having trouble removing the balls, poke a sharp toothpick into the sides to help loosen them.

DS Cake Pop Insert Stick

Right. Next! I was told by more than one person that the best way to get your stick to stay in there comfortably is to freeze the balls, melt some chocolate, dip the stick in melted chocolate and insert into frozen balls. The freezing probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it helps. Trust me. It means your cake won’t fall apart in your hands when you’re trying to push the stick in and the cold temperature will set the chocolate fairly quickly.

Death Star Cake Pop Cut Out

Now that the sticks are in, it’s time to cut out the “dish”. You can skip this step if you’re making regular cake pops, but who would want regular cake pops when they could have DEATH STAR CAKE POPS. Am I right?

Whether you want to freeze these for a little while again or not is totally up to you. If it’s a hot day, I’d recommend it. If not, grab your paring knife and get started. I hope this part is fairly self explanatory, as I didn’t take any photos or video of me doing it. But basically a small, sharp, pointy knife will go a long way in making this easy for you.

Time to put these back in the freezer (yes, again). At this point, you’re probably thinking I’m a little insane, so I’m just going to point out two things. 1/ I really really love Mr. AA and 2/ I worked on these 3 nights in a row after work. They didn’t come together in a few hours… So yes, they will require some love, time and effort.

DS Chocolate Coating

The next step is to melt some chocolate. You don’t need a special pot for this – I used a small pot with some water in it and a ceramic bowl on top. The golden rule is: don’t let the boiling water touch the bowl. If it does, your chocolate will over heat and be ruined to the point of no return.

You’ll need a chunk of polystyrene for this – I recommend making a series of holes in it in advance with a skewer or screw driver. Leave it in the freezer.

Cover each cake pop with melted chocolate by dipping it into the bowl and twirling it around. Tap on the edges of the bowl until all the excess chocolate drips off, then stand it in the polystyrene in the freezer. Repeat for each individual cake pop. This process is a little slow and painful, but worth it.

Tips/notes:

  • If you’re using dark chocolate, you won’t have any issues. If you use white, chocolate, however, you’ll find that it doesn’t melt down quite as thin. In fact, it’ll still be fairly thick and difficult to work with. Whisk in a little canola oil to help thin it out. If you don’t, your bowl will be full of cake that has been torn off by the thick chocolate. It might make you cry. Or swear. Or both.

You’re nearly there…

Death Star Cake Pop Fleet

I painted these guys with some cheap paint brushes, as I don’t have air brushing tools. It worked fine, but you’ll need to leave the base coat to dry for a few hours before painting on the smaller details.

Tips/notes:

  • Don’t take these out of the freezer and try to paint them on a really hot day. Condensation will keep building up on the chocolate making it near impossible to paint – especially since the paint is water soluble.

Death Star Silver Food Paint

I used this silver food paint, which claims to be both vegetarian and gluten free. As far as I could tell, it’s also vegan – however ingredient E110 states “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children”. Probably not the best thing to be putting into your body, but I made an exception for this special occassion.

There wasn’t enough difference between the light & dark shades of silver paint, so I mixed some black food colouring into the dark silver which made it show up a lot better against the light silver, but it also reduced the colourfast-ness of the paint and resulted in silver lips while eating. Oh well. It’s ok to look like a space man once in a while!

So there you have it – a lengthy tutorial on a special Star Wars dessert.

Death Star Cake Pop - Vader 2

*This is not an official endorsement; I’m just being silly.

Trial & Error: Star Wars Ice-Cream Sandwiches

As some of you may already know, I’m not a Star Wars fanatic. At all. However two very important men in my life are (Mr. AA & our tattooist), so a couple of times a year, you’ll see some kind of Star Wars themed dessert pop up on this blog. I love to make silly things for people’s birthdays that I know will make them happy – because birthdays are the best! And I do not in any way claim to be a baking extraordinaire… I just like to have fun and experiment.

Star Wars Ice-Cream Sandwiches
“Dark Side” Ice-Cream Sandwiches.

I used the snickerdoodle recipe from the Vegan Yum Yum cook book and as it turns out, this biscuit (cookie) dough is really impractical for shaped biscuits. It’s great for pretty, rustic, cracked snickerdoodles, but not defined shapes. I want to make it very clear that this is not Lauren Ulm’s fault (in my experience, her recipes are excellent!), it’s mine – because I was using the recipe for something in which it was not intended.

After a few batches of trial and error, I managed to make it work for me – the trick is to freeze the dough, roll it out/cut it/place on baking paper and freeze again. These biscuits will ONLY work if the dough goes into the oven frozen and the oven is properly pre-heated. If not, your biscuits will spread, crack and become unrecognisable. You also need to cook them for 10 minutes ONLY, or they’ll get too crispy and start to brown.

In addition to my ice-cream sandwiches, my tattooist’s girlfriend, Andrea, made up these wicked chocolate Stormtrooper cupcakes. She made/hand painted these edible chocolate cupcake toppers and has really raised the bar for Mr. AA’s birthday next month!

Stormtooper Cupcake 1

Stormtooper Cupcake 2

Stormtooper Cupcakes

Las Vegan Bakery/Café

Las Vegan Bakery/Café in Melbourne

Las Vegan Bakery/Café
22 Smith St
Collingwood
VIC 3066
AUSTRALIA
Ph: (03) 9415 9001

Upon entering Las Vegan, it was apparent to me that my anxiety levels were quickly rising, so Mr. AA & I opted for a table outside, even though the weather was a little questionable. The space is small and cramped with badly arranged furniture that makes you feel like an intrusion. I didn’t take any photos inside because it felt too awkward, but there’s potential for the space to feel a lot more comfortable, it just needs some attention. Thankfully, our waiter was kind and relaxed, and after looking at the menu, I could see these guys had a sense of humour.

Las Vegan Bakery/Café in Melbourne

Everything on the menu is reasonably priced, though I’m not sure much of it would appeal to a non-vegan. There was a few mock meat & fish options, lentil options and black bean options. The specials of the day were eggplant parmas and lasagne – both were tempting! However Mr. AA & I were both drawn to the same item on the menu: the mushroom mince.

Las Vegan Bakery/Café in Melbourne

Mr. AA chose the sloppy joe burger with chips and I chose the mince on rice with salad. The mis-matched plates amused me… I’m not sure if this was an attempt at being kitschy or a symbol of their firm hippy/recycling beliefs. Either way, I didn’t have a problem with it – it made me feel like I was eating food made with love in someone’s home.

Las Vegan Bakery/Café in Melbourne
Las Vegan Sloppy Joe Burger with mushroom mince.

Las Vegan Bakery/Café in Melbourne
Mushroom mince on rice with gourmet salad.

We were both big fans of the mince – it has a really good, mild flavour and a realistic texture. Admittedly, I was expecting a higher mushroom to TVP ratio – in fact, I was hoping for no TVP at all because I don’t really dig it, but in this case, there’s no question about making an exception. It was pretty damn tasty. Also – two thumbs up for serving this with brown rice, not white.

The “gourmet salad” was fairly plain and barely dressed, but I liked the grilled eggplant and capsicum in it and I honestly prefer salad to be under dressed as opposed to over dressed and soggy. My only complaint here is that the olives weren’t pitted, so I almost broke a tooth! Watch out for those little suckers.

Las Vegan Bakery/Café in Melbourne

The chips were… pretty amazing. Perfectly crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside – they’re exactly what Mr. AA & I look for in a chip!

We (*I*) also grabbed a slice of the raw lemon cheesecake to take home. There were Mr Nice Guy cupcakes on display and a dense looking chocolate bundt cake with icing dribbling all over the place (which looked delicious!) but I wanted to take a chance and try something that I’d only ever made at home, to see how someone else’s version compared.

Las Vegan Bakery/Café in Melbourne
Raw Lemon Cheesecake.

This was, hands down, my favourite item. I took it back to the car with the SOLE intention of sliding it out of the bag and taking photos before the agave spread out and looked ugly/messy. My stomach was full and I planned to save it for after dinner that night, but… Well, look at it, guys. I couldn’t resist having a little taste and before I knew it, I’d stuffed the entire slab of compressed nuts into my face and my hands were sticky with agave. But I didn’t care. Because it was incredible.

These guys do take-away and have gluten free options. One thing I didn’t take a photo of (and wished I had) was the glasses of juice we ordered. It wasn’t fresh juice, but I suspect it was organic and the size of the glasses was impressive. You know how most places serve a $7 juice in a slim high ball glass with lots of ice? Not these guys. They’ll give you your money’s worth!

Raw Chocolate Custard & A Healthy Parfait!

This miracle happened when I was trying to make a lower fat version of my chocolate mousse – I wanted to omit the use of coconut altogether and thought zucchini would make a pretty brilliant substitute, considering its lack of calories and how neutral its taste is when raw. Luckily, it worked. I really hope you make this; your life won’t be the same without it!

And just a quick note: This is best made and eaten fresh. Don’t leave it in your fridge for more than 2 days.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Serves 6

2 Haas Avocados (flesh only)
1 C Zucchini, peeled and grated
5 t Raw Cacao Powder
6-10 T Date Paste* (to taste)
1 T vanilla extract or half a vanilla bean, scraped out
Pinch of Salt

    • Peel and grate zucchini, then pat down with paper towel to dry out a little. If your zucchini is too watery, your custard will be, too; and if you don’t peel the zucchini, your custard will end up a little lumpy, as the skin will have a bit of trouble breaking down into a puree.
    • Pulse zucchini in a food processor. Add avocado flesh and pulse again.
    • Add the cacao powder, date paste and vanilla. Blend until smooth. This may take up to 3 minutes; be patient.
    • You can serve straight away or pop in the fridge for half an hour to chill and firm up a bit.

To make the parfait pictured above (serves 6):
1 batch Raw Chocolate Custard (recipe above)
1 Batch Sweet Quinoa Porridge
750g Strawberries
Chopped nuts of your choice

      • Wait until your quinoa has cooled down.
      • Layer quinoa and custard in a martini glass with diced strawberries in between each layer. If you’re having trouble spreading the quinoa, use a teaspoon dipped in hot water to help smooth it out.
      • Top with chopped nuts and a whole strawberry.

*Date paste is a wonderful, natural sweetener that you can make at home. Simply pit some medjool (fresh) dates, soak for 10 minutes, then blend with water and a little squeeze of lemon juice. If you’re feeling unsure about this and would like a recipe, go here.

Chocolate Mousse Crumble

This is a semi-raw, rich & creamy mousse that’s dairy, gluten and egg free! There’s a hint of coconut flavour from the coconut milk, but you can’t taste the avocadoes at all, I promise. The tartness of raspberries cuts through the richness of this nicely – I recommend serving with fresh or defrosted raspberries (or any other berry), or a berry coulis.

I made this on a whim tonight, with a list on ingredients but no guidance on quantities. A huge thanks goes out to my friend Jodie for the inspiration.

Choc Mousse Crumble
Serves 10

Mousse:
3 Haas Avocadoes
270ml Coconut Milk*
2 TBSP Raw Cacao Powder
1/4 C + 2 TBSP Agave Nectar

Crumble:
1/4 C Almonds
2 Pinches Cinnamon Powder

  • Blend together all mousse ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  • Divide mixture in a couple of silicone muffin trays. Your mixture will make 10 serves of mousse.
  • Pulse together crumble ingredients, sprinkle onto mousse and freeze for at least 3 hours. If you choose to freeze longer, remove individual serves from silicone tray and defrost in fridge for approx an hour before serving.

*I recommend choosing a full fat coconut milk that doesn’t contain emulsifier. In Australia, the Ayam brand is good! It has a clear definition between the milk and the solid cream layer on top.

Coconut-Cashew Vanilla Ice-Cream

I’ve been in the mood for a sweet treat this week and banana soft serve simply wasn’t cutting it. I wanted something creamier, richer and fattier. Thus, I’ve come up with a coconut-cashew vanilla ice-cream recipe for you! It’s quick to throw together, but you’ll need to devote about 6 hours to being close to your freezer unless you use an ice-cream maker (don’t worry, most of it is inactive, so you can go about your business doing whatever you need to get done at home). The texture of this is smooth and creamy. Many cashew based ice-creams use water and this causes them to form icicles as they begin to freeze – you won’t have that problem here.

Coconut Ice-Cream
Yields approx 750ml

2 C Coconut Milk (use a good quality one without preservatives if possible)
1 1/2 C Raw Unsalted Cashews
1/4 – 1/2 C Agave Nectar (to your taste – 1/2 C will be VERY sweet)
2 t Vanilla Extract

  • Blend all ingredients together in a high speed blender until smooth. I normally give it about a minute.
  • Pour into a 1 litre air tight, freezer friendly container and place in the freezer with lid on.
  • Stir/mix/agitate every 2 hours for 6 hours with a miniature whisk. You could also use a fork if need be.
  • Leave in the freezer overnight/8 hours, then dig in when you’re ready! Serve with some dessicated coconut if you’re feeling fancy.

Recipe Notes
If you don’t have a high speed blender, you can use a food processor – but only a top notch food processor will work. I would make the following recommendations to make sure your ice-cream isn’t grainy:

  • Soak the cashews in the coconut milk for an hour or two before doing any blending.
  • Start by grinding only the cashews in the food processor, then slowly adding in the wet ingredients. This will encourage your food processor to create a smooth paste and will avoid grainy bits.
  • Follow the remainder of the instructions as written above. You may need to process a few more times as it starts to freeze.

Choc Beet Cake

I was feeling inspired when I saw Cindy & Michael from Where’s The Beef? post a beetroot chocolate fudge cake recipe. I mean… In what world does that NOT sound amazing, right? They were kind enough to direct me to the original recipe that they adapted from The Fairest Feed, which was vegan. I made this twice with my own little string of adjustments – one of which was the cooking time. Thirty five minutes definitely wasn’t enough, even for my out-of-this-world fan forced oven. I also thought this was just as good (if not better) with a light dusting of gluten free icing sugar, as opposed to icing… And I wouldn’t argue with you if you wanted to serve it with some vanilla or coconut ice-cream.

Below is my adapted recipe, which works a charm even with gluten free flour, so my wonderful celiac readers won’t miss out! Oh and for anyone concerned, you can’t taste the beetroot and it dissolves when it bakes, so you won’t find any stringy red bits in there and if you do, well… You’ve done something wrong.

Choc Beet Cake
Serves 9-12, depending how big you like your slices of cake.

1 1/4 C + 2 TBSP Plain Flour (gluten free if required)
1 1/2 C Caster Sugar
3/4 C Cocoa Powder
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 C Soy Milk
1 C Water
3/4 C Canola Oil
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
3/4 C Fresh Beetroot, peeled & grated
Icing Sugar for dusting (gluten free if required)

  • Preheat oven to 180C & grease a cake tin with some Nutelex/dairy free marg. You can use whatever shaped cake tin you like – I used a square one.
  • In a mixing bowl, sift and stir together the dry ingredients.
  • Add the soy milk, water, oil & vanilla. Stir until no obvious lumps remain.
  • Add the grated beetroot and stir until evenly distributed.
  • Pour batter into cake tin and bake for 40-45 minutes. Forty minutes will leave your cake a little fudgy inside – I thought this was nice, but Mr. AA didn’t dig it because get this – he doesn’t like the taste of raw cake batter! Forty five minutes should cook this right through without drying it out. A toothpick should come out clean. If you have an older/slower oven, don’t be afraid to leave it in for an extra 5 minutes if it’s still wet in the middle.
  • Leave to cool in the cake tin for around 5 minutes before tipping out onto a wire cooling rack. If you get impatient, your cake will fall apart and you’ll cry.
  • When cake has cooled, tip it onto a serving plate and dust with icing sugar, then chow down.