Another birthday, another cake!
A couple weeks ago I presented Jan with several options for his birthday cake, and of them he chose an apple & blackberry cake. Since we were going to be sharing with friends, one of them needs to eat gluten & lactose free, I went and adapted the original recipe. And here is my version.
- 125 grams (refined) coconut oil
- 125 gr (cane) sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 50 grams ground almonds
- 50 grams oat flour
- 50 grams fine corn flour (not cornmeal, not cornstarch!)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 2 apples
- 150 grams blackberries
- 2 tbsp cane sugar + 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon for topping
- Preheat oven to 170°C / 150°C if using convection. Line the bottom of a 20-22 cm spring form with baking paper.
- Soften the coconut oil by either leaving it in a warm place or microwaving it at low power for 30-45 seconds. Add the sugar and mix until well combined and sugar starts to dissolve into the oil.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, to the oil-sugar mixture, and mix well. Add the vanilla essence and mix.
- Combine ground almonds, oat & corn flour, salt & baking powder in a bowl. Add to the oil-sugar-egg mixture slowly and mix until a smooth dough has formed.
- Peel and core the apples, slice them in 12-14 pieces each. Separate 8 slices for decoration, and cut the rest in smaller pieces.
- Add the apple pieces and most of the blackberries (leave 4 for decoration) and fold gently.
- Pour the batter onto prepared spring form and spread (more or less) evenly. Decorate with the reserved apple slices and blackberries.
- Mix sugar and cinnamon for topping and sprinkle on top of cake.
- Bake cake in preheated oven, middle rack, for 50-55 minutes. A cake tester inserted in the middle will come out clean (albeit greasy) when cake is ready.
- Loosen the edges of the cake with angled spatula / knife, let cool enough to remove cake from spring form and let cake cool on cooling rake.
Another invite for dinner at friends calls for another dessert to be baked. It had to be vegan (=egg & lactose free), gluten free and nut free. And I just didn’t fancy repeating something I had already made.
For some reason frangipane tart had lodged itself in my head, and so I decided to make one.
Plum Frangipane Tart
Press-in almond crust
- 2/3 cup almond meal (approx 65 grams)
- 1 cup oat meal / ground oats (approx 90 grams)
- 2 tbsp sugar (approx 30 grams)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp refined coconut oil (approx 65 grams)
- 4 tbsp cold oat milk (approx 60 ml)
- 125 gr almond meal
- 125 gr oat flour
- 150 gr powder (confectioner) sugar
- 75 gr refined coconut oil, melted
- 2 egg replacements (20 gr v-eggie + 140 ml oat milk)
- 120 ml oat milk
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
For the crust
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- In a stand mixer (paddle attachment) or food processor, mix all ingredients until a ball forms.
- Press crust on the bottom and up the sides of a loose bottomed fluted tart mold (24cm diameter).
- Bake crust in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until it starts to dry out.
- Take out and let cool for a few minutes (while you make the filling).
For the filling
- In a stand mixer (wire whisk), or by hand with a very stiff whisk / electric beaters, mix all ingredients for the frangipane until a smooth consistency is achieved.
For the tart
- Scoop most (you might have leftover) filling and fill the pre-baked crust, leaving a bit of head space (about 5mm).
- Slice plums in half, remove pit, and slice each half in thirds or quarters (depending on size and own taste).
- Arrange plum slices on top of the frangipane.
- Bake tart for 45-60 minutes at 180°C, or until the frangipane starts to turn golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry.
- Let cool in mold on cooling rack.
- This recipe is heavily adapted from several vegan and non-vegan recipes.
- Feel free to use margarine instead of coconut oil.
- The amount of sugar in the filling can be changed to taste. Next time I might go for 125gr instead of 150gr, since it was more than sweet enough for us.
- What to do with the leftover filling: divide filling into ramekins or muffin tray, top with more sliced fruit, and bake for about 35 to 45 minutes.
- Try it with whichever fruit is seasonal and you like!
It seems like I am in a blueberry kick. I do love me some blueberries, and since frozen ones are so easy to keep, it’s easy to reach for them for a quick dessert.
We invited the family over for Easter Sunday lunch. We served a selection of cheeses, fruit & breads.
Spread of cheeses, fruit and breads
And for dessert I wanted something easy and quick, that wasn’t fiddly and could be baked while or right after lunch to have a bit later as dessert. I also wanted something relatively light (not loaded with butter and eggs) and with lots of fruit. A galette came to the rescue!
While a traditional galette pastry is made with butter, this olive oil version turned out to be perfect as well. It stood up to the juicy berries, and provided a nice crunchy edge. Thanks to the tiny amount of sprinkled sugar, it also turned a nice shade of golden.
Note that I didn’t pinch that one fold quite enough, and it folded back open during baking, letting the juices escape.
For the dough:
- 200 gr flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 30 gr sugar
- 50 ml olive oil
- 75-100 ml water
For the berry filling:
- 450 gr (frozen) blueberries
- 30-40 gr sugar
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice
- 2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla essence
- 30-40 gr fine corn flour
- 1 tsp sugar (for sprinkling)
- Combine all ingredients for the dough in a bowl, starting with only 75 ml water. Mix it, adding more water if needed, and for a bowl with it. Let rest for an hour or while the berries thaw.
- Mix the all the ingredients for the filling in a bowl and let sit for an hour, or while the berries thaw.
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Roll out the dough into a (approximate) circle shape, about 25 cm in diameter, on a piece of parchment paper. You don’t want the dough to be too thin, it needs to stand up to being folded over the filling.
- Spoon the berries on to the middle of the dough circle, leaving 4-5cm free all around. Reserve the liquid!
- Fold the edges of the pastry over the filling, pinching the folds so they stick together. Pour the reserved liquid on top of the berries. Sprinkle 1 tsp sugar over the pastry edges.
- Transfer the galette (and parchment) to a rimed baking tray, and bake at 180°C for 30-35 minutes, until the berries are all jammy and the pastry is crunchy and golden.
- Let cool on a cooling rack for 15-30 minutes. Serve lukewarm, with ice cream if desired.
Having friends over to visit means I get to bake. And I love it.
Having friends over to visit with allergies and food intolerances, means I get to experiment with baking. Which I love even more.
So after a week of searching the internet for a lemon blueberry cake that fitted the bill (vegan, gluten free, nut free, and preferably banana free), I found two recipes I could mix & match and adapt to my taste. From those two recipes a third was born, and I bring it to you.
Lemon Blueberry Cake
- 225 gr (frozen or fresh) blueberries (I used frozen, because available all year long at a reasonable price)
- 30 gr (coconut) sugar
- 30 ml water
- zest & juice of two lemons
- 120 ml soy milk (or any other plant based milk)
- 2 egg replacers (I used v-eggie by P38, a local Belgian company, feel free to use any egg replacement available to you, or flax / chia egg)
- 50 gr (coconut) sugar
- 30 ml olive oil
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 90 gr fine polenta
- 110 gr fine almond meal (almonds are seeds, not nuts)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- Put blueberries, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat to simmer, and simmer, stirring from time to time, for 15 minutes. The compote will have thickened and have a glossy look.
- Let cool while preparing the cake batter
- Line the bottom of a spring form with baking paper and set aside. Heat oven to 175°C.
- In a mixing bowl, add all wet ingredients (from lemon up to and including vanilla essence) and mix thoroughly so sugar dissolves.
- Add dry ingredients to mixing bowl, and whisk until no lumps remain.
- Pour 1/2 to 1/3 of the cake batter in a prepared form. Spoon half the compote on top of the cake batter. Top with the remaining cake batter, and then the remaining compote. Swirl with a knife / toothpick if wanted.
- Bake cake in pre-heated oven for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Let cool in tin for 15-20 minutes, then loosen rim, remove cake, and let cool on a cooling rack.
As an aside, I realize I need to work on taking better pictures of my recipes. It’ll never be a step by step because who has time for that?!
But I really want to remember to take a picture of the plated cake, not just the teaser picture of the cake cooling on a rack, before diving into it. I keep forgetting, because I want to try it! And I want friends to try it!
A few days ago we got an invitation for a friend’s “Flower-power” spring themed birthday party. She requested that we bring something that reminds us of spring. So not wanting to do the typical spring flowers, and my idea of a jar filled with natural fertilizer being banned by the other 50%, we settled on cake.
My first idea was to create a three layer lemon-poppy seed cake, with a fruity filling, cover it in yellow marzipan, and then decorate it with sugar paste flowers (daisies, mostly). But the store being closed and a certain lack of ingredients and time meant I had to find an alternative. Pinterest and a childhood memory of no bake cheese cakes to the rescue. After browsing for a while for spring-themed cakes, I settled on a blueberry no bake cheesecake. Mixing a vegan recipe, with a not even vegetarian one (the childhood cake uses gelatine, and turning it vegetarian was a challenge. And it turned right the first time round!
I basically adapted & mashed so many recipes that it’s not even worth it mentioning them, since this cake doesn’t resemble any of them any more.
Happy Birthday for the flower power girl
For the crust
- 200 grams “maria” cookies
- 100 grams butter
For the cheesecake
- 300 grams cream cheese, room temperature
- 250 grams Greek yogurt
- 375 ml cream
- 250 grams blueberries
- 125 grams sugar
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- 2 grams agar agar powder
For the topping
- 200 grams blueberries
- 4 grams agar agar powder
- 25 grams sugar
- 50 grams blueberries
- sugar flowers
- (fresh edible flowers if you can find them – I couldn’t)
No bake blueberry cheesecake
For the crust
- Line the bottom of a spring form with baking paper. Place spring form on dish (the cheesecake will most likely leak a bit).
- Melt butter in microwave or pan over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, crush cookies to thin dust either in a food processor or by wacking them with a rolling pin. (Second option recommended if you have anger you need to get rid of).
- Mix butter & cookie crumbs until it resembles wet sand. Pour mixture into lined form and press with hands to create an even crust.
- Place in refrigerator while making filling.
For the cheesecake filling
- Pour 250 ml of cream into a small sauce pan, sprinkle 2 grams of agar agar powder on top and let soak for a few minutes. Bring to a simmer, and whisk to dissolve agar agar. Simmer for a 3-4 minutes, whisking regularly to make sure it doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan.
- Meanwhile, in a blender, blend blueberries with remaining cream.
- In a mixing bowl, mix cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, lemon zest and juice until smooth. Add blueberry mix and mix until well combined.
- Add agar agar cream to the blueberry mix and mix thoroughly. It should start setting and it can be whipped to a creamy consistency. Pour into spring form with crust and even top out with a spatula.
- Chill in refrigerator while making topping.
Blueberry cheesecake filling ready for chilling
For the topping
- In a blender, mix blueberries and sugar with about 100 ml of water until smooth.
- Sieve blueberry mix through a strainer to remove skins.
- Add enough water to the mix to make 500 ml. Pour into small saucepan and sprinkler agar agar on top. Let sit for 5 minutes for agar agar to hydrate.
- Bring to a boil, lower to simmer and whisk to dissolve agar agar. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, whisking to make sure it won’t burn to the bottom of the pan.
- If present, remove white foam from top of blueberry jam with a spoon before it cools down.
- Let blueberry jam cool to around 50°C, pour on top of cheesecake. Quickly tilt spring form around to distribute the topping evenly.
- Sprinkle blueberries on top.
- Place sugar (and / or fresh edible) flowers on top.
Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.
One benefit of using agar agar however, the cheesecake & topping will withstand higher temperatures since it won’t un-gel with warmth. So this is an ideal dessert for the summer months!