Welcome to my blog, through which I hope to be able to share my experiences of gluten free cooking, baking, experimenting and eating.
When my daughter was diagnosed (age 6) with Coeliac Disease, our world of eating changed overnight. From breads, pastry and pasta to cakes, biscuits and puddings.......... suddenly most of what we knew was 'off the menu'. I think I must have tested every available gluten free product on the market, seeking out replacements to try and keep things as normal as possible. I was disappointed to find that what was available was often dry, crumbly and flavourless.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to turn my kitchen into a laboratory, turn all I knew about cooking on its head and start creating!

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Mini Vegan & Gluten Free Chocolate Cakes with Coconut Whipped Cream (gluten, dairy & egg free)


There's something about the idea of a 'vegan cake' which seems a little baffling to a non-vegan like myself........ and that is the absence of egg. When I first learnt to bake, egg was always a fundamental component in cake, so I have always been intrigued by the idea of cake that is egg-free as well as the question of whether it could be made to be as good as traditional 'egg-infused' sponge made by traditional baking methods. If you don't need to make cake without egg (because you are not either vegan or egg-intolerent) then choosing to make one will likely be the result of a very conscious decision or something that needs to be made for a specific egg-free occasion.........


Enter my (newly designated vegan) niece-in-law.......... I developed this particular cake recipe and made it for the first time when she came to visit a while back........ Rather than panic and give her fruit for dessert, I turned to Mr GF and said....... uh uh...... 'This is a cake house and we will have vegan cake on the table when she comes to tea.....'

Whilst I am confident that I know what to do in substituting for dairy milks, yoghurts and fats, replacing egg is less familiar. Being clear that I didn't want to use a commercial 'egg replacer' or an obvious specific egg-substitute (on the rare occasions that I have used them, I have been unhappy with the results), I challenged myself to bake a cake with a soft sponge that did not compromise quality and that even the most hardened egg-eating cake addict would love.


A bit of basic research on vegan baking later (actually there is nothing particularly 'clever' about it at all) and my very own vegan chocolate cakes were born...... My niece was really chuffed that I had made a special effort and everybody else really enjoyed them too. They were so good, that I decided they needed to make another appearance in my kitchen and also to be shared with the world.

The great thing about vegan recipes is that they naturally also fall into the category of both dairy and egg free, which makes these little beauties perfect for those who have to avoid either or both of these categories for other health or allergy reasons. I also needed to make them gluten free to fit in with our own dietary needs linked to Coeliac, so that's an extra benefit.....

Whether you are intolerant or allergic to any or all of these ingredients....... rest assured that you too can have your chocolate cake and eat it!


And for an added guilt-free bonus, I have made them as healthy as possible by using unrefined coconut palm sugar and also coconut oil, coconut milk and some ground almonds for good measure.

The sponge is deliciously chocolatey with a good punch of cocoa....... Although the crumb is quite dense, it is by no means over-firm, with a texture that remains soft and perfectly cakey. Sandwiched with a contrastingly fruity red cherry conserve and topped with whipped coconut cream, these mini sandwich cakes are as decadent as they are tempting...... Topped with a few blueberries and a sprinkle of dark vegan chocolate and a little glitter, they are sure to put a smile on the face of all who are lucky enough to eat them.


Another great idea for Valentines? I think so!

Not wanting to keep this discovery to myself, I am offering my Mini Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Cakes to the following :


#FoodYearLinkUp with Charlotte's Lively Kitchen, celebrating Veganuary









We Should Cocoa with Lovely Appetite on behalf of Choclette at Tin & Thyme. This month's theme is for 'simple recipes'...... These may be vegan, but they are really easy to make!









Bake of the Week with Casa Costello.











Cook Blog Share, this week with Haley over at Snap Happy Bakes.









Tasty Tuesdays with Honest Mum.







Free From Fridays with Emma at the Free From Farmhouse











Mini Vegan & Gluten Free Chocolate Cakes with Coconut Whipped Cream (makes 12 mini sandwiches or approx 15 cupcakes))

Ingredients

140g GF plain flour mix (without xanthan gum) - I used mix A from this post but minus the xanthan.
45g ground almonds
1 teaspoon GF baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
40g cocoa powder
240g coconut palm sugar (or soft light brown sugar)
90g (80 ml) coconut oil - melted
200 ml coconut &/or almond milk
3 tablespoons (45 ml) dairy free yoghurt
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

Coconut Cream
1 x 400 ml tin coconut milk (left upside-down in the fridge overnight) or 1 x 250 ml carton coconut cream
1½ tablespoons icing sugar or 1 tablespoon maple syrup
¼ teaspoon vanilla powder or paste.

Filling
Red cherry conserve or your favourite jam to fill

To decorate :
dark Vegan chocolate - grated 
fruit of your choice

Method

  1. Pre-prepare for making the coconut cream, by placing the tin of coconut milk (or the coconut cream) in the fridge (upside-down) overnight.
  2. Weigh and mix together the flour, almonds, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cocoa powder and sugar.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
  4. Prepare your cake tins/cases. I used a mini sandwich cakes tin (which I base lined with baking paper), or you may prefer to make cupcakes. 
  5. In a small bowl, melt the coconut oil either over steaming water or in the microwave on medium (30 second bursts until liquid).
  6. Put the milk, yoghurt, vanilla paste and vinegar in a large bowl, add the melted coconut oil and whisk until well combined. If the coconut oil begins to solidify and go lumpy, place the bowl over a dish of steaming water and whisk, to enable it to remain liquid.
  7. Add the dry ingredients and whisk all together until completely combined (whisk over a dish of steaming water if there is any hint of oil solidification, so that your batter becomes really smooth).
  8. Spoon into the cake tins or cupcake liners (about two-thirds full) and bake for about 20 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the tins and place on a wire rack to cool.
  10. Meanwhile, make the coconut whipped cream : Remove the tin of coconut milk from the fridge and turn the right way up. Open the can and pour off the liquid (which should now be at the top of the can) into a glass (enjoy as a drink or add to a smoothie)
  11. Scoop out the coconut cream into a medium bowl and add the sweetener and vanilla.
  12. Whisk the cream until thick, then set aside in the fridge for at least an hour or until ready to use.
  13. When the cakes are cold, slice in half horizontally or core a small hole from the middle (saving the cake cap) and fill with red cherry conserve or your favourite jam.
  14. Top each cake with a spoon of coconut cream, fruit and grated vegan chocolate.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated

34 comments:

  1. Those look really lovely. Having an egg-free cake recipe is great in an emergency - when people are coming and you've run out of eggs! No-one would complain if they were presented with these beauties at short notice :-)

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    1. Thanks Helen. To be honest, these cakes were so good, I would be happy to run out of eggs quite often!

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  2. I have to admit that I tend to avoid the egg-free baking recipes as I cannot imagine a cake being light a fluffy without it, but these look perfect. You're definitely making me think again :-)

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    1. I had the same worry Charlotte..... But these are a revelation! It has to be worth finding a good vegan cake recipe!

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  3. Wow, these look and sound great, who'd have thought they didn't contain eggs - amazing! #cookblogshare
    Angela x

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    1. I know..... you would never know would you?! Thanks Angela

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  4. hooray for vegan cake! amazing recipe, kate!

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  5. Well done you for supplying such delicious looking chocolate cakes! I don't have to avoid dairy or eggs or gluten but I'd happily tuck into these :-) Thanks for sharing with #CookBlogShare

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    1. Thanks Hayley. I think everyone would enjoy these..... dietary needs or not!

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  6. These look amazing...you'd very guess they were gluten, dairy AND egg free. That's crazy! I am definitely bookmarking for future reference. Thanks for sharing! Eb x

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    1. Thanks Eb. Let me know if you make them...... They were darn good!

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  7. Wow these look stunning! I will pass the recipe onto my sister who is vegan :)

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    1. Cool! Thanks Kat..... I hope she tries (and enjoys) them. Let me know how she gets on!

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  8. Not being vegan I can take or leave vegan cake as - mostly - it's not as good as regular cake. However, that coconut cream topping looks amazing!
    You certainly made a lovely effort to accommodate everybody!

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    1. Thanks CC. I'm not vegan at all, but these cakes were quite an eye-opener. I admit to be a bit of a perfectionist and if they hadn't been 'up to standard', I probably would have made batch after batch until I got it right....... I think the vegan gods were smiling on me when I came up with this one! And yes..... the coconut cream was divine! xx

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  9. lOOOVE the look of these!They really look so moreish, love the coconut cream topping. Always good to have healthier cakes and it definetely makes a good Valentine treat!

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    1. Thanks Alida...... When I set out to make vegan cake, I really didn't think it would turn out as good as this! I've made them a couple of times now and have so enjoyed them, I am thinking how I can adapt the base to other flavours! As you say..... it's good to have some healthier cake options x

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  10. Oh wow a vegan cake with no eggs! I adore coconut products so this is going to be a must try! Thank you so much for sharing with #CookBlogShare this is one that I will be pinning on my to try board x

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    1. You're welcome Kirsty..... and thank you! I hope you enjoy them as much as we have. Let me know how you get on xx

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  11. Looks v impressive and delicious. I have baked quite a few vegan cakes in my time and still am not so confident about replacing the eggs from a regular recipe - fortunately I have some good basic recipes that work really well, so I am confident there are good vegan cakes. I am sure your niece was most appreciative of your efforts and impressed at how pretty they looked

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    1. Thanks Johanna. I may have just been lucky in getting this recipe as good as it was...... My niece, my daughter, my husband and the grandparents all really enjoyed them..... so they must have been pretty good!

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  12. Hello (sound like Adele)-these look AMAZING. I would substitute nuts for dessicated coconut (reckon it would still work?)-beautiful! Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays

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    1. Thanks Vicki.... I wish I sounded like Adele!!
      I am not sure a straight substitute of almonds for desiccated coconut would work as ground almonds effectively replace some of the flour to add moisture and structure.... If you can't eat nuts, you could replace with additional flour (probably a combination of buckwheat and/or tapioca and/or sorghum) or if you can eat chestnut flour that may work really well. Or you could add some coconut flour, but you would probably need to use less in weight or add more liquid..... coconut flour is very thirsty! xx

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  13. Ooh my Kate, these sound fabulous and they look rather gorgeous too. I remember being rather sniffy at the idea of vegan cakes, but when we got a vegan member of staff at work a few years ago, I had to give them a try. I was really quite astonished at how good they are. Apart from anything else, they are a life saver when I've run out of eggs and need to make a cake in a hurry - you know how it is! Thanks for sharing these with #WeShouldCocoa.

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    1. Thank you Choclette. Vegan cakes do seem a little 'oxymoronic'! So yes.... it was a bit of a shocker to get a cake with a great texture and flavour... Good to know though as you say.... If I run out of eggs, I can still eat cake!!:)

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  14. These mini cakes are so amazing. I love the idea of making them in small sizes, thanks for sharing

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    1. Thank you Abigail. I always think there is something extra special about getting your own little mini cake..... and these ones are really good! x

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  15. I'm obsessed with chocolate cakes and I can't wait to try this recipe. They are so yummy, thanks for sharing

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    1. Ha ha! Chocolate is something definitely worth obsessing over! Let me know how you get on if you do make them x

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  16. Ooh These look yummy! Its so true that vegan baking is somuch easier then most people think it is! definitely going to have a go at these for my gluten free bestie's birthday! x

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