Chocolate and Vanilla Flecked Cream Cake

Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free, Sugar Free

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Last weekend, my cousin decided to do the 40 hour famine with his school. In a moment of madness, I decided to do it with him. In my memories the 40 hour famine was never very hard. To be honest all I could really remember is the end of the famine, where I would either make and eat an entire pizza, pot of macaroni and cheese or possibly tub of ice cream, much to my shrunken stomach’s regret. Nothing tastes quite as good as homemade macaroni and cheese when you haven’t eaten for forty hours 🙂

So I started at 8pm, and settled in for a night of babysitting. Babies went to bed, I started binge-watching all their recorded movies, things were looking good. And then…I saw they hadn’t eaten their dessert pizza. It wasn’t just any kind of dessert pizza, it was an Elvis Presley pizza. Layers of caramel sauce, nutella, roasted banana and chocolate crumble, covered in sugar. A little voice in my head said ‘no Lil! You’re only forty minutes into your famine!’ But a much louder voice said ‘NOOOOM NUTELLA BANANA ERMAGEEEERD’ and the next thing I knew, half that pizza was chilling in my tummy.

I wasn’t even hungry! I don’t even like dessert pizzas (except this one was pretty good). It just goes to show that deprivation never works. Especially if you haven’t actually raised any money, and therefore have no reason to continue the famine…
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That story doesn’t really have much to do with this chocolate cashew cream cake, I just had to alleviate my conscience somewhere. I did warn you all with my rhubarb cinnamon cream cake that there would be many more cashew cream cakes to come now that I’ve discovered how good they are. And to be honest, what with dumpling month going on this past four weeks, there has been a serious lack of chocolate on here.

This cake was inspired by that nutella pizza in a way, because I continued with the hazelnut and chocolate theme, sans banana. If I was Elvis Presley, there would also be caramel and peanut butter involved, and I would have to deep-fry the whole thing as well…when I was eating it I actually imagined how good it would taste with peanut butter, so I’ve made a little recommendation in the recipe if you want to take it down that route!
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Sorry this is so late by the way! This post took me a lifetime to actually put up once I’d planned on making it. Normally I post every weekend, by the latest Monday morning. I had grand plans to finish all my uni work and go to bed early on Friday, waltz in to my kitchen on Saturday morning and blend this up in no time, chill it, cover it in ganache, go out and get myself a new job, and photograph this cake on Sunday morning, possibly drinking a green smoothie at the same time.

But…Friday night ended up being Beyonce night and I ended up not getting home on Saturday morning until 5am…I got out of bed at 10am, dragged myself to a job interview, zombie-stumbled home, fell on my bed on the way to the shower, ended up falling asleep for five hours, fell off my bed on to my phone which thankfully alerted me to wake up, washed my face, stumbled to babysitting and died on their couch.

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And then it rained for three days and the light was so terrible I had to wait until Tuesday to photograph the cake! That’s why there’s no process shots, the light was literally so dark my camera couldn’t even find a focus point. So anyway! Here it is. It is seriously delicious. I just ate a huge piece instead of going to the gym, and it was perfect. You can keep it in the freezer or the fridge, both are seriously yummy. 

I had cocoa butter in the fridge, which I used to make my own chocolate both for the filling and topping. If you want a short-cut version, buy a good-quality vegan sugar free block of dark chocolate. (But making your own is super easy!) After eating the different layers, I realised you can’t taste the difference strongly enough to warrant the extra mixing bowl! But if you like the look of layers by all means, take out a few scoops of the filling before mixing in the melted chocolate 🙂 Have a great week guys!!

One Year Ago: Banana Chai Cupcakes 

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Chocolate and Vanilla Flecked Cream Cake:
For the Base:
1 cup hazelnuts, lightly crushed
1 packed cup pitted dates
1 tbsp coconut oil

For the Middle:
3 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight in cold water
3/4 cup (185ml) coconut oil
1/2 cup raw honey or maple syrup, for pure vegan
Juice from 1 lemon
1/2 vanilla bean, seeded
Optional: 100g smooth peanut butter

50g cocoa butter, melted
50g raw cacao
50g raw honey

For the Topping:
100g cocoa butter, melted
100g raw cacao
100ml raw honey
200ml coconut milk (organic and full-fat is best)

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Start by lining a 23cm tin with baking paper. Blend the ingredients for the base until a smooth dough forms. If your blend is crappy like mine, make sure to crush the nuts and cut up the dates first, and blend in batches. Press into the bottom of the tin and keep in the freezer until ready to fill.

Wash your cashews under cold water and drain well. Blend with the coconut oil, honey, lemon and vanilla bean seeds. Either remove a few scoops now to make separate layers, or just make one chocolate layer.For a peanut butter layer, blend the peanut butter with half the mix now and set aside. Mix the 50g cocoa butter, cacao and honey together until smooth and runny. Blend this into the cashew mix and pour into the tin. Smooth over and leave in the freezer until ready to top.

To make the ganache, melt the cocoa butter slowly and stir in the cacao and honey. Stir until smooth. Stir in the coconut milk and pour over the cashew cream filling. Now keep the cake in the fridge for at least 4 hours, until ready to serve. It’s very rich so serve in small slices! Enjoy 🙂
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Vanilla Bean and Coconut Scones with Rhubarb Compote

Vegan! Dairy and Egg Free

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 I’m doing the 30 day vegan challenge everybody! I’m quite excited. I’ll admit, this morning when I got up and made breakfast I did spend quite a while just standing in front of the fridge debating if yogurt was really, truly not vegan. I mean, it’s already in the fridge right. The cow doesn’t want it back. But NOT YOUR MUM NOT YOUR MILK am I right?!?!

So I made oatmeal with almond milk and figs. Pretty good start hey? If I do say so myself. For the blog I actually make a lot of vegan stuff. The most popular by a mile being Vegan Banana Bread, which somehow tastes better than normal banana bread and is somehow also sugar free and wholemeal (miracle bread). But in real life I eat lactose-free yogurt basically every day and more eggs than is probably necessary or normal. 

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 I’ve been a vegetarian for four years now (another five previously as well) and I have an embarrassing habit of tearing up at stupid vegetarian things like when people talk about fois gras or veal meatballs. I cried in Marley and Me, I can say it. At the beginning. When he had to say goodbye to his little baby brothers and sisters (so, sooo sad). Animals are friends! Not food, so it’s probably time I take that a little more seriously. (Although I can’t see myself stopping eating honey. Bees probably love it when we take their honey). 

This morning to celebrate the beginning of the challenge I made vegan scones! Scones are kind of the best thing ever, especially with jam and cream. But they’re often made with cream, buttermilk, eggs or both! So at first I didn’t really know how to approach making them. And then inspiration struck!

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 Coconut! I followed a regular scone recipe, subbing in coconut butter and coconut cream for the diary versions. I also added the seeds from a vanilla bean because coconut and vanilla are a match made in heaven. I was pretty nervous while they were baking. Would they turn out really crumbly and weird? Who knows! And I forgot to glaze them so I was expecting them to be super ugly as well. But when I ate one, slathered in sweet and tangy vanilla rhubarb compote. Oh my God. 

They were so good! Crunchy on the outside, fluffy and soft on the inside, warm and coconut scented and vanilla flecked deliciousness. Rhubarb and raw sugar with the seedless vanilla beans made the easiest and tastiest compote I’ve ever tried. The scones didn’t even need extra coconut cream, which I had at the ready. That’s how good they were! 

I can’t even express how happy I was with these scones. I even gave them to my mum’s very sceptical non-vegan friend, and she said they were ‘divine’! Do the 30 day challenge with me! And if you can’t be bothered to go the whole 30 days, at least make these scones. You know you want to. 

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 Vegan Coconut and Vanilla Bean Scones: Adapted from Marian Kayes Saved by Cake

265g (1.6 cups) plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

Seeds of 1 vanilla bean, scraped out

65g (1/3 cup) caster sugar

100g (3.5 ounces) coconut butter, cut into cubes

180ml (3/4 cup) coconut cream, stirred well

Almond milk, for brushing
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Preheat the oven to 220C (428F) and line a large baking tray with baking paper. In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt together well. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla seeds. Use a knife to ‘cut’ in the coconut butter to form a sandy, breadcrumb-like texture. Slowly pour in the coconut cream, continuing to cut with the knife until well combined.

Turn onto a floured board and knead very lightly, just enough to combine the ingredients into a dough. Press down to about an inch thick and use a cup or scone cutter to cut into even rounds. Don’t twist the cup to separate the scones, just press straight down or they won’t rise properly. Brush with almond milk and bake for 15 minutes until risen and golden. 

Top with the rhubarb compote: 1 small bunch rhubarb poached in half a cup of water with 100g (1/2 cup) raw sugar and the leftover vanilla bean. Cook on low heat for 10-20 minutes until soft and sticky. Makes 8-12 scones

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