Archives for category: baking


This ginger cake was tasty and easy to make. The recipe, from fuss free flavours, suggests mixing all ingredients at once in a food processor.  I prefer the old-fashioned method of mixing all dry ingredients together in one bowl, wet ingredients in another, then combining.  I will confess that lately, I put the wet ingredients in the larger bowl and tip the dry ingredients into the wet: this way, you don’t end up losing lots of precious moisture on the side of a bowl. It seems to work fine.

This sort of cake can be finished with a dusting of icing sugar, but I didn’t bother and I don’t think it’s necessary. Just eat it.



Kid #1 is 11 years old and has become interested in cooking. So far she has learnt how to make pancakes (mostly so that she can eat them more often) and last weekend she asked to make cupcakes.  We used Dreena Burton’s banana-scented vanilla cake recipe, except I replaced all the gluten-free flours by wholemeal plain flour, because we eat gluten and I didn’t have the gluten-free ingredients. This recipe is great for full-sized cakes so I thought we’d try it as a cupcake.


The design decisions were made by kid #1, including the fact that some cupcakes were blue and some were green. We have some cute silicon cupcake containers with feet, which we used, and the rest of the batter went into normal cupcake papers. My role was quite limited: kid #1 made the cupcake batter herself, measuring all ingredients and mixing them.  I scooped the batter into the cupcake bases/papers, and I made and spread the icing after kid #1 had coloured it (blue and green). Then kid #1 added sprinkles and stars. The cakes tasted really nice and had a good texture: she did a great job!  I am proud.

This also gave me a great opportunity to fulfil a promise I’d made last year to bake a vegan cake for a colleague of mine at work. The topic of vegan cakes had come up at a meeting last year, and I told my colleague I would make her one so that she could see that vegan cakes are great.  After eating this cupcake my colleague emailed me to say “That was… not bad at all!” and to ask what I used to replace the eggs. Let’s call that a win.


I buy frozen berries and frozen mangos regularly, and use them to make green smoothies. One day I was unpacking the groceries and realised that I’d accidently bought a packet of frozen pineapple pieces, instead of frozen mango. Oh no! How to use them up?

A quick google brought me to Connoisseurus Veg’s recipe for pineapple upside-down cake. I was too impatient/lazy to wait for the pineapple to thaw properly, which was probably a mistake. I just chopped the frozen pineapple chunks in half and used most of them to decorate the bottom of the cake (which becomes the top when you turn it out. I didn’t have any pineapple juice in the house so I just whizzed up the rest of the frozen pineapple in a stand blender, until it looked like gelato, and then tried to defrost it in the microwave!  This might not have been such a great plan because it meant that the cake mixture was cold when it went into the oven, and the frozen pineapple pieces might have released quite a lot of moisture too, as they cooked.

So, the resulting cake was probably a bit too moist and really should have been left in the oven for longer, in hindsight. But child #1 and I enjoyed eating it: she said that it tasted like pancakes with pineapple on top, and she loves pancakes.


It’s a long weekend in Australia this weekend, so I’ve got today *and* Monday off work. I’ve been craving the pulled jackfruit poutine that I enjoyed in Toronto last year, and I found a few recipes online but didn’t have all the ingredients. Instead, I decided to make BBQ jackfruit using this recipe from Clean Green Simple, and some homemade buns I’ve made before, and I served up these BBQ jackfruit burgers for lunch.

The jackfruit filling was very tasty. I cut down on the amount of cayenne suggested by the recipe but it was still enough to leave a nice tickle. This was a bit too spicy for kid #1, but kid #2 requested seconds.  I’ll definitely make this again.


Kid #1 really likes blueberry bagels. We used to be able to buy them from our local supermarket, but they don’t seem to stock them anymore. Finally I realised that we could try to make some ourselves. We found a recipe online and today we had a go.

I made a few mistakes.  The first mistake was thinking “Sure, this packet of yeast is old but it will probably still work” (!!).  The yeast produced some bubbles after 5 minutes in warm water with sugar, so I decided to use it, but now I think it probably wasn’t up to full strength. Either that, or mistake #2 finished it off: I used frozen blueberries but they were still (very) cold when they went into the dough. That might not have been a great idea. (I’d read that it was fine to use frozen blueberries but that you should get them out an hour in advance. We didn’t wait an hour. Maybe 20 minutes. Oops.)

So, when I make these again, I’ll use freshly bought yeast and room temperature blueberries (fresh or defrosted). But even so, they were tasty, if a bit flatter and crispier than expected. We enjoyed them.


These are gooey black bean brownies from a recipe by Ella Woodward. Some of Ella’s recipes appeared in the paper when I was last in the UK, nearly 18 months ago, and my mother-in-law showed them to me. I was intrigued by this particular recipe, which uses black beans to make brownies. I finally got around to making them, and I’m still not entirely sure what I think of them, to be honest.

The recipe is… odd. It calls for an enormous amount of apple puree, an enormous amount of milk and quite a lot of maple syrup. I cut back on all of these, because I was worried about how sloppy the mixture was getting, and I didn’t want it to be too sweet. I had already messed with the recipe by using almond pulp instead of ground almonds, as part of my eternal quest for ways to use up almond pulp.

Perhaps I should have used a smaller sized baking tray, given that I’d reduced the volume, so it’s not surprising that my brownies turned out quite flat. They’re certainly gooey: mine are so moist that I had to use baking paper to stop them sticking together when I packed them into a container. (Maybe I should have cooked them longer?)

I kind of like these brownies, but they really are a little odd.  Maybe they’re just too moist for me. Ella is right, you can’t taste the black bean, even with the reduced amount of maple syrup that I used. I’m not entirely sure that I’d make this recipe again, though it was an interesting thing to try.



It was my youngest child’s birthday today. See if you can guess how old he was? Ha ha.

I tried this chocolate banana cake recipe from Madhuram’s eggless cooking, and it worked out really well. The cake was moist and tasted great. For the icing I tried cooked chocolate frosting from Let Them Eat Vegan. I was really happy with the icing: it held together, had a lovely shiny look on the cake and tasted delicious. I applied the icing straight after I’d made it: the recipe says that if you chill the icing in the freezer, then whisk it up again, it becomes lighter and fluffier.  I’ll try that another time, but it’s certainly good to use straight away.


To complete the decoration I applied vegan sprinkles that I bought from the Cruelty Free Shop. The kids at the party enjoyed the cake, and so did the parents who accepted a slice!