Gluten-free, no-bake desserts has been my speciality for best part of 20 years (raw brownies, energy bars, puddings). Gluten-free, vegan, BAKING however, is a whole different ball game. It requires a new and exciting kind of culinary alchemy.
Gluten-free, vegan cake baking is a newer string to my bow, something I’ve developed over the last few years.
I’d mastered the art of using spelt, but when I went gluten-free (three & a half years ago now) – I really started to miss the occasional baked sweet treat. Well, we soon changed that!
It all started with my Mam. I was visiting for a few weeks at the other side of the world. She just happened to have a friend who ran a gluten-free, allergy friendly, bakery on Kauai, called Sweet Marie’s. As a treat she ordered us a box full of the most, delicious gluten-free, vegan cupcakes made without refined sugar. OMG – my life was changed forever. Not only was it the first time I’d tasted baked treats, without all of these ingredients that I’d been avoiding – but they were utterly, amazing.
The bar was set – and as usual in my kitchen, it was high. It set me on a path of exploration – to develop gluten-free, vegan baked treats… and I wasn’t going to be happy until I’d created recipes that were totally delicious.
After a few trips to the library, researching the ins and outs of gluten-free flours, I learned that it is best to combine at least two or three different flours together. They all have different properties and work best as a blend (unlike wheat flour, which is most often used on its own).
I was already aware of using things like flaxseeds and bananas to replace eggs. Then there’s the little handy trick of using bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and vinegar to get that airy rise in cakes. All comes in very handy for gluten-free, vegan baking.
I enlisted my Conscious Kitchen Angels through the ether, to inspire me. I danced from one ingredient to the next. Before too long, I was coming up with some delectable treats all, created from scratch using totally vegan, gluten-free ingredients, without nasty sugars.
Works delicious plain OR with icing
This cake works really well on it’s own. However, if you feel so inclined, there are different options for icing or a healthy, cream. Here are a couple of my favourites… (SCROLL DOWN further for the chocolate cake recipe)
Caramel Cashew Icing (enough to ice the top of cake)
- 4 tablespoons cashew nuts
- 7 dates (pitted)
- 1 tablespoon lucuma powder (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Soak the cashew nuts and dates in water for atlas three hours. This makes them soft and blendable.
- When soft, drain off the water, add lucuma powder and vanilla to the cashew & dates and blend with hand blender until smooth.
- Lucuma is optional (although it does give a ‘caramel’ flavour).
- Paste icing on the top of the cake (after the cake has cooled).
Creamy Cashew Icing (enough to ice whole cake)
- 50g (1/2 cup) cashew nuts
- 8 dates (pitted)
- 8 tablespoons coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Optional desiccated coconut
- Soak all ingredients together for at least three hours.
- Blend together to create smooth, buttery cream.
- Paste all over the cake (once cake has cooled).
- Go a step further and cover with desiccated coconut if you like too.
OK I think we are ready for Gluten-free Vegan Chocolate Cake
Here is a quick visual guide, with this short video, so you can see exactly how easy this is to make…
Please note that the cup measurement conversions in the recipe are approximate, if at all possible use kitchen scales for more accurate results.