Hello fellow food lovers.
I'm sharing vegetarian recipes for wholesome foodies here.
My book "Bowls of Goodness"  is released in January 2017.

Cardamom, orange and berry layer cake - to say I love you with!

Cardamom, orange and berry layer cake - to say I love you with!

Happy Valentines day! Whether you spend this day with a romantic significant other, solo, or with friends and family I've got a cake for you.

Strawberries are a joy to taste. Try tasting a fresh strawberry with closed eyes. How would you describe that flavour? What associations do you get? I'm not going to fill in the answers. But it's a wonderful mindfulness exercise to do. While good strawberries can be hard to come by this time of the year, citrus fruits are available in the shops here in the Netherlands. I decided to make my Valentines cake a sweet and zesty treat. Mixing in banana, orange juice and a little mango purée produced a sunny cake that brightened up our grey and cold February day.

The cake is egg free and if you use agave syrup instead of honey and vegan creme fraiche instead of mascarpone, you will have a completely plant based cake. A layer of creamy raspberry makes a sweet surprise flavor and the topping - slightly sweetened and salted - is sprinkled with grated Fair Trade chocolate and topped with fresh strawberries. Easy lovable flavors for everyone.

You'll find this a really easy cake to make and it has a fresh and simple style that will appeal to children too. I'm not using any refined sugar and the sweetness is less striking than in most regular cakes. The sweetness of fruit is more delicious in my opinion and won't give you a nauseating sugar rush. I'm also using spelt flour which has less gluten then regular wheat flour.

Sweet moments.

Sweet moments.

We gathered the children around the table when the cake was ready and enjoyed it with coffee. Sparkling white wine would have been perfect but we'll save that for another romantic moment. The cake was finished in a flash and what pleased me the most was that the youngest member of our family - the pickiest eater - loved it so much that he wanted double servings.

Let them eat cake!

Let them eat cake!

Cardamom & Orange and Berry Layer Cake

Makes one cake

INGREDIENTS

Cake
wet ingredients:
125 g coconut oil
125 g honey (or agave syrup for a vegan option)
⅔ cup nut milk (I used almond milk)
zest of ½ orange or lemon (optional)
2 tbsp mango purée (optional)
1 banana, mashed
¼ cup mango or orange juice
2 tsp vanilla extract

dry ingredients:
325 g spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
⅔ tsp fine salt
½ tsp cardamom

Raspberry filling
200 gram mascarpone (or vegan creme fraiche)
75 gr raspberries, frozen or fresh
3 tbsp white cashew cream (optional)
2 tbsp honey or agave syrup (vegan)

Mascarpone icing
200 g mascarpone (or vegan creme fraiche)
2 tbsp honey or agave syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
a dusting cinnamon

Decoration
0.75 - 1 litre strawberries, washed and halved
a big handful of grated chocolate, ( I used a Fair Trade organic chocolate bar). Choose a vegan chocolate for a completely vegan cake.

HOW TO:

THE CAKE

Heat up your oven to 180 ℃. Grease a 20 cm spring form pan with coconut oil.
In a mixing bowl, add your dry ingredients. Mix well.
Melt the coconut oil slowly in a pan. In a bowl mix mashed banana, almond milk, vanilla extract, juice, orange zest, and honey and add to the pan with melted coconut oil.
In a bowl, mix the moist ingredients together with a whisk, by hand or use an electric mixer.
Pour the wet mix into the bowl with dry ingredients and mix well.
Pour the dough mixture into the greased form.
Make the top surface flat and even using a dough scraper or a spoon.
Bake at 180 ℃ for 1 hour. Test with a thin stick to see that it comes out dry and clean to know if the cake is done. Bake it longer if necessary. Let the cake rest and cool.

THE RASPBERRY FILLING
Mix raspberries with mascarpone (or use vegan creme fraiche) with cashew cream and honey.
Store in the fridge until montage.

THE MASCARPONE ICING
Mix the topping ingredients together by whipping briskly and set aside.

CAKE MONTAGE
When the cake is cool, gently half it with a knife and lift off the top and set aside carefully.
Add a generous layer of raspberry filling on the the cake base.
Gently place the top cake half on top of the raspberry filling.
Carefully add a thick even layer of the mascarpone mix to the top of the cake.
Sprinkle the grated chocolate over the mascarpone.
Decorate with strawberries berries.

Voila, the cake is done, serve direct. Enjoy!

Let's celebrate sweet love.

Let's celebrate sweet love.

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