Two very different vegan recipes – both great for Cosy teas by the fire as it snows outside. Pudding like, moist brownies, and as near as traditional Victoria Sponge as could be wished for without egg or butter!
The Chocolate brownies also fit into the ‘Waste Not‘ category, as this recipe is a very satisfying way to use Sourdough starter discard.
Both recipes are obviously ‘dairy free‘, & can also be made ‘wheat free‘, by substituting gluten free flour.
Vegan Chocolate Brownies
1 cup plain flour
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup unfed starter (100% hydration)
½ cup cold water
1 tablespoon white wine or cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla essence
⅓ cup olive oil
Butter icing, if desired
- Add chocolate chips if desired.
- Make into muffins by baking in muffin cases.
- If you don’t have any sourdough starter, increase the flour to 1½ cups and the water to 1 cup
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Line an 8″ (20cm) baking pan with baking paper.
- Mix the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
- In another blow, mix the unfed discarded starter, water, vinegar, vanilla extract and olive oil.
- Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients and beat well. When combined, pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until a fork inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack before taking the brownies out of the tin.
- Ice, if you wish.
Vegan Victoria Sandwich
This is a great recipe – originally from Jamie Oliver. I’d been hesitant to make a vegan Victoria Sandwich, but this was what our winter birthday girl had requested, & this recipe is a definite ‘keeper’. Fulfilling the birthday girl’s wish for a ‘flower cake’ in the depths of winter was more difficult – but, thanks to some very elderly, well tended nasturtiums, we just got away with it!
- 300g dairy-free margarine (suitable for baking) , plus extra if you’re making ‘butter cream’ for the filling / top
- 300g gluten-free plain flour , plus extra for dusting
- 300g caster sugar
- 2 vanilla pods
- 200g organic soya yoghurt
- 2 lemons , zest only
- 2 Tbs gluten-free baking powder
- ½ tsp xanthan gum or cornflour
- rice milk , optional
Jam (I always use a red fruit jam or jelly, as the red centre looks pretty)
Vegan cream / vegan butter cream for the filling – and for the top if you’d like. Or mimic the snow outside, with a dusting of icing sugar.
- Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5. Grease two springform cake tins (roughly 20cm) with the margarine, then line the bottom with greaseproof paper and dust the sides with gluten-free flour.
- In a bowl, beat the margarine and sugar for around 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Halve the vanilla pods lengthways then, using the tip of a sharp knife, scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds to the margarine mixture, along with the yoghurt and lemon zest, then mix until combined. Sieve the flour, baking powder and xanthan gum into the bowl, then fold through. If it’s a little thick, add a splash of rice milk and stir briefly until you have a nice, smooth batter.
- Carefully divide the mixture between the cake tins, then place on the middle shelf of the hot oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, before turning the cakes out onto a wire cooling rack, then leave to cool completely while you make the icing. Sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl, then add the margarine and beat until smooth. If it’s a little thick, add a splash of milk to loosen.
- Once cooled, place one of the sponges on a plate or cake stand. Carefully spread the butter icing on top and scatter over most of the raspberries. Spread the jam onto the second sponge and place, jam side down, on top of the iced sponge, pressing down slightly. Dust the top with a little icing sugar and decorate with a few raspberries, if you like, then serve.
A point to consider: margarine has traditionally been used in place of butter. Vegan margarine is a natural alternative to consider, but check whether margarine, vegan or not, contains hydrogenated oils.
As margarine is oil based, production often uses hydrogenation to produce a more solid, usable spreading consistency. The addition of hydrogen, as well as colouring, is a cheap way to improve the appearance, shelf life and stability, but results in a concentration of trans fat, or ‘bad cholesterol’, and a lowering of ‘good cholesterol’ in the body. A diet laiden with trans fats can contribute to heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
Eating food without labels, or with the shortest ‘ingredients’ lists, seems the most natural way to go.
Charles Darwin:“There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness and misery.”