For the past month or so, I’ve been doing a placement as an occupational therapy student at CAMH, a mental health and addictions hospital located at Toronto’s Queen Street West/Niagara area with an abundance of vegans, hippies and hipsters. Needless to say, I’ve been eating my way through that part of town and have been rather captivated by vegan and vegetarian food. Apparently rabbit food can taste pretty good in the hands of creative chefs. As a thank you to my preceptor and all the other wonderful professionals in the team I’ve been working with, I’ve decided to prepare a treat for them. This was a challenge to me because one of the team member required a gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free diet, so I’ve ventured into the unknown waters of vegan and gluten-free cooking and have prepared this little treat for the team. This is a rather healthy recipe with no eggs, or any added oils. If you don’t want the banana flavours to come through as strongly, I suggest using bananas that have juuuuuust ripened (are still a bright yellow). Expect a dense and chewy chocolate cake paired with the bright sweet and sourness of strawberries, and subtle coconut flavours from the light whipped coconut cream.
I’ve included the flours by weight so that they may be easily substituted by similar flours. There are roughly 3 categories of gluten-free flours: light, medium and dense.
Light Flours: glutinous rice flour (also known as mochiko OR sweet rice flour), tapioca starch, corn starch
Medium Flours: sorghum flour, oat flour (make sure it’s gluten-free!), brown rice flour
Dense Flours: quinoa flour, buckwheat flour, garam/chickpea flour(or other bean flours), millet flour, ground nut meals
Depending on the texture and flavour you’d like in your final product, you may want to balance different types of flours. Generally, flours within each category can be a direct substitute of each other by weight. However, you should be careful when using rice flours, since it imparts a chewiness or elasticity to your product. Aside from creating a denser cake, dense flours may also carry more assertive flavours that may come through in your final product, so take care when substituting or experimenting!
Anyhoo, here’s another Nommy Noms recipe:
Chocolate Fudge Cake with Strawberry Sauce and Whipped Coconut Cream
- 75g Cocoa powder
- 75g Quinoa flour
- 75g Brown rice flour
- 1 tsp Baking powder (ensure it is gluten-free)
- 1 tsp Xanthum gum
- A pinch Salt
- 300g Vegan chocolate chip (Split in 200g and 100g portions)
- 110g Agave syrup OR golden syrup
- 2 tsp Vanilla extract
- 150g Mashed bananas
- 150g Applesauce
- 150g Chopped dates (pits removed)
The Fun Part:
- Preheat oven at 355F. (* if you want to serve this with whipped coconut cream, remember to place a can of coconut milk upright in the fridge first! Refer to coconut cream recipe below for details.)
- Mix the cocoa powder, flours, baking powder, xantham and salt together.
- In a microwavable bowl (I prefer ceramic bowls), place the 200g of vegan chocolate chip with the agave syrup and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Mix the agave chocolate mixture, if the chocolate has not fully melted, microwave in 15 second increments until just melted.
- Once the chocolate mixture is melted, add the vanilla extract and add the mixture to the dry ingredients mix until combined.
- Mash bananas and mix with apple sauce (if using frozen bananas or cold apple sauce, lightly microwave to bring back to room temperature). Add banana-apple mash into the batter and mix.
- Add in half of the remaining chocolate chips (ie. 50 g).
- Place batter into cupcake tins (should make around 12).
- Bake for 15 mins, take out and place remaining chocolate chips on top of semi-cooked fudge cakes. Rotate the pan and return to oven for another 15-20 mins. Cakes are ready when a skewer is inserted into the cake and it comes out clean.
- Let cool for 10 minutes and transfer onto wire rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
- 1 Pint Strawberries (hulled and quartered)
- 1/3 C White sugar
- 2 tsp Vanilla extract
The Fun Part:
- Place 2/3 of the strawberries in a saucepan and add white sugar, cook on medium high and stir periodically. Cook until strawberries are softened, and sauce thickens (about 15mins).
- In a blender or using an inversion blender, puree the strawberries in the sauce (be careful not to splatter yourself with HOT strawberry sauce!). I like to leave about a third of the strawberries un-pureed.
- Add the remaining strawberry into the hot strawberry sauce and cook on medium high for another 3 minutes until the fresh strawberries begin to soften. Remove from heat, add vanilla extract, and let cool.
- 3/4 C Coconut cream
- 2 T Powdered sugar
The fun part
- Place a can of coconut milk in the fridge upright for at least 4 hours. At the same time, chill a bowl or a glass jar in the fridge.
- Once coconut milk is chilled, open the can of coconut milk and scoop out the white cream, careful not to mix in with the clear coconut juice that has been separated from the cream.
- Right before serving the cake…
- If using a bowl, add the powdered sugar in 3/4 cups of coconut cream and blend with an inversion blender OR electric mixer to create a fluffy whipped coconut cream.
- If using a glass jar, add the powdered sugar in the 3/4 cups of coconut cream, secure lid onto glass jar and shake vigorously to create a fluffy whipped coconut cream.