Do you ever buy something ‘just because’ and then have to backwards engineer a reason for your cupboard full of weird and wonderful ingredients? Yeah, me too. So after a trip to Lidl I had a bottle of raspberry syrup glaring at me accusingly from across the kitchen. Then on baking Sunday I couldn’t take it any more – I will not be judged by an impulse buy! I had to throw together a recipe to use the syrup. A loaf cake is always an obvious choice for me, but as I didn’t have any eggs in I decided to get creative so, yup, this is also vegan.
There’s a bit more method in this than my normal “mix everything in a bowl and cross your fingers” approach, but I’ve balanced this by using a simple cup measure. I’ve included weights if you need them, but I’m a total convert to cup measures now – much less fuss. I was a little taken aback by how runny this batter is, although as you’ll see from the photos I had great fun pouring it in to the cake tin. What I’m saying is don’t worry if your mixture looks more like ganache than cake, it’ll all come out okay in the end.
[recipe title=”Vegan Chocolate & Raspberry Loaf Cake” servings=”10″ time=”15mins prep, 50mins cooking” difficulty=”easy”]
Self raising flour – 1 and 1/2 cup (192g)
Cocoa powder – 3 tbsp
Sea salt – 1/2 tsp
Vegetable oil – 6 tbsp
Raspberry syrup – 2 tsp
Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
Cold Water – 1 cup (235ml)
Granulated sugar – 3/4 cup (150g)
- Pre-heat your oven to 170oC and line or grease a standard loaf tin
- Sift the flour and cocoa powder together in to a bowl and sprinkle through the salt, stirring to distribute.
- Pour the oil, syrup, lemon juice and water in to a large bowl and gently whisk to combine. Slowly add the sugar and stir through.
- Spoon your dry mixture in to the wet, gently whisking as you go until everything is combined in to a smooth, velvety runny batter that resembles your favourite ganache.
- Pour the mixture in to your loaf tin and bake at for 45-50 minutes – until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Slice to serve. If you want to be really popular, do what I did and take a loaf in to work. That one disappeared very quickly.
Enjoy, and if you give this one a try, let me know in the comments below. Also, if you think of any other syrups I can swap in for the raspberry I’m interested to experiment.
Chocolate and beetroot is not as weird a combination as you might think. As well as replacing the eggs, butter and/or milk, the beetroot enhances the chocolate flavour of the cocoa, and lets you keep the whole thing vegan too. I’ve tried making chocolate cake with beetroot in it before, but the results were a little… earthy. Turns out I had seriously underestimated how much pre-cooking beetroot actually needs. But I’ll let you in on a little secret – buy the pre-cooked beetroot from the supermarket. You get three vacuum packed bulbs already perfectly cooked and ready to go for about 50p. Plus you don’t end up with pink fingers, worktops, kitchen.
I decided to focus on brownies – this recipe delivers the cracked top and fudgy interior I crave. These will keep for at least a week in an airtight tin and are great eaten just as they are, warm with a scoop of ice-cream, or I’ve been taking a piece in my lunchbox each day to enjoy with my afternoon cuppa.
(makes 24 squares)
250g pre-cooked beetroot
200g self-raising flour
150g soft brown sugar
60g cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
- Pre-heat your oven to 200oC and line and grease a brownie tin – mine is 20cm by 30cm, different sizes will just mean different sized pieces
- Tip your beetroot in to a food processor and blitz until you have a purple mush (puree). If you don’t have a processor, mash the beetroot down to as smooth as you can.
- Sift the flour, sugar and cocoa powder in to a large mixing bowl.
- Stir the vanilla and salt through your pureed beetroot, then tip the beetroot in to the mixing bowl and stir to combine with the flour mixture.
- Gradually pour in the oil, stirring in to your mixture until you have a smooth wet batter that almost looks grainy (see my pictures) and more or less sits together in one ball
- Tip the batter in to your lined tin and spread out level using a pallet knife. Don’t worry if some oil rises to the top at this stage – this is what gives the brownie its crust
- Bake in your pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes. You’ll know the brownies are done when the top is cracked and dry and an inserted skewer comes out with just a little bit of mixture sticking to it.
There are really rich and fudgy and a gorgeous colour – almost akin to Red Velvet cake. And because the beetroot performs the job of an egg here (binding the mixture together), these are ‘accidentally’ vegan. So whether you’re baking for a vegan friend, trying to sneak more vegetables in to a diet or just looking to enjoy a bloody good brownie I hope you give these a try!
Some people get a sinking feeling when the contents of their fruit bowls start to brown. Instead, I get that baking feeling! Browning bananas normally go in to my banana & walnut loaf but this time I fancied something a little different – I was in the mood for chocolate!
This was still made using basics I tend to have in (except the decoration, but that’s hardly essential. The bake on this was a little trickier – the top looks done long before the middle is cooked so you might want to stick a tin-foil hat over your cake for the last 20 minutes or so of the bake time.
3 overripe bananas
200g self raising flour
25g cocoa powder
1stp baking powder
50g soft brown sugar
50g soft butter
1 egg, beaten
- Preheat your oven to 180, and line/grease a loaf tin.
- Mash the bananas up in a large mixing bowl, breaking up any large lumps.
- Sift in all of the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking powder, sugar) and stir through the banana.
- Beat in the butter, then gradually add the egg and milk until you have a thick, smooth batter.
- Spoon your mixture in to your prepared loaf tin and bake for 1hr – until a crust has formed on top and the middle is cooked (test with a skewer).
- Allow your cake to cool a little, then remove from the tin and let it cool completely on a wire rack. You can then top/decorate however you wish. I slathered on some chocolate & hazelnut spread (yup, that one) and some white chocolate stars I happened to have in the baking cupboard.
This one is moist and chocolaty and doesn’t need spread with anything else to be enjoyed. Best served with a glass of cold milk! Do let me know if you give this one a go.