About a year and a bit ago (I think, it feels like forever), with a specialists help, I finally managed to figure out that I have developed an allergy to egg. If you can’t hear the wailing and the knashing of teeth over here, you are lucky! Egg was one of my favourite foods, was an essential part of my baking and was a very difficult ingredient to replace. Not so much for its sticking power (banana does a great job for that), but for the light and fluffy-ness it adds to sponge cakes. So I have been experimenting for months and months with increasing despair – trying to bake a half-decent vegan, gluten-free sponge is hard!
But with the help of Jaime Oliver, and his magnificent Vegan GF sponge recipe, I now have cracked the code. This is not the same recipe, though his recipe is superb (I am incapable of not-tampering with any recipe). But it gave me a few pointers in the right direction for how to craft my own recipe that is repeatable and delicious.
So this is it, my Apple, Ginger and Cinnamon Tea Cake!
250g + a few extra grams Nutalex Lite (or any other GF Vegan margarine)
3-4 Dessert spoons coconut oil
1/3 cup + 1 tsp GF, low GI raw sugar
1 tsp GF vanilla essence
2cm cube grated fresh ginger
1 grated pink lady apple
200g GF vegan coconut yoghurt (worth checking – not all are DF and GF)
1/2 cup rice milk (again, worth checking – not all rice milk is GF either!)
2 tsp GF baking powder
1 3/4 cup plain fine rice flour (usually available from Asian grocers)
1/4 cup GF bread mix (I use Lauke’s Gluten Free Easy Bakers Bread mix)
1 stick cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 160 -170 degrees Celsius (depending on how hot your oven may be).
2. Beat Nutalex and coconut oil in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy – it should change colour slightly.
3. Add vanilla and grated ginger and beat again (I grate the ginger directly into the bowl).
4. Now add sugar and beat until well combined.
5. Grate apple (skin and all), directly into the bowl. Mix well.
6. Add yoghurt and gently fold in till it’s well mixed.
7. In a cup, add the baking powder to the rice milk and stir until well combined.
8. Add 1/2 of milk to batter and mix until combined.
9. Slowly add rice flour to the batter and mix.
10. Now add the rest of the milk, and mix again.
11. Finally, add the bread mix and stir very thoroughly. (It adds the sticking and rising properties. If you want, you can sift the rice flour + bread mix first, but I haven’t found it necessary for this recipe).
12. Bake in oven for 50 mins or until lightly golden brown and slightly bouncy on top.
13. While waiting for the cake to cook, grind cinnamon and extra sugar together in a mortar and pestle to create cinnamon sugar.
14. Wait until the cake is cool enough to take out of the tin (which should be about 15 mins approx.), then spread with extra Nutalex. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar, and voila! Your cake is ready to eat.
I have no idea how long this cake will last, (it didn’t last long enough to find out), but from other cakes I have made, it is best eaten on the same day or within a few days. The light and fluffy doesn’t always last. And that’s often due to the coconut oil.
This is because while coconut oil is really lovely for getting the extra fats in baking goods, it does go hard in the cold. If you are storing your cake, when you serve it again, it’s a good idea to warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds first – that way it will become fluffy again!