supergolden bakes

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Super-fudgy Vegan Chocolate Cake with Avocado Frosting

Super-fudgy Vegan Chocolate Cake with Avocado Frosting

I was reading this article on Delicious magazine the other day – a spirited anti-avocado rant by Viv Groskop. Not sure where you stand on avocados – I love them and we always have a few in our fruit bowl in various stages of ripeness. I even tried to grow an avocado tree in my youth but, although it eventually became enormous, it had had almost zero chance of fruiting in the UK. But whatever your views on avocados I have to say even I was a bit dubious about avocado cake frosting – and I bet it would send Ms Groskop into an apoplectic fit!

Well the proof is in the pudding as the saying goes and any doubts I may have had were completely dispelled when I actually tasted avocado frosting (made for a dairy-free cake I was commissioned recently). It looks amazingly glossy and has the satisfying rich mouthfeel of chocolate but is definitely a lot healthier than your average cake frosting. What's more, my kids also adored it and neither are avocado fans (yet!). So there you go, kid-approved, delicious and super easy. Seriously, what's not to love?

Super-fudgy Vegan Chocolate Cake with Avocado Frosting

You can use avocado frosting on any (chocolate) cake or cupcake recipe, but none will be easier that this recipe for super-fudgy vegan chocolate cake – just take a look at the recipe video. It's a one-bowl wonder that my kids can make unassisted (apart from the oven bit that is) and it's altogether yummy. The recipe below makes 2 small layers (15cm/6in) so if you wish to make a larger cake you will need to double it. The raspberry jam is entirely optional but if you do use it make sure you chill the cake before slicing.

Super-fudgy Vegan Chocolate Cake with Avocado Frosting

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Super-fudgy Vegan Chocolate Cake with Avocado Frosting
Delicious vegan chocolate cake with an addictive avocado frosting. Makes 1 small cake – double the recipe if you wish to make a larger cake.

Makes 2x15cm (6in) layers | Serves 8

For the cake
130g | 4.5oz light brown (or caster) sugar
100g | 3.5oz plain (all purpose) flour
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
160ml | 6fl oz non-dairy milk (I used coconut milk)
4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
a little vegetable shortening and flour to grease cake tins

For the frosting & decorating
Flesh of two medium ripe avocados
5 tbsp agave nectar (or maple syrup), more if needed
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp vanilla extract
5-6 tbsp seedless raspberry jam, softened (optional)
100g | 3.5oz fresh raspberries
chocolate curls to decorate (optional)
icing sugar to dust (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease 2x15cm (6in) cake tins and line the bottoms with baking paper. Dust with flour, shaking off any excess.
2. Sift the sugar, flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl.
3. Mix all the milk, coconut oil, vinegar and vanilla together in a measuring jug and add to the bowl. Use a whisk to mix everything together until you have a smooth batter.
4. Divide between the prepared tins and tap against the countertop so that the batter settles. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
5. Put the avocados, agave nectar, cocoa powder, coconut oil and vanilla in a food processor fitted with a metal blade or a high speed blender. Blitz until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl if needed. Taste and adjust for sweetness to taste.
6. Add frosting to the bottom cake layer and then spread with raspberry jam, if using. Top with the second layer and then add frosting to cover the entire cake. Chill for 30 minutes.
7. Pipe any extra frosting to decorate the cake, top with fresh raspberries and dust with a little icing sugar, if using.
8. Use a potato peeler against a (dairy free) dark chocolate bar to create chocolate curls and sprinkle over the cake.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Restorative Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Restorative Greek Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice

I have a cold. I have had a cold for five long days now and I getting mighty resentful about it. This is the type of cold that makes you feel exceedingly tired and not much use for anything. But since this is me, I have been trying to carry on as normal, baking, cooking, even exercising... Big mistake. Instead of getting better, I am feeling progressively worse and I am writing this post huddled under the living room sofa throw (a massively chunky knit affair) with a bowl of steaming Greek lemon chicken soup by my side.

The soup is a very good idea. It is the soup of my childhood – very simple, very easy, and yet full of magical restorative properties. In Greece, this soup is usually made richer with the addition of avgolemono (eggs beaten with lemon juice and then mixed with the hot soup broth) but I must admit I am not a fan. So I have ditched the eggs but kept the lemon – my husband jokes that my family adds lemon juice to every single dish, which is not far from the truth. Instead of rice you could add orzo or small pasta shapes (stellini) or thin noodles – adjust the cooking time accordingly. If you store the soup overnight, the rice will swell further making it thicker. Add a little hot water to thin if necessary.

Restorative Greek Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice
Restorative Greek Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice

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Restorative Greek Lemon Chicken Soup
A simple soup that's perfect for a light lunch or if you are nursing a cold. Instead of chicken fillets, you can use leftover roast chicken or rotisserie chicken if you like.

Serves 4 | Prep: 5 minutes | Cook: 25-30 minutes

2 ltr | 5 cups hot chicken stock (more if needed)
400g | 14oz skinless chicken breast fillets (or cooked chicken)
100g | 3.5oz basmati or long grain rice
3 small leeks, white parts only, finely diced
3 carrots, peeled and finely diced
3 celery stalks (with leaves, if possible), finely chopped
2 bay leaves
juice of half a lemon (or more, to taste)
generous handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a little butter or oil to fry with
extra virgin olive oil to drizzle (optional)
pinch dried chilli flakes (optional)

1. Melt half a tablespoon of butter or heat a little olive oil in a large pot.
2. Add the chicken breasts and brown on all sides, then cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from the pot and set aside.
3. Add the leeks, carrots, celery, bay leaves and pinch salt. Sweat the vegetables over low heat for 10 minutes until softened.
4. Cut the chicken into small strips and return to the pot. Add the stock, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
5. Add the rice and cook for a further 12-15 minutes (or follow packet instructions).
6. Once the rice is cooked, stir in the lemon juice and fresh parsley and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Drizzle with a little virgin olive oil and add a pinch or dried chilli flakes if desired.
7. Serve hot with extra lemon wedges and some crusty bread on the side.