I spend most of my days making food on a yoga retreat, which usually means at least two or three of the group are lactose intolerant, gluten intolerant, sugar-free or any combination of these. So in the interests of the group, all the sweet treats that I make are free from all of these things, which has meant substituting the usual culprits (butter, sugar, wheat flour) for Olive oil, honey and gluten-free flour. And what a revelation, so much so I’ll probably never bake with the bad-boys ever again.
Here is my foolproof basic cake mix and a selection of things you can add to make any cake you like. Feel free to tinker with the recipe to suit your own needs and do comment if you find an amazing flavour combo that I haven’t made yet. Beetroot cake might be on the menu next week as we’ve just found some and they’ll be getting juiced, so I’ll need to experiment with the pulp.
Everything-free Cake (gluten, lactose, sugar)
100ml olive oil, coconut or walnut oil
3 large or 4 small eggs
250g gluten free flour (or use plain if gluten not a problem for you)
mixed with 2 teaspoons raising agent (baking powder)
[OR if you want to be super precise, you can weigh the eggs and then use exactly the same weight of flour and half the weight of honey and olive oil.]
Beat the oil and honey together until completely mixed (warm the honey slightly if it is too thick to mix). Beat the eggs in.
Add any of the following:
Plain: 1 tsp Vanilla essence
Citrus cake: grated zest of orange, lemon, grapefruit (unwaxed or well washed)
Banana cake: 3 mashed bananas, cinnamon, ground ginger, grated nutmeg,
Carrot cake: 3 finely grated or pulped small carrots (or 2 medium/1 very large) sultanas and 25g desiccated coconut, 50g chopped nuts (all optional) (top with cream cheese and fromage frais or ricotta and natural yoghurt mixed with honey to sweeten)
Chocolate cake: 50g cacao or carob powder, plus chopped up chunks of chocolate of your choice (70% dark is v. good) or for seriously chocolatey cake, melt 100g and mix it in.
Coffee and walnut cake: 1 shot espresso or 2 tsp instant coffee mixed with 2 tbsp water, 50g ground walnuts
Lemon and poppy seed: Juice and grated rind 2 lemons, 25g poppy seeds
Bakewell cake: 1 tsp almond essence, 50g ground almonds. (decorate with a layer of raspberry jam, fresh raspberries and toasted flaked almonds.)
Fold the wet and dry ingredients together to get a thick batter.
Line a cake tin with baking paper and a little oil it so the cake will not stick.
Maybe put something on the top for decoration (sliced bananas, or banana chips – sliced oranges or lemons etc)
Bake in the oven at 180 degrees C for about 30 minutes – keep an eye on it, if it starts to over brown cover it with foil. It’s done when it’s firm and springy to the touch in the middle.