Tuesday, 4 August 2015

My Last Blog Post....

A very difficult decision, but yes, it is time for me to say goodbye. I’ve been blogging now since 2006 and 9 years is pretty good going but my heart just isn't in it anymore. This is down to a few reasons but mostly my health - the lupus keeps acting up and I find I just don’t have the energy or time. (Other food bloggers will know how much work goes into just one blog post!) As you can see from the above photo this isn’t down to a lack of ideas – those are all my recipes that were waiting to be blogged but I never got around to, shamefully just sitting in a pile!

I started this blog to simply share my recipes, hoping they would help out other vegans, new vegans and especially the vegan curious to show how easy and versatile a vegan diet is. I hope it did just that :-)

Mostly, I just want to thank all my readers for your kind words and support over the years. For those who took the time to email me or comment, to help promote the blog or a post etc…and all those who simply liked and followed. This blog wouldn't have taken off without you all so – THANK YOU!

As for me, I've been wanting to seriously scale back my ‘online’ time for a while now so will be doing just that. So, no more social media for me and I'll be spending much more time out in the garden and, when I am able to, working on the house….we built it 5 years ago and are nowhere near finished! The blog and all the recipes will of course remain up and I still kindly ask that the recipes are not reposted/reprinted but rather are just linked to instead.  

Lastly, who knows? If I miss blogging too much and feel better then I may start it up again but for now I’ll say goodbye.....

....but first, one more recipe! What, you didn't think I'd leave without one did you? ;-)

Vegan and Gluten-Free Mocha Celebration Cake
Mocha Cake • Coffee Buttercream • Chocolate Ganache

I actually made this back in May for my husbands birthday - see? I really can't get around to things anymore, lol....anyway, some of you might remember that we've been suspecting gluten is bothering him so I had to make a gluten free vegan cake for him. I had a good search online but in the end decided to "de-glutenize" my basic chocolate cake recipe (which is just the standard wacky cake recipe) with a lot of help from my friend Katie who is a great chef and has been cooking and baking gluten-free for many years now. Thanks Katie! 

Vegan and Gluten-Free Mocha Celebration Cake

Well, it turned out beautifully with great texture and flavour. My son remarked that "no one would guess this was gluten-free, it just tastes like regular chocolate cake" - which is just what I was after :-) Unfortunately I have used a product here that may be available only in the UK and Ireland but I'm sure alternative ones exist. To replace the flour I use a mixture of gluten-free oat flour, sorghum flour and Doves Farm's Gluten-Free white flour mix. - a mix of rice, potato, tapioca, maize and buckwheat. So hopefully you can find something similar if you can't buy that, but I'm sure any gluten-free white flour mix will work here :-) 

Vegan and Gluten-Free Mocha Celebration Cake

Gluten-Free Mocha Celebration Cake:

Chocolate Cake
240g Doves Farm's gluten-free white flour mix (see above for details)
70g sorghum flour
70g oat flour
300g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
60g cocoa powder
3 tsp vanilla extract
160ml vegetable oil
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
480ml cold coffee 

Grease and line two 7 or 8 inch round cake pans - set aside. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Combine all dry ingredients and whisk well. Combine all wet ingredients and whisk well. Pour the wet into the dry and using the mixer beat for 5 minutes, until really smooth. Pour evenly into the two pans, level them and place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool but leave them in the pans, they will split while cooling if you remove them. When cool remove from the pans, wrap firmly in cling film (again to prevent splitting).

175g vegan margarine 
430g icing sugar
2 ½ tsp instant espresso powder
1 Tbsp hot water

Dissolve the espresso powder in the hot water and set aside. Beat the margarine until light then start adding the icing sugar, beat well each time. When it starts getting dry add some of the espresso mixture. Continue adding the icing sugar and espresso mix until it is all added. You should have a soft but firm buttercream, if you find it a bit runny simply add some more icing sugar. If it is too stiff add a drop of dairy free milk.

Chocolate Ganache:
100g dark chocolate (70%), chopped
85ml soy cream
10g extra virgin coconut oil
½ Tbsp Kahlua 

Place the chocolate in a small bowl. In a small saucepan heat up the cream and fat until it melts and it all just comes to the boil. Quickly pour over the chocolate, leave it a few seconds then whisk it up until smooth and glossy. Whisk in the kahlua. Leave it out at room temperature, stirring now and again until it thickens up slightly. It will be too runny to pour over the cake right away, you want it pourable but thick enough that it will only slowly run down the sides. Don't be impatient here, it can take awhile to get thick enough to pour over.


Place 1 cake onto cake stand and spread with the frosting, fairly thickly. Add the other cake on top then frost the sides and top. When the ganache is ready spoon it over top and spread it out until it just starts to run down the sides of the cake. 

The crucial thing now is to get it into the fridge. I left mine out and my kitchen was very warm which eventually caused the ganache to separate from the frosting a bit. Once I got it in the fridge this was no longer a problem though, so make sure you get it in right away! 

Vegan and Gluten-Free Mocha Celebration Cake