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♥ Vegan scones

I don’t understand why so many vegan cake recipes especially need to be so complicated? It’s so easy to replace marg and milk for vegan spread and soya milk. And since scones don’t require eggs, they are super-easy to veganise!

Vegan Currant Scones

scones

Recipe:

  • 45g vegan spread
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 35g sugar
  • 1 x pinch of salt
  • 100g currants
  • 110ml soya milk (or almond / hazelnut / oat / rice / whatever!)

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, rub the spread into the flour to make light breadcrumbs. Try to rub from a height to try and introduce a little air. Stir in the sugar and salt using a knife and then add the currents. 
  2. Slowly add the milk whilst stirring. Once all the milk has been absorbed, use your hands to knead the mixture into a dough. Remember that not all flour has the same absorbency, so you may need a little less or little more liquid in order to produce a slightly sticky but not-at-all-dry dough.
  3. Most recipes will recommend that you roll out the dough on a floured surface. However if you get the consistency of the dough just right, it shouldn’t stick to your work top. And not using extra flour reduces the risk of the dough becoming too dry. (But if you’re worried, it should be fine to sprinkle a bit of flour around.)
  4. Using your hands, gently squash out the dough until it is about ¼ of an inch thick. Then using a sharp cutter, stamp out 8 scones and gently plop onto a well-greased baking tray.  I can’t remember if it was good old Delia Smith or Gary Rhodes who warned me not to twist the cutter as you stamp out the scones, but they were right – don’t do this or else the scones won’t rise properly.
  5. Bake the scones at 220oC for 10 mins. 
  6. Cool on a wire rack before cutting open and dolloping on a generous helping of cream. I served mine with a blob of my home-made blueberry jam and a big mug of tea. Lovely!
scones and tea

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♥ Pecan and chocolate chunk brownies

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Years ago, before I turned vegan, I made some very yummy brownies for work, which had they not have contained dairy milk chocolate, would have been SFV. I was reminded of my recipe when I was flicking through a free copy of LABL magazine. Inspired by this article, I routed out my recipe and simply swapped the chocolate for a dairy free version.

The best part of this recipe is that brownies are super easy to make!

Pecan and chocolate chunk brownies

Ingredients:

  • 125g x plain flour
  • 175g x caster sugar
  • 35g x cocoa powder
  • 125 ml x sunflower oil
  • 125 ml x water
  • 35g x Dairy free “milk” chocolate (broken into chunks)
  • 5g x chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp x baking powder
  • 1 tsp x vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC.
  2. Then, simply mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and cocoa powder together, before adding  the oil, water and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly until a smooth glossy batter is formed. Then fold in the nuts and chocolate chunks.
  3. Pour the mix into a lightly greased 7 x 7” baking tin and bake for 20 mins. I turned the tin around after 10 mins to ensure an even bake.
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Before…
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…and after

4. Allow to cool before cutting into 8 triangles.

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Enjoy with a nice cuppa 🙂

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♥ Baked Cheezecake

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Smooth creamy fluffy baked cheezecake. This dairy-free version is protein-packed and lactose free. And if you’re careful with your biscuits, nut free too!
I tried this out on several people, including the husband and the Besties. They said it was lovely but I have to be honest – I can’t remember what traditional cheesecake tastes like! But this one definitely looks like the real McCoy and is undeniably scrummy.

Ingredients:

  • 150g ginger nut biscuit
  • 60g vegan margarine
  • 375g firm tofu (not silken)
  • 350g firm silken tofu
  • 245g non-dairy yoghurt (1 x cup)
  • 200g sugar (1 x cup)
  • 3tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3tsp vanilla essence
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 100g plain white flour (2/3 x heaped cups)
  • 2 tsp agar agar powder

Method:

  1. Line the bottom of an 8-inch* spring loaded tin with grease proof paper and grease the sides.
    *I wouldn’t advise using a larger tin, but a smaller one should be ok, but you may need to alter the baking time slightly.
  2. Whizz up the ginger nut biscuits and marg in a food processor to make crumbs which will mould together when pressed. Press into the bottom of the tin and put into the fridge to chill.
  3. In the meantime, pre-heat the oven to 165oC.
  4. Prepare the cheezecake filling by whizzing together the tofu, yoghurt, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and salt until smooth and creamy (at least 5 minutes).
  5. Add the flour to the mixture and whizz up again until thoroughly combined.
  6. Pour the filling onto the biscuit base and use a spatula to smooth down the top.
  7. Put the tin onto a baking try and put into the oven for 1 ½ hours. You’ll know when the cake is cooked as it will have browned slightly on the top and will be pulling away from the edges of the tin.
  8. Leave to cool and set before attempting to remove from the tin.
  9. Serve!

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If you’re feeling fancy, you could serve with a nice fruity coulis!

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♥ Chestnut flour pancakes

Hooray, it’s Pancake Day! Apologises for being a bit late with this recipe… but at least I am way ahead of schedule for next year! Or you know, SCREW CONVENTION, make and eat these babies whenever you feel like it!

My lovely (and rather charming!) friend brought me a bag of chestnut flour back from his visit to Italy. He told me I could make “crepes” with it, so that’s exactly what I did :o)

The chestnut flour added a lovely subtle earthy, sweet-but-not-sickly depth to the pancakes. If you like a more traditional flavour, you can swap the salt for Kala Namak to make them slightly eggy.

Ingredients (Makes 4):

  • 1 x tsp Egg replacer whisked into 2 x tbsp. water (I used No-Egg by Orgran)
  • ½ x cup soya milk
  • ½ x cup water
  • ½ x tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ x tbsp. oil (veg or melted coconut)
  • 1 x cup chestnut flour
  • 1 x pinch salt
  • A little oil for greasing the pan*

*I would greatly recommend a non-stick frying pan.

Method:

  1. Into a bowl, whisk up the No-Egg and water until frothy.
  2. Whisk in the soya milk, water, oil and apple cider vinegar.
  3. Whisk in the chestnut flour and salt until smooth and combined. You should be left with a thick but pourable batter.
  4. Heat up a teaspoon of oil in a frying pan. You only want a thin film of oil so discard any extra.
  5. Once the oil is nice and hot, add a soup ladle-full of the batter.
  6. Carefully swirl the pan to make a nice thin, even layer of the batter.
  7. Once the edges of the pancake start to turn brown, you can loosen the edges with a spatula. The secret to pancakes is to make sure the underneath is completely cooked before you attempt to lift them – if you are impatient, they will stick to the pan and rip. You can tell when they’re ready when the top looks dry and bubbly.20160209_183449ps
  8. Gently flip and cook the other side until lightly browned.
  9. Repeat! (Is it me or is the first one always the worst looking?!)
  10. Serve with a topping / filling of your choice!

I went for salted caramel Almond Dream ice cream with a drizzle of maple syrup ♥

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♥ Lemon and poppy seed cupcakes

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Have you ever booked a weekend away and picked the hotel purely on the basis that it was in the same city as a café that sells vegan cupcakes…. only to find out that the café was sold 2 months’ earlier and now isn’t even vegetarian?!

That was my valentine’s weekend, haha! Aww well, we still had a lovely time 🙂

Anyway, hubby bought me a silicone cupcake kit for Christmas so I decided to christen it by making lemon and poppy seed cupcakes. I loosely based the recipe on this non-vegan version and I have to admit that I was pretty smug about the result! Seriously soft and fluffy but delightfully tangy and not too sweet… I ate 7 out of 12, whoops! And my favourite part? They rose! It might be pancake day today but these beauties were most definitely NOT vertically challenged!

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Super fluffy! ♥

Lemon and poppy seed cupcakes:

Ingredients (Makes 12):

  • 13/4  x cups self-raising flour
  • 1 x tbsp. slightly toasted poppy seeds*
  • 3/4  x cup sugar
  • Zest of 2 un-waxed lemons
  • 3 x tsp No-Egg  in 6 x tbsp. water  (whisked together until white and frothy)
  • 1 x tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 x cup soya yoghurt (or any other dairy-free variety)
  • ½ x cup vegan friendly marg
  • 1/3 x cup soya milk (or any other dairy-free variety)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 12 x cupcake cases ( I used silicone).

*(Toast in a dry frying pan on a medium heat for 1 – 2 mins)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180oC.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, zest (reserve a quarter for decoration), poppy seeds and baking powder.
  3. In another bowl, electric-whisk up the No-Egg and water before adding the marg, followed by the sugar, yoghurt, milk and finally the lemon juice.
  4. A spoonful at a time, add the dry ingredients into the wet and gently fold in. A silicone spatula is great for this
  5. Using a couple of teaspoons (one for scooping, one for scraping), distribute the mixture evenly between the 12 cupcake cases.
  6. Put in the oven and bake for 15 mins or until golden brown. A skewer should come out clean when inserted into the centre of each.
  7. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

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These cakes are so tasty that they don’t really need icing. However, just to pretty them up, I added a small swirl of the following onto each and topped with some extra poppy seeds and a sprinkling of zest:

Icing

Ingredients:

  • 4 x tbsp. icing sugar
  • 1/3 x cup vegan friendly marg
  • ½ x cup vegan cream cheese (I used Violife)
  • Juice of ½ lemon


Method:

  1. Whizz together the marg, cream cheese and lemon juice using an electric mixer.
  2. Whizz in the icing sugar, cover and pop in the fridge for 20 mins or so.
  3. Once the cupcakes are COMPLETELY COOLED you can either spoon or pipe a small amount of icing onto each cake.

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Perfect with a cup of tea!

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♥ Vegan mince pies

I hate Christmas!!!

Maybe it would be better if I had kids so I could watch them enjoy the magic, but to me it is just a season of waste: wasting food, wasting money and wasting time!

The ridiculous amount of food that remains uneaten and gets thrown away unnecessarily. The obligation to buy people presents and struggling to come up with something they actually want and will use. The stress of spending hours that you don’t have, wrapping presents and hoovering up glitter…. Rargh!!

HOWEVER, all that said, I AM a sucker for a mince pie ;o)

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The inoutlaws are staying at ours this year so I am trying to make an effort and not be miserable. I am trying to be super organised so I don’t have to add stress to the equation. I’ve made and frozen (or eaten!) 92 mince pies already so I’m well prepared in case we have any unexpected visitors or if we feel peckish on an afternoon.

One has to be careful with mince pies of unknown origin – there is a risk of there being butter and maybe even lard in the pastry and the mincemeat itself may contain animal suet.

Lucky for me, my age-old mince pie recipe happened to be “accidentally vegan” so I’ve not had to change a thing since giving up animal products, hoorah!

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Vegan mince pies (makes 12)

Ingredients:

  • 260 g plain white flour plus extra to dust
  • 65 g vegan friendly marg
  • 65 g vegan shortening (I used Trex)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Cold water to bind
  • Jar of vegan friendly mincemeat (I used an 822g jar from Costco – this should be more than enough)
  • Icing sugar for dusting (optional)

Method:

  1. Put the flour in a large bowl.
  2. The marg and shortening should be completely chilled in the fridge before using. Add to the flour and use a butter knife to chop into chunks.
  3. Using your fingers, rub the marg and shortening into the flour. Keep going until you have made soft, golden breadcrumbs.
  4. Add a little bit of cold water at a time and knead into the breadcrumbs until a soft dough is formed. It shouldn’t take too much water to form the dough so be really careful not to to overdo it. (The amount of water can vary depending on the absorbency of the flour, which can differ from bag to bag).
  5. Cover the pastry with clingfilm and leave in the fridge for an hour.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 190oC
  7. Flour a flat, clean surface and a rolling pin. Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll out until around 1/8th inch thick. Using a pastry cutter, cut out 12 circles and place each into the hole of a patty-pan (good pastry shouldn’t stick so you shouldn’t have to grease the tin, however if you’re worried, it won’t hurt).
  8. In each case, add around 2 heaped teaspoons of mincemeat. The secret is not to use too much or else the mincemeat will bubble up and burn and make a mess of your pastry! Trust me, less is more!

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    ps6 2014-11-09 14.32.35 This year I got my mincemeat from Costco. I also really like the Co-op’s own brand which is also vegan friendly.

  9. Using a star shaped cutter (or a small round cutter if you want a more traditional pie) cut out 12 tops and place on top of the pies.
  10. Put the pies in the oven and bake for 10 mins.
  11. I like to scoop my pies out of the tin using a spoon before placing on a cooling rack. It’s a good idea to carefully remove the pies whilst they are still hot as any excess mincemeat will cool down and stick the pies to the sides of the tin.
  12. Once cooled, either eat or freeze for later. They look extra pretty if you sprinkle some icing sugar on top using a sieve.

If only everything about Christmas was this sweet!

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♥ Rocky Road

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So, it’s my birthday next week but since I shall be celebrating the occasion by skiving work, I figured I had best bring my cakes in tomorrow instead. I pushed the boat at this year as I’m fed up of being asked what I eat. Hopefully this will help to persuade some people that a) I don’t live off dust and b) being vegan doesn’t mean I have to miss out!

I made a Bakewell tart, a Lotus Biscoff and chocolate spread cake and the pièce de résistance, vegan rocky road!

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Bakewell Tart

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Lotus Biscoff and chocolate spread cake

My rocky road recipe is an incredibly easy one, so easy in fact that I didn’t think it warranted a recipe. But since posting a few pictures around social media I have been inundated with requests for the recipe, including the makers of the veg*n marshmallows I used, Freedom Mallows. I am so happy that Holland and Barratt started selling these babies, although I was sad that they didn’t have the strawberry ones in last time I visited. The vanilla ones are delightful but I think the strawberry ones would have looked and tasted fab. If only I hadn’t scoffed the entire bag I got in my Vegan Kind box this month. Live and learn!

Easy peasy, dirty and sleazy (but oh so yummy! ), my vegan rocky road recipe…

Ingredients:

  1. 1x tsp Vegan marg
  2. 350 g x Vegan milk chocolate
  3. 25 g x Vegan white chocolate buttons (chopped in half)
  4. 1 x bag Veg*n friendly marshmallows
  5. 5 x Oreos (any biscuit would work – chopped up)
  6. 4 x Hobnobs (chopped)
  7. 100 g x Glace cherries* (chopped into halves)

*make sure they aren’t coloured with beetles!

 Method:

  1. Line a 7.5” x 7.5” baking tin with Clingfilm and leave to one side.
  2. Put a pan of water onto a low heat and pop a heatproof bowl on top.
  3. Break up the chocolate and add to the bowl. Leave until it begins to go melty then add the marg and give it a stir.
  4. Gently stir (a rubber spatula is best) until the chocolate is completely melted and glossy looking, then take the bowl off the pan.
  5. Chuck in all the other ingredients (although save around 1/3 of the Oreos, cherries , buttons and marshmallows to decorate). Stir until thoroughly covered in chocolate.
  6. Pour into the baking tin and spread around with the spatula.
  7. Sprinkle the reserved ingredients on top and press down slightly to make sure they stick.
  8. Pop in the fridge for around 2 hours or until the chocolate has set hard.
  9. Using a nice big, smooth edged knife, chop up the rocky road into bite sized pieces.PS2

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>>>>Warning, finished product contains an obscene amount of calories! I cannot be held responsible for any abuse inflicted on people’s waist bands after consumption of this snack <<<<

;p

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♥ Chocolate and Lotus Spread cinnamon cake

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It’s my birthday at the end of the month so I’ve been trialing a few cakes. I want to try and persuade my work colleagues that vegans don’t just live off dust 😉

I’d heard very good things about the new Lotus Biscoff Spread via the Vegan Groups on Facebook, so when I saw a jar in the shops I couldn’t resist. Facebook was right, this stuff is gorrrrrgeous! So gorgeous in fact that I had to invent a cake to put it into. This one is definitely a contender for the birthday bake-off!

Chocolate and Lotus Spread cinnamon cake:

Ingredients:

  • ¾ x cup vegan marg
  • ¾ x cup sugar
  • 3 x tsp “No Egg” in 6 tbsp. water
  • 4 x tbsp. soya milk
  • 1 x tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 1/3 x cups self-raising flour
  • 1 x tsp baking powder
  • 2 x tsp cinnamon
  • 2 x tbsp. Lotus Biscoff spread (plus extra for decorating)
  • 2 x tbsp. Vegan friendly chocolate spread (have a Google search if you don’t already have a favourite brand!)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC
  2. Put the marg, sugar, No Egg, soya milk and cider vinegar into a bowl and whizz up until a pale batter is formed (it might look slightly “curdled” but don’t worry).
  3. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and cinnamon together.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the batter a spoonful at a time and fold in until thick and thoroughly mixed.
  5. Pour half the mixture into a well-greased baking pan. Dollop in blobs of the Lotus Spread and chocolate spread. Pour the rest of the mixture on top and swizzle around using a skewer.
  6. Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, depending on the dimensions of your tin. A skewer will come out of the centre of the cake clean once cooked. If the outside of the cake is browning too fast, wrap in foil.
  7. Allow to cool in the tin for 10mins before turning out onto a wire rack.
  8. Once completely cool, you can decorate. Using a butter knife, I alternated blobs of Lotus and chocolate spread to make a pretty pattern.

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My favorite part of this cake is the slightly chewy crust and of course the Lotus – chocolate spread topping. Enjoy!

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♥ Vegan rum and raisin fudge

“For who could hate or bear a grudge, against a luscious bit of fudge?”

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Indeed Mr Roald Dahl, who could? Especially when its vegan friendly!

I bought a tin of condensed soya milk back at the North West Vegan Festival last month. I said that I felt a vegan fudge recipe coming up…and here it is!

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I decided to make rum and raisin fudge, since this is the omni-hubby’s favourite – thought it might persuade him that dairy free can be just as delicious as the traditional item. However, I’m pretty sure that plain vanilla would work just as well.

This fudge is tasty, rich and creamy. Best served chilled as it goes a bit sticky when allowed to reach room temperature.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 x 330 g tin condensed soya milk
  • 375 g x sugar*
  • 125 ml x soya milk
  • 95 g x vegan marg
  • 2 x tsp vanilla
  • ½ x cup raisins
  • 2 x tbsp. rum

*(I used normal white granulated but a brown sugar would taste awesome)

Method:

  1. Put the raisins into a glass or mug and pour the rum over the top. Leave to soak – the longer you leave, the more boozy the raisins will taste. I recommend at least an hour.
  2. Add everything else – apart from the vanilla –  to a large pan. It is best to use a pan with tall sides as the mixture will rise a lot!
  3. Whiz pan contents together using a hand mixer until smooth and thoroughly mixed. Put on the stove and turn onto a medium heat.
  4. Allow the mixture to reach a simmer, periodically stirring with a rubber spatula to ensure that the bottom of the pan doesn’t catch and burn.
  5. Simmer for 15 – 30 minutes. This might sound like a wide range but the time really does differ depending on the size of the pan. (I don’t have a sugar thermometer so every 5 minutes after the initial 15, I drizzled a small amount of the mixture into a jug of cold water until a soft, pliable blob of fudge formed. This is known as the “softball” stage).
  6. When the softball stage is reached, take the pan off the heat and add the rum soaked raisins and vanilla. Carefully beat using the hand mixer. Keep beating until the mixture has cooled and starts to thicken and look more like fudge. (Start off slowly and increase the speed as the fudge thickens – careful not to flick any out of the pan as hot sugar BURNS!)
  7. Once thickened and cooled, scrape into a  square tin, lined with grease proof paper (mine was 12 x 12”) and put in the fridge to chill (2hrs min)
  8. Once chilled, turn out onto a chopping board and slice up.
  9.  EAT!

PS2 Fudge

Condensed soya milk is a little on the pricey side but so worth it for this recipe! It is much nicer than the shop bought stuff and the hubby can’t leave it alone 🙂

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♥ Strawberry and vanilla loaf cake

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What compliments the British summer time better than a bowlful of succulent, sweet strawberries?

Plump and juicy, perfect with a little sugar and a splash of soya cream. Or in a delicious, creamy breakfast smoothie. Or in a beautiful vanilla and strawberry loaf cake!

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A little bit like banana bread (without the banana, bleurgh!), this cake is crusty on the outside and marvellously mmm…. mmmoi, mooiss…. nope, I can’t say it. That word is too GROSS!

Unlike this cake, which is gorgeous and has a centre which is the opposite of dry :p

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Vanilla and strawberry cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 x cups flour
  • 3 x tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 x tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 x cup vegetable oil
  • 0.5 x tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 0.5 x cup soya milk
  • 1 x tsp salt
  • 0.5 x tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 x tbsp. white sugar
  • 1 x cup chopped strawberries (30 – 40 strawbs)
  • 2 x tbsp. maple syrup Plus extra for decoration.

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170oC.
  2. De-stem and chop the strawberries. Place in a bowl and mix with the sugar before mashing slightly. Leave to one side.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the flour, bicarb, baking soda and salt with a wooden spoon.
  4. Next, stir in the strawberries and wet ingredients. Keep stirring until thoroughly mixed. You should end up with a thick and glossy batter that is smooth apart from the strawberry chunks.
  5. Pour into a greased baking tin and wrap in foil.
  6. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Be sure to take the foil off the cake after 30 minutes.
  7. When ready, leave to stand for 5 mins before turning out of the tin onto a cooling rack. Once cooled, you can add the icing.ps8

Icing

Ingredients:

  • 3 x tbsp. icing sugar
  • 1 x tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 x tsp soya milk

Method:

  1. Put the icing sugar into a bowl and add the vanilla essence.
  2. Stir in the soya milk a little at a time until a thick but spreadable paste is formed.
  3. Spread over the cake and decorate with slices of strawberry.

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And the perfect way to enjoy this cake is with a nice cuppa tea, whilst watching a couple of bouncing bunnies ♥ Here’s introducing my Bezzie’s wonderful little furry friends. These fella’s eat even more kale than I do!

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