Guest Recipe: Susan's Victoria Sponge with Chia jam and Coconut Cream

Susan Jane is blessing us with another of her absolutely scrumptious recipes. If this cake is not a sign from the universe that you should start dancing on the healthy baking path, I do not know what you need…maybe cakes shooting stars ?! This Victoria Sponge is the very first recipe I have ever made when starting my plantbased diet. I remember it vividly – not only were my birthday party’s guests a little shocked to learn about what truly was in that cake, but I also was delighted to see that I could indulge myself with delicious treats while not feeling guilty at all. And all of this while still being fully aware of all the benefits of the food I was eating. There is nothing boring about healthy food – we are justing thinking out of fear because we have been taught that food (aka. survival) is about refined and animal products. This is how we have been raised because the society we’ve grown in has worked that way for decades (if not centuries). Susan Jane and I, as well as all the healthy food bloggers out there, want you to come with us on this health journey and to open yourself to new possibilities and ways to approach food and nutrition. Without further ado, let me introduce you to a little piece of heaven: Susan’s Victoria Sponge Cake!

Not the traditional butter, cream,
sugar and bleached-flour variety.

This Victoria Sponge will make your taste buds fist-bump and your health insurer applaud.

Make it for a group of Brits, and you’ll have friends for life.

PS: Find her blog + cookbooks here!

Healthy Victoria Sponge w/ Chia Jam & Coconut Cream

Portions: 10 servings. Double to serve 20.
Preparation time: 45 minutes.
Cooking time: 20 minutes.

Ingredients

For the sponge:

1/2 cup coconut flour (65g)
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup ground almonds (23g)
1/2 teaspoon mineral-rich salt like Pink Himalayan
4 medium (not large) eggs
2 tablespoons natural soya yoghurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or the seeds from 1 vanilla pod
just under 1/2 cup unscented coconut oil, melted (120ml)
1/2 cup light agave or honey (125ml)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the chia jam filling:

2/3 cup frozen raspberries, defrosted (125g)
1-2 tablespoons chia seeds
Squeeze of lime (optional)
3 dates, pre-soaked and stones removed (or use medjools)
Coconut yoghurt to spread (or see my online recipe for DIY organic cream cheese)

Method

(1) To make the chia jam, let the raspberries thaw first. Then whiz them in a food processor or hand-held blender with the chia seeds, lime and licky-sticky dates. Allow the chia seeds to thicken the jam for 40 minutes before using.

(2) For the sponge, you’ll need to oil an 8×8 (20cm x 20cm) brownie pan, or a 10-inch (25cm) circular tin. It’s also important to preheat your oven to 170 degrees, 150 for fan-assisted or 325 Fahrenheit. I find the best oil to use for greasing is unscented (as opposed to extra virgin and raw) coconut oil. Unscented coconut oil won’t turn the edges of the sponge infuriatingly dark. The meat of the coconut is lightly steamed before pressed, in order to remove the strong coconutty aroma from the oil.

(3) Take out two large bowls. In the first bowl, sift your flour with the baking powder. Stir through the ground almonds and some salt.

(4) In the next bowl, whisk the eggs and yoghurt together, adding a splash of vanilla extract. Then pour in the melted coconut oil and sweetener, stirring vigorously to prevent lumps. Gradually drizzle in the lemon juice, whisking all the while.

(5) Scrape this gleefully sticky mess into your prepared tin. Level with a spatula. Then bake for approximately 20 minutes, depending on the circumference of your tin (I use a regular 8×8 brownie tin). The deeper the tin is, the longer time it needs. If you leave it in longer than 30 minutes, I will throw a tantrum.

(6) Remove the sponge from the oven, and admire. Let it cool for 60 minutes before ejecting from the tin. Then carefully slice the sponge in half (of course you could always double the recipe, and make two tiers instead). Smother great big clouds of coconut yoghurt over one half. Parachute a little chia jam on top of this. Then crown with the other half of the sponge.

(7) Serve on a plate with many napkins and giddy fingers. And a side of Sinatra.


Almond, Chocolate & Sweet Potato Blondies

Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. And when you need to reduce your sugar intake, well, you come up with the most delicious ideas. Because (healthy!) sweets truly are bare necessities in one’s life. For someone that usually eats energy balls on the reg, that prepare choc brownies when invited for a dinner party or just because he fancies it, that has a love/hate relationship with honey, maple, dates and so many more healthy sugars, it truly was a great challenge to bring new twists to my regular desserts and snacks.

As I was preparing some sweet potato puree for the fam and our “Buddha Bowl” evening, I wondered if I could use this sweet-tasting puree for dessert purposes. Knowing that it was working with brownies, why wouldn’t it with blondies?! It took me some time to define the right ingredients and to pair the nicest flavours together but I guess I have found my happiness so far.

Those blondies are THE absolute best

when it comes to eating sweets.

They are soft and chewy, which is totally indispensable; very sweet despite their low extra-sugar content (it makes a little less than a teaspoon of maple by portion – great right?!), since the sweet potato itself already is very sweet-tasting. These babies are a powerhouse, nutritionally full of healthy fats, vitamins A, magnesium, potassium and calcium, and some plant proteins. I am quite sure you could make them even more interesting by adding superfoods – maca, baobab or other powders – or other adaptogens – lion’s mane, ashwagandha, etc. I absolutely adore those as an afternoon pick-me-up, to fill me up for the rest of the day, or as a dessert obviously. And if you’re afraid it will taste like vegetable – well I promise it does not!

Moist, decadent, satisfying,

full of textures and flavours,

you’ve just been served by the heavens!

Almond, Chocolate & Sweet Potato Blondies

Portions: 16 pieces
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

Dry ingredients:

1 tbsp of coconut flour (or arrowroot flour alternatively)
50g of brown rice flour (or spelt)
125g of almond meal (almost with a flour texture)

Wet ingredients:

2 tbsp of chia seeds + 1 tbsp of milled chia seeds + 4 tbsp of water
175g of sweet potatoes, cooked and pureed
125g of almond butter (or the one you would prefer)
50g of dates, mashed to paste
3 – 4 tbsp of maple syrup
2 dl of plant milk (almond, oat, spelt, etc.)
125g of crushed pecans
100g of dark chocolate, sliced in little nibs

Method

(1) Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line up a brownies tin with parchment paper. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside.

(2) Peel and cut the sweet potato in cubes. Place in a large volume of water, bring to a boil and cook until very soft. Puree and take only the amount you need for the recipe (eat the rest!). Mix the whole and mix chia seeds together with the water and let sit for about 10 minutes.

(3) In the meantime, mix the dates in a food processor (or with a fork!) and add the almond butter, maple syrup, plant milk and sweet potato puree. Mix until fluffy.

4) Serve immediately, with the toppings of your choice. I personally love some more maple, a few frozen or fresh berries, some nut butter & a few seeds on top. Enjoy!

(5) Spread nicely in your brownies tin, evening out the surface. Place in the middle of the oven for about 25 minutes up until 30. A knife inserted in the centre must come out clear and the surface must be hard to touch and golden brown. Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.


8 Ingredients Pancakes For Those Who Want A Quick But Delicious Breakfast

I am a breakfast person. And as far as I know, I do not believe there is something trendier than pancakes for breakfast. Even though some other breakfast ideas do attract the spotlights, such as chia puddings, healthy granolas or smoothies, I’ve never seen so many pancakes on my Instagram feed or on the Internet. And the reason is we, food bloggers, are creating healthy versions of them, which do attract people’s attention more and more every day. I’ve been asked multiple times to share a pancake recipe on the blog, and I guess those people’s dreams have come true! (For a non-vegan recipe, you can click here !).

There is nothing else
you would want to wake up to

There is nothing else you would want to wake up to; there is nothing else you would want to pour maple syrup on; there is nothing else you could sacrifice your sanity for. Well, let’s be honest, if you have got someone to prepare them for you, that’s even better. Waking up to those beauties is like discovering a hundred banknote in the side pocket of your favourite jeans. Not only are they fluffy as cotton clouds, but they are sweet and perfectly balanced at the same time, firm and yet very tender. What you could do if you’re running out of time in the morning is preparing them ahead (do not prepare the dough ahead, as it will become way to dense the day after) and simply grab them in the morning.

Food is Energy, Your Body

needs Energy, Your Body Needs Food

I am doing doing all that fuss about breakfast because it actually is the most important meal of the day. Not only is it the time where your body needs to refuel, as it’s been starving and using some energy through the night (because your brain stays active during the night, and even if you’re sleep, it is your entire body which regenerates. And to do that, it uses the rest of power and energy you’ve gather throughout the previous day). To give proper energy to your muscles, cells and entire organism, you need to have a proper breakfast. A good balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, to offer your body all the chances it gets to crush its day! It is in the morning that we create our energy and intention for the day. Changing habits takes time indeed, but when it comes to the body functions, it is even simpler. If you’re not hungry in the morning, start eating even if not hungry or waking up earlier (so that your digestive system wakes up too), and slowly but surely, your body will adapt to this new rhythm; you’ll just need to deeply want it. Keep that in mind folks! 

Buckwheat, Oat and Banana Pancakes

Portions: 2 servings.
Preparation time: 5 minutes.
Cooking time: 15 minutes.

Ingredients

For the pancakes:

100g of buckwheat flour (spelt would work too)
70g of oats
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of baking soda
2 tsp of psyllium husk (optional)
1 banana, mashed
200ml of plant milk (almond, oat, spelt)
1 – 2 tbsp of maple syrup
Coconut oil to fry

For the toppings:

Frozen or fresh berries
Banana slices
Maple syrup, honey or date syrup
Nut butter
Any type of nuts
Any type of seeds
Dried Fruits (gogi berries, dates, figs)
Granola

Method

1) Start by blending the oats until obtaining a very fine flour consistency. Add the buckwheat flour, cinnamon, baking soda and psyllium to the food processor or blender and blend just for a few seconds to mix.

2) In a large mixing bowl, mash the banana, and add the milk and maple syrup. Pour the dry ingredients in and mix correctly. The dough must be shiny and runny (but not too much).

3) Add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to a frying pan, and turn on medium heat. Spoon out some dough (one heaped tablespoon each) and form two to three pancakes at the same time. Cook for about 2 minutes on this side, or until bubbles start appearing at the top. Flip them all and cook for one more minutes. Place them on a plate, heat some more oil and start again, until you’re out of dough.

4) Serve immediately, with the toppings of your choice. I personally love some more maple, a few frozen or fresh berries, some nut butter & a few seeds on top. Enjoy!