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.