As much as I love chocolate in its solid form, when it comes to desserts I’m a vanilla girl. I’d choose vanilla ice cream and vanilla cake over their chocolate counterparts without even pausing to think.
I made a glorious Vanilla Bean Coconut Whipped Cream to top my Raw Banoffee Pie a little while back and was very tempted to make it again but wanted to try something different, as usual.
I use cashews a lot to make creamy sauces and had already seen a sweet cashew cream over at Gluten Free SCD and Veggie, so that’s what I went for, adapted slightly to my tastes. I’m now back to student living and trying not to go overboard with spending so I opted for Vanilla Bean Paste instead of whole vanilla beans, a more economic choice and still just as tasty in my opinion. Read more about the difference between vanilla extract, bean and paste here. I also sweetened the cream with a couple of dates but use whatever sweetener you like, agave nectar, maple syrup, stevia or powdered coconut sugar, as I did for my coconut whipped cream.
Vanilla Bean Cashew Cream:
(Adapted from Gluten Free SCD and Veggie)
1-2 Soft pitted dates (or 1/2T Agave, Maple or other Sweetener)
1/2C Almond milk
1t Vanilla bean paste OR 1/2 Vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
Soak cashews and dates in separate bowls in water for at least 1 hour. Drain and rinse cashews and drain dates. Blend together all ingredients until completely smooth. I used a Tribest personal blender, you may need to double the ingredients if using a regular-size blender in order to get the cream completely smooth.
Makes approx 1 C
I don’t think anyone can truthfully say they don’t like vanilla, it’s a lovely flavour and adds an extra hint of something in the background of any sweet treat.
But it is usually that, in the background. How often do you eat vanilla ice cream on its own? Ok, I know someone who does but I’m counting them as an anomaly here…!
So, choosing vanilla for my letter “V” I knew I’d be making 2 things…something vanilla-y and something to go with it.
It’s been a little while since I’ve featured something sweet on Coconut and Berries so decided to go all out for today’s recipe with a Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake.
It sounds extremely decadent and certainly tastes it with its soft, fluffy crumb and gooey caramel topping, but I promise it’s still reasonably healthy! I used wholegrain flour and a modest amount of low glycemic coconut sugar instead of refined flour and sugar.
It’s extra delicious served with a generous dollop of the vanilla cashew cream.
Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake
Notes: This recipe makes a small cake, for a larger one, double the ingredients, use a standard-size cake tin and cook for approx 25 minutes.
1C Light spelt flour
1/2t Baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
3T Coconut sugar
1/2C + 1T Non-dairy milk
3T Sunflower oil (or other neutral oil) (For Lower Fat sub 2T apple purée + 1T oil)
1 Medium dessert apple, cut into fairly thin slices
2T Coconut Oil
1 1/2T Coconut Sugar
Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk together sunflower oil and non-dairy milk. Add wet to dry and stir gently to combine.
Lightly oil the sides of a small cake tin (mine was 6 1/2”)
Add 2T Coconut oil to tin and place in oven for a few seconds to melt. Sprinkle coconut sugar over the oil and arrange the apple over the top, as close together as possible in one layer.
Pour the cake batter over the top carefully, ensuring not to disturb the apple slices.
Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool for 1 minute then invert onto a plate.
Serve warm with Vanilla Cashew Cream, coconut cream, non-dairy ice cream or custard.
Here are a couple of tasty-looking recipes where vanilla features prominently:
Vanilla or Chocolate?
It’s the last day of September tomorrow and the official end of Vegan MoFo, but as mentioned in my last post I’m finishing my A-Z series so will be posting for a few more days before resuming normal blogging.