White Coconut Cake

Vegan and gluten free, this cake is chalky white in colour, especially if you use clear vanilla and coconut essence/extracts and coconut oil. Handy if you want to delicately colour it – light pink, aqua, yellow, any difficult colours would play nicely with this mix. Remember to bake in a light coloured pan if you really want a white cake.

The cake is quite sweet alone, you could reduce the sugar to half a cup as the coconut lends a sweetness complimented by the vanilla. Switch the sugar for 2 tbsp of honey if you prefer, but you may sacrifice the “whiteness”.

My current sneaky trick: a batch of this batter divided into cupcakes which are then frozen without icing. You can pop a frozen cake in the microwave for 30 seconds and it’s amazing just like that with a cup of tea. Yum.


  • 1 cup almond milk (or soy)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (or canola)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract/essence
  • ½ teaspoon coconut extract/essence

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 tsp guar gum
  • 1/3 cup desiccated coconut
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 170°C, line and grease an 8" round cake tin.

In a mixing bowl, combine milk and apple cider vinegar and allow to curdle.

Sift the dry ingredients together. 

Add the sugar, oil, and extracts to the milk and apple cider vinegar, combine. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet, adding a third of the dry ingredients at a time.

When all of the ingredients are combined, the batter will have some lumps and will be quite wet.

Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for about 45-50 min or until a skewer inserted into the center emerges clean. Rest the cake in its tin for 10 min on a cooling rack before turning the cake out to cool completely.

Yes the illustration is odd. That is what my frozen white cupcakes look like.

Vegan Chocolate Coconut Ice-cream

I love love love Nice Blocks, in particular, the chocolate/coconut flavour. I recreated it last night with this combination:

  • 1 240 mL tin coconut cream*
  • 2 heaped tbsp dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 lg tbsp honey

Whisk ingredients together in a freezer-safe container. You want to almost whip some air through it so it will freeze into nice fluffy ice cream. Put it in the freezer for about 3 hours.

If you have an ice cream maker, I’m jealous – use that.

The mixture will freeze more quickly in a wide shallow container – i.e, if the liquid is spread over a greater area.

*I used homebrand coconut cream, which is more like coconut milk than cream, it’s thinner. The more expensive brands of coconut cream tend to have a thicker creamier consistency but this doesn’t really matter.

Spiced roast veges

For Alex.

Tasty variation on the standard roast vege fare. Substitute whatever you have – pumpkin, sweet potato, potatoes, garlic, shallots, spices etc. This is what I used in a dish for girlfriends here for Friday night potluck… Would be nice with pumpkin/sunflower seeds too.


  • 2 large smooth golden kumara (sweet potato), peeled and cubed to roughly 1in pieces (this makes it faster to cook)
  • ¼ small golden pumpkin seeded, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tin chickpeas (drained)
  • 1 medium brown onion, peeled and wedged
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp paprica
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp garam marsala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Canola oil


Preheat your oven to 180°C.

Combine the spices in a small bowl or cup.

Oil a large roasting dish, add the kumara, pumpkin, onion, and chickpeas, stir to coat lightly in oil.

Sprinkle ½ the spice mix over the veges, stir and then add the remaining spices. Stir to coat the vegetables in spices.

Bake in the oven, stirring every ten minutes and testing the kumara until it’s cooked – soft when tested with a skewer. I’d say at least 30-40 min.

Sugar free Raspberry/Chocolate vegan Smoothie

Fiona had the most amazing raw, gluten/vegan raspberry and chocolate cake for her birthday last weekend. So good.

I’ve taken to slicing and freezing overripe/surplus bananas for smoothies. I find they make them super creamy even without any kind of milk, more so with milk. A thicker “smoothie” negates any ice cream craving, this recipe is better than ice cream. And the banana flavour is not very pronounced. Okay, getting on with it:

  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 frozen banana (ideally, sliced)
  • 1.5 tsp cocoa powder
  • ¼ to ½ cup soy (or other) milk

Chuck everything together and blend thoroughly. I like to use less milk so everything blends but is very thick, then eat it with a spoon.

It’s not hugely sweet, but the sweetness of the banana keeps the cocoa from being to bitter and the raspberries lend a tart deliciousness.

Vegan Coconut & Cardamom Pancakes

This weekend I learned that pancakes don’t really need eggs in them at all. And after two mornings in a row cooking vegan pancakes, I’m feeling a bit smug about this delicious discovery. Also, they are “superfast” to make.

Eggs creep me the hell out. Some will have heard the story of a particularly disturbing nightmare involving hatching half-formed chickens… I have been avoiding eggs ever since. I can handle baking them, if I suspend my horror long enough to crack and beat the eggs in (it still makes me feel a bit queasy). But no fried, scrambled, poached or otherwise served eggs for me.

I digress. Coconut and cardamom are delicious as a combination in sweet baked things (and oats!) so here’s my recipe for Coconut & Cardamom spiced pancakes!


  • 1 cup plain all-purpose flour*
  • ¼ cup desiccated (or shredded) coconut
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp white sugar**
  • 1 ¼ cup room temperature water
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tbsp oil (I use canola)


Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and lightly whisk with a fork to distribute and eliminate lumps (if you can be bothered, sifting is good too). Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.

Measure your water, add the oil and vanilla to the water and stir with a fork, before adding liquids to the dry mixture. Stir, but just until the ingredients are combined. Batter done!

Lightly grease and heat your frying pan to a medium heat. Spoon some batter into the pan, I like to smooth mine out with the back of a spoon so they are a nice even shape.

When the edges of the pancake crisp up a little and bubbles have come through all over the pancake, wait a little longer before turning it. I found that turning too early means the pancake will stick and break, but waiting a minute or two longer seems to do the trick.

If you’re anything like me, your first pancake will be a royal failure, but that gives you something to nibble on while cooking to remaining perfect pancakes.

Serves about three.


Everyone has their favorites. I like to split a banana in half with skin on, and then place one half at a time in the pan with the pancake currently cooking. Each banana half can stay in the pan just a bit longer than it takes to cook one pancake. They caramelise deliciously and the skin helps to keep the banana from breaking up. I use maple syrup or honey to go with banana as a topping.

Another fave is berry coulis – or at least a bastardisation of berry coulis, with no wine. I chuck some frozen raspberries and blueberries (1 ½ cups all together) in a small pot with about half a cup of pure orange juice. Maybe a tbsp or two of white sugar. Then boil, stir, turn the heat down and let the liquid simmer off. It thickens and gets a bit of a jam like consistency (serves 3).

You can’t go past a squeeze of fresh lemon and a light dusting of white sugar. Or a pile of fresh fruit chopped and drizzled with honey or maple syrup.

Lucky I’ve just finished eating or I’d be making myself hungry right about now.

* You could try a flour substitute if you’re gluten free. Perhaps some ground almonds and rice or cornflour? If you use ground almonds, reduce the oil in the batter as ground almonds are quite oily.

** Or other equivalent sweetener. If you choose to use honey or agave or stevia (liquid sweeteners), mix them with the wet ingredients rather than the dry. Heat honey to make it liquid and easier to mix.

Edit: add a tsp of cinnamon to the dry ingredients. even better!