Did that title get your attention? I’ll get to the Holy Shit Cake in a few minutes. But first, let me introduce you to Vegan Goodness by Jessica Prescott. She is the creator of the blog Wholy Goodness and the writer of this new cookbook.
I love finding new cookbooks but I am not always inspired to make more than one or two recipes. But I am going to say that I think it is a wonderful addition to the vegan world of cookbooks. There are about 60 recipes and they are simple and creative with beautiful photographs. There are some ideas in this book that I have never thought of – like the nut roast – but also some that I have – like tabbouleh and ginger turmeric tonic. When I find a book that has familiar recipes, I know I am in the right place.
I love that Jessica wrote and photographed this book while she was pregnant – creating a book while creating a vegan baby! Jessica talks about her veganism and her journey in the introduction, then outlines a shopping list with basic and “weird” ingredients like nooch (but if you are vegan, not so weird!) There is a section about kitchen equipment and some tips and tricks, the number one being to “slow down!”
The food in this book is hearty and rustic, nothing too fancy, which is just fine by me. I have made a bunch of recipes and they have all been successful! The first one I made was the Tabbouleh from the Quick Eats section. I happened to have everything on hand and ready to go so it was a simple matter of chopping. I made it with a mix of quinoa and millet plus pine nuts, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, chickpeas, mint and parsley.
Next, from the Slow Suppers section, I made the Nut Roast. It is savory, nutty and all around delicious. My apartment smelled so good while it was cooking, I literally couldn’t wait for it to come out of the oven. It’s got cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts and sesame seeds plus red onions, garlic, zucchini, parsley and thyme! Not for someone with nut allergies, that is for sure, but for us (and my friend with whom I shared it), delicious.
Lastly, I made the Holy Shit Cake from the Sweet Treats Section. Jessica named this cake based on the reactions of everyone who eats it and I would agree. It is not too sweet and could be gluten-free if you need it to be.
And luckily, I got permission to reprint the recipe from the publisher if you want to try it! There are more recipes I am excited to try including the Pea and Potato Dumplings, the Tangy Berry Tarts, and the Watermelon Limeade. I am highly recommending this book!
HOLY SHIT CAKE
MAKES 1 x 18 CM (7 IN) OR 1 x 23 CM (9 IN) ROUND CAKE
This is a recipe from my mum that I have veganised. I renamed it Holy Shit Cake because that is what people say when they first bite into it. If you don’t have a food processor you can use pre-ground nuts. The texture will be a little different, but still really yummy.
For the salted caramel:
400 ml (13 fl oz) tin coconut milk
10 Medjool dates, pits removed and finely chopped
a pinch of sea salt
For the cake:
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds or chia seeds
140 g (5 oz / 1 cup) almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts or a mix of all three, plus a handful extra, roughly chopped, for the top
40 g (1 1/2 oz / 1/4 cup) sesame seeds (optional)
150 g (5 oz / 1 1/2 cups) rolled (porridge) oats or rice flakes
90 g (3 1/4 oz / 1 cup) desiccated coconut
110 g (3 3/4 oz / 1/2 cup) granulated (raw) brown sugar (demerara)
3 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour or buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract
a pinch of sea salt
100 ml (3 1/2 fl oz / 1/3 cup) coconut oil, melted
Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF/Gas 4).
To make the caramel, put the coconut milk in a small saucepan. Add the chopped dates to the pan and bring to the boil, then allow to simmer, whisking occasionally to help the dates break down. When the caramel is thick and smooth, remove from the heat, add the salt and set aside.
To make the cake, blend the flaxseeds or chia seeds with 120 ml (4 fl oz / 1/2 cup) of water and set aside. Combine the remaining ingredients, except the coconut oil, in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are roughly chopped. Now add the flaxseeds or chia seeds and the coconut oil and blitz until thoroughly combined.
Press two-thirds of the mixture into a lined springform cake tin. Smooth the surface using the back of a wet spoon. Pour the salted caramel into the cake pan over the cake mix, using a rubber spatula so you don’t miss any salted caramel goodness. Sprinkle the remaining cake mix over the caramel. Top with a handful of roughly chopped nuts.
Bake for 30 minutes and allow to cool in the tin for another 30 minutes before serving with some coconut cream or Banana Ice Cream.
You can use psyllium husk instead of flax or chia seeds, but add it with the dry ingredients and then add the water with the coconut oil. Don’t combine the psyllium husk with water and allow it to thicken as it will go reeeeally thick if you do this. If you are gluten-free, use gluten-free oats or rice flakes.
Recipe excerpted with permission from Vegan Goodness by Jessica Prescott, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $24.99 hardcover. Photography credit: Jessica Prescott