Midweek Baking, Part One

I set off on a bit of baking adventure this week, as I thought of two different things I really wanted to make! Both are 100% vegan and involve slightly unusual (and healthy) ingredients. When we think of "health food", what comes to mind? Green things. Flavorless grains. Definitely no sugar. Tiny portions. Something containing lots of vitamins and minerals. Well, that last one rings true, even for the two goodies I baked this week. So let's find out more about them.

The first journey I took into the unknown with my oven was a lemon & pistachio cake. I wanted to incorporate a couple of different recipes I'd seen, both containing olive oil as the fat (rather than butter). Healthy? Check! This one also packs in the added benefits of pistachios, agave nectar rather than sugar, a gluten-free flour mix, and milled flaxseed mixed with water instead of eggs. Those delicious little pistachios provide a great dose of fiber, protein, and antioxidants, as does the flaxseed. An egg replacement as well as a booster food? Genius!

Be aware that, as with all vegan baking, the cake will tend to be on the crumbly side. This doesn't mean it is too dry necessarily; just that the batter won't bind as well without a real egg. But I'm sure your friends won't notice, as it's only a little bit crumbly but still completely delicious!

Serve it with a lemon/agave drizzle and a couple of fig segments. Feel good about dessert!

Lemon Pistachio Cake

makes an 8-inch round cake

The particulars:

  • 1 cup shelled pistachios (unsalted)
  • 1 cup plain flour (i used gluten-free flour mix, feel free to substitute with regular or spelt flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup agave nectar (or your favorite sweetener)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup milk (i used almond milk, feel free to substitute with any milk you like)
  • 2 "flax eggs" - 1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp water for each "egg"
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  1. Heat the oven to 350F. grease your 8-inch cake tin. Make your flax eggs by whisking the flaxseed and water in a small bowl and leaving to sit until you need them.
  2. Place pistachios in the food processor. Blitz until they are the texture of small gravel and remove about half. Pulse the remaining pistachios until they resemble coarse sand.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the sand-like pistachios with the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir until well combined, then add the oil, milk, and agave nectar. Beat with a whisk until blended. add the "eggs" and lemon juice, and beat some more. Gently fold in the gravel-like pistachios.
  4. Pour batter into your greased tin and bake for about 45 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.