Being vegan doesn't mean missing out on the Christmas treats. While finding dairy and egg-free sweet treats can occasionally be a challenge, it is totally possible to indulge in a healthier, plant-based way. But vegan baking can seem trick as you need to replace eggs, butter and dairy in traditional recipes. But once you figure out the right substitutes, it becomes easier to bake delightful treats. If a recipe calls for cow’s milk, try using unsweetened soymilk, almond milk or coconut milk. You can replace butter with canola oil, olive oil or coconut oil. Coconut oil works better than any other fat because it stays solid at room temperature, so it behaves like butter in baking. And you don’t need to forgo the frosting as making vegan whipped cream is super easy. Just chill a can of coconut milk, take the surface cream off, whisk it a little bit, and it’s ready. But the best part about these decadent goodies is that despite being dairy-free or gluten-free, they're also delicious enough for the whole family to enjoy.
Vegan and Gluten Free Cacao Cake
- 1 cup gluten-free flour blend
- 1 cup oat flour
- 4 tbsp coconut flour
- 5 tbsps cacao powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1 medium ripe avocado
- 3 medium very ripe bananas
- ½ cup + 4 tbsp date paste
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 cup unsweetened almond milk + 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
For Chocolate Frosting
- ¼ cup natural, unsalted creamy almond butter
- 4 tbsp date paste
- 2 tbsp cacao powder
- 4 tbsp water
- Preheat oven to 175 degree C and line an 8-inch round baking pan with coconut oil and parchment paper.
- Measure out 2 cups of almond milk and add the vinegar to it. Let it set for a minute or two, then add baking soda and powder to the mixture and whisk.
- Add avocado and banana to a large mixing bowl and mash. Add date paste, coconut sugar, coconut oil and stir.
- Add cacao powder, salt, gluten-free flour blend, and coconut flour to a sifter (reserve oat flour since it's more coarse) and sift over wet ingredients. Whisk vigorously to combine. Add oat flour and stir once more. Pour into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
- Bake for 65-70 minutes or until the top is firm and dark. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for an hour. Blend all ingredients of the frosting and spread over cake generously.
Vegan Beetroot Cake
- Refined oil: 120 ml
- Coconut powder: 80 gms
- Castor sugar: 120 gms
- Almond milk: 80 ml
- Grated beetroot: 200 gms
- Lemon juice: 20 ml
- Cinnamon powder: 3 gms
- Wheat flour: 125 gms
- Baking powder: 4 gms
- Baking soda: 3 gms
- Whisk the coconut powder, oil, castor sugar and coconut milk together.
- Add grated beetroot along with the other ingredients and whisk together giving it a fine smooth texture.
- Pour in the respective mould and bake at 170 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes.
Espresso Walnut Raw Brownies
For the brownie:
- n 1/3 cup raw walnuts
- 1/5 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
- ½ cup dates, deseeded
- 1/8 cup cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp finely ground coffee or instant coffee
- Pinch of salt
- A few walnut bits for topping
- 50 gms dark chocolate, grated
- 2 tbsp coconut milk or dark chocolate filling
- Add the dates to the food processor and process until small bits remain. Remove from bowl and set aside.
- Place walnuts and almonds in the mixer and process until finely ground.
- Add to it the cocoa powder, coffee powder and salt. Pulse to combine.
- Add the date paste. Blend until a dough consistency is achieved.
- Add the brownie mixture to a small parchment lined tin and evenly distribute. Press down until it is flat and firm.
- Place it in the freezer or fridge to chill before cutting.
- Double boil grated chocolate and add the coconut milk. Blend well till combined. After cooling spread it on to the brownies.
-Recipe by Vinita Contractor for Café Garde Manger
Coconut milk panacotta
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp agar agar powder
- A pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- fresh basil leaves
- Place agar agar, maple syrup and coconut milk in a small pot and bring it to a boil. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, whisking it constantly. Add salt and vanilla to this.
- Pour the mixture into 2 glasses and chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
- In a bowl, add in the balsamic vinegar, sugar and chopped strawberries.
- When you're ready to serve, drain the strawberries and top it on the panacotta. Serve with a sprig of basil
Vegan chocolate verrine
For Avocado ganache mousse
- 150 gm coconut cream
- 115 gm dark chocolate
- 13 gm maple syrup
- n 330 gm avocado
- n 3 gm cinnamon
- 1 gm ginger powder
- 2 gm all spice powder
For Bittersweet chocolate Glaze
- 114 gm dark chocolate
- 75 gm almond milk
- 75 gm coconut milk or cream
- 18 gm maple syrup
- 10 gm olive oil
- 2 gm vanilla extract
For Cocoa nib and toasted coconut soil
- 100 gm almond butter
- 100 gm dark chocolate
- 25 gm toasted coconut
- 40 gm cocoa nibs
- 18 gm coconut oil
- 25 chopped dried cranberries
For forest berry tea and beetroot gel
- 80 gm Earl grey tea
- 100 gm berry cold press juice
- 2 gm cinnamon
- 120 gm beetroot cold press juice
- n 30 gm organic cane sugar
- 4 gm agar agar
- For avocado ganache mousse, boil coconut milk, spices and maple syrup. Add in raw chocolate to make a ganache. Whip avocado and fold into the ganache. Mix it properly and pipe into verrine molds to set.
- For the chocolate glaze, chop chocolate and keep aside. Bring almond milk, coconut milk and maple syrup to boil. Pour it over the chopped chocolate. Add the vanilla and olive oil and whisk till smooth and strain.
- For the cocoa nib and toasted coconut soil, melt chocolate and almond butter together and mix the desiccated toasted coconut along with chopped cranberries, cocoa nibs, coconut oil.
- For Forest berry tea and beetroot gel bring cold press juice, infused tea and cinnamon to a boil with sugar. Add agar agar and whisk until smooth. Strain and reserve.
- Assemble the dessert by adding to the chocolate mousse glass verrine 1 ½ tbs of bittersweet chocolate glaze, cocoa nib chocolate soil and drops of forest berry tea gel.
- Garnish with chopped roasted almonds, cranberries, fresh raspberries, pumpkin seeds or microgreens.
Chef Sanjana Patel from Folie