Monthly Archives: October 2015

Exciting news (and a vegan cake)


First, the exciting news, which is that woman& (one of my favourite sites for do-able-yet-inspiring recipes when I have no idea what to cook, which is often) have invited me to continue my guest blog for them. Massive hurrah! Today’s post is about gadgets that have changed my life; a bold claim I realise, but it’s true. If you want to check it out, it’s here:

And now, the cake. I am not at all proud to admit that I was, in a previous existence, unforgivably unforgiving about people on special diets coming to eat at my house. ‘What, I have to cook a separate dish, just for one person?’ I’d think indignantly when, say, my sister mentioned that her new boyfriend w as a vegetarian the day before they came for supper. Well, needless to say, I now reside in a different universe and feel quite strongly that EVERYONE deserves delicious food, whatever the restrictions they operate around. So I take genuine pleasure in trying to find lovely vegetarian or gluten-free recipes for people who are that way inclined when they come over. And that is how I came to make this vegan cake at the weekend, the recipe for which is courtesy of Nigella Lawson’s new book ‘Simply Nigella’. I was sold by the fact that this is now her favourite cake to make, even for people without dietary restrictions. Enough said – right? And, although the ingredients are a bit off the beaten path and probably require a visit to somewhere along the lines of Planet Organic, the method itself was pretty much easy peasy. And, most importantly, it went down well with the vegan visitors! (although, if you are following the SCD as I am, I’m very sorry to say that you cannot share the love with this particular cake).

Dark and sumptuous chocolate cake


60ml cold water

75g coconut butter (which is not the same as oil)

50g soft dark sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso

1 1/2 x 15ml tablespoons cocoa

150g dark chocolate very finely chopped (min. 70% cocoa solids and vegan. I  used Montezuma’s)


225g plain flour

1 1/2 teaspoons bicarb of soda

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

75g cocoa

300g soft dark brown sugar

375 ml hot water, fro a recently boiled kettle

90ml (75g if weighed when solid) coconut oil

1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

1 x 15 ml tablespoons chopped pistachios

1 x 20 cm round springform cake tin.

Preheat the oven to 180C and put a baking sheet into it, then start with the icing. Put all of the icing ingredients expect the chopped chocolate into a heavy based pan and bring to the boil, making sure that everything is dissolved. Then turn off the heat and add the chocolate, swilling around so everything melts, then after a minute whisk until it’s dark and glossy. Leave to cool for the time it takes for the cake to cook, stirring every so often.

Line the tin with baking parchment.

Put the flour, bicarb, salt, espresso and cocoa into a bowl and fork to mix.

Mix together the sugar, water, coconut oil and vinegar until the oil has melted and stir into the dry ingredients, then pour into the tin and bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges are coming away from the tin and a fork comes out clean apart from a few crumbs. Transfer and cool on a wire rack.

Stir the icing, which should still be runny enough to cover the cake, then pour on top of it and use a spatula to ease it to the edges. Then add chopped pistachios and leave for half an hour before eating it with enthusiasm.