Remember the recipe which was not at all what Scott asked for? Well, hopefully, this one actually will be more useful, though I’m not sure it entirely fills the brief. Especially once you have it for dessert with spiced cherries, ice-cream and fancy nougat…
Technically, one could say that this recipe is based on one of my favourite cakes from Wayfaring Chocolate, but since I veganised it and then changed all the proportions and half of the flavours, I very much doubt Hannah would recognise it in its current state.
I’ve kept this slice pretty plain – it has a rather nutty, wholemeal texture to go with its Nutella taste – but there is a fair bit you could do with it to liven it up.
Oh, and Scott? Still no Nuttella. Sorry. But I’m not going to the trouble of sweetening something with agave and then adding a spread that is mostly composed of sugar. That would just be silly…
Your Shopping List75 g quinoa, raw, or 150 g cooked 150 g hazelnut meal 30 g cocoa, as dark as you can find 2 tsp baking powder 1/4 cup flaxseed meal 1/4 cup agave nectar 1/4 cup maple syrup 1/2 cup water 1/3 cup apple sauce 1 tbsp vanilla extract
Now what will you do with it?
First, cook the quinoa if it wasn’t cooked already. Put it in a saucepan with enough water to cover it, bring to the boil, and simmer until done. You can tell when it’s done, because it gets these little spiral tails. Very cute. Add more water if you need to while cooking, and drain any excess off when it’s done. This usually takes between 5 and 10 minutes – if you potter around the kitchen collecting and measuring all your other ingredients while it cooks, you can keep an eye on it and all will be well.
Pre-heat your oven to 160°C, and line a 20 cm square tin with baking paper.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the hazelnut meal, cocoa, baking powder, and flax meal. Add the quinoa to this mixture once its cooked, and stir until very well combined.
In a measuring jug, combine the agave nectar, maple syrup, water, vanilla and apple sauce. Pour this into the dry ingredients and mix together well.
Scrape into the prepared tin. This will be quite amusing, because the mixture will almost certainly sit up in a big lump, and will need to be pressed down and into the corners.
Bake for approximately half an hour, or until it passes the skewer test. Let cool in tin, as it’s a fairly fragile cake.
Eat, virtuously. Or, if you are a show-off like me, serve it with spiced cherries, ice-cream and fancy nougat from the new gourmet food shop just down the road.
I shall start by pointing out, gloatingly, that this recipe is vegan and gluten-free and not totally appalling in the glycemic index department, especially if you use all agave nectar instead of maple syrup. I would think you could also get away with reducing the liquid sweetener component down to 1/3 or 1/4 cup in total, if need be – this would make mixing everything together slightly more annoying, but not impossible. Conversely, if you want it to be low fructose, you probably want to find another sweetener – I’ve heard differing reports about maple syrup, but I suspect molasses or treacle would work here – you want a sweetener that has a bit of darkness to it. And lose the apple sauce, which is mostly helping with replacing eggs anyway. Soy or almond milk would be fine instead.
In terms of things to do with this, you could have a real field day with mix-ins. It would be fun, for example, to throw in 50g each of chopped dark chocolate and hazelnuts right before you put this in the oven, to intensify the whole Nutella / Gianduja theme. Dried apricots would also be lovely with this combination of flavours, and candied ginger might also work.
Also, of course, you could use almond meal for a milder flavour – I recommend the coarser type that comes from un-blanched almonds – or walnut meal, in which case I’d definitely be tempted to use apricot nectar to replace some of the liquid in this recipe, and add some dried apricots into the whole thing, or maybe go with plum jam, or dried cherries. The possibilities are nearly endless…
This time last year…