Recipe: Vanilla and Carob Castle Cake

Hello!  Have you missed me?  I’ve missed you, she says, feelingly, looking at her terrifying list of un-read blog posts.  I’ve got a few posts to catch up on, but I’m still rather exhausted from the confectionery and also from a rather sad and taxing day yesterday, so it may take me a while.

So this is a cake I made last weekend for a three year old with a lot of allergies and food sensitivities, hence the carob, which I would not otherwise touch because it is disgusting.  Feel free to substitute in cocoa powder – it’s what I’d do.  It’s a very quick and easy cake, because I didn’t have terribly much time on my hands last weekend, for some reason, but it was well-received.

The little marshmallow mushrooms are my favourite part, and if you actually made them with chocolate, they’d be fabulous.

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1 cup sugar
1/4 cup vanilla bean sugar
1 cup butter, softened (you can use dairy-free margarine if you are really avoiding dairy).  I left mine out on the bench all day in 30° weather and that did the trick nicely…
4 eggs
1 cup soy milk
2 1/2 cups white spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch salt
1/4 cups carob powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 regular marshmallows
12 large marshmallows – the kind that are somewhat domed in shape
hundreds and thousands
150 g carob buds

Now what will you do with it?

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Get your castle (or other) bundt tin and grease it with well with butter or margarine.  Sprinkle a little flour into the tin, and shake it around so that it sticks to the butter.  Turn the tin upside-down and tap it to get rid of the excess flour.

Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla sugar until smooth.  Beat in the eggs one by one (don’t worry if it curdles – and it will), along with the soy milk and vanilla extract.  Mix in the baking powder, salt, and 2 cups of the flour.

Put one third of the batter into a different bowl, and mix the carob into it.  Mix the rest of the flour and the vanilla extract into the rest.

Scrape 1/2 of the vanilla batter into the cake tin, and top with the carob batter.  Spoon the rest of the vanilla batter over the top, and bake for 1 hour, or until it passes the skewer test.  Let cool five minutes in tin before turning out to cool on rack.

Make your mushrooms!  Put your 100s and 1000s on a plate with a rim.  Melt the carob buds and dip the flat side of the domed marshmallows first into the carob and then into the 100s and 1000s.  Let dry.  Dip one end of the ordinary marshmallows into the carob, and press gently onto the decorated side of the big marshmallows.  Dry mushroom right-side up – it will balance better that way.  If you can’t find carob buds (I couldn’t), just make a carob buttercream with 3 parts icing sugar, 1 part carob powder and 2 parts butter, beaten together until smooth (use a little soy milk to make it spreadable and a bit sticky), and use this to stick things together.  It’s less sticky, but will work. Once the mushrooms have set, dip your fingers in some cold water and flick them gently at the mushroom caps to make them sticky in spots, then sprinkle 100s and 1000s over the top.

Use the rest of the melted carob to stick the mushrooms to the cake and to decorate it.  I actually sat the cake on a big circle of the icing, and stuck mushrooms to that as well.

Variations

You can swap the carob and carob powder for chocolate and cocoa, and I think you should.  You can swap the soy milk for dairy milk or the dairy butter for Nuttelex.  You can swap the spelt flour for plain flour or a gluten-free flour mix, but make sure it’s a reasonably mild one, as this cake’s flavours are not that strong.  You could make this cake in a differently shaped bundt tin, or in two 20cm round tins (I’d bake for about 35-40 minutes and then check), and sandwich them together.  Or not.  I don’t think you can make this cake egg-free easily – there’s just too much egg in it.  But I’ve seen good vegan pound cake recipes around (mostly in Veganomicon), so that’s something to look for.

I’m afraid this post isn’t my best work – I really am very tired today.  But I’ve been neglecting this blog shamefully of late, and I wanted you to know that I’m still here, at least in part.

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9 responses to “Recipe: Vanilla and Carob Castle Cake

  1. I’m so sorry to hear you had a sad day. *super big squeezy hugs* Please remember, I’m here if there’s anything I can do for you! And yes, I’m talking about the Real World. 😉

    I like carob in some instances so would very happily eat this. I did make a horrible carob oatmeal once, though. The carob clumped into these sourish pockets of doom…

    • Thank you. I’m alright, just very, very tired, and a little sad. My grandfather died yesterday afternoon, fairly suddenly (it only became evident that things were really bad yesterday morning), which necessitated dropping everything to race down to the LaTrobe Valley for the afternoon… and then coming back on the last train last night, because while my bosses are very lovely and told me just to come back in January, there really were some things that couldn’t wait!

      (In the real world I fully intend to make your chocolate and cherry truffles to cheer myself up once work finishes tomorrow! And I hope that one day we can meet up in person and have a singing and cooking fest…)

      As for carob, I have really *tried* to like it, but it just smells so cloying and faintly nauseating to me. The vanilla sugar, though, made the cake absolutely wonderful.

  2. Sorry to hear about your grandfather. Sounds like the last thing you needed on top of busy times. Loved this cake – it was so pretty and tasted good too (I couldn’t really detect the carob – I think swirling it with vanilla helped make it taste better as I am not a carob fan). Best wishes for Christmas – hope you have some good food (is the pope a catholic!) and some rest.

  3. Hey, I recognise that cake tin… *grin*

    I’m making my first foray into gluten-free cakeage with it tomorrow, in fact. And fortunately I remembered /before/ starting that the oil/flour combination I usually season a cake pan with will have to be altered, along with the recipe!

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