VEGAN MINI LAYER CAKE WITH CREAM 'CHEESE' FROSTING + A COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY! (ChF, GF, NF, V+, V)

VEGAN NAKED MINI LAYER CAKE WITH CREAM 'CHEESE' FROSTING + A COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY! (ChF, GF, NF, V+, V)

SIDENOTE: If you are looking for the gluten-free version of this cute little cake, then please head over to Heal's blog for the full recipe + a handful of other pictures. Heal's kindly provided the totally lush grey linen you see in the pictures here and I'm super grateful for their generosity in making this blog post what it is :).  

ON TO THE MAIN SHOW ;): It's hard for me to believe that it's been less than a year since I met Aimee from Twigg Studios for the very first time. But despite our relatively new-ish friendship, it feels like we've known each other FOREVER. I mean we've baked together, we've been to France together, we hitch-hiked together and Aimee's been to stay so often that the guest bedroom in our house is now referred to as 'Aimee's room'. So when Aimee told me her second book Aimee's Perfect Bakes was on the verge of hitting the bookshelves and subsequently asked me to feature it on my little blog, you can bet your bottom dollar I shouted a loud, resounding YES!

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Like her first book, which I baked from here, Aimee's second book is PACKED full of beautiful recipes including a rainbow cake with edible flowers (so gorgeous!), a mandarin lemon cake with cream cheese frosting (the prettiest cake EVER) and a pineapple pavlova (need I say more?!). There's also an entire chapter dedicated to savoury bakes, which I thought was pretty cool :). Importantly, despite the fact that Aimee isn't a vegan baker, I found many of her recipes - including today's offering - really easy to adapt and veganise.

THE COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED! That said, I'm sure you'll be glad to hear that you can win a copy of Aimee's book, Aimee's Perfect Bakes on the blog this week ;). You see, Murdoch Books were super awesome and gifted me two copies of Aimee's Perfect Bakes - one for me to keep (HOORAY!) and one to give away to YOU! All you need to do is comment below, telling me what recipes you'd like to see on the blog over the coming months. But be quick with your answers, entry to this give-away closes at midnight (Greenwich Time) on Monday, November 14th. The winner will be picked and notified within a week of the closing date. Please note that this competition is open to UK residents only though even if you don't live in the UK, I'd love to hear frm you below ;). Ok, enough terms and conditions :P. Now, I can't wait to read your answers. Good luck! THE WINNER IS AMBER. CONGRATULATIONS!

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VEGAN NAKED MINI LAYER CAKE WITH CREAM 'CHEESE' FROSTING (ChF, GF, NF, V+, V)

As you can imagine it was pretty tricky choosing a recipe to make from Aimee's new cookbook, but after some back and forth and toing and froing I went for her persimmon naked layer cake, which I veganised, reduced to a minicake and adapted to fit the fruits that I had to hand. I am - I must confess - super chuffed with how it came out and having had 7 (!) taste tasters to confirm that the cake indeed rocks, I'm 100% sure you'll love it too.

Before I share the recipe though, I just wanted to give a big shout out to Ana Estelles, who was an awesome food photography student and the most beautiful handmodel EVER. And another shout out to Heal's for kindly providing me with the grey linen you see in these pictures; without it the shoot just couldn't have happened. Full stop!

I truly hope you enjoy the recipe and please don't forget to check the tips at the end before you get started ;). Many thanks and see you soon :).

Preparation Time: 20-25 minutes
Baking Time: 40-50 minutes
Cooling Time: 30-40 minutes
Makes: 2 mini layer cakes
Serves: 10 - 12

Ingredients for the sponge:
3tbs ground flax seeds + 9tbs water
100g soft brown sugar
50g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
150g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
150g coconut oil, melted + extra for greasing the ramekins
2-3 tbs almond milk (or any other plant-based milk)
1 small ripe pear, washed, cored, peeled and chopped into small chunks

Ingredients for the frosting:
200ml coconut yoghurt
1 tbs maple syrup
100g vegan cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla powder

Seasonal flowers or evergreens for decorating

For the instructions, please just scroll down....

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Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. With coconut oil grease and with grease-proof paper line 4 ramekins (3.5inch/10cm diametre each).

Place the ground flax seeds and water in a little bowl, stir and set aside for 5-10 minutes.
Next in a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients for the sponge - the two sugars, the vanilla powder, flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Briefly stir until combined, making sure there are no sugar or flour lumps.
In a separate bowl mix together the wet ingredients - the melted coconut oil, the almond milk and chopped up pear. Wen ready, add the ground flax seed/water mixture and briefly combine.

Next pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until nicely combined. If the mixture looks very dry, feel free to add a tiny bit more almond milk.

Then evenly distribute the sponge batter into the 4 prepared ramekins and bake for 40 minutes. To test, insert a skewer into the centre; if it comes out clean the cake is ready.

Whilst the sponge is baking, prepare the frosting by mixing together the ingredients for the frosting; you can do this by hand or use an electric whisk if you prefer. Once done, keep the frosting in the fridge until the sponge is ready.

When the the sponge layers are done remove them from the oven, leave to cool for 10 minutes - 20 minutes. Then place the sponge layers in the freezer for about 15 minutes or so. This will make cutting them in half so much easier!

When the sponge layers are ready (they should be hard, but not solid so that you can still easily cut through them) removee them from the freezer and carefully cut them in half. Frost each layer until you have 2 4-layer mini cakes. Decorate with flowers etc. and enjoy!

The mini cakes will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.

Tip 1: The cake is quite moist hence the longer baking time. But each oven is different so it's worth doing the skewer test at the 30 minute mark.
Tip 2: You can make only 1 mini cake by halving this recipe. We made 1 mini cake and just froze the two extra sponge layers which we enjoyed a few weeks later (unfrosted) for brunch. Having extra layers and extra icing just means you're covered should something go wrong ;)
Tip 3: Don't be fooled, despite their little appearance, they're really rich and each cake easily serve 5 - 6 people.
Tip 4: The riper the pear the more delicious the cake. Also you can use persimmon fruit instead of pears if you prefer (as in the original recipe).
Tip 5: Just beware that vegan cream cheese is generally only available in health food stores, but it's SO worth going the extra mile to get it ;).
Tip 6: The ramekins we used were bought at a mainstream supermarket and are easily available. You can also get them online here.