Recipes, Sweet


Is it a cake? Is it a cookie? Is it a slice, Is it a brownie? Look... who knows and does it matter? It's delicious! What I can say though is that it is delicious, satisfying, dense and oh, so sweet.

If you have been following along on my insta stories you would know this cake has been a fair few trials in the making. Ironically, working on recipes to make them as simple as possible often results in many, many iterations of the same thing and, quite often, cake for dinner! haha. I am not recommending cake for dinner but knowing that this one is made up of whole food ingredients and minimally processed does help! 

I am SO GRATEFUL and love it so much when you share your creations with me on Instagram. Make sure to tag @natural_harry so I can see and leave a comment down below! It really does mean the world to me when you contribute to this little plant-based whole foods community in that way! 

x Harry 

* For ideas on ingredient swaps, additions, storage, serving suggestions and more: 
See cooks notes at the bottom of the post * 
Makes one medium cake 
Prep time: 5 minutes 
Cook time: 35 minutes 
Difficulty: Easy 
Equipment: Medium cake tin (i used an 18cm spring form cake tin), food processor
5 medjool dates, pitted (these are the fresh dates)
1 cup (80 g) whole rolled oats
1 cup (125 g) chickpea (besan) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/8 teaspoon salt 
4 tablespoons hulled tahini (or nut butter) 
1/2 cup (125 ml) plant based milk (I have used almond, coconut and oat) 
1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup (the real stuff!) 
1/2 cup (80 g) dark vegan chocolate, roughly chopped 
Pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees celcius, (fan forced), 180 conventional.

In a small bowl, pour over your dates with boiling water and leave to soak for a few minutes while you prepare the rest. 
Add the rolled oats to your food processor and process to form a corse flour. Add your chickpea flour, baking powder and salt. ( Tip: if you have a really high powered food processor you can make chickpea flour from dried chickpeas. ) Pulse or blend again to evenly combine.  
Drain your dates and add to the dry ingredients in your food processor. Add the remainder of the ingredients aside from the chocolate. Pulse to evenly combine and process to form a smooth dough. 
Add 3/4 of your dark chocolate pieces and mix well. (I do this step manually so make sure the chocolate remains intact. 
Line a cake tin with non-stick compostable baking paper, making sure the sides are also covered all the way to the top of the tin. Spread your mixture evenly over the tin. 
Sprinkle the top of the cake with the remainder of your chocolate pieces. Place in the oven (on the middle or lower shelf) to bake for approx 35 minutes. I would suggest checking half way. This cake does not rise very high but will crisp up on top and become lightly golden. 
Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Once cooled you can carefully remove the baking paper from the base of the cake. 
Serving suggestion:

I think this cake is most delicious served fresh with a big dollop of plant-based ice-cream (look for a clean ice-cream with a short list of ingredients from whole foods). I also like to serve it with some fresh berries! 

* To make this cake grain free you can remove the oat ingredient all together. The cake will not rise as much and will a different consistency but it works as giant cookie. Keep an eye on it as it cooks. It may take less time in the oven! You can also substitute for quinoa flakes, buckwheat or brown rice flakes, all of which will achieve a very different consistency. 

* You can swap the tahini for any other nut or seed butter. I don't though, recommend using unhulled tahini as it has a bitter flavour that will stand out in the finished product. Just note that butters with stronger flavours will lend a stronger flavour to the cake. My pick of the bunch would be almond, peanut or cashew butter. 

* For a completely nut and seed free version you can replace the tahini with coconut butter. Coconut butter (made from ground desiccated coconut) tends to harden when it cools so you will need less of it. Tahini or a butter is basically the fat and oil element in this cake so you could also substitute it for a good quality unrefined plant oil such as coconut. Again, you will need less, half the amount will do. 

* If you are making this for some lucky kiddies and want to swap the chocolate out the options are endless. Frozen berries are a great addition as are cooked apple, pear, apricot and the list goes on. You can spice those up with cinnamon and/or ginger too! 

* The dates play a part in binding the ingredients in this cake so if you are wanting to reduce the natural sugars I suggest swapping the maple syrup rather than the dates. You can swap for another natural sweetener such as coconut sugar or date syrup. For a less sweet version I would go for swapping in 1 mashed ripe banana or 1/2 cup stewed apple.

* You could also make this version, as is, into cookies which is super easy! Simply line a baking tray with baking paper and spoon 1 tablespoon or more portions of the mixture onto the tray, leaving enough room for the cookies to spread and rise a little. Cook on 180 degrees celcius, fan forced for half the time, a little longer if needed and leave to cool before removing from the tray! 

* I really think this crumbly creation is best served fresh. It does make a good share dessert or snack at a picnic. However, you can also store it in the fridge, in an airtight container and re-heat before serving. Berries, yoghurt, ice-cream and chia jam all compliment this chocolate version when served along side it. It really is delicious together or just on it's own! 

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