Guilt-less Desserts & Treats for your Family
How’s your 2018 going? We are now ¼ of the way through the year and I am exhausted…already!! It’s been one of those times where you have no idea what you’ve actually achieved but it feels like you’ve gone 10 rounds with Mike… so maybe you’ve got something done?
There’s been some great things so far this year, with 6yo S successfully starting school (and by success I mean I’m yet to be called to the Principals office), 8yo H starting Drama and loving mime (our house is never dull) and 2yo L learning more than the first 2 lines to her favourite Frozen song.
And there’s been some ugly tears, yelling matches and heart break, but I guess you can’t have the ups without some downs; a Roller Coaster of a year if you will.
Earlier this year I did a big race called the Roller Coaster run. It’s 43kms up and down the nasty hills of Mt Dandenong, just outside of Melbourne, and to say I was nervous was an understatement. I was scared [email protected]#%less, verging on tears as I approached the starting line. The hills were daunting, I knew I’d be chasing cut off times and it was all on trails that I’d never seen before. I’d been training for months for this event so I knew my legs were ready, but the lead up during the week was less than ideal and I wasn’t sure my head was in the game.
The night before the race we stayed in a tiny cabin at a nearby caravan park. H had the flu and was feverish and lethargic, S had a giant spew in the kitchen at 2am and L (as per normal) spent most of the night waking with night terrors or only being able to sleep on my head. And just to rub salt in the wound, I got my period that night. When the alarm went off just before 6am I had probably had about 3 hours of very interrupted sleep; not ideal prep for an hilly Ultra race (or any type of activity for that matter!!).
For the first 2 hours I struggled. It wasn’t the running I was having problems with (although I wasn’t descending as fast I would have liked; I blame the fatigue and my sleep deprived slow reflexes). I had set myself mini time/distance goals, but felt like I was dragging so far behind. I was stuck in my head. I was giving my DNF speech, trying to find acceptable excuses for pulling out and condemning myself for not doing as well as I could. At the 15km mark I came across a lovely lady from Queensland that I’d met in the loo that morning for the pre race nervous wee. She asked me how I was going and I honesty replied ‘not great’. She commented on my pace and told me that I was doing a great job. I then realised that despite my negative talk and self-loathing I had met my arbitrary time goal and was on par to be 30 minutes ahead of the tight cut off at the 21km mark.
Sure, my downhills were slower than normal, but the terrain was rocky and I’d already helped a fellow runner who’d face planted whilst going down hill and twisted her ankle. Sure, the up hills were horrendous and never ending but this is what I had trained for. By the time I got to the ½ way point (and turn around point) I was energised, excited and ready for the next 3 ½ hours of hills.
This race was hard; really hard, but I was proud that I had finished, both physically and mentally. Could I have finished faster? Maybe 15 minutes or so, but over the course of 43km and 6 ½ hours, 15 minutes is only a flash in time and given the circumstances of the past 24 hours just getting to the finish line was an achievement.
Yet, I still felt like I’d let myself down, and that was furthered the next day when I saw that a local runner had also raced and had posted a much better time than me (I later learnt that there’s a reason for that; he’s a very accomplished athlete!!). I still look back on that race with both a sense of accomplishment and ‘what if’, but to know that I still finished despite all the kid dramas (S also vomited at an aid station as I ran past), lack of sleep and need for regular toilet stops is something that I’m learning to pat myself on the back for.
Success can be measured in many ways, and not many of them involve finishing first.
I recently shared a recipe for a Chocolate Cake cooked in a pressure cooker and was pleasantly surprised by the interest in my strange recipe (it was also made with sneaky veggies). I figured there might be something to this so I decided to make a Pressure Cooker Vanilla Cake as well. I can hear a lot of you saying ‘but I don’t have a pressure cooker’ (lucky Faye G does thanks to the one she won from Mummy Made.It and Everten!!). Don’t worry; you can bake this cake in an oven as well without altering any part of the recipe or even the cooking time…but it won’t sound as
wanky hipster cool as ‘I just cooked this in my Insta Pot’ does!!
This Pressure Cooker Vanilla Cake is made just like a regular sponge. The eggs are whisked with sweetener and then the dry ingredients are folded in. Be careful to fold the dry ingredients in thoroughly, but also lightly (think a ballerina carrying heavy bricks!!). All the dry ingredients, especially the coconut flour, needs to be well stirred into the egg mixture but without destroying all the egg fluff that you beautifully whisked up. For the most success sift the dry ingredients onto the egg mixture in 2-3 parts and then use a spatula fold it through.
I have cooked this Pressure Cooker Vanilla Cake in a single 6 inch cake tin, as that is the size that fits in my pressure cooker. If you can only fit a 5 inch then use that instead, or you don’t have any suitable cake tins try a casserole or baking dish. After the cake was cooked and cooled I sliced it in half and spread lots of dairy free Whipped Coconut Cream between the layers and topped it with more cream and strawberries. You can choose to keep the cake as 1 layer or swap the cream for Chocolate Frosting or even Strawberry Cream Frosting. This Pressure Cooker Vanilla Cake is a ‘sturdy cake’ (I didn’t want to hurt it’s feelings by calling it thick or solid) so it can also be used for character cakes or carving.
Have you ever cooked with a Pressure Cooker? Would you ever think of making dessert in it?? For more tips on cooking cakes in a Pressure Cooker see this recipe.
- 6 Eggs
- 1/3 Cup Maple Syrup or Rice Malt Syrup
- 3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 1 teaspoon Vinegar
- 1/2 Cup Milk (of choice)
- 3 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 Cup plus 1 teaspoon Coconut Flour
- 1/4 Cup Arrowroot
- 1/2 teaspoon Bicarb Soda (Baking Soda)
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 2 Cups Coconut Cream (place many 400ml can of Coconut Cream/Milk opened in the fridge overnight. Spoon off the thickened cream and discard the watery remains)
- 4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 4 teaspoons Maple Syrup
- Grease a 15cm/6 inch cake tin. This size fitted snuggly into my pressure cooker.
- Place the eggs into the clean bowl of a kitchen stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk the egg on high for 5 minutes.
- Add the maple syrup and vanilla and whisk until large peaks have formed. Continue whisking on medium/high and add the milk and vinegar.
- In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the dry ingredients together. Ensure that the coconut flour has no lumps in it.
- Add the flour mixture by sifting the ingredients over the egg mixture in 2 lots and folding it in using a spatula.
- Pour the batter into the tin and smooth out the tops
- Place a trivet (small metal plate thingy, or if you don;t have one just use a small dinner plate) on the base of the pressure cooker and add 2 cups of cold water.
- Place the cake tin in the pressure cooker, sitting on the trivet. Close the lid and 'lock', making sure the pressure valve is set to lock.
- Cook for 25 minutes.
- When the timer goes off immediately release the pressure but leave the cake in the closed pressure cooker for a further 10 minutes. After 10 minutes remove, being careful of any steam released from the pressure cooker.
- Allow the cake to cool in the tin before removing.
- Once the cake has cooled completely, remove from the tin and frost, decorate and devour.
- I sliced my cake in half and then used the whipped cream in the middle and then on top, but you don't need to do that if you don't trust your carving skills. Just spread the tasty cream over the top and sides.
- In a bowl of a kitchen stand with a whisk attachment, add the thickened coconut cream, maple syrup and vanilla extract and whisk on high until thick.
- Place the cream back in the fridge to thicken before using.
- The cooking time for this Vanilla Cake is based on my Pressure Cooker. The timer only begins once the ideal cooking pressure is reached; the time is not measured from when the cake is put in the pressure cooker. Most modern pressure cookers do this for you however some of the old school versions (like our parents and grandparents had) do not come with an inbuilt clock.
- Cooking time may vary from from cooker to cooker. If your cake is not cooked after the 10 minute resting period put it back in the pressure cooker for 5 minutes.
- This Cake can also be cooked in a moderate oven (180C) for 25 minutes.