The Sweet Life : Vegan Cardamom Molasses Cake
In full transparency, I have a major sweet tooth and have been known to be the girl that stashes a few dark chocolate bars at the office for whenever the cravings hit. Luckily, when I have been introduced to the world of Ayurveda, I began learning about where these deep seated cravings came from and the purpose they served in my sometimes futile attempts to bring in more sweetness to life. The body and mind are beautiful ''mechanisms'' that consistently guides us towards a potentially better state of health, even when we feel they make it difficult for us to make wiser nutritional and lifestyle choices - the key is always to truly know your mind-body and its responses i.e. constant self-awareness. Once you have that awareness, you are much more inclined to sense the subtle calls for balance.
My sweet cravings are still a work in progress, however when I choose to indulge, I more often than not enjoy my desserts at appropriate times in the day, according to season and create them with as much nutritional intelligence as I can (unlike the many processed and packaged sweet treats that are so abundantly available to us). When I bake, I keep in mind to choose foods that are as fresh and whole as possible, mostly organic and properly combined. I also believe that just the fact that it was made at home, by my hands and with the intention of bringing pleasure and comfort to my senses and those I share it with, it naturally increases its healing qualities and digestibility - the pillars of ayurvedic nutrition.
Today, with all of this in mind, I baked a vegan cardamom molasses cake that I topped with coconut-cardamom whipped cream - FULL BLOWN PLEASURE of the senses. I am a big fan of molasses - it was often used in traditional italian desserts and so it also brings me back to sweet sweet childhood memories. It also has a very interesting western and ayurvedic nutritional profile, including good levels of iron and other essential minerals, blood tonic action as well as warming and grounding qualities. However let's just keep it at indulgences for today;)
Vegan Cardamom Molasses Cake
For the cake:
2 cups whole grain spelt flour + 2 Tbsp for baking dish
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup raw granulated sugar
2 tsp pure baking soda
2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp of sea salt
1/2 cup of coconut oil + 1 Tbs for baking dish
3/4 cup of unsulfured blackstrap molasses
2 flax eggs* (directions below)
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh dates
1 cup hot water
For the Coconut-Cardamom Whipped Cream Topping:
1 160 ml can coconut cream (chilled overnight in refrigerator)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1~ Grease and flour 9''X9'' baking dish and set oven at 350 degrees F.
2~ Prepare flax eggs by mixing 2 Tbs of ground flax seeds with 6 Tbs of filtered water and set aside to allow the mixture to slightly thicken.
3~ Bring the cup of water to a boil, set aside and keep hot.
4~ In a large bowl, sift together spelt and coconut flour, cardamom, salt, and baking soda.
5~ With a hand mixer set on low speed, cream the coconut oil and sugar together. Gradually add molasses and flax eggs and continue mixing until well combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until batter has a smooth and even consistency. Stir in hot water and mix well. Fold in chopped dates.
6~ Pour batter into the greased and floured baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
Coconut-Cardamom Whipped Cream Topping:
1~ Place mixing bowl and the hand mixer's whisk attachment in freezer for 5 minutes before making the whipped cream.
2~ Take the coconut cream can from the refrigerator and be mindful of not shaking while removing the lid. Scrape out all the hardened part, leaving out the liquid portion of the cream. (which you can use in another recipe - zero waste!)
3~ Place hardened cream in the chilled bowl. Beat for 30 seconds until you obtain a creamy consistency. Add ground cardamom, vanilla extract and maple syrup and mix until soft peaks form, about 3 minute. Adjust sweetness if needed.
4~ With a spatula, cover cake top evenly with the coconut whipped cream and top with toasted and flaked coconut, if desired.
Enjoy every bite fully!