Lurking in the pages of Rose Elliot’s book Fast, Fresh and Fabulous (on page 186 to be precise) is a recipe for a vegan Victoria sandwich cake. No pictures or anything, just a list of ingredients that specifically excludes eggs and butter. I’ve passed over this recipe many times in favour of more enticing cake recipes because any sense of deprivation never sits well in this foodie’s heart. Besides which, surely you need eggs to make cake mix rise up properly into a light and moist cake? Erm, turns out the answer is, “No”!
This Vegan Victoria Sandwich Cake is beautiful in its simplicity and it looks and tastes - to my utmost surprise - exactly like a well-made Victoria sandwich cake should look and taste. Booom!
Furthermore, there’s no beating, no whisking, no sifting and no holding your breath whilst trying to extract hot cake from its tin onto a cooling rack. It’s so easy to make, I reckon I could teach a 7-year old!
Of course, I’ve got rid of the sugar, self-raising flour and rapeseed oil in the original recipe to make this Primal/Paleo/Vegan cake a more desirable and healthier cake to eat. Oh, and I’ve even included a 5-minute recipe for a fresh-tasting, sugar-free alternative to raspberry jam. On second thoughts, I’ve made so many changes to this Vegan Victoria Sandwich Cake, it’s not Rose’s, it’s most definitely mine!
Vegan Victoria Sandwich Cake (serves 10 )
Ingredients - for the cake
Grated zest from 1 organic orange
100ml fresh organic orange juice (i.e. 1-2 organic oranges, freshly squeezed)
30ml organic maple syrup
170ml freshly filtered water
90g organic coconut oil, melted & cooled for 5 minutes, plus a little extra for greasing the sandwich tins
Ingredients - for the filling and to serve
Sukrin Icing sugar - for dusting the finished cake
Instructions - to make the cake
Pre-heat the oven to 180℃ / 350℉ / Gas mark 4
Melt the coconut oil over a low heat and set aside to cool
Grease and line the base of 2 x 18cm / 7 inch sandwich tins with non-stick baking parchment http://www.lakeland.co.uk/5521/100-Baking-Parchment-Liner-Paper-Circles-18cm
Put the tiger nut flour, ground almonds, Sukrin:1, baking powder and grated orange zest into a large bowl and mix together well.
Mix the orange juice, maple syrup and water together in a separate glass bowl or jug and add to the dry ingredients. Mix well with a large rubber spatula until all the ingredients are evenly incorporated into a cake batter.
Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 tins, stand these side-by-side on a large baking tray and bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Leave to cool in the tins before turning out onto a wire rack and stripping off the paper.
Sandwich the cakes together with the jam.
Sift the Sukrin icing on top of the cake just before serving.
Tiger nuts are high in MUFAs (pronounced moo-fahs) namely, monounsaturated fatty acids in plant-based fats, which are found in some of the world's most delicious foods such as avocado, nuts and seeds, olives, and dark chocolate! These good-for-you fats enhance heart health and protect against chronic disease. Tiger nuts are also extremely high in fibre and contain good levels of vitamin E, iron, magnesium, zinc and potassium. They are full of oleic acid - the healthy fat found in olive oil and most important of all, resistant starch (RS). Eating like a carbohydrate but behaving like fibre, RS is a prebiotic starch that passes through the body undigested. i.e. it passes through the stomach and small intestine without being digested. When it finally reaches the colon it feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut. Anything that enhances the health of your gut has a direct impact on maintaining good health per se. To up your intake of resistant starch, try adding plain tiger nut flour to smoothies or stir through Greek yogurt for a subtle nutty sweetness. Alternatively, Primal Pronto Energy Bars are an enjoyable way to feed your face and your gut!
Although bright yellow rapeseed oil (aka canola oil) is an ingredient in Rose Elliot’s recipe that would visually enhance this orange-scented cake, I chose to use coconut oil instead. Recently, many health pundits, top chefs and recipe writers have been touting rapeseed oil as a healthier alternative to olive oil (omega 3 levels of rapeseed oil is 10 times that of olive oil and its high smoke point makes it better for cooking) but what they don’t tell you is that most rapeseed oil is heavily processed, and almost all of it comes from plants that have been genetically engineered. So far as I am aware, there is currently only one supplier of organic, cold-pressed rapeseed oil in Britain. My concern is that unmodified (non GMO), natural rapeseed is loaded with erucic acid. Erucic acid is a fatty acid that’s associated with heart damage, specifically fibrotic lesions of the heart. Not exactly a welcome side effect! Until tests have been done to show rapeseed oil is safe for human consumption (and unfortunately extensive animal testing would suggest otherwise), I prefer not to take the risk. For now, I’m sticking with healthy, organic, virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil for baking.
To be clear, there has never been a single shred of scientific evidence to support the demonisation of saturated fat or for it being declared public health enemy number one by successive governments and health advisers over the past sixty years. The low-fat, high-carbohydrate hypothesis was fundamentally flawed at the outset and the subsequent recommendations to replace natural fats with highly processed vegetable and seed oils, has decimated people’s health. Thankfully, the tide is turning. Saturated fats such as coconut oil and butter are not dangerous, nor for that matter is the healthy type of trans-fat known as vaccenic acid, which is found naturally in some foods like grass-fed meats and dairy fats.
Carbohydrate 18g Protein 4g - per slice of cake (filled with Primal Plate’s Raw Sugar-Free Raspberry Jam)
Carbohydrate 21g (approx) Protein 4g - per slice of cake (filled with The Fruit Tree’s Raspberry Fruit Crush)