I've got Spring fever, I'm afraid. We started off experimenting with some fun Spring-time flavours and I fell down one hell of a rabbit hole and now I can't get out. So I've accepted that Spring has come in January - and I'm okay with that.
While our specialty lies in the lush Cocktail Cakes the single-20-something in me is obviously addicted to, I'm mindful that not everyone enjoys alcoholic cakes. Some people don't drink, some don't like the taste, some are children so I guess that's a reasonable excuse. But it's really important to me that I can provide cakes everyone can enjoy - and that these aren't just boring traditional flavours.
I've been trawling the Pinterest interwebs for fun Spring-time mocktails to get the creative juices flowing, and I was not disappointed. Absence of alcohol in a cake doesn't mean it can't still be a fun twist on mixology.
This recipe is inspired by the Coconut Lavender Lemonade recipe on www.confectionalism.com. I was really drawn to this fun mocktail flavour - and it's totally adjustable.
Sure, I could just take a normal cocktail cake and remove the alcohol but it often changes the flavours and I generally feel as though somethings missing.
So using a raw mocktail flavour is a great new method for making new, fun and delicious cake-os for the Sober Squad.
Some elements of this recipe are similar to our Lemon & Lavender Sparkler, so be sure to check it out! The floral flavours are light, but if you're concerned about picky kids, you can always opt to ignore the lavender and just have the food colouring for this part!
Check it out.
220ml Vegan Milk (I used Oat Milk)
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
75ml Vegetable Oil
200g Caster Sugar
250g Plain Flour
1/2 TBSP Baking Powder
1 Pinch of Salt
1 Lemon's Zest
3 TBSP Dried Lavender Flowers
6 Drops Purple Food Gel
50g Desiccated Coconut
50g Caster Sugar
25ml Vegan Milk
1 tsp Dried Lavender Flowers
50g Vegan Spread
300g Icing Sugar
Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
Method - Sponge
1. First things first (I'm the realest)
Take about 120ml of your dairy free milk and add the dried lavender flowers. Give it a good mix, cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
Tip: You can make the cake less fragrant by leaving the lavender to infuse for a shorter amount of time. But this mocktail is pretty heavily flavoured with the floral notes of the lavender so I've found leaving the milk overnight provides this.
2. Vegan Buttermilk vs. Eggs
When you're making a vegan cake you obviously can't use eggs. I personally find that egg alternatives you can buy in milk-carton-like things don't bake as well either, so I prefer to make my own vegan buttermilk. Do this by taking the remaining milk and adding half a lemon's juice. Give it a little whisk with a fork and leave it to sit for at least 5 minutes to curdle slightly.
Tip: I like to leave this for around 10 - 20 minutes. I don't think it actually makes much difference in the final product, but I'm anal so I like the piece of mind knowing it's DEFINITELY as thick as it's going to get. Also, if you put it in a vacuum seal jar you can give it a good shake, and safely store any leftovers in the fridge to use later on.
3. Turn up the heat, honey.
At The Palette Newcastle, one of our signatures is our loaf-shaped cakes. You can use any tin you see fit, just keep an eye on it as it cooks as you'll need to adjust the temperature accordingly.
Line your chosen tin with a little vegan spread or oil and greaseproof paper. This recipe is a little more dense than some of our other cakes, so I opted to line the whole tin just to be safe.
Here, we're using IKEA's HEMMABAK loaf tin, that measures 35cm x 14cm x 6cm. It's a big boii.
Preheat the oven to 170C.
4. Mix it up
Next, pop the caster sugar and vegetable oil into a bowl and mix - I used a standing electric mixer (because I'm lazy) on a low speed - until incorporated. You can also use melted coconut oil or vegan spread for this, TREX vegetable fat is a great alternative.
Continue to combine the rest of your dry ingredients - flour, baking powder and salt, until the mixture resembles the beautiful white sand of beaches a absolutely cannot afford to visit. Be sure to scrape the sides and re-mix a few times to ensure everything is incorporated nicely.
5. Sprinkle of flavour
Add in the lemon zest, food colouring and desiccated coconut and combine well until the mixture is one solid colour. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to avoid marbling later.
6. Milk it
Give the prepared vegan buttermilk a quick whisk - or shake if you stored it in a jar. Start adding slowly allowing the two mixtures to incorporate properly. Be sure to scrape the sides again, and make sure there isn't any dry mixture stuck at the bottom of the bowl - most food mixers leave a little island hiding in the bottom of the batter.
7. Now for the weird bit
By now the mixture should be slightly gloopier than a regular cake mixture. Strain the dried lavender flowers from the milk prepared earlier using a sieve. Fold it into the mixture. Once combined, turn up the speed to a medium - high setting. This introduces some air to the mixture and helps it to come out light and fluffy, be careful not to over-mix as this will make the cake fall. About 1 minute is more than enough.
8. Get baked
Fill the prepared tin with the mixture and place in the centre of your preheated oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes then check by lightly touching the top of the cake, it should spring back nicely - go the extra mile by inserting a skewer in the centre-most parts of the cake, if it comes out clean you're good to go.
Method - Glaze
1. While the cake is cooking, pop the lemonade and caster sugar in a saucepan and heat over medium.
2. Make sure to continuously stir to avoid the sugar from caramelising or burning. Once the mixture forms bubbles, remove from the heat and continue stirring until a syrup-like mixture forms.
Tip: If this doesn't happen after about 2 minutes of cooling, return to the heat to evaporate off a little more water. Be careful not to burn.
3. Once the cake has been removed from the oven, poke multiple times with a skewer and spoon over the lemonade syrup. Allow the cake to completely cool in its tin, before turning over to a wire rack and removing the greaseproof paper.
Method - Frosting
1. Rinse and repeat
Like with the sponge, you're going to need some lavender infused dairy free milk. Add 25ml milk to 1 tsp dried lavender flowers. Give it a good stir and allow to sit in the fridge for AS LONG AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE.
Tip: The frosting is incredibly sweet - it's made from sugar for cryin' out loud, so it can handle more fragrance here, as well as it only being 25ml of milk. For best results, I found leaving at least this portion of lavender milk overnight gave a more pronounced flavour.
2. Beat it like MJ
Beat your choice of vegan spread until softened, then add the icing sugar on a low setting with a whisk attachment - if you're doing this by hand Kudos to you. While I love using TREX in a cake, it's not best for frosting as it literally tastes like fat - you're better to go for a buttery-flavoured spread here.
Strain the lavender milk into the mixture, add the Sicilian Lemon Oil and mix well until combined.
3. 'I'm not even sure what slathering is, but I definitely wanna be a part of it.'
Cover the top of your cooled cake with the frosting by making 'S' shapes with the spatula down the length of the cake - or do whatever you want it's your cake.
Garnish by sprinkling with a little desiccated coconut. You could even serve alongside a refreshing glass of the mocktail that inspired it all, just to overload on the flavours. Check out our version of the recipe here.
If you liked this recipe please let us know! Tag us on Instagram @ThePaletteNewcastle or use the hashtag #ThePaletteNewcastle.