Thursday, 22 August 2013

Lychee & Banana Cake with Coconut Rum Cream (Vegan & Sugar Free)

Sometimes I buy silly amounts of things when they're really cheap. Guilty. At the end of last summer (yes, I know, a while ago now!), my supermarket sold off huge tubs of lychees really cheap. I love lychees, but I don't have them often because they're generally a bit expensive. So I went a bit stupid and bought four huge packets. I didn't actually have any plans for them so I shelled them all (it took me about an hour) and put them in plastic containers in my freezer so that they would be there when inspiration struck. I forgot about them for a while.

Then, I was faced with the challenge of making a sugar free birthday cake. I'm happy cooking sugar free because I'm keen to eat less sugar myself, but what made this difficult was that it also had to be free of dried fruits including dates! Dates are the go to ingredient for the sugar free cake maker so my initial thoughts of an easy chocolate date cake evaporated. Then I remembered the lychees in my freezer - one of the most naturally sweet fruits you can buy! Combined with banana, it made a perfect birthday cake. Definitely sweet enough but not sickly sweet, my partner (who generally doesn't like cake because it's too sweet) loved this cake better than any other cake I've made..... and I've made a lot of cake.

For the icing I used whipped coconut cream with rum extract (because I looked at the ingredients and couldn't find anything which looked like sugar) - but if you're not being strict about your sugar than go ahead and add a splash of the real stuff instead!

Lychee & Banana Cake with Coconut Rum Cream

1 cup very ripe mashed banana
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup lychee juice (from the lychees you just shelled ideally - or from the can if you bought it in natural juice or a bottle if you can find unsweetened lychee juice)
1/2 cup unsweetened oat or soy milk
1 cup drained lychee flesh, roughly chopped
2 1/2 cups plain wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 can coconut cream, left in the fridge overnight (or longer)
1 tsp rum extract (or actual rum, if you prefer)

To Make
1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Whisk together the banana, canola oil, lychee juice and oat milk. Stir the lychee flesh through.
3. Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda and salt and mix well.
4. Grease a medium sized cake tin well and pour the batter in. Bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Turn out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
5. When you open the tin you will notice that the top is a very solid thick cream. Scoop out all of the solid thick cream on top (you can reserve the rest of it to use in another meal – like a smoothie or a curry).
6. Put the thick cream into a bowl and mix well using a hand held electric mixer. Move the beaters up and down to try and get as much air into the cream as possible. Add the rum extract and beat until it pretty much resembles thick cream.
7. Spread the cream over the top of the cake. If you've got some more lychee flesh you can decorate the top with fresh lychee.

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