I've dabbled in eating more healthily on and off for a couple of years. This year I drew a line in the sand and decided, no more dabbling! If I want to live the best version of my life, I'm going to have to pay attention to what I'm eating and how it makes me feel. When I was a dabbler, it always felt a bit too hard – too many ingredients that I didn't recognise and way too much prep and organisation involved in making the gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar-free snacks that taste semi-decent. The first time I tried winging it to make healthy cupcakes they turned out like hockey pucks and were about as tasty. The key to making it work was to find a couple of resources that I knew would hit it out of the park every time. Finding the right food blogs and recipe books with fail-safe recipes was a game changer. Bek is my go-to for super delicious cake recipes. I like to wow people when it's my turn to bring morning tea at the co-working space where I have my studio. Her plant-based food blog The Floured Kitchen has divine treats like – wait for it – upside-down caramel apple cake, beetroot & olive oil brownies with salted chocolate ganache, or how about date‐vanilla almond milk iced lattés & coffee cashew ice‐cream. Yummmmmm. I spoke to Bek about how she got to be doing her food blog and she's generously created this autumn / winter inspired recipe for me to share with you.
Tell us some background on you and how you got to be doing what you're doing
I always loved to eat, though admittedly as a child I was a frustratingly picky eater. As I grew older however, my taste buds began to discover a world of exciting new flavours and textures, and this naturally evolved into an interest in cooking. It wasn't until I was in university undertaking a Speech Pathology degree, that this turned into a full-blown obsession. I completed my degree, but the real accomplishment of my university years was how my nature as a procrastinator had turned me into a passionate home cook and baker (I have a wild sweet tooth), by way of avoiding study. University led me to my true passion for cooking, baking and writing about it, and I learned that I needed creativity in my life to thrive. As I continued past my university years though, I became more aware of the ethical and environmental concerns surrounding our food, and the impact of food on our health. I began to read extensively into these topics, and after much agonising (I did not want to give up cheese!), I decided to adopt a plant-based lifestyle and haven't looked back since. I still wanted to continue to love and explore food, so I started my blog The Floured Kitchen to share my vegan and often floury cooking adventures.
What does mindful eating mean to you?
Mindful eating to me is being in the present moment while eating. It's taking time out to stop, clear my thoughts, and simply enjoy whatever it may be that I'm about to put into my body. It's choosing to eat food that both satisfies and nourishes. And it's seeing food as something to celebrate - not as a calorie, not a fat or a carb or an annoyance, but as a small joy that makes me happy and full and provides me with all kinds of goodness.
Do you have a daily ritual that brings you joy?
Sitting down to a little sweet treat, with a cup of coffee and a friend or a good book is my ultimate way of slowing down and appreciating the present moment. Sweet baked goods hold a special place in my heart, for the sheer fact that they are completely unnecessary. They aren't something we need in a nutritional sense, but they feed the spirit and bring people together. This little act of simply being and enjoying, if only for ten minutes or so, is a daily reminder that regardless of what else is going on, there are things to be grateful for.
This cake recipe is one that I come back to again and again, though with different variations depending upon the season. In the cooler months, citrus are at their peak, and when combined with earthy herbs they really transform into something special. You could use apples or pears rather than the citrus when they are looking fine at the farmers market. Or in the warmer months - peaches, nectarines or bananas. The options are endless. Seasonal eating brings you back to the here and now, and this cake recipe is a brilliant way to showcase the best that the season has to offer. It's vegan, made with spelt flour and almond meal, and is sweetened with less processed alternatives to sugar. So, you can relax and enjoy a treat, whilst still giving your body the respect it deserves. To me, this is mindful eating at its best.
Upside down citrus, rosemary, olive oil + almond cake
- 3 tbsp vegan butter or coconut oil
- 3 tbsp light muscovado sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp citrus juice
- 1 large sprig rosemary
- about 8 or so thin slices unwaxed citrus, enough to cover the bottom of the pan (blood oranges, oranges, grapefruit etc. whichever you like, or a nice mix)
- 1/2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/4 cup spelt flour
- 3/4 cup almond meal
- 1/4 cup chickpea/besan flour
- 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
- 3/4 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 cup packed light muscovado sugar or coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup good quality, mild extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut yoghurt (I like coyo)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract zest of one large unwaxed citrus fruit (blood orange, orange, grapefruit)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 350 Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a 20 cm / 8 inch round cake tin and line the bottom with a round of baking paper.
- Heat the butter, sugar, maple, citrus juice and rosemary sprig in a wide shallow pan over low-medium heat until the butter has melted. Add the citrus slices in an even layer and allow to gently cook in the syrup for 10 minutes, flipping gently halfway through.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle the chopped rosemary in the bottom of the prepared cake tin then arrange the citrus slices on top in a circle overlapping each other. Reserve the syrup in the pan for later.
- Add the almond milk and apple cider vinegar to a measuring jug. Mix gently and leave to 'activate'; for 10 minutes to create 'buttermilk'.Add the flours, sea salt, baking soda, baking powder and spices to a large bowl and whisk to combine and aerate.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, olive oil, 'buttermilk', yoghurt, vanilla, citrus zest. Fold the wet mixture through the flour mix until just combined and pour into the prepared tin over the citrus.
- Bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes with no gooey batter attached.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then carefully invert onto a cooling rack and lift the tin off. It should slip right out, slide a knife around the edge if it needs a little help.
- Warm the leftover syrup from the citrus in the pan for a minute then brush onto the top of the cake. Place the rosemary sprig on top decoratively and decorate with more fresh sprigs if you'd like.
- Allow to cool completely then serve.
I love to serve this with maple whipped coconut cream or vegan vanilla ice-cream. The cake will keep in a container in the fridge for 3 days.
Featured in this post are the dinner plate, fika plate and soup bowl.