So my little sister, as some may know, recently turned five. Her interests include Disney, pink, stickers, fairies, homework and drawing. I am apparently, somehow, also something of a magical creature who she actually wants to see, so I am rather honoured to rank up there with pink, depending on her twitchy mood. She is awesome and wildly intelligent, so I thought there would be no better way to start the year than to make a little picnic for her in the communal gardens in our home’s complex (since our own little patch of ground is rather muddy) with lots of drawing materials, stickers and other crafty items. Oh, and food! Alas, five year olds don’t really eat much, but I like to think that everything in small portions is good for one anyway. I spent some time last night hauling out my flowery pink basket, all the art materials she could possibly want to play with, baking and preparing our little set-up to carry outside. I love being able to bring out my Winnie the Pooh mugs and flower and butterfly napkins and my very new and shiny saucers. I was holding thumbs that her imagination would fill in the blanks, because this was the extent to which my brain could think up what a little kiddo would want to see when rounding the corner to her own little party.
Alas, the attention span of five year olds is approximately an hour, even with brand new stickers, crayons and brightly coloured sticks (I actually have no idea what they’re for). So after much twitching and some lacklustre art-making, we trudged inside with everything (except the balloons) to watch the original Jungle Book and Aristocats. Youn’uns! We had some vegan hot dogs inside (and not a word from little miss about them tasting funny, and then some lovely, delicious spiced apple cake. based on Vegan Richa’s recipe. Mmm! I had so much fun making these since I bought some mini loaves yesterday at the crazy store. Since I only had two I also used my mini bundt shape to make the third little cake, but I am sure one can still get your 8 slices out of the mish mash somehow – a whole loaf seems a bit much, but so darling! (yes, I really said that – gad, it’s like a Disney movie in my head right now, what with all the pink and gah!)
- I used fine rye flour, because I can, and it really went well with this cake. I find rye flour adds a squishy density that is lovely, and comes with its own subtle but wonderful taste that holds flavour within its trappings.
- Instead of oil I used an equal quantity of applesauce, since I’m not partial to oil in recipes when I can go fruity.
- I also replaced the milk with organic carrot juice! That’s right! 😀 😀 😀 I saw the idea on Chocolate Covered Katie’s website for her gingerbread, and figured it would do wonderfully in this recipe, and oh boy! It really just does something magical to the recipe – lifts it up to some divine, veggie-ful place. gah! ❤
As mentioned, the caramel didn’t quite go the same as on the original recipe, but that may be due to my mods *shameface*
- I used Alpro single soy cream, since I’m allergic to coconut, and it’s also right by my lovely soy milk.
- I used 1 TBSP of agave instead of maple syrup (seriously, maple syrup is bladdy expensive here! Also, agave is a bit more GI friendly)
- I also used slightly less sugar – maybe 0.75 x 1/2 a cup – seriously, even with the lessening of sugar it was wayyy sweet, which explains why Man-thing practically swayed on his heels like a milk-struck cat when he had a lick off his plate.
- I left out the molasses because it’s not very GI friendly, apparently, and also the sweetness was killing me. Next time I think I’ll blend dates in the place of sugar and make a date caramel, but it really is very delicious!
- I added 1 tsp of caramel extract, as well as 1 TBSP corn starch, just to firm it up a little bit.
As another sweet treat, though we never got round to eating it with her, was some mini muffins, because normal muffins are a bit much for people no taller than my hipbone. However, because the recipe is, shall we say, low on the sugar level (which suits me just fine!), I decided to cut the delicate mini muffins in half and line them with banana slices and blackberry cashew cream/butter to make a type of mini sandwich. What a win! At first I had wanted just to blob some normal peanut butter in the middle but making one’s own cashew cream feels much more decadent. I also didn’t want to take my blueberries out of the freezer quite yet, so I used blackberries cut in half – two per mini muffin, or however many you feel comfortable stuffing in them. Oh, and these are based on the beauties from Martin & Yvonne over at My Inspiration – I love their blog – so many shiny, healthy recipes! I did add some splashes of carrot juice in here as well, because the Woolworths carrot juice is just packaged too nicely to ignore.
Blackberry cashew cream (enough for 4 mini muffins)
- 1/4 cup cashews, soaked
- 1/4 cup blackberries, washed and patted dry
- 1 TBSP agave
- 1 tsp vanilla
Mmm mm! Overall, a decent start to the new year. Now for a nap!