Cake! And my first EVER post! The coconut whipped cream and rhubarb-hibiscus compote complement the fluffy buttery cake layers oh so well. A lovely, elegant cake to serve with tea or coffee.
“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open.” ― C. JoyBell C.
I don’t know where to start, to be honest. This first post has been a long time coming. I found myself putting it off, always assuring myself that i would start ‘next year’, ‘next month’, ‘next week’, ‘when i have that thing and maybe that other thing’; in short, when I was ready. When everything had fallen into place, then and only then would I start. With this mindset, it’s no wonder this blog has taken a few years to find it’s breath.
Starting something new can be terrifying, even a small little thing like a food blog. It’s a signal of change, of movement…and sometimes, we just aren’t ready for that next step. Taking a conscious step forward means treading purposefully and taking control, rather than just floating into things with the tides. Making a real decision. It means grabbing a branch, leaving that steady(ish) river and venturing into the unknown, by CHOICE. With that choice comes the potential for making mistakes, for being critisized, for failing. And that scares me to hell.
Here we are though, ready to start. A little nervous, a little resistant, a little giddy and with the knowledge that at the end of the day, it IS just a food blog. So, I’ll keep this post short and to the point, because I know otherwise I’ll keep leaving it ‘just another week’.
Welcome to my new corner of this internet world, here’s hoping that we all get something out of this blogging adventure, and if nothing else…let there be cake!
Rhubarb, Hibiscus + Whipped Coconut Cream Layer Cake
Yield 1 20cm (8 inch) 2 layer cake
vegan, egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free
The coconut whipped cream and rhubarb-hibiscus compote complement the fluffy buttery layers of this cake oh so well. A lovely, elegant cake to serve with tea or coffee in the Springtime.
Cake recipe adapted from these Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes by Minimalist Baker.
- 2 cups almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
- 225g / 1 cup / 2 sticks vegan butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups raw granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 180g / about 1/2 a bunch trimmed, washed & thinly sliced rhubarb
Rhubarb & Hibiscus Compote
- 550 g , approx 1 1/2 bunches trimmed, washed & thinly sliced rhubarb
- 1 tsp. dried hibiscus leaves brewed in 1/2 cup boiling water for 5 minutes
- zest & juice of 1 orange
- 1/2 cup raw granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- pinch fine sea salt
Whipped Coconut Cream Frosting
- 2 cans coconut cream (or 3 cans coconut milk) chilled in the fridge for at least 1 - 2 days, preferably longer to solidify the cream & separate it from the liquid
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- the seeds from 1 vanilla pod (or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste)
- pinch fine sea salt
- 4-5 Tbsp raw granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius / 350 degrees fahrenheit and oil & line two 20 cm / 8 inch round cake tins with baking paper on the bottom and sides.
- In a small bowl or measuring jug, pour in the almond milk then add the apple cider vinegar. Give it a brief stir and set it aside for about 10 minutes to activate and become 'buttermilk'.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, or in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the softened butter until it is a little fluffy and whipped, then add the sugar and vanilla extract and beat until it is combined and fluffy - about 3 minutes.
- Now begin adding your dry mix & buttermilk to the butter mixture - slowly add 1/3 of the flour mix to the whipped butter whilst mixing on low speed, then add 1/2 of the milk mixture slowly, then another 1/3 of the flour mix, then the remaining milk mix and then finally the last 1/3 of the flour mix. Once you have incorporated the last bit of flour, turn the mixer off, don't over-mix the batter or it will be dense!
- Divide the batter into the two prepared cake pans, then sprinkle the tops evenly with the finely sliced rhubarb. Bake the cakes on the centre rack of the oven for 45-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the pans from the oven and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely before removing from the tins and assembling. In the meantime, prepare the compote and whipped coconut cream frosting.
- Place all of the ingredients into a medium saucepan and allow to cook at a simmer over a low-medium heat until the rhubarb has cooked down & the compote is thick and jammy and no longer watery approx 15-20 mins. Stir often so that the bottom does not burn.
- Allow to cool & then place in the fridge to chill & thicken.
- Place a large mixing bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill before whipping the cream, it will help it to whip up & thicken.
- Open the coconut cream/milk tins and scoop the hard cream from the top of the can and into the chilled mixing bowl, leaving the watery part behind (save for smoothies etc.). Add the vanilla extract & seeds, the salt & 4 Tbsp of the sugar. Whisk until soft peaks begin to form.
- Taste & add more sugar if you think it needs it. Continue to whisk until firm peaks form, then refrigerate until chilled & the whipped cream has firmed up a bit (this will make it easier to frost the cake).
- Make sure that all of your components are cool (if any are warm the whipped cream will melt).
- Place one cake layer on a plate/cake stand, with the rhubarb-y top facing upwards and scoop about 2/3 cup (160ml) of the rhubarb & hibiscus compote into the center of the cake. Spread in an even layer, leaving a 2 cm border around the edge so that the compote does not overflow. You will most likely have some compote leftover to use for other things (Scones!).
- Pile 1 cup of whipped coconut cream frosting on top of the compote and spread in an even layer, covering the border. Chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes until the coconut cream has firmed up a bit.
- Top with the second cake layer, with the bottom (the non-rhubarb-y side) of the cake facing up, so that you have a flat surface to frost. Frost the outside of the cake with a fine layer of the coconut cream, chill for about half an hour to set the cake. I left my frosting at this, to create a 'naked cake' look. If you'd like a thicker frosting, go for it, just make sure to chill it again for another half an hour afterwards to set it.
- Serve! The frosting will melt in warm-hot environments, so keep it in the fridge until serving if need be. If the temperature is on the cooler side, it will keep well out of the fridge for a day and then will keep in the fridge for another 3-4 days.
*The coconut cream tins should be chilled at least 1-2 days to allow the fat to solidify. I leave mine for a week in the fridge if i have the time, just to be on the safe side. You should not be able to feel much liquid moving around in the tin when you tip it, the fat should be solidified.
*Here in Australia, I have tested most of the coconut cream/milk brands that I have come across, and the organic 'Nakula' brand is the only one I have found that produces consistently fluffy & amazing whipped coconut cream. There are some brands that just won't work and you will end up with a grainy, liquidy mess, so try to get your hands on this brand if you can! (not sponsored, I'm just in love with the whipped coconut cream it produces).
*For the rhubarb & hibiscus compote, I used 1 tsp of hibiscus leaves for a more subtle flavour, but if you'd like a more pronounced hibiscus flavour than go for 2 tsp. I used the leaves from 2 tea bags rather than hunting down the loose leaves.