If you’ve been following my blog long, you’ve probably noticed I don’t bake much. I’m a savory gal. That’s what I feel comfortable with. I do love baking, I try sometimes. But it’s definitely not my forte. Maybe one day that will change.
But when I saw Nourish Atelier’s “Yoga Cake” recently on Pinterest (HERE), every little ounce of baker in me came out to play. Skilled or not, I had to give it a go. Her cake, without a doubt, is one of the most beautiful pieces of art I have ever seen. Too delicious looking to not try. Chai spices, coconut frosting, banana filling… I was sold instantly. I loved the idea of this healthier wintery-spiced cake. She’s a genius, I’ve decided.
So I gave it a try. Twice actually. Because I’m one of those people who simply can’t follow a recipe exactly as is. Which when it comes to baking, is a total mistake. But that’s me. And since I’m currently obsessed with cassava flour (check it out HERE), I was determined to make this a cassava chai-spiced cake.
Attempt 1: OOOPS.
Turns out her recipe and cassava don’t mesh well. My bad. But, that’s okay. I eventually found a way to make it work. It dawned on me that her cake didn’t have egg or baking soda, two things that help a cake rise and become well, cake-like. She’s a mostly vegan baker- a master in her field- so this worked lovely for her. But, since cassava doesn’t have any gluten in it, it needs all the rising help it can get. My cassava eggless cake was a sad sad mess. Here’s what happened.
The dough was dense as dirt. Er, concrete dirt. I went along with it anyways… I like to finish what I start. But yikes, things were looking grim from the get-go. Once baked, while the outside looked okay, the inside would not cook. It was a pasty mess. Like glue. I kept putting it back in to bake longer, but it was a never-ending disaster. So sadly, this guy had to go live in the trash. Something I am personally very against- food in the trash- but it simply had to happen. I was working with a pile of crap. Yes, cake crap.
But I’d made the icing, and I’d made the filling, and I’d smelled that cake- those warm chai-spiced aromas. I just couldn’t give up. Kitchen experiments are like missions for me. I become determined to find my mistakes and right my wrongs. This decision to march on ended wonderfully.
For my second attempt, I added both baking soda and eggs. I adjusted a few other things and went for it again. Instantly, I had a beautiful batter. I couldn’t believe it. I was literally squealing with joy, jumping with excitement. That feeling of conquering something that had once left me feeling so utterly skilless was a sweet one. I had freaking nailed this one. Woot woot. I love happy surprises.
I ended up fidgeting with the filling and icing a bit too, because I wanted them creamy and thick- cream cheesy like. I also went a little psycho with my decor. Unlike her beautifully crafted elegant piece of art, I created a New Year’s Eve party on mine. Not sure what that says about me, but I tried.
So this cake is Nourish Atelier, with some Natalie flair. 😉
So, my friends, if you’re scared of baking, or not a super skilled chemist like me, you too can do this one. It’s from one non-baker to the next. And I think you’ll love it too! It’s really quite a delicious blend of flavors.
This version has dairy… I had this sudden need for cream cheese in my frosting. If you’d like to keep to a dairy-free cake, follow Nourish Atelier’s recipe on her site, or use dairy-free subs in this recipe as wanted. 🙂
for the cake…
2 cups cassava flour (I like THIS one)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup coconut sugar (or other sugar you like)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom (or 5-6 pods crushed)
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup plain yogurt (use coconut yogurt for dairy-free)
1/4 cup honey
3 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup melted butter or ghee
1 1/4 cup milk (I use whole, sub coconut if wanted)
2 tbsp lemon juice, plus zest from 1 lemon
pinch of salt
for the filling…
2 ripe bananas
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup coconut cream
pinch of salt
optional: blueberries to make it pretty
for the icing…
1 1/4 cup coconut cream
2 tbsp lime juice + zest from 1 lime
1 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz cream cheese (for dairy-free, alternative cream cheese, or use Nourish Atelier‘s recipe)
pinch of salt
1 cup fresh fruit such a figs, blueberries, peaches, pears, or raspberries
1 cup toasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup toasted flaked coconut
*Note: When zesting citrus, keep it gentle. The white stuff under the color, called the pith, is very bitter- no bueno. Just a light little grate of color is good 🙂
To make the cake…
If you are crushing cardamom pods, smash them in a mortar and pestle
or alternatively, crush them on a cutting board with the flat side of a knife
Then remove all shells, leaving just the powdered spice
This is one delicious blend of spices… sweet, spiced, earthy
I love it!
Add all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl
In a separate bowl, mix all wet ingredients
(The eggs, yogurt, honey, vanilla, melted butter, milk, lemon, zest, and salt)
Make sure the butter is cooled before adding it- still liquidy, but cooled
If it’s super hot, it may cook your eggs… we don’t want that 😉
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones
Stir to mix- some little clumps are okay
Butter or oil a regular 9 inch pie pan (or if you have one, a springform pan works too)
Grease it good- you’ll be bummed if you don’t 😉
Pour the batter into the pan
Bake on the middle rack for approx 40 minutes
You’ll know it’s done when a knife poked in the center comes out clean
(Ovens vary- it may need a little less or more time depending)
While the cake is baking, jump ahead and prep the icing and filling
Once done, give it a couple of minutes to settle… cakes like breaks too 😉
Gently remove the cake from the pan and let it cool
To make the icing…
Add the coconut cream, lime zest, honey, vanilla, and salt to a mixing bowl
Using a hand or standing mixer, whip for a couple of minutes, until smooth and fluffy
(It won’t turn whipped-cream-fluffy, but it should fluff a little)
Add cream cheese… this is where it’s gonna start turning delicious!
Blend a minute or two more, until evenly thick and creamy
Taste and adjust flavors as wanted
To make the filling..
Chop banana and add to a bowl
Add the coconut cream, honey, and salt
Start with a small pinch of salt, then add more as wanted
Mash it all together with a fork
Add a 1/4 cup or so of the cream cheese icing to the filling…
This will help thicken it up
The banana may darken around the edges- just ignore that 🙂
Blend until smooth- add more cream cheese icing as wanted, until it’s a texture you like
Taste and adjust flavors as wanted
Cover and refrigerate until use
Tip: if you’d like your filling a prettier color than “creamy banana” add blueberries or another colorful berry and mash it in there. Some people prefer pinks and purples in the middle of their cakes rather than shades of beige… your choice 😉
To assemble the cake…
Depending on the shape of your pie pan, you may want to flip the cake over…
I like widest section at the bottom, the narrowest at the top
Using a large knife, slice right through the middle of the cake, splitting it into two thinner cakes
Spread the banana filling over one half of the cake
Flip the other half over it
Some filling may come oozing out, doesn’t matter… spoon it up and eat it 😉
Spread the icing all of the bottom and sides of the cake…
You may end up dragging some banana filling with it, but no worries, it’ll blend in there
It should go on evenly and smoothly, but it seems thin or difficult to spread,
refrigerate the whole thing, let it harden a bit, then smooth it all out from there
Works like a charm 🙂
Choose your decor…
And go crazy decorating!
Slice, dig in, and devour!!
(Great chilled, so this guy stays delicious for up to a few days once refrigerated)