Vegan Rum Balls

IMG_8418[1].JPG

Delicious and easy vegan rum balls- sweetened condensed coconut milk is the key to success here!

These last few months have been a whirlwind so I have to admit I have not had the time to even glance at my little bloggy outlet. How shameful! This recipe has changed that though. I feel like anyone who has even been nervous to attempt vegan baking (or technically not baking as we have here..) needs to know this recipe. So here I am, back and messier than ever!

As a non-vegan, I have to admit I get a little nervy at the thought of sacrificing my sacred butter. However, when your vegan best friend is getting married and you’re throwing her bridal shower- you’ve got to learn fast! All in all I baked up vegan cupcakes, orange cake and these little guys- a nice addition for the dessert table amongst all the ‘standard’ baked-up treats.

I’m fussy though. When people hand me a slice of ground nut vegan cheesecake screaming ‘you’ll never know the difference’….man, I’m sorry but you can. I’m not saying it’s not delicious! There are some brilliant vegan recipes out there and I’m committed to trying as many as I can to find all these gems. BUT- it’s tricky to find them both budget friendly and a near perfect substitute for the non-dairy baking. These little balls of deliciousness are one of these gems! I definitely suggest giving them a go as man oh man, they are moreish.

The all important substitute; sweetened condensed coconut milk. By using this, along with a vegan cookie (stick to Nice biscuits by Arnott’s if you’re an Aussie) this is a really easy way to make a popular picnic bring-a-long vegan friendly.

coconut-scm

VEGAN RUM BALLS RECIPE

Ingredients

1 can of sweetened condensed coconut milk
1 packet of Arnott’s Nice biscuits
3/4 cup desiccated coconut (+ additional 1 cup for rolling)
1/3 cup good quality dark rum
1/2 cup cocoa

Method

  1. Blitz up your Nice biscuits in a food processor until they resemble fine crumbs. No food processor? Double bag the biscuits in paper bags and vent some anger on those bikkies with a rolling pin until you have fine crumbs. Be wary of splitting the bags though!
  2. Transfer the crumbs to a glass bowl and mix in the can of sweetened condensed coconut milk. I used the Pandan brand which you can find at Coles in the Asian grocery aisle. One note; this can be a little runnier than your typical sweetened condensed milk so expect your rum balls to be a little softer when molding than a usual recipe.
  3. Add your ¾ cup desiccated coconut, cocoa and rum and mix until well combined.
  4. Pour your 1 cup of remaining coconut onto a flat plate, ready for rolling. Prepare a baking tray with baking paper.
  5. With clean, cool hands form balls approximately the size of golf balls with the mixture. Working quickly, roll the balls in the plate of coconut to coat thoroughly.
    Transfer onto your baking tray. Repeat until all the mixture is used up.
  6. Pop your baking tray into the fridge overnight to firm the rum balls up.Then it’s guilt free, cruelty free, happy eating!
    IMG_8419[1].JPG

    Vegan rum balls among the chaos of party set up!

    Happy baking lovelies.

Snoz xx

 

 

Apple layer cake with Rhubarb and Vanilla bean marscapone filling

img_7087

December is a busy time for us all. start of the festive season, the work Christmas parties start and every second day seems to bring more social catch ups. Our December is always a bit hectic from the start as we have my Dad’s birthday and my husbands in the first week. Dad is a super tough cookie to buy for as he has a million hobbies but has everything he would ever need for them! And when I say a million hobbies….slight exaggeration, but only just. Bee keeping, American BBQ, garden, booze making, all things foodie, gadgets, photography…it goes on and on. I think it’s where I get my dabbling nature.

dad

So to go along with a little gift, I decided to make him a cake. No just any cake, but one that combines two things that we both love; Rhubarb and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. Weird mix? Oh yea. In fact, I can put my hand up and say that I believe that this is the only Terry Prachett’s Discworld themed rhubarb cake to ever exist. But hey, the coolest things are all obscure right? Geek is the new chic?

img_7085

This cake is a winner for flavour. I used a great recipe from Sylvia’s Kitchen (http://sylviaskitchen.co.uk/bramley-apple-cake-with-rhubarb-vanilla-mascarpone/) and tweaked it a little. I’ve added frosting as I was topping with fondant accents- this would be just as lovely unfrosted and dusted with icing sugar or frosted on the top only with fresh berries and edible blooms.

Cake
225gms soft salted butter (or margarine)
225gms light soft brown sugar
3 medium eggs
225gms SR flour
2 tsp baking powder
3tsp vanilla extract (with seeds is best if you can find it!)
400gms peeled, cored and grated Granny Smith apples- go for the tart apples here!

Filling
450gms rhubarb
100gms caster sugar
1 x 250gm tub of Mascarpone
1 good tsp vanilla bean paste
1tbsp caster sugar

Frosting
500g icing sugar mix
125g butter, softened to room temp
3 tbs heavy cream
125g mascarpone
1 tbs vanilla extract

Method
Pre-heat your oven to 180ºc/350ºF/GasMark4.
Rinse the rhubarb then trim and cut into 1” chunks and place in a shallow glass or china oven proof dish.  Sprinkle on the 100gms of caster sugar and cover with foil.

Roast your rhubarb for half an hour then leave to cool. You should have a beautifully flavoured sugar syrup pooling in the bottom of your dish. Strain, but reserve both the syrup and rhubarb pieces.

Line two 8” sandwich tins with baking parchment and set to one side.
Place the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and vanilla essence together in your mixing bowl and beat until nicely creamed and blended, for a couple of minutes.  Add the grated apple and mix well then divide between your two lined tins. In the images below, I’ve separated into three layers- I recommend sticking to two for this recipe as the layers are quite dense and I found them easily cracking when assembling.

Bake both cakes in the oven for approximately 40 minutes, until your skewer comes out of the cake cleanly. Leave in their tins on a cooling rack until completely cool.

Whilst your sponges are cooling make your filling, mix your mascarpone into a bowl and add the caster sugar, vanilla bean paste and 2/3rd of the roasted rhubarb.

Place the bottom sponge on to your serving plate, brush lightly with a small amount of rhubarb syrup.  Spread your mascarpone filling over the entire sponge then dot most of the remaining pieces of roasted rhubarb over the filling and push them in to the filling. Keep 4-5 pieces and some of the sugar syrup aside.

img_7087

Place the cake top on to the filling, sandwiching the two layers between the rhubarb filling and place in the refrigerator.

IMG_7088.JPG

For the frosting, beat the butter until smooth and slowly add the icing sugar. When combined, add in heavy cream, mascarpone, remaining rhubarb vanilla and beat for 1 minute; be careful not to overwhip! Generously ice the sides and top with the frosting. This would be lovely topped with fresh edible blooms as opposed to obscure book references, but hey, where is the fun in that?

img_7089

Store your cake in the fridge- this will keep up to 3 days.

Happy baking,

Snoz xx