YNBO rosewater and pistachio vegan iced biscuits

Thank goodness I keep a stash of chickpeas in the cupboard because once again GBBO and the show stopper has me reaching for aqua faba. This week saw the contestants making standing constructions, viennese biscuits and practicing their icing skills. To be honest, I am not much of a biscuit girl but I loved last nights show and it makes me want to up my gingerbread house game this winter! I thought I would combine two challenges and give you a vegan cinnamon biscuit with a beautiful plant based icing. You could easily use this biscuit to make a house or other construction as it is a hard biscuit that holds icing well.

Normal royal icing needs egg whites to help it to set and whilst I am sure that you could try and use a combination of arrow root and corn starch, I figured that chick pea water would do the trick again. I decided to make my own icing sugar using unrefined sugar. Unrefined sugar is still sugar but it retains its naturally present minerals and nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus and iron. It is sold as raw unrefined sugar. Brown sugar is not unrefined unless stated, it is simply refined sugar that has had molasses added to it to give it colour.

For colors you could make a paste (1tsp hot water, 2 tsp ingredient) of: bee pollen (yellow), Acai (Purple), Beetroot powder (red/pink), matcha (green). To colour my icing i used 1 tbsp of acai powder to get a speckled purple. In order to get icing thick enough to pipe the easiest test is to run a knife through the icing in the bowl. It should take 15 seconds for the line to cover up again. For thinner icing (to flood/colour in an area) the same test can be done but it should take around 10 seconds for the line to close.

These cinnamon biscuits are crunchy and light. They hold the icing without getting soggy and they have a warming aftertaste to them. I topped the icing with ground pistachios but you could decorate with icing, chopped nuts or edible flowers.

Ingredients-Icing (for approx 40 biscuits)
60ml aqua faba

240g icing sugar

1 tsp rose water (or vanilla)

(1 tsp juice or 1 tbsp powder to dye)

Place the aqua faba into a bowl and whisk until it becomes frothy

Add in the rose water and the sugar and whisk carefully until fully combined

Place into the fridge to set for 1.5 hours

Stir in colorings as desired


Ingredients – Cinnamon biscuits (approx 40)
150g self raising flour

150g plain flour

2 tsp cinnamon

100g coconut oil or 125g butter

1 flax egg or 1 egg

100g unrefined sugar

Preheat your oven to 160C

Combine all the ingredients & mix into a firm dough

Roll the dough out between two sheets of baking paper to a 1cm thickness

Cut out and place onto a baking sheet

Bake for 10-12 minutes

Cool on a baking rack before icing

YNBO Vegan genoise cake with a chocolate glaze

Did you watch it? You know what I’m talking about right…. The magic that is Great British Bake Off is back and I for one could not be happier. Obviously I already have my favourite: Benjamina but I’ve got a soft spot for Val. I spent the entire hour glued to the show, looking away only to text my Aunty & sister who were also watching. Last night we had the joys of drizzle cake, Jaffa cakes & of course a genoise sponge with a mirror glaze as the show stopper. I have two things to say – firstly who bakes Jaffa cakes???? And secondly I have decided to enter the GBBO this year, or rather I have decided to set myself the challenge of baking a plant based healthier version of the show stopper for you each Thursday.

Welcome to YNBO – Yolanda’s Natural Bake Off

This morning was a little bit stressful. Genoise sponge is a type of sponge that doesn’t use a raising agent. To get volume you whip up egg whites and sugar. When you set yourself the challenge of plant based it means no eggs and you have to think hard about alternatives. In my panic I turned to chickpeas, no seriously, this cake uses chickpeas.

I had heard about chefs using Aqua faba as an alternative to egg whites when making meringue. Aqua faba is the water in a tin of chickpeas. This unassuming liquid is magic and despite the fact that I had to whip it by hand (bicep ache!!), it really did allow me to make an egg less sponge.

For the mirror glaze you traditionally use gelatin to give it the shine and so I crossed my fingers and used agar-agar. My cake is certainly not super smooth and polished but if you want yours to be, you can either cover it first in a cream and then allow it to chill before glazing or you can trim the top of the cake to get a perfectly flat surface.

This cake is two very simple flavors but you could get creative. Pistachio & lemon cake or orange & rose water would be delicious. You could also infuse your cream in the glaze with rooibos tea, ginger or elderflower.

I have no idea what is coming up each week or even if I will manage to recreate a plant based version each Thursday….but for now here is my (chickpea) vegan genoise with a chocolate mirror glaze.

Ingredients – makes one 6inch sponge
2/3 cup chickpea water

3/4 cup raw unrefined sugar

1 cup plain flour

1/4 coconut or rapeseed oil

Place the sugar and chickpea water into a large clean bowl

Whisk together until the mixture thickens & can form soft peaks

Gently fold in the oil & then slowly fold in the sifted flour

Place into a greased cake tin & bake for approx 40mins

Leave to cool

Ingredients – chocolate glaze
4 tbsp cocoa

1/2 raw sugar

1/2 oat cream

1/2 cup water

1 serving agar agar dissolved in 1 tbsp water (or according to packet)

Place the cocoa, sugar, cream & water into a pan

Heat gently, whilst stirring till the mixture thickens

Remove from the heat & add in the agar-agar

Stir well to dissolve

Allow to cool & then pour over the cool cake

Decorate & enjoy