YNBO- barely baked bakewell tart

Val has exited the tent. I realize that she was probably never going to win, but I did have a soft spot for her. I love that fact that baked from memory and challenged Paul “we like our Danishes a little soft in the middle in our house”. It also turns out that she makes a Bakewell tart weekly. Who makes any tart weekly? Let alone a Bakewell? To be perfectly honest I don’t think I have ever tried bakewell tart, but I do love the combination of fruity jam, marzipan and a biscuity base.

I thought about tackling danish pastries or filo pastry this week, but filo seemed like a crazy crazy idea and most filo that you can buy ready made is plant based anyway, and danish pastries just don’t excite me. Lets not lie, if there was only one option for a Scandinavian treat it would OBVIOUSLY be the cinnamon bun!

So this morning I set about making the YNBO version of the bakewell tart. Knowing that the case would be holding marzipan and a sweet jam layer I didn’t want to make the dough too sweet. I used oats, ground down into a flour, added ground almonds and then used a ripe banana to bind it all together. A teaspoon of coconut oil and one date for added stickiness and I had the perfect consistency. If you can’t tolerate nuts you could easily not add them. This dough tastes amazingly good, not too sweet but somewhat decadent. It would be great rolled into balls or made into bars as a post or pre workout snack….

I pressed the dough into mini muffin tins and baked for 15 minutes until they were golden and crunchy. Then all I had to do was fill them with a spoonful of homemade marzipan and top then with a spoon of extra thick cherry and damson chia jam. So simply, so delicious. These barely baked bakewell tarts are the perfect afternoon treat, paired with a rich espresso and shared with friends.


Barely Baked Bakewell Tart – makes 24 mini tarts

Ingredients (base)
200g oats
3 tbsp ground almonds
1tsp coconut oil
1 ripe banana
1 date

Preheat your oven to 160C
Place the oats into a food processor with the almonds and grind down into a flour
Add in the banana and the oil and process until a dough begins to form
Add in the date and pulse until combined
Press the dough into mini muffin tins and bake for 15mins
Remove and allow to cool

Ingredients (Marzipan)
150g blanched almonds
1.25 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp rosewater

Place the almonds into a food processor & pulse until you have a fine flour like powder
Add in the syrup & rosewater
Pulse until you have a dough
Roll into balls or any shape you like
Store in the fridge for up to a week

For the chia jam I used this recipe but substituted the blueberries for half cherries and half damsons. I also added an extra tbsp of chia to make it extra thick.


YNBO- Tigernut buttermilk pancakes with coconut butter

We just got back from the most beautiful weekend in Cambridge. We have come back reinvigorated, filled with friendship & our kitchen has a few new ingredients to boot.

We got back just in time for this weeks adventures in the tent too, and last night was all about the batter. Was it the first time ever that the ovens were only used in one out of the three challenges? And also is it a bake if it’s not in an oven? Anyway, Great British Batter Off saw the bakers (batterers sounds oh so very wrong) tackle identical Yorkshire puddings, lace pancakes and finally churros. There were some great flavor combinations but personally I have to admit that I missed the baking bit last night. Still, it was fate that pancakes were a challenge & I can home from Cambridge with a bag of unusual flour that I have been itching to use!

I decided for my YNBO batter challenge to make plant based buttermilk pancakes using an ingredient that is totally new to me: tigernuts. Tiger nuts are not actually nuts, they are in fact a tuber & they used to be sold in sweet shops in the 1940s & 50s. They are rich in iron and have a nutrient profile that mirrors…well, breast milk. They are also a pre-biotic too.

They taste creamy, rich & slightly nutty, similar to a cashew. Thanks to a wonderful friend, I am the proud owner of 2kg of tigernut flour & with batter week upon us it seemed like the perfect time to test it out. Tiger nut flour looks not dissimilar to spelt flour. It is nut brown and very finely milled. These pancakes are somehow fluffy & thick and yet dense at the same time. They remind me of buckwheat pancakes. The tiger nuts provide a rich taste and the baking powder gives them lift. The homemade buttermilk helps keep them light & moist (sorry there is no other word!). I added lemon zest to the mix but you don’t have to and these could easily be a savoury base, topped with pesto & roasted vegetables or even made into single bite canapes hosting any toppings you fancy.

The coconut maple butter is inspired by LA and a delicious breakfast at The Butchers Daughter. With the baby asleep in the ergo, I perched on a stool & devoured buckwheat pancakes with berries & melting coconut butter. I practically inhaled them, pausing only to lick stray crumbs off the little ones head. I’ve never had such great pancakes since but these tigernut ones have arrived and are bringing a little bite of Abbot Kinney into our kitchen.Inspired by LA, created in Munich, prompted by Welford Park and facilitated by Cambridge. These are seriously international pancakes.

Ingredients (makes 8 pancakes)
1 cup (250g) tigernut flour

1 cup (250g) spelt flour (or gf flour)

Juice 1 lemon

1 tsp baking powder

1.5 cup (180ml) oat or other milk

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Place the lemon juice into the milk & set aside for 10 mins

Place the flour & baking powder into a large dish

Add the lemony milk & apple cider vinegar and stir well

Leave to sit for 10mins

Ladle the mixture into a hot greased pan letting the pancakes bubble on the upside before flipping over

Ingredients (Coconut maple butter)
8 tbsp desiccated coconut

1 tsp maple syrup

Place the coconut into a food processor or spice grinder

On a medium setting allow to process

Scrape down the sides every minute to keep incorporating

Keep processing till you have a creamy butter

Stir in the maple syrup & serve

YNBO – Fig and cardamon braided vegan loaf

Last nights Great British Bake Off saw the bakers tackle bread. They started with chocolate studded loaves, battled with ‘Dampf knodel’ (steamed dumplings), before finally tackling braided breads. I considered making dampf knodel as they are pretty popular in this household. Alex normally gets them whenever we head to the Stadtfest in Oldenburg or the Christmas markets. They are a total meal as you get a huge dumpling which is filled with hot cherries and then bathed in custard. Totally delicious.

The thing is though, that I felt that I had to tackle the plaited or braided loaf. I am not a very technical baker or cook. I rarely attempt anything that requires exact measurements or that needs you to follow specific guidelines. The only bread I tend to make is soda bread and honestly yeast scares me a little. So, in true bake off spirit I decided to do an 8 strand plaited loaf which would be studded with figs and spiced with cardamon. You could use this recipe as the base for so many breads. You could do cinnamon and raisins buns, muesli studded plaited wreath or a kale pesto braided tear and share.

It is actually really easy to do, and whilst I held my breath every time I checked to see if it had risen, it seems to be a failsafe. I made the dough when the little one got up as she played with wooden spoons, left it in the spare bathroom with the towel rail on a low heat, and came back to it two hours later. I replaced the egg wash with a blend of maple syrup and almond milk but if you are making a savory loaf then I’m sure just the milk would work too.

The house smells amazing still, and half the loaf is already gone as Alex is home an has been sitting chomping away, slathering it in local honey. There is officially nothing greater than home baked bread and now I know how to do it, there may be no stopping me…

600g strong bread flour (I used a mix of white and spelt)

12g salt

12g instant yeast

35g softened coconut butter (or normal butter)

400ml warmish water

1 tsp almond milk

1 tsp maple syrup

Optional – 3 finely chopped figs, 1 tbsp cardamon

Place the flour into a large bowl, add the butter in chunks

Place the salt on one side of the flour and the yeast on the other (you don’t want them to touch)

Add 300ml of the water and stir with a clawed hand to combine

Bring all the ingredients together well adding more water slowly if you need it

Tip onto a very lightly floured surface and knead well for 10 mins

Place into a large oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and place in a warm spot for up to 2 hours or until it has doubled in size

Remove and knock down, then split it into 8 even portions. If you are adding in items now is the time to do it. Simply add in fruit/chocolate/nuts into each portion

Roll each portion into a long sausage

Place all the sausages in a row and then join the top ones together (so it looks like an octopus with a top and 8 spread out legs)

Plait the loaf – if you are unsure of how to do it then it is best to google it and follow a video but basically

You take leg 8 over leg 5

2 under 3 and over 8

1 over 4

7 under 6 and over 1 and then repeat till you reach the bottom

Place the dough onto a lined tray and cover loosely and place back into a warm spot for 30mins

Preheat your oven to 210C (fan oven)

Wash the bread with the maple syrup and milk wash

Bake for 30mins or until it sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped

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