When my son turned one, I decided to experiment with making a cake for his birthday that didn't have too much added sugar, although there is a huge amount of sugar in the dried fruit, which gives it the sweetness.
It was an absolute hit with him, and it was the first time he tried cake. The Teddy Bears picnic theme was based on his love of the nursery rhyme, so I chose that for the cake theme! It was also apparently my favourite nursery rhyme as a child, and my Grandad used to sing it to me all the time. It has taken me over a year to write the recipe up and to post it (Mum life and procrastination!!)
This cake could also work well as an alcohol free Christmas cake!
Ingredients for the cake
400g dried fruit
Juice of one orange
140g grated courgette
200g pure life vegan spread
2 tablespoons maple syrup
125g brown rice flour
75g chestnut flour
50g potato flour
2 orgran egg replacers
1 tablespoon hemp milk
2 teaspoons cream tartar
1 teaspoon bicarb of soda
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
0.5 teaspoons nutmeg
Ingredients for the marzipan topping
250g ground almonds
100g icing sugar
1 orgran egg replacer
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of apricot jam
Ingredients for the teddy bears picnic "grass"
handful of pistachios
icing sugar for dusting
(For the teddy bear toppers
currents to decorate eyes)
Directions for the cake
Pre-heat the oven to 180C (Fan oven)
Juice one orange, and then chop up your dried fruit and leave to soak in the orange juice in a bowl for an hour. (I used 50g apricot, 100g figs, 100g golden berries, 50g sultanas, 50g cranberries, 50g currents, but you can use whatever combinations you like depending on what you have in the cupboard)
Grate the courgette and add to the mixed fruit.
Put the vegan spread, egg replacer, and maple syrup into the food processor and whizz up.
Sift in the chestnut flour, rice flour and potato flour, and add the cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda, plus the mixed spice, cinnamon and nutmeg. and whizz in food processor
Add the tablespoon of hemp milk (or any nut milk of your choice)
Use a pestle and mortar to crush the pistachios and almonds into child friendly bite sized pieces
Take a large mixing bowl and spatula and mix together the nuts, soaked fruit and cake mix.
Line a cake tin with baking paper, and grease the sides and bottom of the tin and baking paper
Spoon the mix into the cake tin, and bake for 45 mins. (Test with a skewer to see if it is ready - insert skewer into the centre of the cake and the skewer should come out clean.)
Cool the cake ready to decorate.
Directions to decorate cake
1. Make the marzipan: Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the ground almonds and stir together. Mix up your egg replacer and then add it to the bowl along with the vanilla extract.
2. Need the mixture together with your hands until it forms a dough
3. Roll the marzipan out with a rolling pin in between two sheets of baking paper
4. Warm the apricot jam
5. Spread a thin layer of the jam across the top and sides of the cake for the marzipan to stick to
6. Place the rolled marzipan on top of the cake, and then trim away the excess
7. To make the "grass"
Grate a courgette, dust it with icing sugar, and dry it out for a few hours using a dehumidifier.
Sprinkle your dried grass on top of the marzipan. I also added a few crushed pistachios on top with the grass.
The teddy bears were made by combining orange juice, dates, cacao and ground almonds and blending to form a paste, then shaping by hand into teddy bears. I have lost the bit of paper with the quantities I used, but didn't want to procrastinate any longer about posting the recipe! You could use any bliss ball recipe to make the teddy bear toppers though!