Sugar, nut and gluten­free de­light

The Southland Times - - Summer -

My favourite sum­mer item is, of course, some­thing I can whip up in the kitchen and I love mak­ing my frozen straw­berry rip­ple cake.

I’ve cre­ated hun­dreds of recipes over the past decade and I came up with this one sev­eral years ago. It’s easy to make and it tastes like you’re eat­ing sor­bet, ice­cream and cookie base all in one. It’s also re­fined sugar-free, gluten-free and nut-free, and has the op­tion of be­ing dairy-free, too.

As I was mak­ing it for this story, I was in the kitchen, hold­ing my 12-week-old son River in one arm, and try­ing to en­ter­tain my 2-year-old, Bodhi, who loves help­ing me. I made the cake in 15 min­utes, which proves it’s su­per easy to make!

I like to in­clude Bodhi in the kitchen be­cause I want him to de­velop an in­ter­est in food and it keeps him en­ter­tained for a while, too. While it means a lot more mess, I’m hope­ful it’ll pay off in the fu­ture when he’s a great lit­tle cook!

I love mak­ing this cake in sum­mer be­cause it’s full of straw­ber­ries, and it’s the per­fect light, re­fresh­ing sum­mer dessert.

Bodhi loves check­ing our straw­berry plants when he gets home from day­care to see if any of them are ripe and ready to pick. We also go straw­berry pick­ing in early sum­mer to­gether. I eat so many straw­ber­ries, like, four pun­nets’ worth in one go, that some­times I ac­tu­ally get hives.

Bodhi is straw­berry ob­sessed too – he gorges on them while we’re pick­ing and hardly any make it into his bucket.

Even at 2 years old, Bodhi has de­vel­oped a great palate and a love for food. He even eats herbs out of the gar­den.

Peo­ple of­ten ask what my favourite recipe is. To be hon­est, that’s an im­pos­si­ble ques­tion to an­swer. It’s like ask­ing some­one what’s their favourite song – it to­tally de­pends on who you’re with and what mood you’re in. It’s also like ask­ing some­one if they have a favourite child, and we all know the po­lit­i­cally cor­rect an­swer is that you don’t have a favourite!

This cake is so good for you that you shouldn’t feel guilty eat­ing it. Not that you should feel guilty for eat­ing any food, I don’t be­lieve in ‘‘good food’’ or ‘‘bad food’’. Food is food.

There are more nu­tri­tious foods than oth­ers and if you can aim to eat nu­tri­tiously most, like 90 per cent, of the time then you don’t have to feel guilty about in­dulging and just hav­ing what you want the other 10 per cent of the time. Just en­joy!

Frozen straw­berry rip­ple cake

Prep time: 15 min­utes and at least six hours’ freezer time

Base

❚ 1⁄2 cup des­ic­cated or shred­ded co­conut

❚ 7-8 pit­ted med­jool dates (or 15-16 nor­mal dried dates soaked in boil­ing hot wa­ter for 5 min­utes)

❚ 1⁄3 cup sun­flower seeds or al­monds

Fill­ing

❚ 500g fresh or frozen and de­frosted straw­ber­ries (or a mix of rasp­ber­ries and straw­ber­ries)

❚ 1⁄4 cup runny honey or maple syrup

❚ 1-2 tea­spoons rose­wa­ter or vanilla bean paste or ex­tract

❚ 1 cup cream or co­conut cream

❚ 1 1⁄4 cups unsweet­ened nat­u­ral Greek yo­ghurt or co­conut yo­ghurt

Grease the bot­tom and sides of a 20-21cm round spring-form cake tin and line with bak­ing pa­per.

To make the base, place all in­gre­di­ents in a food pro­ces­sor and blitz un­til well com­bined and the mix­ture has formed a slightly sticky dough that holds to­gether well when pinched be­tween your fin­gers; if it’s still a lit­tle crumbly just add

1-2 ta­ble­spoons wa­ter and blitz again. Scrape down the sides of the food pro­ces­sor as nec­es­sary to en­sure all the in­gre­di­ents are in­cor­po­rated. Spread mix­ture over the base of pre­pared cake tin us­ing the back of a spoon – it will be quite a thin layer. Place in the freezer while you make the fill­ing.

Blend berries, honey/maple syrup and rose­wa­ter/vanilla un­til smooth. Scoop out 1⁄2 cup berry mix­ture and set aside in a bowl.

Add cream/co­conut cream and yo­ghurt to re­main­ing berry mix­ture and blend to­gether briefly un­til com­bined and a pretty pink colour.

Pour fill­ing over the base and roughly smooth out the top. Spoon re­served berry sauce over the fill­ing and use a tea­spoon or knife to cre­ate a few pretty swirls. Freeze for at least 6 hours (or overnight) un­til firm.

When ready to serve, re­move from freezer and stand at room tem­per­a­ture for 10-15 min­utes to slightly thaw, be­fore re­leas­ing spring latch and re­mov­ing cake from tin.

Dec­o­rate with ex­tra berries and flower pe­tals if you like. Use a large, sharp knife to cut into por­tions.

– As told to Aroha Awa­rau

Na­dia Lim with her favourite sum­mer recipe – frozen straw­berry rip­ple cake.

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