Sugar, nut and glutenfree delight
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
❚ 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
❚ 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.