Thursday, 2 January 2020

Vegan Makowiec swirls (Poppy seed swirls)

Poppy Seed Makowiec Swirls Tree

I love the classic Polish cake Makowiec -  a sweet bready cake, rolled like a swiss roll, with a poppy seed filling. It's a classic bake for me at Christmas, but this year I decided to vary things, and instead made a yeasted sweet dough (like in my recent cinnamon rolls post), and filled it with the poppy seed paste. After proving and baking, I drizzled over some icing, and they were done! They are lovely to have as a midday treat, and everyone really seemed to enjoy them.

Once these are cool, keep them in an airtight container and they should stay moist for 3-4 days.

Makes c. 12 big swirls


For the dough:

  • 475g strong white bread flour, plus an extra handful for dusting
  • 25g cornflour
  • 7g dried fast-action yeast
  • 50g light soft brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 300ml soy milk
  • 75g dairy-free (I used a soy-based) margarine
For the filling:
  • 400g poppy seed paste
  • 50g mixed dried fruit
  • 25g glace cherries (Plus 20g for decoration, optional)
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
For the icing:
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp water

1. Tip the bread flour and cornflour into the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a dough hook. To one side of the bowl add the yeast, and to the other side add the sugar, cardamom and salt.

2. Heat the soy milk in the microwave for 30 seconds - 1 minute, until warm but not hot to the touch. Pour over the flour and add the margarine.

3. Turn on the stand mixer and leave to knead for around 8 minutes, until it is very soft.

4. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until the dough has at least doubled in size.

5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is about 20 x 30 cm. In a bowl, beat together the poppy seed paste, cinnamon and dried fruit, and then spread evenly over the dough.

6. Along the long edge, roll the dough into a tight spiral. Slice into 12 swirls.

7. Grease and line the base of two baking trays, and then place the spirals on the trays, with at least 3cm between each swirl. Cover and leave to prove for around 45 minutes.

8. Preheat your oven to 180c (160c fan)/355f/gas mark 4.

9. Bake the swirls for 25-30 minutes, or until golden and firm to the touch. Check after 20 minutes and if browning too much, cover with foil.

10. Leave to cool.

11. Beat together the sifted icing sugar and water until it is a thick but droppable consistency. Once the swirls have cooled, pipe or drizzle over. If wanted, halve the glace cherries and place on the icing to stick.

12. Enjoy!

Poppy Seed Makowiec Swirls Tree

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Saturday, 16 November 2019

Vegan Macarons

Vegan orange macarons

I was sceptical as to how to make a delicious macaron without egg whites, but this recipe worked really well. I think the trick was to chill the chickpea water (aquafaba) overnight, and I used fancy organic chickpeas (but I couldn't say for sure that made a big difference).
As these are vegan, they are obviously dairy- and egg-free, but they are also gluten-free!
I filled the macarons with a vegan orange buttercream (I know I made them pink...but for this first experiment, I thought I'd go crazy and mix up the standard colour/flavour combo), and after they had been left for a few hours, the end result was soft, almond, fluffy goodness with a hit of orange.
These were only my first attempt so I'm sure I can improve these even more, and I'll be sure to keep this blog updated if I do :)

Easily makes 40 shells (20 macarons)


For the vegan macaron shells:

  • 150g chilled aquafaba (I got this from one can of chickpeas, but you may need a bit over one can's worth)
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 50ml water
  • Food colouring of your choice (I used a pink concentrated gel)

For the vegan buttercream frosting:

  • 55g vegan margarine (I used Flora dairy-free)
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract
  • 175g icing sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp dairy-free milk (I used hazelnut)
  • Food colouring (optional)


1. Grease and line the base of four baking trays with baking parchment.

2. Divide your chilled aquafaba into two, and pour half into a bowl with the icing sugar and ground almonds. Beat until you have a thick paste and set aside.

3. Begin whisking the remaining half of aquafaba on a low speed in a stand mixer (with the balloon whisk attached). Place the caster sugar and water in a saucepan on a low heat and use a sugar thermometer to analyze the temperature (swirling the pan occasionally).

4. Once the mixture reaches 110c, increase the speed of the whisk to high. Continue heating the sugar mixture until it reaches 117c.

5. As soon as the temperature reaches 117c, turn the whisk speed down to about medium, and carefully pour in the VERY HOT syrup. Once all of the syrup has been added, turn the speed up to high and whisk for at least 5 minutes. The mixture will turn very white and glossy, but I didn't find it ever created stiff peaks (as egg white meringue would). Add your food colouring and whisk in.

6. Spoon a small amount of this mixture into the ground almond paste and beat to loosen the mixture. Fold in the remaining "meringue" until the mixture is a consistent colour and texture.

7. Pour into a piping bag and pipe 4-5cm onto baking trays lined with baking parchment, leaving at least 2cm between each piped circle. Once a tray has been filled, tap the base of the tray against the counter, and then set aside for one hour, or until the top of the macaron feels dry (and doesn't stick to your finger).

8. Preheat your oven to 120c/250f. Bake the macaron shells for 20-22 minutes, until they are firm to the touch. Leave them on the trays to cool completely.

9. Meanwhile, make the filling by placing the butter, icing sugar and orange extract into the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Add one tablespoon of dairy-free milk and begin whisking at a low speed. Gradually add more dairy-free milk until the buttercream pours slowly off a spoon (and so would hold it's shape when piped). Add food colouring if you like and whisk in.

10. When the macaron shells have cooled, flip half of them over and pipe a small amount (about a teaspoon's worth) of buttercream onto each flipped shell. Gently cover with an un-flipped shell and press together.

11. These are lovely straight away, but even better after being left for a few hours, which allows the macaron shells to soften and become the perfect afternoon tea treat.

12. Enjoy!

Vegan orange macarons

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Monday, 21 October 2019

Vegan Bavarian Custard Slice

Vegan Bavarian Custard Slice

This is a really simple variation to the classic Bavarian Custard Slice (as requested by my partner after seeing in a bakery). This was relatively simple to make vegan - the custard sets really well and is beautifully creamy, and shop-bought puff pastry tends to be vegan (though check the packaging!). I spread a layer of cherry jam in between the pastry bottom and custard, which gives a nice zing to the dish.
As this is vegan, it's completely dairy-free and egg-free :)
This made around 12 decent sized slices.


  • 1 block (500g) puff pastry
  • 100g raspberry jam
  • 1-litre soy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g cornflour
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 100g soy margarine
  • Icing sugar, for dusting


1. Preheat your oven to 180c/355f/gas mark 4, and grease and line the base of a 20 x 30cm baking tray with baking parchment.

2. Roll your puff pastry to an 18 x 15cm rectangle, then place in the baking tray. Bake for around 15 minutes, or until well risen and golden, and then leave to cool.

3. Make the custard filling by combining the soy milk, vanilla and sugar in a saucepan and bringing to a boil. Once simmering, slowly pour over the cornflour mixture, beating well to ensure there are no lumps.

4. Return to the saucepan and gently heat for around 5-8 minutes, or until it has thickened considerably. At this point, stir in the margarine and turmeric and beat until the custard is glossy. Set aside for a few minutes whilst you prepare the pastry.

5. Carefully slice the pastry horizontally (so that you have two thin layers of 18 x 15cm rectangles). Place the first, cut side up, on a tray (if you have a tray with 5cm tall sides, that would be best, but the custard is thick enough that this isn't essential.).

6. Spread the jam over the pastry, as evenly as possible. Spoon over the thick custard, and then top with the other half of the pastry. Set in the fridge for 2-3 hours, until fully set.

7. Dust with icing sugar and cut into slices.

8. Enjoy!

Vegan Bavarian Custard Slice

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