Banana and Date Cake

Since I’ve been here in Scotland here with my dear Sister, she baked me a cake when I arrived ( the banana and date one), it was so nice ( we ate it with cups of tea and with help from my dad), so she baked another one this morning, we’ve had a morning & afternoon just baking, and listening to my loved tracks on last fm it’s been great as I’m on holiday here for a while and I so need a holiday.
We’ve made a trifle, rum truffles and the banana and date cake
This is so easy to make, my sister has a small baby (24 weeks old) and she can make it in between feeds.
Here’s the Recipe:
10 oz/300 g/2½ cups whole wheat flour or gluten free flour
1 tbs baking powder
6 oz/180 g/1½  cups dates
3 ripe bananas
3 tsp vanilla essence
¼ pint/125 ml/½ cup soya milk
¼ lb/125 g/½ cup vegan marg
Put the flour and baking powder in a large bowl and mix together thoroughly. chop the dates and mix in.
Put the bananas, vanilla essence and soya milk in another bowl, mash together and set aside.
Melt the marg in a small saucepan over a low heat, then stir into the flour. Now add the mashed banana mix and stir with a spoon until both mixes are combined.
Pour the cake mix into a small lightly greased cake tin (6 inch/15cm round tin) and bake in the middle of a warm oven (163°C/gas mark 3/ 325°F) till a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out cleanly and the cake is golden brown (about an hour) maybe less for fan assisted ovens – keep checking!
Let it cool before taking it out of the tin.
Eat the cake with a friend, and a cup of tea (mine is rosehip and hibiscus – 2 bags please)
Rum Truffles
Makes 15 truffles
Now these were actually really easy to make and quite yummy especially with the addition of the rum (yum, yum)
The truffley base is made first
2 oz /60 g or 3 tbs raisins/dates/or sultanas ( I used sultanas this time)
3 fl oz/90 ml/⅓ cup dark rum
3 fl oz/90 g/⅓ cup firm vegan marg
¼ lb/125 g /1 cup gram flour (buy it in supermarkets, Indian and health food shops)
3 tbs/45 ml maple syrup (or agave syrup)
5 tbs/50 g/½ cup carob powder ( you could use cocoa powder instead)
3 tbs desiccated coconut
Put the raisins/dates/or sultanas in a small bowl, pour the rum over and set aside for at least half an hour
Melt the marg in a saucepan, stir in the gram flour to make a firm roux and cook gently for 2 -3 mins. Stir in the maple syrup (or agave), rum mixture (with added dates/sultanas or raisins) and continue stirring till mixed thoroughly. Take off the heat.
Set  2 tbs of carob (or cocoa powder) aside  and add rest to the saucepan. Mix together to a thick, slightly sticky coloured paste. Set aside for 20 mins.
carob powder, rum, truffle mix and desiccated coconut
Put the desiccated coconut  and remaining 2 tbs of carob powder (or cocoa) on a plate and mix together till coconut becomes carob coloured
Now take teaspoons of truffle mixture, drop them onto the coconut  and roll them around to make well-coated little balls of about 1 inch/2cm in diameter
Put in fridge for at least an hour before serving, munch at will
Now trifle has been one of my favourites for years (since I was a kid) I have an American friend and he doesn’t like the combination of the sponge and jelly (too weird for him)  but apart from that I’ve not met anyone who doesn’t like trifle… here’s a vegan version as a lot of the sponge fingers you can buy to put into a trifle aren’t vegan, so I made my own sponge first. Apart from the sponge, I made this as I went along (it’s not difficult winging it with a trifle)
Soya cream, raspberries and sponge for trifle
This makes a rather nice 2 layered sponge cake as well, I left out the lemons as we are just using it as a base for the trifle. half the ingredients if you just want one half sponge (you only need one layer for the trifle)
Sponge Cake (from The Vegan Cook Book)
½ lb/¼ kg/2 cups whole wheat flour or gluten free flour
1½ tbs baking powder
3 oz/90 g/5 tbs raw Demerara sugar
¼ lb/125 g/½ cup vegan marg
5 tbs/75 ml hot water
1½ tbs/25 ml malt extract (or I also use agave syrup)
Sift the flour and the baking powder into a bowl, add the sugar and mix well lifting and sprinkling with spoon
Put the marg to melt in a small saucepan over a low heat, remove from heat once it’s melted
Put the hot water in a jug together with the malt extract (or agave syrup) and set aside
Preheat an oven to fairly hot  (204°C/gas mark 6/ 400°F) and prepare 2 sponge tins by lightly greasing them with marg and flouring them
As quickly as you can add the melted marg to dry ingredients followed by malt (or agave) and water mixture. Beat for a few moments only before transferring equal amounts to each of the sponge tins and place them in the oven
Bake until the top goes firm and golden brown (about 20- 25 mins) Cool on a rack before moving from tins
This makes 2 layers of cake – you only need one for the trifle – you could put some jam and/or soya cream on the other.
While the sponge is baking make up a jelly in a jug (jelly crystals and water – I used raspberry vegan jelly
Break up the sponge into rough pieces add the still warm jelly mix from the jug and put into a nice trifle bowl you can buy the jelly in any health food shop, when making the jelly I also added some frozen raspberries to the jelly mix as I like fruit in my sponge/jelly mix – though not everyone does
Then it’s time to add the custard, now you can make your own custard with custard powder, sugar and soya milk (1 pint) it’s easy to make just follow the recipe on the custard powder packet or if you are lazy like me, buy one of the ready-made vegan custards from supermarkets or health food shops – I use the whole packet
Put the custard on top of the sponge/jelly mix like so:
Now it’s time for the soya cream, there are lots of good makes of soya cream (available from health food shops  and some supermarkets, you want a whipping cream rather than a single cream (as it will fall apart when you serve it – not good)
I also whizz up the cream a bit more either with a hand whisk or an electric whisk
Add the whipped soya cream to the trifle and swirl around or smooth (your preference)
I added some raspberries (fresh or defrosted frozen), you could add any fruit really (soft fruits would work best) or add hundreds and thousands/sprinkles instead of /and the fruit.
I just kept mine simple
Put in the fridge for an hour (to set the jelly properly)

Then eat it… Well you are not going to sit and look at it – even though it does look fabulously delicious 😀