It’s been a while since I spoke about my diet or how I choose to eat on here (I think this was perhaps the last post, written back in 2014). While I still follow a plant-based diet, and nearly all of what I wrote in that last post still rings true, my daily diet has changed quite a bit since then, and I thought this cake would be the perfect recipe to share with a chit chat about diet.
Back when I started the blog in 2013, I was all about eating a healthy, plant-based diet full of in vogue foods – raw desserts, veggie replacements for carbs and green smoothies. I would snack on energy bites/bliss balls packed with dates, almonds and coconut, and slurp down veggie smoothies made with a banana and avocado base. I’d top my oatmeal with bee pollen, raw cacao nibs and dried goji berries, and my beloved pasta and pizza were replaced with zoodles (zucchini noodles) and broccoli bases (never was a fan of the cauliflower base!) Initially, they were hard to come by, so I was ecstatic when ‘clean eating’ gained in popularity and my local big supermarket chains started stocking their own brands of these expensive items, making them slightly more affordable.
But never during this time did I really think about where any of these foods came from. I would make bliss balls from almonds and pecans because that’s what everyone on the internet was doing, despite the fact that neither grew in Tasmania. Avocado, banana, dates and coconut formed the base of most of my sweet treats – again, foods that didn’t grow in the cooler Tasmanian climate (though you can now get locally grown avocados).
I became more and more aware of the food miles taken to get this food to where I lived. I started to question the low prices in the supermarkets that I had originally revelled in. How was it possible the the food was able to be grown (organically), packaged and shipped to Australia and now being sold for half the price of what it was elsewhere. And how was it possible that “fresh” apples were available in supermarkets year round, despite the fact that – living in what is dubbed “The Apple Isle” – I knew for a fact that the apple season only spanned the first few months of the year. Reading articles such as this one which highlighted how fresh fruit and vegetables were processed for supermarkets led us to stop buying fruit and vegetables from the supermarket, instead sourcing them from local suppliers through fortnightly delivered boxes or farmers markets.
And more recently, we have extended this to other foods we grow as well. Nowadays, we try to source as much of our food from local producers as we can. There are obviously a few exceptions to this, and I still go to the supermarket about once every month or two to stock up on a few things that it’s harder to source elsewhere (the main one for me being organic tampons – still can’t work out why the main supermarkets are the only ones who stock these!) But for the most part we try to buy things from small, locally owned shops or direct from the grower/manufacturer where possible. It’s nice to know that the money is going direct to the producers and makers, rather than them only being paid a fraction while a larger company rakes in the profits. It’s also nice to know that the food miles are low, and thus the environmental impact is lessened. And it can also force you to get creative in the kitchen – though I still buy some ingredients that aren’t local, the bulk of our produce is, and is therefore seasonal which means that we only have access to most fruit and vegetables for certain parts of the year. Learning to incorporate different seasonal vegetables into dishes where I might have always reached for the same veggie in the past has forced me to expand my repertoire and try new things (results of which have been a little hit and miss, but always fun experimenting!)
So, to this cake! I have been making this for nearly ten years, and I have no idea where the original recipe came from, but it’s one that has been tweaked and changed over the years to become what it is today. It was the favorite cake of an old flatmate of mine, who deserves full credit for coming up with the name (far catchier than “that blueberry cake”). It’s made nearly entirely of local ingredients (except the baking powder) – we even picked the blueberries ourselves. The flour is spray-free and grown and ground at Callington Mill in the middle of the state. It’s sweetened with a mix of local leatherwood honey, with a touch of yacon syrup, which is made near the small town in which I grew up in the North East of the State. And knowing that it’s made up of all locally sourced ingredients makes it taste that little bit more special :)
– MAKE IT YOUR OWN –
- Any frozen berries could be here – try raspberries, blackberries, mulberries etc
- I use a mix of leatherwood honey and yacon syrup to sweeten the cake, as well as adding flavour. If you want the sweetness without the added flavour, you could try using rice malt syrup, agave or cane sugar. On the other hand, if you like the idea of added flavour, you could experiment with maple syrup or golden syrup, both which would be delicious here!
- This could easily be made dairy free by using nut milk and coconut oil or olive oil instead of the butter
- I think this cake is perfect as it is, or with just a dusting of icing sugar, but you could ice it. I would choose something not too sweet such as a lemon-y buttercream or cream cheese frosting, or just whipped (coconut or dairy) cream
- For added texture, stir some lightly toasted coconut flakes or chopped pecans or walnuts through the batter before baking
- I have tried to make this with wholegrain flours, but prefer it with all purpose flour. That said, you could easily sub out some of the all purpose flour for a whole grain flour if you wish, noting the texture and taste will be slightly different
- 1 cup plain, all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarb soda
- 1/t tsp sea salt
- 5 Tbsp milk
- ½ tsp fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup of liquid sweetener (eg honey, maple syrup, golden syrup, molasses - or a mix of any of these; I use 3 parts honey, one part yacon syrup)
- 2 free-range eggs
- ¼ cup (50g) organic butter, melted
- 1.5 cups frozen blueberries
- Preheat oven to 170 C | 340F
- Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
- In a second bowl, mix together the milk, lemon juice and sweetener. Mix in the two eggs, and then stir in the melted butter. Lastly, stir through the frozen blueberries.
- Pour into a lined and greased 20cm | 8" cake pan.
- Bake for around 25 - 30 minutes - it's done when a knife comes out clean. Allow to sit in the pan for 10 minutes, and then run a knife around the edges to release it from the pan, and turn out onto a rack to cool completely - note however this cake is best enjoyed slightly warm, so feel free to tuck in straight away!