Rooibos Chai Cake
I have been reminiscing about my childhood recently, and the innocence it brings with it. Being the eldest of 3 girls, I think I often took on the responsibility of making sure everyone was fed and content during those long December holidays, because being hangry (hungry+angry) is a real thing in our house.
It was always a little treat when I was the first wake on a random Wednesday morning and would treat my sisters to pancakes, and see their grumpy faces turn because you didn’t just wake them up early – you woke them up with pancakes in bed. And my love of baking has never left me. Even in those early years of simple baking going horribly wrong, when your muffins could be used as weapons to ward off intruders; I soldiered on. I kept experimenting and trying to rectify those baking mistakes. Disclaimer – I still struggle to know when meringue hits the soft peak stage, but it’s all about the journey right?
My interest in vegan baking started as a way of trying to understand the science behind baking – the reason those ingredients bind and create a fluffier cake. And with most Sundays dedicated to baking, I began experimenting with different flours. After a work colleague had mentioned Cassava Flour to me and described all the benefits it has in baking; I knew I had to give it a try.
Cassava Flour is native to South America and is made by the grating and drying the cassava root, also knows as Yucca. Please note that Cassava Flour and tapioca flour are completely different types of flours, even if they are made from the same plant. Tapioca flour differs in that its made from cassava starch and not the grated root. Baking friends, this flour is a total game changer. It’s the closest gluten free flour I’ve found to regular cake flour, it might have a finer texture but the end result is amazing. It has a neutral flavour and is incredibly high in vitamin C, and a better source than potatoes, wheat brown rice, and corn.
We used this wonder-flour to create our last nod to winter flavours, as it’s Spring in just two days. Our Chai Rooibos Cake is infused with locally grown rooibos tea leaves. Rooibos has long been the underdog in the tea world, but some experts agree that it won’t be long before rooibos rivals green and black tea because of the highly effective antioxidants which help fight and prevent a wide range of diseases. Rooibos functions as both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, this helps protect your cells from damage by free radicals and reduces inflammation. It may even help prevent cancer, because of a plant pigment known as quercetin. Many doctors reported prescribing this pigment in a supplement form as it suppresses the malignant tumour growth by stopping the process that allows the cells to mutate. Who knows, plants are magical things.
With all these beneficial attributes of Rooibos and Cassava we just had to share all our findings. Adding a little chai flavour helps makes this dessert the perfect winter tea-time favourite. Pair it with a cup of rooibos and lemon for any rainy day.
For the Cake:
- 2 1/2cups of Cassava Flour
- 2tsp Bicarbonate Soda
- 1tsp Baking Powder
- 1 1/2cups Organic Brown Sugar
- 1/2cup Coconut Oil
- 11/2cup Almond Milk
- 1/2cup Unsweetened Applesauce
- 2tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/4cup Water
- 2 Rooibos Teabags (2tbsp loose tea leaves)
For the Icing:
- 2 1/2cups Icing Sugar
- 1/2cup Vegan Butter
- 2tbsp Almond Milk
- 1/2tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/4tsp Ground Ginger
- 1/2tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4tsp All Spice
- (3tbsp reserved Rooibos Tea)
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- In a large bowl combine your flour, bicarbonate soda, baking powder, and sugar.
- Whisk gently.
- In a separate mixing bowl, cream your sugar and coconut oil together until light and fluffy. Add the almond milk, applesauce, vinegar, rooibos (keeping 2tbsp aside for the icing) and vanilla, making sure that all the ingredients are fully combined.
- Using a spoon stir your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix and cause the mixture to collapse.
- Line 2 20cm cake tins with baking paper and pour batter evenly between the 2. Bang them on the counter a few times to even out the batter.
- Bake on the centre rack for 35-40min or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Once the cakes are done baking remove them and let them cool in their tins.
Once they are completely cooled remove from the tins and place on a wire rack/plate for icing.
For the icing:
- Using an electric hand mixer cream butter and icing sugar together. Once light and fluffy add the milk, vanilla, rooibos, and spices to the bowl and mix well.
- If a dome has formed on top of your cakes; use a flat palette knife to remove, leaving your cakes with flat tops.
- Place one layer of your cooled cake on a plate and spoon and spread icing evenly.
- Add the next layer and repeat.
- Use the remaining icing to ice the sides of the cake. Don’t worry too much if it gets messy, just keep going. You won’t even notice it in the end.
- Finally, decorate your cake with any seasonal flowers you have. If they’re edible, great. If not, that’s okay too. Just remember to warn people before they munch them.