Monday, December 10, 2018

{ Waiting for Christmas } Vegan cranberry black forest Christmas yule log cake in a jar (gluten free option)

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Each year, for Christmas holidays, I like to propose a yummy seasonal dessert. I made traditional yule log cakes for a time and then I kind of fell in love with desserts in a jar and so for Christmas cakes. Last year, I tried poke cake - a coconut chocolate persimmon one -  for a change and also a traditional Finnish dessert.

This year, I went back to dessert in a jar because I love to just plunge my spoon in the different layer and also that even if you'e not a pro at baking nice and pretty cake or dessert, it doesn't matter with jars.

A few months ago, I tasted a piece of black forest in a vegan food place in Paris called Cloud Cakes, why, I don't know because I'm not fond of chocolate and red fruit mixed together but this is the one that was tempting me the most, go figure... And I love it, not too sweet, light and delicious, so this is what I wanted to do for Christmas this year. But, of course, I wanted to bring my personal touch and didn't want to use cherries in syrup and as it's not in season, I swapped them for cranberries, because the season is short and I love them so much!

For the dessert, I kept the basics, the cocoa sponge cake and the whipped cream, I added some home made cranberries syrup to coat the cake chunks and made a cranberry compote and oh my... I'm definitely making it again for Christmas dinner at my mom's. If, like my step father, you don't like these Canadian red fruit, just use frozen raspberries or seasonal pear, it'll be very good too.

I suggest you to prepare the sponge cake and the cranberry compote a day ahead or in the morning for the evening, so that it's cooled down completely when you'll add the whipped cream. You can also prepare all the dessert ahead and keep the jars in the fridge for a day and take them out 30 minutes before serving them. Let's get to the recipe!

Vegan cranberry black forest Christmas yule log cake in a jar

Serving : 4 jars

Cranberry compote

Prep time + cooking time : 5 min
Resting time
: 2 hours minimum

- 180 g / 6,35 oz fresh cranberries
- 40 to 50 g / 1,4 to 1,75 oz whole blond sugar or other caster sugar

  • In a saucepan, stir in about 1 or 2 tbsp water, the cranberries and the sugar, let cook on medium heat and stir regularly with a wooden spoon. Add some water if needed if it begins to stick to the bottom, the cranberries will get all soft.

  • About the sugar quantity, I suggest you to taste at the end of the cooking time to se if it suits you or not, I like the compote to be not too sweet and a bit sour.

  • Pour into an airtight container or a little bowl you'll cover and let cool down bfore putting in the fridge until you'll use it.

Cocoa sponge cake

Prep time + cooking time : 30 to 40 minutes
Resting time : 2 hours minimum

- 85 g / 3 oz whole or semi-whole wheat flour or small spelt flour (low-gluten)*
- 1 tsp corn starch
- 25 g / 0,88 oz ground almonds

- 3 tsp unsweetened cacao powder
- ¼ tsp (about 3 g / 0,11 oz)baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 60 g / 2,12 oz unsweetened apple sauce
- 30 to 40 ml / 1 to 1,35 fl. oz / 1/8 cup (+ extra 1 tbsp maybe) plant-based milk
- a few drops of natural vanilla extract
- 30 g / 1 oz agave syrup (or other liquid sugar)

* or 35 g / 1,25 oz rice whole or semi-whole flour + 50 g / 1,75 oz corn flour for a gluten free version

  • In a mixing bowl, stir in the dry ingredients with a fork : flour(s), starch, ground almonds, cocoa, baking powder and soda. Make a well, pour in the wet ones : apple sauce, milk, liquid sugar and vanilla and stir just enough to have an homogeneous batter.

  • Pour the batter in a small cake pan (mine was 15 x 7 cm / 5,90 x 2,75 inches) or several individual cake pans so that you can then dice some chunks, grease and flour them before if needed.

  • Bake in a warm oven at 180°C / th.6 / 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes.

  • Let it cool down before turning out and set aside (or in the fridge) until you'll need it/them.

Coating syrup

Prep time + cooking time : 5 minutes
Resting time : 2 hours minimum

- 100 g / 3,50 oz / about 3/8 cup water
- 50 g / 1,75 oz whole blond sugar or other caster sugar
- 25 g / 0,88 oz cranberry juice*

* or cranberry sauce from the compote you've made before, once blended with a dash of water it works too

  • In a saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil, lower the heat on medium, stir in the cranberry juice or sauce and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon.

  • Pour into an airtight container or a little bowl you'll cover and let cool down before putting in the fridge until you'll use it.

Whipped cream

Prep time : 5 minutes

- 200 ml / 6,75 fl. oz / 1/2 + 1/3 cup full fat whipping cream (non vegan) or plant-based whipping cream or canned full fat coconut milk

  • Store your whipping cream or canned coconut milk in the fridge a few hours or the night before. About 1 hour before, put your glass or stainless mixing bowl in the fridge too.

  • If using coconut milk, take the amount needed from the solid part (keep the water for a smoothie or another drink), pour the milk/whipping cream in the bowl and whisk on medium speed until it doesn't move anymore in the bowl when you try to turn it over.

  • Store in the fridge until using it.

Building the jars

Prep time : 5 to 10 minutes

  • Dice the sponge cake(s), not too big. Take the whipped cream, the syrup and the compote out too.

  • For the layers, it's up to you, this is the order I chose because it made sense for a coherence of textures but as you wish of course: I put a layer of cranberry compote in the bottom, covered with some whipped cream, some cake dices, covered them with the syrup, another layer of cranberries, whipped cream, dices of cake, syrup and ended with a final layer of whipped cream and sprinkle some unsweetened cocoa/chocolate powder.

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