Divine vegan desserts

Enjoy the healthier, vegan version of these classic dessert favourites.


Real Food Daily double chocolate layer cake with raspberry puree.


Steve’s Flapjacks


Anzac Biscuits

New York Style Lemon Cheesecake

New York Style Lemon Cheesecake


Apple and Strawberry Jelly

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Real Food Daily Double Chocolate Layer Cake with Raspberry Puree*

This cake is moist and delicious – not too sweet, but rich and chocolatey. The raspberry flavour complements the chocolate beautifully. If you haven’t got time to make the puree, just serve with fresh raspberries. You can use this sponge recipe as the basis for any chocolate cake or cupcake. Serves 12

3 cups (450 g) barley flour
¾ cup (90 g) cocoa
¼ cup (30 g) instant decaffeinated coffee (or coffee substitute powder)
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups (500 ml) soy milk
1½ cups (375 ml) maple syrup
¾ cup (180 ml) light oil, e.g. sunflower
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 teaspoons cider vinegar

2 cups (400 g) chocolate chips
3 cups (720 g) firm silken tofu
1 cup (120 g) cocoa
¹⁄³ cup (80 ml) agave nectar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Raspberry puree
¾ cup (180 ml) water
¼ teaspoon agar powder
2 cups (200 g) frozen raspberries, thawed
¹⁄³ cup (80 ml) agave nectar
1 cup (100 g) fresh raspberries

Oven 170°C/325°F/Gas 3

Grease and line the base of two 23 cm (9") pans with 4 cm (1½") high sides.
For the cake, sift the flour, cocoa powder, coffee powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk the soy milk, maple syrup, oil, vanilla and vinegar in another bowl. Mix the wet and dry ingredients until just blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean and the cakes begin to pull away from the sides of the pans. Cool in the pans on a metal cooling rack for 20 minutes. Turn out the cakes onto the rack and cool completely.
For the frosting, melt the chocolate chips in a bain-marie (see box below). Blend the tofu, cocoa, agave nectar and vanilla in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Add the melted chocolate to the tofu mixture and blend well, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula if needed. Transfer the frosting to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour, or until just firm enough to spread.
For the raspberry puree, combine the water and agar powder in a heavy saucepan and soak for 15 minutes. Bring to a simmer over high heat and then decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer the mixture to a blender. Add the thawed raspberries and agave nectar and puree until smooth. Pour the puree into a bowl and stir in the fresh raspberries. Cover and refrigerate until the puree is cold. Stir before serving.
To assemble: place 1 cake layer on a platter, spread with 1½ cups of frosting. Top with the second cake layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the sides and top of the cake using a spatula. Serve the cake with raspberry puree.
*Reprinted with permission from Ann Gentry, The Real Food Daily Cookbook: Really Fresh, Really Good, Really Vegetarian, Ten Speed Press, 2005.

Steve’s Flapjacks

Gluten Free, Low Sugar
Steve has been making these for years, without a recipe. They vary each time but are always full of spices and big chunks of fruit, nuts and seeds. Unlike many flapjack recipes, they are not at all greasy. Everybody loves them. I finally pinned him down to making a batch with me standing by measuring and weighing each ingredient. Makes 12

1/3 cup (65 g) dairy-free spread
1/3 cup (65 g) sugar
2 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup or barley malt syrup
¾ cup (75 g) walnuts or brazil nuts or a mixture, chopped coarsely
¼ cup (35 g) each of pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds
½ cup (80 g) raisins or sultanas
¼ cup (35 g) each of dates and dried apricots, chopped coarsely
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon mixed spice
2–2½ cups (200–250 g) rolled oats

Oven: 170°C/325°F/Gas 3

Grease and line the base of a 20 cm (8") square tin.
Weigh out and chop all the ingredients before you start because once you have melted the fat and sweeteners you need to add everything quickly.
Put the dairy-free spread in a large, heavy-based pan and melt over a low heat. Add the sugar and allow it to dissolve. Then add the syrups. When the mixture is all runny, remove from heat and stir in all the other ingredients except the rolled oats.
Add most of the oats and stir well to combine. If there is still any liquid at the bottom, stir in some more oats. You want a moist but not too wet mixture. The exact quantity of oats you need depends on how much liquid they will absorb. Quick porridge oats are probably more porous than steel-cut oats, so you may not need as many.
Put the mixture into the prepared tin and press down well. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 20–25 minutes. They are done when the top looks and feels dry. The middle is supposed to stay a bit sticky and you don’t want them to brown too much – better to undercook than burn these.
Remove from the oven and stand the tin on a wire cooling rack. After about 10 minutes, loosen from the edge of the tin and mark into 12 pieces. Cool in the tin. Flapjacks keep for a week or more in an airtight tin.

Anzac Biscuits

Low Sugar, Wheat Free, Nut Free
These biscuits were invented during World War I by the wives, mothers and girlfriends of Australian soldiers who wanted to send nutritious food to their loved ones, containing ingredients that would survive the long journey by sea. They came up with rolled oats, sugar, flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup and bicarbonate of soda. Because of the war, eggs were not readily available, making this recipe easy to veganise. My recipe is slightly less sweet than the traditional recipe, as well as being lower in fat and wheat free. There’s also an option of adding extra nutritional value with a few nuts or seeds, thus pleasing almost everyone. Makes 14–16

1 cup (100 g) rolled oats
½ cup (50 g) desiccated coconut
½ cup (70 g) brown rice flour
½ cup (60 g) tapioca flour
pinch of salt
handful chopped nuts or seeds (optional)
½ cup (100 g) sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
¼ cup (60 ml) light oil (coconut oil is nice if you have it)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons boiling water

Oven: 170°C/325°F/Gas 3

Cover a large baking tray with baking parchment.
Mix the oats, coconut, flours and salt. Add nuts or seeds if using.
Melt the sugar, golden syrup and oil in a small pan. When it is melted boil the kettle and mix the bicarbonate of soda with two tablespoons of boiling water. Stir quickly and add to the pan. As it bubbles up, pour over the dry ingredients and mix together.
Drop teaspoon-size balls onto the baking tray and flatten down. Bake for 10–12 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on the tray.

New York Style Lemon Cheesecake

Nut Free
I’ve experimented with many recipes to get the authentic taste and texture of the traditional New York style cheesecake, a plain, unadulterated baked cheesecake made with cream cheese. Vegan cream cheese is available pretty much everywhere; mixing it half and half with tofu cuts the fat and increases the nutritional value. Don’t worry if the cheesecake cracks, this only adds to its authentic look. Serves 12

1/3 cup (55 g) unbleached flour
1 cup (140 g) wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (100 g) dairy-free spread
1/3 cup (75 g) brown sugar

2 cups (450 g) vegan cream cheese
2½ cups (600 g) silken tofu
2/3 cup (130 g) sugar
½ cup (125 ml) lemon juice
½–1 teaspoon natural lemon extract (optional)
1/3 cup (55 g) unbleached flour

1 batch lemon syrup (p. 100)

Oven 180°C/350°F/Gas 4

Grease a 23 cm (9") round springform tin.
Place a shallow pan filled with water on lower rack of oven. This creates a moist atmosphere in the oven that helps create the cheesecake texture.
For the base, sift the flours, baking powder and salt. Put the dairy-free spread and sugar into a food processor and blend together. Add the flour mixture and pulse until incorporated. Flatten into the tin and bake for 10–15 minutes.
For the filling, blend the cream cheese and tofu in a food processor. Add sugar and blend until creamy. Add lemon juice, lemon extract and flour. Blend and pour into crust.
Bake 50–60 minutes until the cheesecake is set, but still wobbles a little when you shake it. Turn off oven but leave the cheesecake in for another half an hour. Remove from the oven and leave the cheesecake to cool completely. Drizzle with the lemon syrup, allowing it to run into any cracks. Run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake and release the springform clip.

Apple and Strawberry Jelly

Gluten Free, Low Sugar
My friend Jenni made these for her son’s birthday party, but they were so tasty that all the adults wanted to eat them. Serves 6

2 teaspoons agar powder
1 litre clear apple juice
½ cup (70 g) hazelnuts, roasted, skinned and ground (p. 15)
1 cup (150 g) strawberries, sliced
2 tablespoons maple syrup

You will need 6 small glasses or glass dessert dishes.
Sprinkle the agar powder onto the apple juice in a large pan and leave to soak for 15 minutes. Place over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Don’t worry if the mixture doesn’t look thick, it will thicken on cooling. Don’t add more agar powder than suggested, otherwise you will have rock-like jellies.
Keep an eye on the mixture as it cools and when it begins to thicken, fill the glasses one third full with jelly. Add a layer of strawberries and sprinkle with a teaspoonful of hazelnuts. Add another layer of jelly, strawberries and nuts, then finish with a jelly layer. Leave to set completely in the fridge. To serve, top with a drizzle of maple syrup and a strawberry.