Vegan Raspberry Cake

I’ve been baking and cooking dairy free for a while now, because of my milk allergy and I’ve always wanted to attempt one of these cakes. I find it so clever how people think of using different ingredients (that would never occur to me to be used in baking) to make a vegan cake. Like, soaked cashews? I wonder who thought of that one. Dates as a base are a bit more obvious since they’re sticky. I haven’t tried to use aqaufaba yet (juice of chickpeas), but I’m sure it’ll work as magically as the soaked cashews did.

I decided that I wanted to replicate the dish that I used to make and love with my mom before I got my milk-phobia. It’s called a ‘kwartaart’, which means that there’s a lot of thick yoghurt in the cake. I’m not sure wehter that sounds very unappealing  and I’m just not good at explaining kwark, but it basically just taste like a cheesecake. The base tasted like speculaas (Dutch cookies) and since I had speculaar cookies in my cupboard, I decided to use those. I mixed them and then added 1/2 cup (maybe a bit less) of melted coconut oil to make it stick as a whole. I used a 6 inch/ 20cm round cake tin, lined with parchment paper. After that, I placed it in the freezer. 

The thing in any vegan cheese cake recipe is that they say: “soak the cashews overnight” or ” at least for a trillion hours”. I did not have that time! I thought, why not try to just soak them in boiling water and see if that works. I let them in there for an hour (at best, ’cause I’m an impatient human) and then used the foodprocessor to blend the cashews and the coconut oil to a creamy substance. I may have used a processor that was too small or blunt, because it couldn’t really process all of the cashews. After mixing for a bit, I aded a few tablespoons of water to loosen the mixture and it worked. It became creamy! 

I only had one small food processors so I had to transfer the final mixture into a bowl and then pulse the 1 cup of frozen raspberries. This allowed me to make a double layer of white and pink, which gave it a cool look! I added it all to the round tin and hoped that it would freeze enough for everyone to have after dinner. I placed it in at 4pm and took it out around 9pm and it was frozen, except for a small bit in the middle. Good enough. 

The funny thing was how everyone expected it to taste different from a regular cheesecake, but they all said it tasted the same! Magic cashews! I was happy, excited and there were leftovers that I placed back into the freezer (and I still snack on). It tastes the same as the Dutch kwarktaart. Definitely a success and will make one soon again! 

I struggled to get the cake out of the parchment paper, so I jus cut around it. I know it’s not the best looking cake, but at least it tasted yummy! 

I used a different recipe, but I was unable to find it again so here you go with a similar recipe.

Jekyll & Hyde

It’s been almost a year since I arrived at Sydney airport. Tim picked me up and we drove to Merimbula and we celebrated Christmas with his family. I had never spent time away from home for this amount of time and in that time I’ve been away, a lot has happened. 

It is a curious business to settle into a new country. Whether you’re confident or open-minded or anxious, entering a new world is equally mysterious and exciting and scary. The foundation you’ve carefully built your life on for many years suddenly trembles and shudders like a faulty building, for the workers and carers and supervisors are all absent. 

Feeling alone became a sense I had not experienced before. Insecurity got the better of me at moments I wish I could’ve been better. But I discovered that  loosing my sense of stability eventually helped to gain a deeper understanding of myself. I shed my familiar skin and grew a new and thicker one. 

My vulnerability in the past few months is not something I’m particularly proud of, but it taught me that loosing gravity is not meant for the faint of heart. I reidentified myself and I gained new friends (and family) who pulled me back to the earth. After a while, I learned to understand the culture better, the etiquettes and the specific ways of communication. I find myself talking in a way I did not expect to hear in just the couple of months I’ve been arround. I supose the desire to ‘fit in’ helped me pick up on those small things. Although everyone still picks up on my foreign accent.

Becoming part Australian entails that I’ll live a double life from now on. This country had already stolen my heart the first time I embarked from that plane in Melbourne, and now it has become part of my identity. I’ll miss the Netherlands when I’m here and I’ll miss Australia when I’m there. I’m glad for it. There’s a gratifying mysteriousness about living a double life.

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