Vegan Spiced Tahini and Orange Cake aka Tahinopita

Vegan Spiced Tahini and Orange Cake aka Tahinopita

My daughter has started going through a fussy toddler eating stage. It’s not that she doesn’t like the flavours, it’s because she’s defying me and just wants to be stubborn.

The one thing she will eat though is cake.

So everything that comes out of our kitchen is now called cake.

Savoury quiche for dinner? We’re having “ham cake” for dinner tonight! Hooray!

Breakfast? “It’s tomato and cheese omelette cake” Hooray!

After saying the word cake 3 times a day for the last week, I actually woke up with a craving of cake today but couldn’t be bothered to venture outdoors. With no eggs or milk left in the fridge, I started trawling the internet for vegan recipes and came across this beauty. Tahinopita, a Greek tahini cake that is completely vegan and uses no fat, except for the natural oils found in tahini. Hooray!

This cake is not overly sweet. It is however quite dense and a stick to your teeth kind of cake. The tahini flavour is quite dominant but the subtle orange zest does shine through. Perfect with a cup of tea for breakfast!

Vegan Spiced Tahini and Orange Cake aka Tahinopita

  • 1 cup tahini
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 ¼ cups plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 tablespoon oil to grease the cake pan

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease your cake pan of choice

Before you pour a cup of tahini, be sure to use a spoon and give the jar a good mix. Beat tahini, sugar and orange zest for 3-4 minutes until fluffy on a high speed. Gradually and slowly add the orange juice until all combined and smooth.

P1010840

P1010841

Meanwhile sift together all the dry ingredients and fold into the tahini mix

P1010843

The mix will be quite dense and not at all like a traditional cake batter. Pour it into you pre-greased tin and bake for 40 minutes. Let the cake cool down before you remove it from the tin.

Pour yourself a cuppa, sit back and enjoy.

P1010851

Advertisements

Sweet Easter Choreg

IMG_0721

There is nothing sweeter than the freshly baked smell of Choreg over Easter.

Choreg, tsoureki, çörek, kozunak, cozonac. Whatever you want to call it, is a sweet egg rich brioche like bread that is baked over the festive Easter weekend.

Mahlep/Mahlab,  is the main flavouring of Choreg. What’s Mahlep? It is essentially the kernel found inside the seed of Mediterranean wild cherries that has been grounded into a fine powder. It has a very distinct flavour and smell and I can’t imagine Easter without the smell of Mahlep in the kitchen when a batch of Choreg is baking away in the oven.  

This is my Mumma’s recipe, she keeps it hand written on a sheet of paper that is about as old as I am. Her recipe page is covered in stains and food splatters that has accumulated over the years but she still refers to the same piece of paper and won’t transfer her recipes onto a nicer, cleaner notepad.

So here it is! Susan’s famous Choreg: Recipe makes 6 loaves

  • 1 block of butter (250g block)
  • 2 ½ tablespoons Mahlep*
  • 350g pure icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dry yeast (or 3 x 7g sachet’s)
  • 1kg plain flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup full cream milk
  • ½ tablespoon white sugar

Glaze: 4 egg yolks and Sesame seeds (white/black) and/or flaked almonds.

*Mahlep can be found in the dry herbs and spcies aisle of supermarkets, delicatessens and most Middle Eastern specialty stores.

Choreg ingredients

This is the type of recipe that is made to the T, none of this ‘a bit of this and a bit of that’ in this one! It is long and time consuming but I promise it is worth it!

Start by making the yeast mixture by mixing the dry yeast with ½ cup of warm water; add 1 tablespoon of plain flour and the ½ tablespoon of white sugar. Max this mixture in a large bowl as it should double in size and froth almost instantly if covered.

Frothy yeast mix

Frothy yeast mix being added to the creamed butter

In a separate large bowl cream the block of butter with the icing sugar with your fingers. Add the yeast mixture to the creamed butter and continue to mix with your hands. Add the Mahlep, eggs, and slowly incorporate the flour as you start kneading the batter. Knead away for 10-12 minutes by ‘slapping’ the mixture in the bowl towards your body in a wave action.

Slap the Choreg batter!d

Slap the Choreg batter!

Once you have a smooth, dense dough, dust the mixture with more flour, making a cross indentation in the dough (this is completely optional, it is traditional in Armenian/Greek culture to signify the religious cross of Easter). Cover the bowl with a lid and wrap your closed bowl in a heavy blanket for a minimum of 6 hours. Overnight is optimal.

Goodnight Choreg mix, rest up baby! See you tomorrow morning.

Goodnight Choreg mix, rest up baby! See you tomorrow morning.

When you unwrap your dough, it should have doubled in size. Gather up all your strength and punch the batter nice and firm to deflate it. Knead for a minute further to get a nice consistency

Separate the dough into 6 smaller balls, dust with flour and cover with a damp towel. Leave for a further hour to rest.

Take one ball, and separate it into 3 smaller balls. Roll out the 3 small balls with a rolling pin and ‘braid’ your mixture into a nice pattern. Repeat with your 5 other large balls.

Glaze your braided Choreg with egg yolks and cover with your choice of sesame seeds or flaked almonds. Bake your Choreg in a preheated oven of 180degrees or 350f for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Slice of Choreg with sour cherry jam

Slice of Choreg with sour cherry jam

Choreg can be eaten on its own, with a chocolate spread or (my favourite) with a slather of sour cherry jam. Enjoy it with a cup of tea.

Happy Easter to you all.