From the brink of disaster. I was already writing the blog post in my head, to tell you of a kitchen calamity. Mindful to the fact I'd have to admit that I'd failed to come up with anything edible for this task. Actually, it felt quite liberating, the idea of telling you I mess up in the kitchen (frequently).
I'd wanted it to be so perfect, but my doubts began to grow when I was patting down the coloured layers in the glass dish. They looked so messy. A bit of a 'dogs dinner', as my mother would have called it. I just kept thinking over and over, this is going to look so bad. I carried on compiling though regardless. I put the dish in the freezer to set a bit and went out for a walk around the lane. The cake was cold but still spongy when I returned and retrieved it from the freezer. Time to top it off. I poured over freshly mixed chocolate (carob) and watched it catch the cold. The glossy liquid took on a matt sheen as it hardened into a crisp, thick layer. It was complete. My knife was warmed to make it easy to cut into cake. But alas, my frustration increased. Instead of sharp squares, the surface fractured and shards ascended like nudged icebergs! I was so mad! But, I thrust on. I had to have something to show. Something is better than nothing, right?! I gently eased a wedge from the dish and plated it. I took a slither of excess from the side to taste it. My hand flew to my mouth. It was delicious! I couldn't believe it. It may not be a looker but it was sure tasty. O ye of little faith!
I was so happy. I had something to enter for The Secret Recipe Club! Debbi our group's commander had assigned to me The Avid Appetite. It was up to me to spy on the blog, unnoticed and hack one of its recipes. What can I tell you about the writer behind the blog? I know her husband's name is Shaun. I know that in 2010 she couldn't cook a bean. I know that her and her man click over their love of food. And her name? Couldn't find it anywhere. Avid? Let's call her that, for want of something better. She writes a great blog, natural and chatty in style, and has a loooong list of recipes. When I saw the photograph of her beautiful 7 layer Italian Rainbow Cake, I knew I'd found the dish I was going to veganize and enter for this month's Secret Recipe Club assignment. Actually, Avid called them 'cookies' but I can't get my head around that. It doesn't look like a cookie to me. So cake it is.
My version is sweet (but not overly so) ooeey gooey, light but rich at the same time (no, I don't know how that is possible either). The layers each have a personality of their own. The thick roof of chocolate (carob) gives a wonderful paradox to the moist sponge, and slightly sharp sweetness of the apricots. I tried it out on a couple of friends. 'M', said it was a bit of a sensation. 'A trip'. 'My tastebuds are firing all over the place' he said. Praise, I think.
It has nothing artificial in it. Virtually raw. The colouring comes from organic veggies. If you want to be super healthy then follow my recipe. If you don't have a juicer then use food colouring, as Avid did in her recipe. Original recipe here
This recipe is egg free, dairy free, gluten free and vegan.
7 Layer Italian Rainbow Cake
4 cups almond flour (I made my own from almond pulp, leftover from making almond milk. If you don't do that, you can buy yours pre-made)
Juice of 2 cups (approximately 100g) organic spinach lightly packed
Juice of 2 peeled beets (beetroot) (approx 2 tbs of juice)
3 tbs coconut oil
1/4 cup agave
2 tbs stevia or xylitol powder (grind the granules) (minimises the calorific value, also too much agave would make mix too moist)
1 tsp lemon oil
1 tsp almond oil
1 tsp vanilla powder
1/2 tsp salt
the apricot layers
Use fruit sweetened apricot jam, or (if you have the inclination) chop and soak organic dried apricots in warm water and then blitz in a blender to a smooth pulp). add 1 tbs of lemon juice if needed to balance the sweetness.
the chocolate (carob).
I keep calling it chocolate as it looks like chocolate and I know some find carob not so pleasant as chocolate, or might not even know what carob is. Anyhow, I am a fan and I'm calling it 'chocolate'.
1/2 cup carob or cacao powder
1 tbs coconut sugar (use a little more if using cacao powder as it doesn't have carob's naturally sweet quality)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 tsp salt
Mix the almond flour with the xylitol, agave, vanilla powder, salt and melted oil. Have 2 additional bowls at the ready and eyeball the mix to be distributed evenly between the three bowls. Add the spinach juice to one. The beet juice to another, and leave the third one as it is. To the spinach mix, add the lemon oil, to the beet mix add almond oil. Mix to incorporate. It is all becoming so divinely fragrant at this point.
Have your square cake tin ready at this point (in a perfect world I'd have had a suitable cake tin but I used a glass dish instead).
To assemble the 7 layers..
Layer 1 green mix. Layer 2, a slathering of apricot jam. Layer 3 plain mix. Layer 4 another slathering of apricot. Layer 5 pink mix. Layer 6 apricot. Layer 7 chocolate (carob). Gently pack the almond flour layers down. Careful when spreading over the jam (I know, mine looks a bit of a mess, but I was being careful. Yours may turn out prettier!)
Freeze or chill for an hour when you get to layer 6. Then pour/spoon over the carob topping.
Velato! Italian 7 layer rainbow cake.
Thanks to The Avid Appetite for the inspiration.