I have been experimenting with hemp a lot lately. No, not that one. Although hemp is indeed a variety of cannabis, it contains negligible amounts of the psychoactive chemical THC compared to marijuana. Hemp is a sturdy, fibrous plant that is used for making fabric and other durable materials. The hemp seeds can be ground into a green powder and used as a nutritious grain-free flour, that is loaded with fibre, good quality plant protein, and healthy fats. Plus, that murky, pond scum colour is kind of cool. Nope, no pretty lustrous matcha greens here, sorry folks!
I really like the nutty, earthy taste that hemp lends to baked goods, but it is a strong taste — I wouldn’t personally ever go 100% hemp on my cake or bread. I like to mix it with some coconut flour and/ or some other ground nut or seed flours.
My mother makes an exceptional hemp cake with ground oats, blackcurrants, apple mush, cottage cheese, and god knows what else. We call it her ‘Ugly Cake’ because it is hideous. She never writes down recipes, (or follows them, for that matter) so I guess that’s where I got my slapdash, unsystematic approach to baking from. Still, it always tends to turn out tasty. I think it’s because we both eat a lot of cake mixture... Although she might not volunteer that information as readily as I do.
This is my attempt at an Ugly Cake — grain-free this time. It is really healthy, and makes a great breakfast cake with some yogurt and stewed apple. This cake is sloppy with fruit, so give it a bit of patience as it lingers a little too long in the oven. It might need a little time to set before you dig in, too. I added some grated courgette (because they are taking over (see my post here for customary cautionary measures) but you can omit, or maybe add some fruit, or another alarmingly boundless vegetable.
● 3 medium free range eggs
● 140g yogurt of choice (I used coconut yogurt)
● ½ cup grated courgette, squeezed of its water
● 20g coconut oil
● 30g hemp seed flour
● 30g coconut flour
● 25g ground almonds
● 15g protein powder (I used vanilla whey protein)
● 65g erythritol + 10 drops liquid stevia (or your sweetener of choice - ask me for substitutions!)
● 2 tsp vanilla extract
● 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
● ½ tsp baking soda
● 1 TBSP ACV
● ½ tsp cinnamon
Method (I used my food processor but you can also use your stand mixer, or go by hand)
1. Preheat the oven to 190C, and prepare a pan (I used a silicon loaf pan).
2. Add wet ingredients, except vinegar, to food processor, and pulse.
3. Add in dry ingredients, apart from the raising agents.
4. Lastly, add baking powder and soda, and ACV on top, before blending until just mixed.
5. Scoop mixture into your prepared cake/ loaf tin.
6. Optional: Add in some fruit, nuts, seeds, or whatever you fancy, I added some chopped apricots, some frozen raspberries, and some more ground almonds and erythritol on top.
7. Bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Keep an eye on the oven as you may have to lower the heat halfway.
8. Allow to cool before serving.
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