I’ve always been a fan of mixing sweet and savory, be it a teaspoon of sugar in a spicy curry, a little date syrup drizzled over tempeh bacon, or – the classic – french fries enjoyed with some ice cream. My love for this combination has long been in the works, ever since as a kid I discovered eating a piece of chocolate candy wonderfully enhances the flavor of boring old borscht simply by contrast. I like to think that my palate has developed somewhat since then, but this not-too-sweet vegan tahini loaf cake toped with sweet-n-salty miso caramel was still born out of my soft spot for enjoying sweet and savory flavors at the same time.
This recipe is also gluten-free, using homemade buckwheat flour (which I blended myself from raw buckwheat groats, but you can buy ready-to-use raw buckwheat flour if it’s available where you live), and I especially loved mixing raw groats with caramel before covering the cake in it because it added a delightful crunch and more nutty undertones. I hope you enjoy this recipe!
- 225 g of raw buckwheat groats
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 80 g brown sugar
- 20 g of cocoa
- 2 very ripe bananas
- 7 large pitted dates (~150 g)
- 180 ml water
- 60 ml oil
- 60 g tahini
- 200 ml plant milk
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp light miso paste
- 2 plant-based “eggs” (either flax or made with vegan egg replacer of choice)
- 200 g brown sugar
- 235 g coconut cream*, room temperature
- 2 tbsp light miso paste
- Remove the seeds from the dates and soak them in water for 30 minutes.
- Put the oven to heat up to 200°C/400ºF. Put 3 tablespoons of miso paste on a silicone mat and smooth it out. When the oven warms up, put the miso there for 10-15 minutes, until it darkens, then remove and set aside to cool.
- Process buckwheat groats in a blender until it becomes flour (alternatively, use store-bought raw buckwheat flour). Mix it with all the dry ingredients in a deep bowl.
- Mix plant milk with vinegar, set aside for 5 minutes to make vegan “buttermilk”.
- Make a vegan egg analog: either from a store-bought mixt according to the packaging instructions, or from ground flax seeds mixed with water in a 1:3 ratio (i.e. to get 2 flaxseed eggs, you need to mix 2 tbsp of ground seeds with 6 tbsp of water). Set aside to thicken.
- Drain the water from the dates, puree them in a blender with bananas and water. Then add tahini, oil, “buttermilk”, baked miso paste and process everything again until smooth.
- Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture, complete with “eggs”, mix everything until smooth.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/356ºF, line the cake pan with parchment and grease with oil.
- Place the dough in a baking dish and bake for 45-55 minutes or until the wooden stick comes out dry.
- Allow to cool completely, garnish with miso caramel and serve!
- Place the sugar in a thick-bottomed saucepan over low heat. Leave to caramelize until the sugar is completely dissolved, without stirring (this may take 10-30 minutes).
- When the sugar has melted, add the coconut cream and stir until smooth. Hold a little over medium heat until it thickens.
- Remove the caramel from the heat and add the miso paste. Mix well.
- At this stage, you can either cool the caramel to room temperature, place it in a sterile container and put it in the fridge for future use, or drizzle it over the loaf cake. And if you want to add another little twist like me, you can add toasted sesame seeds and some raw buckwheat groats for extra health benefit (and crunchiness!)
*Coconut cream can be obtained by leaving a jar of coconut milk upside down in the refrigerator overnight. When you open the lid the next day, there will be a thick layer of cream on the surface, which we separate from the rest of the liquid in the jar and use.
Find more of Anna’s recipes on her Instagram, @annakot.
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Recipes and photography by Anna Kot.