Friday, March 17, 2023


My love of baking spans over three decades. And every new cake I make, I am always convinced that it is the prettiest one, the most delicious one, the most charming one yet. With each new cake, I fall in love with baking more and more.
One other thing I realised over the years is how much I adore recipe developing. It brings a whole new level of freedom and creativity.
This tall beauty is made with gorgeous maple syrup; cake layers, filling, and frosting. Such a darling cake, with a delightful caramel and pecan aroma, just perfect for the afternoon coffee.
The layers are slightly sticky and utterly soft, and the filling is smooth and full of toasted pecans. It slices fantastically and keeps soft for days; and if I do say so myself, it makes for a wonderful gift, as well.

For the cake layers
250 grams plain flour
65 grams semolina
2 teaspoons baking powder
180 millilitres maple syrup
190 millilitres warm water
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
For the filling
400 grams soy milk, cold
80 grams cornflour
50 millilitres maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon dark rum or rum extract
200 grams vegan block butter, room temperature
100 grams toasted pecans, ground
For the maple chocolate syrup
100 millilitres cold water
80 millilitres maple syrup
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cornflour
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Start by making the pecan filling, as it needs a bit of time to cool down.
Pour the cold soy milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add in the cornflour and the maple syrup, and whisk until blended. Place the saucepan over medium heat and let it heat up slowly. As soon as it starts to steam, start whisking.
Once it comes to a boil, cook it, stirring constantly, until thickened, and resembling a smooth custard, about 2-3 minutes. Remove it from the heat, stir in the vanilla and rum, and cover the top with either cling film or a piece of baking parchment. Let the filling cool down to room temperature.
To make the cake layers, take a large bowl and sift in the plain flour and the baking powder. Whisk them together, and then add in the semolina and blend again. Take another large bowl, pour in the water, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla, and gently stir until dissolved. Set it aside for just a minute, and prepare the cake pans (15 cm in diameter) by lining the bottom and sides with baking parchment.

Just before baking, pour the wet over the dry ingredients and quickly whisk until blended, so the semolina does not start to absorb the liquids. As soon as the batter is ready, divide it evenly between the prepared pans, tap them a few times on the counter to pop any air bubbles, and bake immediately in a preheated oven, at 180°C, for 12-15 minutes, checking for doneness early on. As soon as a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean, it is done. Remove them from the oven and let them cool down in the pans.
When everything is cool to the touch and ready, proceed to assemble the cake. Level the cakes, if necessary, and slice them into two layers. Set them aside. Transfer the filling into a large bowl, and blend it with an electric mixer on high until completely smooth. There should be no clumps of custard visible. Take another bowl; add in the softened vegan block butter, and whip, using an electric mixer on the highest setting, until lighter in colour and creamy.
Without stopping the mixer, add the whipped custard to the butter, a tablespoon at a time, blending until completely smooth. Add in the toasted ground pecans, and blend again. Once done, divide the filling into four equal parts, by either weight or estimation, and reserve one-fourth for the decoration.
Place the first cake layer on the serving platter and carefully spread on the filling. It does not need a cake ring, as the filling is firm enough on its own. Top with another layer, add more filling, and repeat until all the cake layers are used. Cover the entire cake in the reserved filling, and place it into the refrigerator for at least eight hours.
To make the maple chocolate syrup, pour the water into a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add in the cornflour, maple syrup, unsweetened cocoa powder, and vanilla, and place it over medium-high heat. Let it slowly come to a boil, and start whisking as soon as it boils. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. The sauce will look runny, but it will thicken up as it cools. Cooking it longer will make the sauce quite thicker later on. Let it cool down to room temperature, and then place it into the refrigerator.
When the cake is ready, slice it into thin slices and serve with plenty of chocolate sauce. Yields 12 rich servings. © Tina Vesić 2023

Friday, March 10, 2023


Quite a long time ago, in the very first cookbook I ever got, I spotted a whole chapter on quick and easy recipes. Naturally, it drew my attention, as I was looking for something that was deemed easy, due to my limited baking experience at the time. And ever since, I do have a soft spot for that type of recipes.
Quick and simple to make, often requiring a handful of ingredients, those recipes truly are a staple when it comes to baking. Especially on busy days.
These crescent rolls I have made, I believe, hundreds of times over the years. They are one of the best options for snacks, lunchboxes, unexpected guests, and a nice alternative to bread; a true little treasure.
Foolproof, uncomplicated, and with ingredients almost all cupboards have, these are one of the best rolls I have ever made. And they are absolutely phenomenal straight off the baking sheet, piping hot; which is how I love serving them.

150 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
60 millilitres lukewarm soy milk
50 grams vegan soured cream alternative
30 millilitres vegetable oil
30 grams toasted sesame seeds

Place the vegan soured cream alternative and soy milk into a large bowl, and whisk vigorously to combine. Pour in the oil, and blend well. Sift in the baking powder, add in the sugar and salt, and whisk again. Finally, sift in the flour, and mix with a wooden spoon until a very soft dough forms. It should star to pull away from the sides of the bowl and not stick to your hands. If it is still sticky, add another tablespoon of flour.
Dust your work surface with flour, and place the dough in the centre. Knead it very lightly, and then carefully roll it out into a large circle, about 5 millimetres in thickness. Using a pizza cutter, divide the dough circle into 12 triangles, and carefully roll each one from the wider towards the narrower side, only lightly pressing. If you find that the dough is unrolling, brush the tips of the triangles lightly with cold water, that should help the dough stick to itself.
Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment, arrange all the rolls, seam side down, and generously mist them with cold water. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top, and bake immediately in a preheated oven, at 200˚C, for about 12-15 minutes. Let them cool down slightly, and serve. Yields 12 crescent rolls.

Friday, March 03, 2023


Traditional tall cakes, especially chocolate cakes, will always have my heart. I grew up wanting to know how to make them, and every one I make now takes me back to my childhood, where my love for all cakes began.
I love good, hearty cakes that are simple to prepare any day of the year, but when it comes to celebrations and birthdays, those are my go-to desserts. Just like this seven-layer beauty – full of chocolate, nougat, and whipped plant-based cream.
Thin and soft chocolate layers soaked in vegan caramel liqueur, creamy nougat, and rich dark chocolate, all layered up in a wholesome, tall cake, perfect for gatherings. Especially if served well chilled, with a cup of freshly brewed coffee and in good company.

For the chocolate cake
300 grams plain flour
10 grams cornflour
35 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
350 grams granulated sugar
450 millilitres boiling water
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
120 millilitres sunflower oil
30 millilitres apple cider vinegar
For the caramel nougat chocolate filling
450 millilitres soy milk
50 grams cornflour
50 grams plain flour
100 grams brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
150 grams vegan block butter
100 grams dark chocolate (75%)
60 grams soft nougat
20 millilitres vegan caramel liqueur
For the decoration
100 millilitres plant double cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Start by making the nougat chocolate filling. Pour the soy milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, sift in the cornflour and the plain flour, and tip in the sugar. Whisk well, place the pan over medium-high heat, and let it slowly heat up. As soon as it starts to steam, start whisking. Let it come to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2-3 minutes, until it starts resembling a chocolate custard. Remove from the heat and let it cool for a minute or so. Add in the butter, one piece at a time, whisking constantly, until incorporated. Blend in vanilla and salt, cover the top with cling film, and let it cool down to room temperature.
While the filling is cooling down, make the cake layers. Take a large bowl, and sift in the plain flour, cornflour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in the sugar and mix very well. Bring the water to a rolling boil, remove from heat, and set it aside for just a few moments. Line four small round baking pans (15 cm) with baking parchment, and set them aside.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients; add in the oil, vanilla, and the vinegar, and then the hot water. Whisk until incorporated and divide the batter between the prepared pans. Immediately bake the cakes in a preheated oven, at 180°C, for about 15-20 minutes, or until done. Check the cakes with a toothpick, making sure they do not overbake. Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 5 minutes, then turn them onto a large wire rack and let them cool down to room temperature.
When the filling is cool to the touch, melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler, and set it aside to cool. Whip the filling with an electric mixer on high, until smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes, until it becomes lighter. Divide the filling into two equal parts.
Add in the softened nougat and the caramel liqueur, to one half, and blend until smooth. Add the melted and cooled chocolate to the other, and mix everything together. Place the fillings into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, or until they firm up slightly. When everything is ready, start assembling the cake.
Level the cake layers if needed, and place the first one on the cake platter. Be careful, because they will be quite soft and lightly sticky. Place a cake ring around the first layer, line it with a tall sheet of acetate, and tighten the ring so it stays in place. Divide the chocolate filling into two equal parts. Spread one-half of the chocolate filling on the first cake layer, and place another cake layer on top. Spread the entire caramel nougat filling, and top it with another cake layer. Spread the remaining chocolate filling on top, and place the final cake layer, pressing down very lightly with your palms. Cover the top with cling film, and place it in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
When the cake is ready, whip the plant cream with the icing sugar to taste, and proceed with the decoration. Take the cake out of the refrigerator, remove the cake ring and the acetate, decorate as desired, and serve. Yields 16 servings.

Friday, February 24, 2023


When it comes to dessert classics, chocolate and rum always win. To be fair, it is a timeless combination, forever perfect with a cup of coffee. Especially if they are combined in a fudge cake.
Light and airy cakes are wonderful, of course, but my personal preference will always be a good, dense fudge cake. Preferably served with whipped cream, to balance the richness.
This is one of my personal favourites; rich, flavourful, full of dark chocolate, and baked as you would bake a pan of brownies, perhaps left a touch underbaked. A wonderful, effortless treat that rewards on every bite.

For the fudge cake
180 grams plain flour
200 grams coconut sugar
30 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
small pinch of salt
240 millilitres warm water
50 millilitres oil
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
25 millilitres dark rum
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
For serving
100 millilitres vegan double cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted
frozen berries, optional, but very welcome

Take a large bowl and sift in the plain flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add in the sugar and mix very well. Line a small (15 cm) round baking pan with baking parchment, and set it aside. Take a medium bowl, and add in the sugar, warm water, oil, vanilla, rum, and the vinegar, and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and whisk until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake immediately in a preheated oven, at 180°C, for about 20 minutes, or until done. Check it with a toothpick, making sure it stays fudgy. Let it cool in the pan for a few minutes, and then turn it out onto a wire rack and let it cool to room temperature.
Once the cake is cool, whip the double cream with the icing sugar to taste, slice the cooled cake into individual servings, decorate with the cream, add some frozen berries, and serve immediately. Yields 12 servings.

Friday, February 17, 2023


I absolutely love making breads of all types, sweet and savoury. I love working with dough, creating shapes, experimenting, and marvelling at every baked loaf, still steaming from the oven. Baking truly is my passion.
Quite a long time ago, I challenged myself to learn about sourdough starters, their use in breads, the texture they provide, and all the benefits they have, of course. And to my surprise, I discovered that it is not that difficult to start and maintain a starter. Of course, starters do require a bit of finesse, but once they start to grow and thrive, their uses are endless.
I am a great believer in sustainability and against food waste, so it is only natural that I've found more than one ways to use up the sourdough discard. Other than in bread loaves, it is a fantastic addition to flatbreads, muffins, and even chocolate cakes.
These little flatbreads are one of the simplest ones to make, although they do require a bit of time and patience to rise. But they do reward with an amazing flavour.
I like making them in the evenings and baking them first thing in the morning, for a wonderful breakfast, with a generous spread of vegan butter and flaky salt. Honestly, with a cup of tea, one of the best ways to start the day.

300 grams plain flour
125 grams sourdough starter discard
100 grams vegan yoghurt
100 millilitres warm water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
30 grams vegan block butter, for brushing

Sift the flour twice onto a large piece of baking parchment and set it aside. Take a large bowl and add in the sourdough discard, vegan yoghurt, water, oil, sugar, and salt, and mix them well together. Add in the sifted flour and start mixing the dough with a wooden spoon until it starts to come together.
Once combined, use your hands to knead the dough into a uniform ball, adding a tablespoon or two of water more, if needed. The dough should be soft, but not sticky. Cover the bowl with cling film and a kitchen towel, and let the dough rest and rise, at room temperature, until doubled. This is best done overnight.
Once nicely risen, turn the dough out onto a floured surface, knead it very briefly, and divide it, by weight, into 16 equal pieces. Shape each of them into a small ball, cover them with a kitchen towel, and let them rest for about 30 minutes.
Roll each dough ball into a small thick circle, roughly 10 centimetres in diameter and cook them in batches, over medium high heat, around 2 minutes per side. Depending on your stove and pan, it might take a bit longer to cook through, so do monitor.
As soon as one flatbread is done, brush it lightly with vegan butter and place it onto a tray. Stack the rest on top, keeping them covered with a kitchen towel until all are done cooking. Serve immediately. Yields 16 small flatbreads.