passion cake

Sometimes it’s nice to do a bit of old fashioned baking. The sweet, warm aromas, the cutting of the cake around a table with friends: it’s full of heart. The purist vegan in me is a little offended by analogues – here soya flour providing the binding agent lecithin that you would get from albumin in an egg – but pah! Who’s complaining.

I’m still to discover what this ‘Passion’ cake has to do with events at Golgotha 2000+ years ago. It’s very homely, and the icing, made with coconut cream and orange juice always wins. For the first time I (more or less) followed the recipe from the classic Sivananda Cookbook (published 1999) and used mixed spice. I was fascinated to read the ingredients: ground coriander seeds, cassia, ginger, nutmeg, caraway and cloves. Coriander in a cake!

You’ll find the cake itself not overly sweet; the icing kind of compensates.

Teatime. Serve with rooibos or yogi tea. Ahhh.

Ingredients c 12 slices

  • 250g self raising wholemeal flour
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3tbsp soya flour usually available in health food shops
  • 6tbsp water
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 50g walnuts, chopped
  • 75g dried fruit eg figs, sultanas
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 150g carrots, finely grated
  • 175ml oil rape oil is good
  • about 2tbsp non-dairy milk, eg hemp


  • 200g block creamed coconut not so easy to find organic but Essential Trading, usually found in health food shops is a good one
  • 75ml boiling water
  • grated rind of an orange not the pith at all
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar or golden caster sugar blitzed with the handblender
  • 3tbsp orange juice
  • 50g lightly toasted desiccated coconut


  1. preheat oven to mark 5/190C/170 fan. Grease and shake round with flour a 20cm tin spring release is good
  2. combine the flour and spices in a mixing bowl, mix in the fruit and nuts and make a well
  3. mix the soya flour and water. Combine with the mashed banana, oil, sugar, carrots (I use a jug) and pour into the well bit by bit and mix in with a fork stirring from the centre
  4. add the milk to make a thick dropping consistency
  5. pour into the cake tin and cook for 40-50 minutes til firm to the touch
  6. allow to cool on a cake rack, releasing the tin once the cake has come away from the sides
  7. when cake is completely cool make the icing:
  8. cut up the coconut cream roughly and put in a bowl or pyrex jug
  9. add the boiling water and mash up with a fork when measuring scald your measuring jug first so that water is still v hot when you add it to the coconut 
  10. add the orange rind, sugar and juice and use a hand blender to make a smooth and slightly runny icing
  11. put the icing on the cake; it will set hard later
  12. in a frying pan over a low heat toast the coconut – don’t let it brown/burn – keeping it moving and sprinkly over the top

Update: this amount works well in a 12-bay muffin tin