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Blueberry Dream Cake celebration

3.5.2018

Well hello, babes! Finally it’s happening, updated Vanelja.com has opened its doors and welcomes you to take a tour. Though it took quite some time to get this open, it has been heart-warming to notice how many of you regularly uses the recipes on my site, as I have got tons of messages from people asking when all the material will be returning. So sorry you’ve had to wait for them, but happy to know you’ve missed my treats!

Blueberry Dream Cake by Vanelja

And now when the new site is open I’m also beyond excited to launch my brand new grocery: Blueberry Dream Cake by Vanelja. It is a treat that I absolutely ah-dore and I’m just so super duper happy to start offering my all time favorite raw cake to people. I get asked almost weekly if I do catering or if I take orders for my dream cakes, and now I can finally say YES!

And this one is truly a raw cake of my dreams. If I should pick only one sweet treat to consume for the rest of my life, it would be my Blueberry Dream Cake, most def, no doubt about it. It has such a mouth-watering taste with the pecan based crust with a hint of cardamom and the rich blueberry filling. The texture is creamy and fluffy yet the cake is very fresh because of the white layer with some hints of lemon in it. I honestly start salivating even now when describing it to you, haha. And what’s lovely about this Blueberry Dream Cake is that there is no coconut flavor that pushes through, which I feel is a problem in many raw cakes.

Blueberry Dream Cake - Raw cake by Vanelja

I’ve made my Blueberry Dream Cake in collab with Green Street, a big-hearted Helsinki-based provider for raw cakes and other healthy food. The cake will be out very soon, at 15th of May to be exact, and you’ll be able to buy it from certain retailers, supermarkets and cafés in Helsinki and Stockholm. Gonna list down all the retailers here on my site soon! And if you want to have a whole cake, preordering is open NOW and the first deliveries start 15th of May. If you have some parties coming up this spring and summer, like graduation parties, family get-togethers, brunches for friends etc. you can preorder the cake HERE. It is a great thing to serve for a big bunch of people as it is vegan, gluten free and naturally sweetened, so it fits to most diets and most occasions. I prefer it as a weekend brekkie, as it is perfect for cozy slow mornings.

The decoration of these photos are not included in the cake, but it has a beautiful pattern on the surface (which you can see here) so it can be served as it is, or  you can finish it for example with some blueberries or edible flowers.

Blueberry dream Cake brekkie

At the moment the availability of my Blueberry Dream Cake is limited only to Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, but hopefully we’ll get the cake to wider reach too. Again, gonna be updating the retailers here on my site. And if you have a café and you’d think my Blueberry Dream Cake could match your selection, throw me a message!

But in the meantime, let me know how you like my cake and my new site! There are still some new features on their way + one surprise gift for you coming before the summer, so stay tuned – especially on Vanelja’s Instagram, as that is the place where I holler most often about my moves.

xo

V

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Dreamy Blueberry Thyme Raw Cake

29.8.2017

Hiya Honey! Look what I’ve got for you today – A dreamy and creamy blueberry thyme raw cake –  A cake that can also be found on the cover of the latest THRIVE magazine. That’s right, babe, my cake is an actual cover girl! So sooo amazing! There’s also a four page spread & a feature of me in the magazine in where I share some of my food secrets + many many other great features and recipes of super talented recipe creators.

I first created this blueberry raw cake in the spring with a collaboration with a Finnish salad and herb producer Järvikylä when I made an adaptation of their thyme blueberry cake and during the summer the cake photo has become easily one of my most shared and liked IG posts ever and it has been so much fun to see people making their own creations of it and posting them on their pages and sharing them with me. The beauty and magic of Instagram.

To celebrate my cover photo I thought to share the recipe here on my site too – So here you go, my friend, go and enjoy these blueberry filled dream bites!

V

(gluten free, dairy-free, naturally sweetened)

Base:

½ cup pecan nuts

½ almonds

7 fresh dates, pitted (or dried organic soft apricots)

a pinch of sea salt

 

Filling:

2 cups cashew nuts (soaked for 30 minutes & rinsed)

½ ripe banana

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

5-6 tbsp raw organic honey (or maple syrup or coconut syrup)

¼ cup oat milk or almond milk

fresh lemon juice from ½ lemon

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup blueberries

a handful of fresh thyme leaves

 

On top:

blueberries

fresh thyme

 

Pan diameter: 18 cm / 7 inches

Place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of a cake pan. Place the almonds and nuts into a food processor or a high-speed blender and blend until crust. Add dates or apricots and salt and blend until moldable dough. Press the dough firmly into the bottom of the cake pan. Prepare the filling.

Place all the filling ingredients (except blueberries and thyme) into the food processor / blender and blend until smooth. Add some dairy free milk, if needed, to get a smooth texture, still keeping it as thick as possible. Pour about ⅓ of the mixture into the cake pan and smooth out the surface. Add blueberries and thyme to the food processor / blender and blend with the remaining mixture. Taste and add some spices if needed. Spoon the filling into the cake pan and even the surface gently with a spoon so that you don’t mix the white and the purple filling. Top with blueberries. Place the cake pan into the freezer for about 2-3 hours or until the cake is solid. Remove the cake from the pan and place it on a serving dish. Let thaw for a moment. Sprinkle on some thyme leaves, serve and enjoy. Store in the fridge.

 

As seen on THRIVE magazine!

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Almond Yogurt Berry Popsicles

4.4.2017

It’s always so fun to watch how people have different ways of reacting to the first rays of spring sun here in the North. After a long and dark winter people get so cute with their excitement. Some switch immediately into their light jackets and start to trip along with their small spring shoes even though the ground is still completely frozen. (Ok, that was totally a granny thing to say, but I’m a person who just hates to freeze and keeps her pantyhoes on until June. So yeah, I’m a granny.) And some optimistic people, like my dear partner, switches the summer tires on. And then go travel with the tram or taxi when the snow suddenly decides to return. (Like it tends to happen and like it also happened last weekend.)

 

And then there are people like me, whose first thought is: Ice Cream! It really is some chemical reaction that happens in my brain: Sunrays –> Must make nice cream.

 

During the last week I have managed to make nice cream from many different kinds of ingredients, for example from purple yam aka Ube. The color was so amazing so it just yearned to be blended into a nice cream. Check it out from my Instagram

 

The same thing happened a few days ago when I received a box of smoothies and breakfast bars from Semper. Naturally they started a new life as a nice cream. Well, some of them. Most of the bars ended up in the “quick snack stash” in our car and the smoothies in our refrigerators “panic shelf”, which is our family’s life saver. We are just so bad in routines, meal planning and all that wise adult stuff and the mealtimes manage to surprise us almost every time. Plus we usually move with super short notices so everything that is healthy and easy to grab along is totally needed in our household.

 

One of our favorite snacks are nice creams that can always be found in our freezer. Either we make nice cream from frozen bananas with frozen berries or fruits or almond butter or then we enjoy smoothie popsicles. It’s fun to have the familiar breakfast/snack, as in yogurt with berries and granola, in a form of an ice cream. The kiddo loves it and I don’t have to feel guilty for giving her ice cream or two as a evening snack. Win/Win. 

 

Oh, and all the nice cream lovers in Finland – or people who understand Finnish – the Finnish version of the N’Ice Cream book by me and Tuulia Talvio is coming out as an ebook in a month with some new bonus recipes. So stay tuned, if you wish to download a huge package of nice cream recipes into your phone or computer. In the meantime you can start your Summer of N’Ice Cream with these popsicles!

 

V

 

In collaboration with Semper 

 

 

Almond Yogurt:

2 cups raw almonds (soaked overnight or 3 hours)

2 ½ cups water

2 tbsp raw organic honey or maple syrup

1 probiotic capsule OR 1 package vegan yogurt starter OR 3 tbsp unflavored vegan yogurt with active bacterial culture

1 – 3 tsp agar agar (if you want your yogurt to be thicker)

 

Blend the soaked and strained almonds, water, and sweetener in a blender until smooth. Strain the mixture with cheesecloth on top of a bowl, so that you get a nice white almond milk. You can use the leftover almond pulp for example in crackers or bread rolls. If you want your yogurt to be thicker, add agar agar and boil the almond milk in a pot carefully for about 5 – 7 minutes. Take the pot from the stove and let it cool  down (to a body temperature). Pour in the probiotics and mix. Pour the yogurt into a sealable clean (boiled or washed in a dish machine) and dry glass jar. Close the jar with a lid or cover with a cheesecloth and a rubber band. Turn the oven light on, but do not heat the oven. The oven light should keep the oven warm enough for the yogurt. Place the yogurt in the oven with the light on and leave the yogurt to set for about 8 – 12 hours. The longer you let the yogurt ferment, the stronger and sourer the flavor will be. Store the yogurt in an airtight container/jar in the refrigerator.

 

Berry mixture:

-Blueberries, apple, fresh mint leaves and rolled oats OR Semper Fruit & Oat Blueberry, Apple, Mint Smoothie 

-Raspberries, pear, rolled oats OR Semper Fuit & Oat Raspberry, Pear, Aronia Smoothie

 

Add a big handful of berries, handful of rolled oats and a sliced fruit into a blender and blend until you have a thick and smooth smoothie. Add a drop of water if needed.

 

Oat Crumble:

1 cup rolled oats

3 fresh dates or ¼ cup organic raisins (soft and moist, not dry and hard)

1 tsp dried berry powder

OR 2 Crumbeled Semper Soft Oat Bars 

 

Blend the rolled oats and dates or raisins in a blender into a crumble or puree with a stick mixer.

 

Assembly:

Pour some almond yogurt into a bowl and add a few tablespoons of berry mixture. Stir gently few times so that you get nice swirls. Slice in some fresh berries if you like. Pour the mixture into a ice pop molds but leave a small space for the oat crumble. Fill the molds with the oat crumble or crumbled oat bars, add sticks and put into a freezer.

In collaboration with Semper.

 

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Le Chick! Caramel Bars – Nut-free and vegan super treat

9.2.2017

Time to fulfil your wishes. Your nut-free wishes! Nearly every time I post a new sweet recipe I get messages from my lovely readers with allergies asking if it would be possible for them to prepare the recipe without nuts or almonds. Most of the times I have to disappoint them because nuts and almonds play such a significant role in many raw/health recipes, and the recipe just wouldn’t be the same if you substitute them with something else.

But now, my babies – now I have something magnificent for you! Something that is nut-free, raw, vegan, gluten free, dairy free and naturally sweetened, all at the same time. And delicious too! This one is truly a crowd pleaser.

And it doesn’t lay on coconut! Many times nut-free treats use coconut to get the creamy rich texture, but I know that the taste of the coconut doesn’t please everyone. And I have to admit that I don’t prefer a strong coconut flavor either and nowadays I use coconut in my recipes in veeery subtle ways so that the strong hippie vibe doesn’t push through. (All my love to hippies ♡)

So, therefore I picked a more neutral ingredient here that still gives a nice wholesome consistency. I picked chickpeas – le chick! Those brilliant little creatures that are so versatile, nutrient-rich and lovely. Then I accompanied them with fresh organic dates. Because dates are my no. 1 favorite sweeteners and they also add a nice little bonus to the texture and taste. I really could not survive without fresh dates in my kitchen.

Which brings to mind another quoestion I get asked a lot – Which dates do I use? Well, the ones that you can always find from my kitchen are fresh organic dates by Fontana that are sold in cardboard boxes in fruit ja vegetable section in supermarkets – at least here in Finland. I like the texture, the taste and the fact that they are organic. They are also easy to find because they are available very widely in the supermarkets – at least here in Helsinki. So I was very happy to pair up with Fontana with this post, because I actually use their dates A LOT.

And here’s my hot tip for a natural date sweetener:

Buy a package of fresh dates. Preferably organic. Take about 20 dates, take out the stones and place the dates in a blender. Add about 1 cup water and 1 tsp vanilla extract or ½ tsp vanilla powder, if you like. Blend until creamy and smooth sauce. Add more water, if needed. And if you like your sauce to be extra smooth, remove the date skins under a running water. Then pour the sauce inside a sealable clean jar. Now you have a lovely sweetener that you can use when baking in breakfasts or in any way you want. Store the date paste sealed in a fridge and you can use it easily for 2 weeks.

Now there you have it. Go ahead and make this date caramel paste & my Le Chick! Caramel Bars and serve them for example to your Valentine next week. Moi moi!

V

In collaboration with: Fontana organic dates

(Nut-free, Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined sugar-free)

 

Base:

1 cup chickpeas (cooked / from a can)

10 fresh dates, pitted

5 tbsp coconut flakes / shredded coconut

½ tsp vanilla powder (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

 

Caramel:

10 fresh dates

3 tbsp tahini (or your favorite nut/almond butter)

3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

3 tbsp water

3 tbsp coconut syrup (or raw organic honey)

½ tsp vanilla powder (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

a tiny pinch of sea salt

 

Chocolate frosting:

6 tbsp raw cacao butter, melted

4 tbsp coconut oil, melted

6 tbsp raw cacao powder

4 tbsp coconut syrup (or raw organic honey)

a tiny pinch of sea salt

 

OR about ½ cup of your favorite raw chocolate melted

 

Tin size: 17 x 12 cm / 7 x 5 inches

 

Base:

Cover the tin or the freezer safe container with parchment paper. Add the chickpeas into the blender and blend. Add dates, coconut flakes and vanilla and mix until a thick sticky mass. You may have to scoop down the sides of the blender in between blending. Taste and if you want add vanilla or other sweetener, for example coconut syrup. Spoon out the dough into the tin and even the surface with a spoon. Prepare the caramel sauce.

 

Caramel sauce:

Place all the ingredients into the blender and blend until sticky sauce. Add a drop of water, if needed, but try to keep the mixture as thick as possible. Spoon out the caramel sauce and spread onto the base mixture. Prepare the chocolate frosting.

 

Chocolate frosting:

Melt cocoa butter and coconut oil in a warm water bath. Add cocoa powder, syrup and salt. Mix until a nice sauce. Taste and add more some of the ingredients, if needed. Pour the chocolate mixture onto the caramel sauce. Put into the freezer and freeze for a couple of hours or until solid. Take out of the freezer and cut into bars. Let thaw for about 15 minutes before serving. Store in the freezer or in the fridge.

 

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Raw Licorice Chocolate Mousse Cake

17.1.2017

New year, fresh winds! A new edition of my very first cookbook, It’s a Pleasure – Sweet treats without gluten, dairy and refined sugar (in Finnish: Kiitos hyvää – Herkkuja ilman sokeria ja gluteenia) has just came out in Finland with new recipes in it. 

I’m really excited that I had an opportunity to design new stuff for this title, as I feel that although the book came out already two years ago here in Finland, the subject is still very topical.

Well, actually I can’t think of a time when healthy yet delicious sweet treats would go out of style. At least they are very much trending in our household all the time. And it was only 3 months ago when the book came out in the US, so it’s great to blow some new wind to these sails also in Finland! (I know there might not be that kind of idiom in English, but you get the point.)

So cake, muffins, donuts, cookies, chocolates, candies, ice creams and other heavenly goods, all without gluten, dairy and refined sugar. Gentle yet effective ease for sweet cravings with 86 recipes. Pretty luscious package, if I may say. And you’ll recognice the new Finnish edition by the green stamp it has on the cover. 

To celebrate the new edition I wanna give away one copy of the new Finnish title to one lucky reader. All you have to do is drop a comment and say hello here in the comment field and I will pick a winner (located in Finland) on Sunday 22nd at 22.00. (10 pm)

Of course I don’t wanna leave you guys from other counties with empty hands, so I’m giving away one copy of the English title, It’s a Pleasure too. So eeeveryone can join! And please do!

Here is also one of the new recipes from the new Finnish edition: my current No.1 favorite raw cake, Raw Licorice Chocolate Mousse Cake, with a super soft and tasty filling and crunchy truffles. Enjoy, babes!

V

(raw, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free)

Crust:

1 cup almonds

½ cup pecan nuts

5 fresh dates

3 prunes

3 tsp licorice root powder / licorice root extract powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp anise powder

½ tsp sea salt

 

Filling:

1 cup cashew nuts (soaked for 1–3 hours)

1 cup coconut milk (room temperature)

6 tbsp coconut syrup or raw organic honey

1 tsp tamari soy sauce

1 cup raw cocoa powder

pinch of sea salt

5 tbsp cocoa butter (melted)

5 tbsp coconut oil (melted)

 

Chocolate Licorice Sauce:

2 tbsp coconut oil (melted)

2 tbsp raw cocoa powder

2 tbsp licorice root powder or licorice root extract powder

½ tsp vanilla powder

2 tbsp coconut syrup (or maple syrup)

a tiny pinch of sea salt

 

On top:

Small truffles made from the crust dough + black sesame seeds

raw cocoa powder

 

Tin/Cake mould size: 17 cm / 7 inches

 

Crust:

Cover the bottom of the cake mould with a parchment paper so that it is easier to remove later. Add the almonds and nuts into a blender and blend until fine crust. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until a thick and sticky dough. Check the taste and add more seasoning if you like. Spoon out the dough and put into a bowl, taking aside about 4-6 tablespoons of the dough, from which you’ll later make the truffles. Press the rest of the dough firmly onto the bottom of the cake mould. Prepare the filling.

 

Filling:

Toss out the soaking liquid of the nuts and rinse the cashews in cold water. Place the nuts into the blender and add the coconut oil. Also add the syrup and tamari. Blend. Add the raw cocoa powder and salt. Also pour in the cocoa butter and coconut oil. Blend until a smooth thick mass. Pour the mass into the cake mould. Even the surface with a spoon. Place the cake mold into a freezer for about 2 hours or until it’s totally firm. In the meantime prepare the truffles and the sauce. When the cake is firm, take it out of the freezer, remove from the mould, dizzle some shosola sauce on and decorate with the truffles you’ve made. Serve and enjoy. Store in the fridge.

 

Truffles:

Prepare small balls from the dough crust you had set aside. Roll the truffles on black sesame seeds pressing them firmly but gently so that the seeds stick and cover the balls evenly.

 

Chocolate Licorice Sauce:

Add the raw cocoa powder, licorice powder, syrup and salt into the melted coconut oil. Mix well so that you get a nice chocolate sauce.

More healthy sweet treats: It’s a Pleasure cookbook

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