Today was cold (for Spring) and we were in the mood to bake! My guy was in “need” of a tea cake… and has been obsessed with a similar cake from the local health food store. So we made one ourselves. We did an all-purpose gluten-free version, but it can obviously be made with all-purpose white flour as well. Cake is not an everyday event… but the sweet taste in Ayurveda is nourishing, building and balances both pitta and vata… so we felt entitled on a cold and windy day (even if it is kapha season). Making it gluten free will help reduce the kapha nature, and keeps the cake pretty light. The cinnamon and walnuts in the recipe also balance the cooling nature of the sweet taste. This is not a particularly sweet cake… to sweeten it more you could top with powdered sugar after removing it from the oven and letting it cool. It goes great with green or black tea or an herbal teasan. If you indulge in coffee for this (best for Kapha-types or Kapha-season… ) add a little cardamom to your cup to balance the effects of caffeine. This makes a great dessert or breakfast item (especially if you are having company for breakfast!)… and while Ayurveda doesn’t recommend snacking as a habit, it is fine occasionally… so if you need to have a late dinner due to the realities of life, this makes a great late afternoon snack.
Ayurveda Stats…the sweet taste is grounding, nourishing, heavy and pacifies the light and mobile qualities of pitta and vata. While sweet is slightly cooling in nature, the nuts and cinnamon in this sweet quickbread add warmth. Cinnamon is heating, sharp, light and digestive, so it’s addition to a sweet dish balances the qualities of the sweet taste.
- Preheat over to 375F.
- Butter or oil an 8-inch square pan.
- Mix the milk and vinegar together (see cake ingredients below) and set aside to curdle.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (for gluten free flour, use one made from rice & tapioca, not beans!)
1/4 cup ground walnuts (pecans could work too)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
1/4 cup melted butter (or sunflower oil), plus up to 2 Tbs. more if needed.
To make the topping
- Mix together flour, ground nuts, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Drizzle in butter or oil by the tablespoonful as you use your fingers to mix until crumbs form. Alternate mixing and adding the butter or oil until until it is intermingled and crumbly or sandy. Set aside while you make the cake batter.
3/4 cup milk or non-dairy milk (rice or almond milk)
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter (or sunflower oil)
1 & 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 & 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (for gluten-free flour use the rice and tapioca flour, not bean flour)
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
dash of salt
To make the cake:
- In a large bowl, mix milk mixture, sugar, canola oil and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt, and mix until smooth, but don’t overmix.
- Pour batter into pan. Evenly sprinkle the topping over the batter and pat down just a bit.
- Bake for 35 minutes (more or less, depending on how your oven is – the true temperature varies from oven to oven). To check if it is done, insert a knife into the center and it comes out clean.
- Let cool for an hour before slicing and serving (but if you can’t wait, a 1/2 hour will do). You can dust with powdered sugar if you like – especially if you are pairing it with a bitter green tea.