A break for cake

by thelifesavour

I’m taking a little break from my ‘One to remember’ series of posts about my sweet girl’s first birthday and writing this unusual early Sunday morning post over breakfast (the clocks have just gone back, but having a baby means an extra hour of being awake rather than an extra hour in bed!).

Today is the first birthday of my beautiful vegan friend’s little girl so last night I made cupcakes to take to her birthday brunch using this incredible recipe which worked like a dream- thank you Angela– a vegan baking angel. I made a few tiny substitutions as I wanted the cakes to be sugar free as well as vegan- my version is at the end of the post (so I can remember what I did for next time!).

Today is also is my husband’s two year anniversary of moving to Lebanon (I followed him 2 weeks later) and it has made me think back to all that has changed in that time. I remember the first cake I made here, when I had no measuring cups (except a yogurt pot) or temperature gauge on my oven (except a small flame and a big flame). I also had no experience of taking risks with recipes and I never would have dreamed of making the changes to the cupcakes that I did so confidently last night. Back then I was just amazed that my cake (a yogurt one!) actually worked.  Here is something I wrote at the time:

Today I am delighted, if somewhat shocked, to discover that I can cook by eye, by the weight of my experience rather than the actual weight of the ingredients, that I know when the cake is ready by the gauge of my senses rather than by the temperature gauge on the oven (as there isn’t one, just hot and hotter).

I am someone who has always cooked with precision, with weighing scales and measuring spoons, and a recipe book open just to make sure, even if I have made the dish a hundred times before.

But today I discovered that maybe I do know the measure of things, after all. 

Two years in Lebanon has taught me that this is true as well as teaching me a whole new set of measures!


Little family of measuring cups, gift from a little family who just left Lebanon

Little family of measuring cups, gift from a little family who just left Lebanon




2/3 cup of agave syrup (natural sweetner in place of of 1 cup sugar)

3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used oat milk- if using sugar use 1 cup) 

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

1.5 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt, to taste

1/3 cup oil (I used sunflower)


1. Preheat oven to gas mark 4 and line a cupcake pan with cupcake cases. With an electric mixer, beat together the following ingredients in a large bowl (milk, oil, sweetner, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract).

2. Now sift in the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt). Mix well, until the clumps are gone.

3. Spoon the batter into prepared cupcake pan, about two thirds full (3 spoonfuls) for each. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cupcake slowly springs back when pressed with a finger. Allow to completely cool before icing.

I’m about to ice them now, with an icing that has changed my (cake decorating) life- but I’m saving it for another post- coming soon!