A take on Cranachan

Imagine there are some really pretty pictures here.

With this cake, I really wanted to play around with the salt content of this recipe; how much salt can be added to achieve the addictive complexity of flavour that makes you want to come back for seconds, thirds and fourths. Salt is a hero within sweet food; the tangy mouth-watering sensation perfectly balances the sometimes sickly, saccharin sweetness of a dessert. The type of salt matters as well; none of this free flowing alabaster powder; we want the slightly tinted, uneven flakes of pure sea salt. Rather than tasting acrid and making chug a pint of water, sea salt flakes are reminiscent of the sea; a more of a subtle suggestion of savouriness rather than a smack in the face 

The final product was definitely a result of many failed attempts. Working with each mini disaster, I endeavoured to remedy every mistake which resulted in yet more hurdles along the way (I'm looking at you whisky cream...). Initially, the plan was a honey-sweetened whisky whipped cream. Using vegan cream is a pain in the arse; any vegan cream marketed as "whippable" usually contains hydrogenated fats which is one of the only ingredients I avoid at all costs. Therefore, it was straight to the drawing board to come up with a suitable substitute. 

Ah ha!! Why not melt some spread into single cream to increase that vital fat content, let it chill down and then whip in some air? My hypothesis seemed laughably plausible. Alas, this, in fact, did not work. After 10 torturous minutes, the Kenwood was struggling and the cream was incredibly smug; if it could laugh, it would be cackling at my elementary experiment. Working with now a enriched soy-based cream with the possibly of holding vital air, my next proposal was to include a setting agent, in this case, agar agar. Danger was looming on the horizon; an over-zealous addition of agar-agar would yield a rubbery opaque substance, not dissimilar to that found in tissues and socks across the country. 

Dissolving a small amount of agar-agar, adding it slowly to the constantly whipping cream and uttering prayers, the cream magically thicken. Only a tad. This was not enough. Back again to the drawing  board. 

After a few hours chilling, myself and the elusive, cunning cream reunited. Back into the mixing bowl and whisked full pelt, no air was willing to be incorporated, the cream now rolling on the floor in laughter at my misfortunes. The time had come; it was the final resort - a silicon mould. 

Poured into the mould and topped with a slice of cake, the cream was finally disciplined. After 12 cold and dark hours in the fridge, it was time to see if my punishment was successful. Would a beautiful set sphere of whisky honey pannacotta emerge or would we have an unset setback?

It would be the latter.

My profanity was unimaginable.

I shoved it in a ramekin and called it a day. 

Very tasty none the less. 

Cranachan cake 

For the toasted oat and raspberry cake

  • 75g oats
  • 215ml soy milk 
  • 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 200g plain flour 
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 85g soft light brown sugar 
  • 85g caster sugar 
  • 100ml oil 
  • 100g ish of raspberry jam 
for the honey whisky cream 
  • for ease - just don't go vegan and save yourself the faff. for non vegan 
    • 200ml double cream
    • 40g honey 
    • 2 tbsp. good whisky 
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • for less faff I experienced but tasty faff. for vegan 
    • 40g honey 
    • 2 tbsp. good whisky 
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • I'm not even going to explain what I did 
for the raspberry coulis 
  • 200g frozen raspberries
  • 30g caster sugar 
  • juice of half a lemon 
For the oat crumble topping
  • make or buy a basic granola, I made some with oats, honey and oil.
  1. Preheat the oven to 180c and grease and line 2x20cm. Toast the oats in a dry frying pan, leave to cool and then blitz until a fine flour. Set aside.
  2. Mix together the milk, vinegar and vanilla and set aside.
  3. Combine the flour, toasted oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the sugars. Add in the milk and oil and stir until JUST combined. Divide between the prepared tins and marble through the jam. Bake for 20 minutes until just baked, golden and smelling heavenly. Leave to cool for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. For the filling, either vegan or not, whisk together all the ingredients until pillowy and soft.
  5. For the raspberry coulis, defrost the berries with the caster sugar and lemon and heat until just bubbling. Turn off and push through a sieve into a little bowl and leave to cool. 
  6. Layer the cooled cake with a generous dollop of whipped cream, drizzled with the coulis and topped with the second cake. Repeat this to decorate the cake and sprinkle over the crunchy oat granola.