Friday, September 28, 2012

Tropical Take-Me-Aways

Ok, last "tropical" post, and then I swear, I'll jump on the pumpkin and butternut squash boat with the rest of the bloggers. (Although, to my credit, September and October are often summer-like months in the Bay area). Summer or Fall, these little desserts are good way to start off the weekend. Think Pina Coloda in a cake. Layers of soft sponge cake, rum pudding (yes, that's what I said), and toasted coconut. It's a dessert mixed with a healthy dose of the islands.

I'd made the rum pudding to use in some of the cupcakes for our housewarming party (it pairs well with pineapple cake in addition to the sponge cake here) and had a bunch left over. So a few nights later, I re-purposed it in this recipe. As I was running around our kitchen Tuesday night, and we were only have one friend over for dinner, my husband gave me that look, the one that says, ohmyGodshewon'tstopmoving, and asked me, "What are you doing?" as he saw me making cake. I told him I was just having fun ;-) And this cake IS fun- there is RUM PUDDING in it, after all. I'm naming them Tropical Take Me Aways, since there is a fair amount of rum in the pudding (but don't worry, if you have little ones, I list some other equally tropical options below), and a few bites will have you thinking you're on a beach, relaxing...

Vegan Tropical Take-Me-Aways
Recipe inspired by Vegan Yum Yum's Cherry Triffles (the sponge cake is adapted from her recipe, and I used her idea of serving in small glasses- in keeping with the boozy theme, I went with large shot glasses). This sponge cake, FYI, is kick-ass. Soft, moist, and perfectly flavored with that hint of almond extract. Soooo delicious. It'll pair well with a lot of different things, and is a good recipe to have in your vegan toolbox.

For the sponge cake:
  • 1 and 1/3 cups soy/almond milk 
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 banana (or about 2 Tbsp worth), mashed well
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  1. Whisk together the milk and vinegar and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 and grease a pan- I used 9x12 for a fairly thin layer of cake.
  3. Mix the flour, sugar, baking power and soda, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Whisk in the extracts, oil, and banana to your milk mixture
  5. Combine the wet and dry, whisking well. 
  6. Spread the batter in the pan and bake for about 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
For the rum pudding:
  • 1 8 oz container non-dairy plain or vanilla yogurt (for non-vegans, yes, you can just use regular yogurt! See my post on non-dairy yogurts if you want more info on types of non-dairy yogurts.)
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup chopped pineapple (mostly drained of juice if using canned)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/4 cup spiced rum
  • 1/4 cup Tapioca flour (you can probably sub cornstarch or arrowroot powder, but Tapioca is sweeter, so you made need to add some sweetener if subbing, such as agave or maple syrup, or stevia)
  • A few shakes of nutmeg
Blend all ingredients well in a blender or food processor. To achieve desired thickness and booziness, you can play around with the amount of rum (I *might* have added more, and I *might* have used some Sailor Jerry's spiced high proof rum) and tapioca flour (which acts as a thickener- you may need more depending on the type of yogurt you use, how much juice was in your pineapple, how large your banana moving on...)- and of course you can always omit the rum if you are looking for a non-alcoholic option. Chill until ready to use.

Creating the Take-me-Aways:
You can get creative with your layering here; for some, I had cake on the bottom, and some I had pudding on the bottom, cake, and then the caramel date sauce, and more cake, and more pudding... you get the idea.

  1. Once the cake has cooled, use a small biscuit cutter (or just a knife will do) to cut out circles of the cake. Place a layer of cake in large shot glasses or other desired serving dish.
  2. Next, pile in a healthy scoop of the pudding (or other filling option below), followed by another layer of cake, and more pudding on top. 
  3. Toast a handful or two of coconut flakes in your toaster oven or oven until just browned- about 3 minutes or so.
  4. Top with a banana slice and toasted coconut flakes.

For topping and other filling options:
As usual, I made options- and this is particularly easy to do since you'll be serving in small glasses or dishes. The rum pudding goes well with banana slices and toasted coconut, but another good pairing I made was a caramel date sauce and fresh figs- slightly less tropical, equally delicious. The caramel date sauce also goes well with the rum pudding, so you can use both in different layers.

To use figs, thinly slice fresh figs, as done here, and place them on top of the cake about half way through baking. I covered about 1/4 of my cake with fresh figs, using the fig-covered section as the top layer of my fig & date version of these "take me aways." In the center of these, rather than the rum pudding, use this slightly chunky date sauce:

Lazy Girl's Rustic Caramel Date Sauce:
  • 6 large medjool dates, soaked in water for about 10 minutes (slightly longer if you have stored them in the fridge, which I like to do bc they taste like chewy candy that way!)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp water
Pit and chop your dates. Place ingredients in a microwave-safe dish with the coconut oil and microwave for about 1 minute. Take out and stir, and repeat as needed until you have more of a sauce. You can add a Tbsp of almond milk to thin a bit if desired. Easy and yummy!

We couldn't decide which version we liked better. But these are easy variations, and I always think it's more fun to have multiple options, so maybe there's no need to decide...

Enjoy the weekend!


  1. It is 10pm and I should know better than to catch up reading my foodie blogs this late - your post has me craving these sweet little cups of happiness!


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