Wednesday, December 6, 2023
HomeFood & DrinkRecipe of the day: Vegan butter 'chicken' and sweet sponge cake

Recipe of the day: Vegan butter ‘chicken’ and sweet sponge cake

It’s Meat Free Monday and these two recipes, vegan butter “chicken” and a plant-based vanilla sponge cake, are great to celebrate Vegan Month this November.

Many research studies have shown there is a growing trend of people eating less meat and dairy products and leaning more toward plant-based and actively cutting down on the consumption of meat.

Vegan products and restaurants are becoming more accessible and tastier. Try this delicious vegan butter chicken recipe that is great for dinner and finish off your delicious meal with something sweet.

Vegan butter ‘chicken’ recipe:

Vegan butter chicken. Picture: Supplied
Vegan butter chicken. Picture: Supplied


1 box (380g) vegan ‘chicken’ pieces or tofu, cut into bite-sized cubes

For the marinade

  • 1 can (400ml) coconut cream
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala spice mix
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • Juice of 1/2 lime/lemon

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight in 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala, plus additional to taste
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 6 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Fresh coriander to garnish

ALSO TRY: Sunday roast: Citrus garlic herb butter roasted chicken recipe


  1. If you are using tofu, press the tofu with a kitchen towel to drain the water out of the tofu and cut it into blocks.
    Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and add the ‘chicken’ pieces or tofu. Set aside and let it marinate while you prepare the sauce.
  2. Blend the soaked cashews with the water until it becomes a creamy sauce. Scoop a dollop out and keep aside for garnish. Heat oil in a deep non-stick pot.
  3. Add chopped onions and cook over medium-low heat until translucent. Add garlic, ginger and garam masala, paprika, turmeric and cumin and mix until the onions are coated and fragrant. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and a pinch of salt to the pan and mix. The tomatoes will release a lot of liquid. Simmer for 30 minutes to an hour until all excess juices have evaporated.
  4. Once the mixture is reduced to a paste, add it to the blender with the cashews and blend until smooth. Add additional water if needed.
  5. Return the sauce to the pan and add the ‘chicken’ pieces/tofu cubes along with the marinade. Simmer until the chicken pieces/tofu are cooked.
  6. Add cayenne pepper, nutritional yeast, and salt & pepper. Taste and adjust flavour, adding more garam masala if needed.
  7. Serve hot with basmati rice or naan bread.
  8. Garnish with a dollop of cashew cream and fresh coriander

Thyme, cinnamon and orange sponge cake

Thyme, cinnamon sponge cake. Picture: Supplied

1 single layer, double the recipe for 2 layers


Canola oil or Spray & Cook

For the cake:

  • 2 cups nut milk
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 ¾ cups wheat cake flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme 
  • 2 teaspoons orange extract
  • ⅓ cup olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

For the frosting: 

  • 2 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegan margarine
  • 2 tablespoons nut milk
  • 3 teaspoon orange extract
  • Zest of one orange


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C
  2. Spray a 20cm round cake tin with Spray & Cook or smear with vegan margarine. 
  3. Place the nut milk in a pot along with 2 cinnamon sticks and a few fresh springs of thyme. Bring the nut milk to a boil and then turn down the heat. Let the nut milk simmer for 15 minutes to infuse the flavours. 
  4. Sift together the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  5. Remove infused nut milk from the stove and mix 1 1/3 cups of the milk with the rest of the wet ingredients in another mixing bowl. 
  6. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well combined. 
  7. Pour the cake mixture into the tin and tap the tin on the kitchen counter to remove any air bubbles. 
  8. Bake cake for 30 minutes. 
  9. Remove the cake from the oven and insert a cake pin or toothpick into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. 
  10. Move to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  11. While cake is cooking, prepare the frosting: Add the icing sugar, vegan margarine, milk, and orange extract into a mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to mix the icing until smooth and creamy (start mixing in the lowest speed possible and slowly increase). The consistency of the frosting must be thin enough to spread evenly over the cake but thick enough for it not to slide off the cake. If it is too thin, add more icing sugar. If it is too thick, add more milk.
  12. When the cake is completely cool, spread the frosting over the cake. 
  13. Decorate with lemon zest and fresh thyme. 

Recipes courtesy of Leozette Roode from Humane Society International/Africa (HSI)/Africa



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