To keep me motivated and get the old wheels turning, I decided to give myself a theme this year: Desserts! It wasn't a tough decision considering that the most traffic to my site is far and away people looking for a vegan chocolate ganache recipe!
About a year ago the lovely Maryam from MyMarrakesh.com asked me to develop a Moroccan-inspired dessert recipe and photograph for a Moroccan design book she was working on. (Alas, one editor exited and the one who entered removed all recipes from the book. The silver lining is that I can now share my recipe here!)
I immediately thought of making a couscous cake, having a vague recollection of making one years ago. I took to the Internet to refresh my memory and was floored to see many versions of couscous cakes from one of my very favorite vegan cookbook authors, Robin Robertson. Using Robin's method of molding the cake in a spring form pan, I set to work experimenting with classic Moroccan flavors to come up with an original and exciting cake. I felt the cake definitely needed a glaze, both for sweetness and so my precious pomegranate jewels would have something to hang on to. So I thank Maryam and her gorgeous Marrakesh for inspiration and Robin for making the process a little easier!
Citrus Couscous Cake with Almonds & Pomegranates
Serves 3-6 people
3 5 inch spring-form pans
1 box couscous (10 oz.)
3 cups apple juice
1-tablespoon agave nectar or light brown sugar
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup finely chopped dates
1 teaspoon lemon zest *
Pinch of salt
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
Pomegranate seeds and sliced almonds for garnish
Bring apple juice, agave or sugar, vanilla extract, lemon zest and chopped dates & salt to a boil.
Add couscous, stir to distribute ingredients, cover, remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
Let cool, then fluff with a fork. The couscous will be moist and the ingredients should be evenly distributed (more or less).
Spoon couscous mixture into spring-form pans.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.
For the icing;
Sift 1 cup confectioner’s sugar into a medium sized bowl.
Using a whisk or fork, add in unsweetened almond milk, orange juice and orange zest.
Place each little cake on its own plate and drizzle desired amount of icing over each cake.
Top with sliced almonds and pomegranate seeds.
*For an even more authentic Moroccan flavor, 1 teaspoon finely minced preserved lemons may be used in place of the lemon zest.