Nostalgic Belgium Slice
This nostalgic Belgium slice recipe is for my friend Kate. We were eating a freshly baked batch of swoonuts one evening and I was reminiscing about how much they tasted like the donuts I used to have as a child. This prompted Kate to say: “you know what I’d love a healthy recipe for….Belgium slice!”
And so here it is Kate! A healthier version of that iconic (supermarket special) cinnamon and raspberry Belgium slice.
For anyone not familiar with this cake, it’s essentially a soft cinnamon biscuit layered with raspberry jam, topped with vanilla icing and pink sprinkles (traditionally red jelly crystals). The original recipe is adaptable to be either a jam layered slice that can be cut into squares or round biscuits sandwiched together with jam.
My version is very similar to the original in that it can also be made into biscuits or a slice and it has the same iconic cinnamon and raspberry flavour. But in a bid to make it “healthier” this version is dairy, gluten and refined sugar free and I’ve tried to keep the sugar content as low as possible. I’ve given a couple of options for sweeteners in the ingredients list, i.e.: for the lowest fructose option choose rice syrup and for the sweeter flavour choose pure maple syrup.
To make the raspberry jam I used the clever properties of chia and basil seeds to soak up the raspberry liquid and create a jam-like texture. Using these absorbent seeds means you no longer need a mountain of sugar to create a thick syrupy jam consistency. If you haven’t come across basil seeds yet, they’re are very similar to chia but with a slightly different nutritional profile. Basil seeds are often a great alternative for people who don’t tolerate chia well. I also specify frozen raspberries because they’re juicier when they defrost which means the chia/basil seeds are able to soak up the liquid better and create a thick jam consistency.
The icing is a little different to a traditional Belgium slice in that it’s much more creamier. This is mainly because traditional icing is made with icing sugar and I’ve yet to discover a good unrefined or even fructose free alternative. So I opted for a creamy cashew and coconut icing instead. This icing will set when you chill it in the fridge and works well with the freeze dried raspberries in place of jelly crystals. If the icing sounds like one step too many for you though, feel free to leave it off – I assure you this slice tastes just as good un-iced (especially if you keep it on the slightly underdone side of baked) and eat it fresh out of the oven with a dollop of coconut yoghurt. Enjoy!
If you make this Nostalgic Belgium Slice I’d love to hear what you think!
Leave a message in the comments below, and if you share any of your creations on social media be sure to tag me
@swoon.food or #swoonfood so I can come and admire them.
Nostalgic Belgium Slice
Makes: 20 squares
Prep time: 40 minutes Bake time: 20 minutes
120g coconut oil, softened
50g rice syrup
50g coconut sugar
120g buckwheat flour
120g rice flour
1 Tbsp/10g raw cacao powder
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups frozen raspberries
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp rice syrup or pure maple syrup (optional)
4 tsp basil or chia seeds
Vanilla Cream Icing
1/2 cup cashews, soaked
1/4 cup coconut milk, water or nut milk of choice
2-4 Tbsp rice syrup or pure maple syrup (to taste)
1/2 tsp vanilla powder or paste
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3/4 cup coconut oil, gently melted
Freeze dried raspberries
Prep ahead and put the cashews for the icing on to soak by placing in a small bowl and covering with water. Soak for 2 to 4 hours. You’ll also need a small brownie tin approximately 30cm x 15 cm or 20cm x 20cm.
To make the cinnamon cake combine the softened coconut oil with the coconut sugar and rice syrup and beat with an electric hand beater until the mixture comes together and looks creamy. Add the egg and beat until combined. Next add the buckwheat flour, rice flour, cacao, spices, baking powder, soda and salt, stir to combine. The mixture should gradually come together into a dough – if need be use your hands to bring the last bits together. Split the dough in two, place one half between two sheets of baking paper and roll out to the shape of your tin – this will be the top half. Place in the fridge to chill. Repeat with the second half but this time lift it into your tin on the sheet of baking paper and press to fit. Place the tin into the fridge to chill. Preheat the oven to 170ºC fan bake.
Note: to make biscuits instead of a slice, follow the same method but instead of chilling the dough in one large piece, use a cookie cutter to cut out round circles. Chill, then bake and when cool sandwich together with jam.
To make the raspberry jam place the frozen raspberries, water and sweetener (if using) into a small pan over low heat. Stir gently until the raspberries have just defrosted and the sweetener dissolved. Remove from heat, mash the raspberries with the stirring spoon and add the basil or chia seeds. Leave to stand for 5-10 minutes for the seeds to absorb the liquid.
When the jam is ready, remove the base from the fridge and spread evenly with the jam. Carefully place the top on but don’t worry if it breaks a little, this will smooth out during cooking. Press the sides down and prick all over with a fork.
Place the slice in the centre of the oven to bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the slice feels set on top and a knife comes out dry (i.e. no runny cinnamon cake mix). Remove the slice from the oven and place on a rack to cool.
To make the icing, gently melt the coconut oil by placing in a heat proof bowl set over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off. Drain the cashews and rinse well. Place all the ingredients except the coconut oil into a good food processor or high speed blender and blend until smooth. Slowly add the melted coconut oil with the motor running until it’s well combined. Place the icing in the fridge to chill and firm up.
When the slice is cool spread it with the icing and sprinkle with crushed raspberries. Cut into squares with a sharp knife and store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.