Recipe of the Day: Vegan Butter Chicken and Sweet Sponge Cake

It’s Meat-Free Monday and these two recipes, vegan buttery chicken and a plant-based vanilla sponge cake, are great ways to celebrate vegan month this November.

Many research studies have shown that there is a growing trend that people are eating less meat and dairy products and gravitating towards plant-based products and actively reducing meat consumption.

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

Vegan Butter Chicken Recipe:

Vegan butter chicken.  Image: Included
Vegan butter chicken. Image: Included


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

For the marinade

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

For the sauce:

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

ALSO TRY: Sunday Roast: Citrus Garlic Herb Butter Roast Chicken Recipe


  1. If using tofu, squeeze the tofu with a kitchen towel to remove the water from the tofu and cut into blocks.
    Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and add the “chicken”. pieces or tofu. Set aside and let marinate while you prepare the sauce.
  2. Puree the soaked cashew nuts with the water until you get a creamy sauce. Scoop out a dollop and set aside for garnish. Heat oil in a deep non-stick saucepan.
  3. Add chopped onions and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and garam masala, paprika, turmeric and cumin and mix until the onions are coated and fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and a pinch of salt to the pan and mix. The tomatoes give off a lot of liquid. Simmer for 30 minutes to an hour until all excess juices have evaporated.
  4. Once the mixture is ground into a paste, add to the blender with the cashews and puree until smooth. Add additional water if necessary.
  5. Pour the sauce back into the pan and add the chicken pieces/diced tofu along with the marinade. Simmer until the chicken pieces/tofu are tender.
  6. Add cayenne pepper, nutritional yeast, and salt & pepper. Taste and adjust the flavor, 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

Sponge cake with thyme, cinnamon and orange

Thyme Cinnamon Sponge Cake. Image: Included

1 single layer, double 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 baking 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 glaze:

  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegan margarine
  • 2 tablespoons nut milk
  • 3 teaspoons orange extract
  • zest of an orange


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Spray a round cake tin with a diameter of 20 cm with Spray & Cook or spread it with vegan margarine.
  3. Put the nut milk in a saucepan along with 2 cinnamon sticks and a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Bring the nut milk to a boil, then reduce the heat. Let the nut milk simmer for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.
  5. Remove the infused nut milk from the heat and combine 1 1/3 cups of the milk with the remaining wet ingredients in another mixing bowl.
  6. Whisk the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until well combined.
  7. Pour the cake mix into the pan and tap the pan on the kitchen counter to remove air bubbles.
  8. Bake the cake for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove the cake from the oven and insert a cake needle or toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.
  10. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
  11. While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting: In a mixing bowl, combine the powdered sugar, vegan margarine, milk and orange extract. Use an electric mixer to blend the icing until smooth and creamy (mix on the lowest possible speed and slowly increase). The consistency of the frosting needs to be thin enough to spread evenly on the cake, but thick enough so that it doesn’t slide off the cake. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, add more milk.
  12. When the cake has completely cooled, spread the frosting over the cake.
  13. Decorate with lemon zest and fresh thyme.

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

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