Mood-Boosting Berry Vanilla Crumble Cake

On behalf of Seasonal Berries I was challenged to create a mood-boosting recipe as part of their Be Berry Bright campaign.

“Relying on high sugar foods, biscuits and crisps to keep us going can leave us riding the blood sugar rollercoaster. We feel buzzed for a spell but soon our energy, concentration and mood can plummet,” says leading food psychologist Dr Christy Fergusson, from Channel 4’s Secret Eaters.

“During winter, the lack of sunshine can leave most people suffering the effects of dwindling serotonin levels. Serotonin is our feel good happy brain chemical which keeps our moods high and our cravings at bay. As the dark nights roll in and our serotonin levels plummet, we can find our energy drops, our moods turn and the sugar cravings kick in. If you find yourself losing focus and the brain fog descending as the afternoon wears on, I’ve created a list of top five foods to turn around your mood.”

The list included the following ingredients:

  • OATS – An amazing mood booster. Fibre rich, with a low glycaemic load they release energy slowly into the bloodstream. This helps keep you from riding the blood sugar rollercoaster so your mood stays steady.
  • BANANAS – Packed with the amino acid tryptophan and nutrients such as potassium, iron, vitamins B6 and C. Tryptophan is the building block to our feel good neurotransmitter serotonin. The B6 also helps the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin.
  • BERRIES – These nutrient-rich gems are packed with antioxidants essential for supporting the proper functioning of the brain. Berries are loaded with anthocyanidins. These are known to help boost your brain function and support the nervous system. As well as being nutrient dense, one of the best things about berries is that despite being sweet they are low in sugar. This means you can snack away without spiking your blood sugar levels. You could say they are nature’s brain food. They pack a serious nutritional punch for every calorie consumed. This makes them the ideal way to supercharge your system with nutrients, without escalating your blood sugar levels.

Naturally, I wanted to create a healthy sweet recipe including these super healthy ingredients, which helped to inspire this delicious, vegan-friendly, gluten and dairy-free, no refined sugar Berry & Vanilla Crumble Cake. The perfect snack or dessert to give you a boost!

For the cake –

  • 100g ground almonds or almond flour (I used Sukrin)
  • 100g oat flour (I used Mornflake oats and whizzed up in a blender to form a flour)
  • 75g stevia or coconut sugar (I used Truvia stevia)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 overripe banana
  • 200ml almond milk (I used Alpro)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (I used The Coconut Company)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 150g choice of berries (I used raspberries and blackberries)

For the crumble topping –

  • 4 tablespoons oat flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground almonds or almond flour
  • 3 tablespoons stevia or coconut sugar
  • 3 tablespoons solid coconut oil, butter or dairy-free spread

For the berry sauce –

  • 100g choice of berries
  • 2 tablespoons stevia or maple syrup

Get baking!

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and grease and line a deep 20cm loose bottomed cake tin.
  2. Mix together the ground almonds/almond flour, oat flour, stevia/sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl.
  3. Place the banana, milk, oil, vanilla and apple cider vinegar in a blender and whizz up until smooth – if you don’t have a blender simply mash the banana and whisk with the other ingredients.
  4. Pour this into the dry ingredients and fold in to form a batter. Spoon this into your prepared tin then scatter the berries on top.
  5. Make the crumb topping by rubbing all the ingredients together with your fingers to form a crumble mixture. Scatter this over the berries.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden, risen and firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin then remove.
  7. Meanwhile make the berry sauce by placing the berries in a pan with 2 tablespoons of water and your choice of sweetener. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes until softened and the juices have run. Press this through a sieve and keep the pipless juice.
  8. Once the cake has cooled, drizzle over the berry sauce, slice into 6-8 and serve!

Keep any remaining slices of cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.