It is that time again!  It’s the Vegan Chopped Challenge, brought to you by the Post Punk Kitchen!  The ingredients?  Fresh Mango, Red Bunch Beets, Unsweetened Dried Coconut, and Crisp Rice Cereal.

This round is a dessert round, and the rules were changed just a little, allowing every contestant to use all the time they needed.  No time limits.  I took full advantage of that on this round.  I needed all that time because I decided to try, not one new thing like a totally sane person may attempt in a challenge like this, but four new things, all in one day.

Years ago, when I was vegetarian and owned an ice cream maker, I was an ice cream making fool!  I am now vegan and without an ice cream maker, so naturally I decided to make a vegan ice cream and a sorbet, without the assistance of a machine.  I would recommend using an ice cream maker to make the Mango Lassi Ice Cream and the Balsamic Beet Sorbet, but if you don’t have one, go right ahead and give it a shot- you may just need to thaw the cake a bit before eating it.  They are both amazingly delicious (the cardamom in the mango lassi ice cream is absolutely dreamy!), regardless of how they are made.

Also in my vegetarian years, I attempted making a homemade caramel sauce, and to make a long story short, I ended up not only tossing the sauce but the pan I “cooked” it in.  I researched and researched on this one, and after I got tired of reading about caramel sauce, I went in the kitchen and just started making it.  It is incredible.  I used maple sugar because I try not to use regular sugar, and the maple flavor, combined with the sea salt, makes this a super incredible sauce.  I kind of want to put it on everything.  The addition of rice crisps makes this crunchy layer a perfect addition to the cake.

The most surprising “first” of all:  I’ve never baked anything with coconut.  To be frank, coconut is not a flavor I care for.  I decided to make a coconut cake, knowing full-well that I was going to dislike it, and make “disgusted” faces while trying it.  When I took my first taste, I scrunched up my nose, expecting the cake to be nasty, but it was surprisingly scrumptious!  I relaxed my face and took another taste, and I have to say, the cake is my favorite element of the dish.

I am quite pleased with the results from my day of experimentation.  There are so many levels of sweet and salty flavors that make this gorgeous, elegant dessert a truly decadent treat.  I am so excited to submit this as my entry for the Vegan Chopped Challenge!


Please follow the specific instructions for each element of the cake (below), but for time management purposes, this is how the cake will be assembled.

Also, it should be noted that the caramel crunch layer will appear to be red because the sorbet will bleed a little.  Also the coconut cake looks a tiny bit tough in the pictures because it is frozen.  It is actually deliciously moist once it thaws a bit.

  1. Prepare the Coconut Pound Cake.
  2. Once the cake is in the oven, make the Blackberry Chia Spread.
  3. Once the spread is chilling in the refrigerator, begin preparation for the Mango Lassi Ice Cream.
  4. Once the Coconut Pound Cake has been cooled and the bottom layer sliced off, spread with Blackberry Chia Spread and freeze for about 15 minutes.
  5. Once the Mango Lassi Ice Cream is prepared, add that layer to the pan and return to the freezer.
  6. After you’ve prepared the Mango Lassi Ice Cream, begin preparations for the Balsamic Beet Sorbet.
  7. While the beets and balsamic syrup are cooling, prepare the Salted Maple Caramel Crunch Layer.
  8. While the Salted Maple Caramel is cooling, finish preparing the Balsamic Beet Sorbet.
  9. Once the Salted Maple Caramel is cool, add the crisp rice cereal and add the Salted Maple Caramel Crunch Layer to the pan and return to the freezer for about 30 minutes.
  10. Once the Balsamic Beet Sorbet is ready, add that layer to the pan and return to the freezer.
  11. Once the Balsamic Beet Sorbet layer is completely set, sprinkle with Pink Toasted Coconut.
  12. Slice, serve, and enjoy!



  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 Ener-G Eggs
  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup vegan plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut


  • Preheat oven to 325. Line a 9 x 5 loaf pan with parchment paper, and lightly spray with vegetable oil.  Prepare your Ener-G eggs and set aside.
  • Beat butter at medium speed with a hand-mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add Ener-G eggs, banana, and yogurt, and beat until smooth
  • Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring between each addition.  Mix until just combined.  Stir in the coconut. Pour batter into your prepared loaf pan.
  • Bake at 325 for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan (just lift the parchment paper up) and cooling on a rack.  Once cool, transfer to the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes.
  • Once chilled, remove from the refrigerator and, using a bread knife, slice lengthwise the bottom 3/4 inch layer from the cake.  Line the loaf pan used to bake the cake with plastic wrap, with about 6 inches of wrap hanging off each end.  Place the bottom layer slice into the pan, on top of the plastic wrap.



  • 1 cup fresh blackberries.
  • 2 ½ T chia seeds


  • Pour the blackberries into the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until not completely pureed.  Add the chia seeds and pulse a couple more times.  Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate for at least one hour, preferably longer.
  • After you’ve placed your bottom layer of cake into the pan, spread about ¼ – 1/3 cup of the blackberry chia spread evenly on top of the cake.  Place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.



  • 2 cups pureed mango
  • 1 ½ cups vegan plain yogurt
  • ½ cup coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp crushed cardamom seeds


  • Mix all ingredients in a high-speed blender until very smooth.  If you have an ice cream maker, pour into the machine and follow the your machine’s instructions.  Once it is done churning, pour 2 cups into the pan, on top of the blackberry chia spread, and spread it out evenly.  Return the cake to the freezer until set, about 2 hours.
  • If you don’t have an ice cream maker, follow these instructions:
  • Pour into a bowl and freeze for 30-45 minutes.
  • Once chilled, remove from freezer and use a hand blender to whip the mixture for about 5 minutes, until creamy and “fluffy.”  Scoop 2 cups into the loaf pan, on top of the blackberry chia jam layer.  Spread it out evenly and return the cake to the freezer until set, about 2 hours.  Any leftover mixture can be transferred to a container and frozen until ready to use.
  • If not using for the cake, transfer to a container and freeze for 3-4 hours, or until solid.



  • ¾ cup maple sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • ¾ cup coconut milk (full fat)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 2/3 cup rice crisp cereal


  • Pour maple sugar and water into a pot.  Bring to a boil, whisking frequently.  Lower to a simmer and let the water reduce by half.  The water should be a dark brown.  Keep whisking it and keep a close eye on it because it will foam up and overflow, if you are not careful.
  • Gradually whisk in the coconut milk.  Keep it at a simmer, whisking frequently, until the mixture has turned a medium/dark brown and has thickened significantly, about 10-15 minutes.  Stir in the salt.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Once it is cool, and the mango lassi ice cream has had a couple hours to set, mix 1/4 cup of the caramel with the rice crisps cereal.  Spread the caramel crunch mixture on top of the mango lassi ice cream layer and return to the freezer for about 30 minutes.  Unused caramel can be poured right into your mouth transferred to an airtight container and refrigerated.



  • 5 large red beets, peeled and quartered
  • ¾ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • ¼ tsp sea salt


  • Place the beets in a saucepan. Add water and bring to a boil. Boil until the beets are tender, about 20–40 minutes. Remove the beets and allow them to cool. Reserve the beet water.
  • Meanwhile, combine the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Lower to a simmer and let it cook, stirring occasionally, until it reduces by 1/3, about 20 minutes.  Let cool.
  • In the bowl of a food processor, puree the beets.  Add the ¼ cup reserved beet water (DO NOT discard the rest of the beet water.  It will be used for the Pink Toasted Coconut), balsamic syrup and the lemon juice and zest and process until smooth. If you have an ice cream maker, pour into the machine and follow the your machine’s instructions.  Once it is done churning, pour 2 cups into the pan, on top of the caramel crunch layer, and spread it out evenly.  Return to the freezer to let it freeze for 3-4 hours or overnight
  • If you don’t have an ice cream maker, follow these instructions: 
  • Transfer the mixture to a bowl and freeze for 1 hour.
  • Once chilled, use a hand mixer to whip it until it has a creamy texture.  Scoop 2 cups into the loaf pan, on top of the salted caramel crunch layer.  Return pan to the freezer and allow to freeze for about 1 hour.  Remove from the freezer, fold the edges of the plastic wrap over the top to tightly seal and return to the freezer to let it freeze for 3-4 hours or overnight.  Any unused sorbet can be transferred to an airtight container and frozen.



  • reserved beet water
  • 1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut (shreds or flakes)


  • Preheat oven to 170.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Pour the coconut into the bowl of a food processor.  Add about 3 drops of the beet water to the coconut and pulse until mixed.  Add more drops to increase the pinkish color.  Once you’ve reached the desired color (I just wanted a pale pink), spread the coconut out on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 5 minutes, and then remove and let cool.
  • Once the sorbet is completely frozen, remove from freezer, top with the Pink Toasted Coconut, slice and serve.  If it is too frozen, you may need to let it thaw for about 5-10 minutes before you slice it.  Enjoy!
  • To make the cylindrical portion (if desired): Choose a cylindrical cake form or cookie cutter.  Cut a portion from the cake large enough fit the cake form/cookie cutter.  Push the cake form/cookie cutter down, from the top, until you get all the way to the bottom.  You will likely have to cut away pieces of the cake with a knife to fully maneuver it all the way to the bottom of the cake.  If you are not super strong and have a lot of patience, you may need a very strong, patient husband assistant to help with this.

Thank you again to Isa Chandra at the Post Punk Kitchen for providing this awesome challenge!  Pushing myself to try things that I normally would never attempt is what made this round so rewarding and satisfying for me.  I am so grateful for this opportunity!

What things are you hesitant to try in the kitchen?

All photos taken by Chris Miller

© Kristy Turner and Keepin’ It Kind, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material (content and images) without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kristy Turner and Keepin’ It Kind with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.








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