thyme syrup drenched mini cakes | V + GF

thyme syrup drenched mini cakes | V + GF

syrup cakes. I don’t know where I pulled this idea from, but it sounded super good to me I had to test it out.

after a quick search on google I found out that this kind of dessert is apparently quite popular amongst the UK. they have a traditional and very wintery recipe, where golden syrup moistens the so-called treacle sponge pudding. golden syrup is native to the UK (the first can of the stuff was sold for the first time there in 1885!), and in that recipe it gets cooked into the pudding/cake itself and then generously poured on top once the dessert is done cooking. the¬† the well-known sticky toffee or sticky date pudding is also similar… so now you get a general idea of what I was aiming for while developing the recipe.

glutenfree vegan mini cakes

as I just said, the traditional british recipe is more of a winter treat, and since summer seems to have exploded here without even a sight of the mild temperatures spring should bring, it may seem to be a tad out of season. but wait for it – these mini cakes are light enough to be enjoyed with this hotter-than-normal weather. and they won’t rush you blood sugar as much as the original pudding would!

I went a bit crazy with the recipe testing this time, I’ll admit that. baking vegan mini cakes after a few unsuccessful trials in the past, making syrup with something you’d hardly ever put into sweet goods and without sugar (yes, without sugar), and picking a blend of gluten free flours. quite a lot of new things at once, don’t you think?

vegan mini cakes closeup and thyme syrup

anyways, the vegan baking gods apparently do like me. when I peeked into the oven to check how my baby boys were doing, I found them surprisingly puffed up. I actually expected them to not rise at all, or even to collapse due to the underbaked center. oddly enough, they didn’t. and they do taste good. yay!

you could actually enjoy the cakes as cupcakes, maybe with some chocolate avocado frosting (I’m still dreaming about this one from green kitchen stories black bean brownies), but they’re a little dry on their own. and here’s when syrup comes into play. we’re taking food very seriously here.

split open mini syrup cakes

speaking of syrup, I’ve never seen a single can of golden syrup here in italy. and even if I had, I wouldn’t have used it anyways, as I always try to keep the sweetness of my treats to the minimum, and reach for the healthiest alternatives possible. the amber stuff I drenched my mini cakes with is actually a blend of maple, water and a little cornstarch to thicken it up, and infused with fresh thyme.

freshly made healthy thyme syrup

I know, I know. there is thyme again. but it’s so delicious! I love foraging it when I am lucky enough to find some spontaneous shrubs during my summer walks in the alps.

thyme syrup closeup shot

now you may be wondering, why adding water to maple syrup, and then thicken it again with cornstarch? couldn’t you just get away with plain ol’ maple, cook some thyme into it and call it a day? well, technically you totally can. but I find the cakes to be overly sweet with pure maple syrup, so I decided to cut some sweetness off by using water. but you do you!

the amount of soaking syrup you’ll get using these measurements is more than enough for six mini cakes. I’d suggest to store the leftover in the fridge and infuse your morning bowl of oatmeal with it – how dreamy does creamy steel cut porridge sound now? following the traditional british trend here!

these syrup drenched mini cakes are best consumed short after you bake them.¬†serve the cakes still warm from the oven, so that the good ol’ drizzle of syrup you’ll pour on has the chance to be soaked up and give you an explosion of sweetness with every morsel.

pouring syrup onto mini cakes

I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe!

can’t wait to test out another treat that uses almost the same ingredients, so that you’ll have a different dessert at the ready to use up the leftovers. think layers of creamy goodness, sweet crumbs of cake and a crunchy finish… (psst, you can double the ingredients for the cakes if you want!)

that’s all I have to say for now, recipe is after the jump. enjoy your spring days, and don’t forget to eat allll the icecream!

glutenfree vegan cakes before and after the syrup drizzle

thyme syrup ready to be stored

thyme syrup drenched mini cakes | V + GF
prep time
10 mins
cook time
20 mins
total time
30 mins

inspired by british golden syrup pudding, this recipe features an olive oil batter that's complemented by the herbaceous tones of thyme. drench the cakes with the aromatic syrup and you'll savor an explosion of sweetness with every bite!

course: dessert / treats
servings: 6 mini cakes
ingredient list
for the cakes:
  • 100 g brown rice flour
  • 50 g potato starch
  • 60 g coconut sugar
  • 100 ml almond milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 40 g soy yogurt (I used an almond blend)
  • 20 ml light olive oil
  • 8 g baking powder (make sure it is gluten free)
  • a pinch vanilla bean powder (can sub vanilla extract)
  • a pinch sea salt
for the soaking syrup:
  • 50 g maple syrup
  • 120 ml water
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • a few sprigs fresh thyme
prepare the batter:
  1. preheat oven to 170 C and have ready a muffin pan. I used a silicone one for easier release, but if you have a regular metal pan make sure to grease the sides.

  2. in a medium sized mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients and stir them together.

    mix almond milk and vinegar in a separate glass container and allow to curdle for a few minutes.

    add yogurt and oil to the curdled mixture. whisk vigorously to emulsify. pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until just combined.  

bake the cakes:
  1. divide the batter evenly between 6 muffin cups of your tray. tap the pan a few times on the counter to smooth out the tops and bake for 15 minutes.

    check for doneness with a toothpick. if it comes out clean, remove the cakes from the oven and let cool a bit before flipping them onto a serving plate.

cook the syrup:
  1. while the cakes are baking, combine cornstarch with a few spoonfuls of water in a small saucepan. add remaining water and maple syrup, whisk to fully dissolve the starch and add the thyme.

    cook on low, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. don't discard the thyme sprigs, as they will keep infusing the syrup with their aroma.

    store in a glass container until ready to serve. 

    this thyme syrup can be prepped in advance and stored in the fridge.

serve the cakes:
  1. serve the cakes when they're still warm, with a generous drizzle of syrup on top.


if you're feeding less than six people, garnish only the needed portion with the syrup.

store leftover cakes in an airtight container, and warm them up slightly when you're ready to eat.

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