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Caribbean cauliflower ocean cakes – the winning recipe from the innocent Ireland Dairy Free Cook Off

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by Eva Hall
05th Mar 2020
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Debs Leonard was crowned the winner of the innocent Ireland Dairy Free Cook Off at the weekend with her winning recipe of Caribbean cauliflower ocean cakes using innocent dairy free coconut flavour. 

The only contestant in the innocent Ireland Dairy Free Cook Off to bake something savoury, Debs Leonard’s Caribbean cauliflower ocean cakes using innocent dairy free coconut blew the judges – and the other finalists – away.

Vegan food blogger Debs, ( left her full-time job as a make-up artist two yeas ago to pursue her love of cooking and baking, and has never looked back.

She’s now off to the Ballymaloe Cookery School for a special cooking course for two, an overnight stay for two and dinner for two, courtesy of innocent Ireland.

An overwhelmed Debs told, “I can’t believe I’ve won! I’m speechless… I need to catch my breath.” After a few glasses of water, a humble Debs said, “I really can’t believe I’ve won every finalist was fantastic, all of the dishes look and taste amazing. I’ll be taking my sister to Ballymaloe with me.”

Debs Leonard, of The Vegan Honeypot food blog, won an all-expenses paid trip for two to Ballymaloe Cookery School with her Caribbean cauliflower cakes recipes using innocent dairy free coconut. Photo: Eva Hall

If you want to recreate Debs’ winning recipe, here it is.

Caribbean cauliflower ocean cakes using innocent dairy free coconut


  • 1 cauliflower
  • 500ml water
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 2 tbsp smoked sea salt
  • 1 tbsp turmeric (or one inch turmeric root)
  • 2 nori sheets

For the batter

  • 1.5 cups atta flour
  • 1/4 cornflour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh or ground turmeric
  • 1 cup innocent coconut
  • 1/2 cup soup water
  • 2 bunches scallions chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1/4 scotch bonnet pepper chopped



Add 500ml water to a large pot. Add the miso, smoked sea salt, turmeric and nori sheets. Bring to the boil. Then switch off. Place the whole head of cauliflower in the pot and allow to absorb the flavours of the ocean bath for about 30 minutes until tender. *Note don’t be tempted to chop up the cauliflower as it doesn’t work well if it’s soft and mushy before frying. The cauliflower has to have some bite to it to work.

While your cauliflower is lounging in its ocean bath. Switch on the oven to about 150 C. Prepare your ingredients for the batter. *Note add vinegar just before frying. Chop your scallions into small rings and put to one side. In a bowl, sift in the flour, cornflour, baking soda, salt and thyme. Next, whisk in your innocent dairy free coconut, reserved 1/2 cup ocean broth add hot sauce, thyme, turmeric, and scallions. Leave batter to one side and check on the cauliflower. It should be slightly tender, not soft. Remove it from the ocean bath. And slice it up in about 1/4 cm pieces. Don’t worry if some of the cauliflower flakes or chunks away. You need a few chunks for a bit of bite when frying. Add the prepped cauliflower to the batter. And give it a good stir. Add in your vinegar.

In a large frying pan, add about a cup of oil, maybe a bit more, you need it to be at least a 1/2 inch high for shallow frying. Ensure your oil is hot, to test its ready, add a small piece of bread, if it sizzles straight away, the oil is ready. Half fill a soup ladle with the cauliflower batter and pour into the hot oil, repeat this x 4 until you have four cauliflower cakes sizzling in the pan. Have a bowl next to the pan lined with kitchen roll. As the patties are done, transfer them onto the kitchen roll. Add four more to the pan. Lift the cakes off the kitchen roll, place them onto the wire rack and pop into the oven. Repeat this process until all your batter is finished. This recipe is lovely served with chips, salad, or wrapped in some lettuce leaves with a drizzle of mayo.


  • 1 cup oil for frying
  • Large oven tray with a wire rack
  • Large frying pan or wok
  • Bowl for mixing batter
  • Soup ladle and whisk

Debs says says that atta flour can be replaced with whole wheat flour or plain flour. You can use any type of seaweed for this recipe, nori is just the easiest to find. And any hot sauce with habanero or scotch bonnet peppers works. Most of these can be found in your local supermarket.


Try: Vegan lemon meringue tarts with innocent dairy free almond

Try: Saucy couture vegan pecan pudding with innocent dairy free almond

Try: Chocolate truffle cake pops with innocent dairy free coconut

Try: Coffee and fig muffins with innocent dairy free almond

For more on Debs’ recipes, visit her blog or follow her on Instagram @theveganhoneypot.

For more on the innocent dairy free range, which has four flavours: coconut, oat, almond and hazelnut, see here