Gluten Free Carrot and Date Cake

Vegan, Gluten Free, Sugar Free
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Today I was going to go to uni and finish three assignments, but instead I skipped class and made a carrot cake.

I’m worried by how often this has been happening lately. Very worried. But it’s such a nice day today! If you live in Sydney you’ll agree this last week has been awesome. Goodbye winter and having to sit on my heater every five minutes while I’m getting dressed.

I am kind of sad it’s too hot to drink hot chocolate now though. I developed the perfect recipe this winter involving lots of cinnamon and homemade almond milk. Sooo good.

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I’ve been getting weirdly stressed about making blog posts lately, I don’t know if anyone noticed how late each post is going up. I just can’t decide what to make! And when I do decide, I can’t find the time to make it and photograph it and edit it in time. So stressful!

This morning though the urge to make carrot cake was stronger than the voice saying “but you already made a banana carrot layer cake” and a carrot loaf for this blog. Not to mention the best carrot cupcakes of all time.

But you can never have too many carrot cake recipes! Right? Right guys?! And besides, this one is gluten free. It’s also absolutely delicious. Super moist and fluffy and yogurty from the icing (if you go the non-vegan way). it’s the kind of cake where you cut yourself a second slice before you’ve even finished the first piece, not that I would know anything about that…
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My sister and I demolished half the cake this morning, in-between listening to all the new music I downloaded and dancing with my dog. I’m somehow not feeling too regretful about missing my morning lecture about client/lawyer retainers.

You can either top this cake like I have, with a cup of strained yogurt mixed with 2 tbsp of maple syrup, or you can use coconut yogurt or cashew cream for a vegan option. Any will be delicious! Enjoy 🙂

One Year Ago: Carrot, Pear and Quinoa Crumble Muffins

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Gluten Free Carrot Cake: Inspired by this recipe

3 eggs OR 3 tbsp chia seeds mixed with almond milk
2 very ripe bananas
15 fresh dates, seeded
6 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup potato flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon

3 medium carrots, grated finely (skin on ok)

300g yogurt, drained in a cheesecloth for at least an hour
4 tbsp maple syrup

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Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and line a 20cm round cake tin.

Either mix the chia seeds with the almond milk and set aside, or whisk up the 3 eggs. In a blender, blitz the banana, dates and oil. In a medium bowl sift together all the dry ingredients.

Fold the eggs into the dry ingredients, then fold in the banana date mix. Stir in the grated carrots and pour into the tin. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.

Mix together the yogurt and maple syrup or honey, or 300g cashew cream with maple syrup. Top the cake once it is cool and keep in the fridge.
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Vegan Banana Buckwheat Chocolate Muffins

Vegan, Gluten Free, optional Sugar Free
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Guys, who here likes muffins.

I used to be so on the fence with muffins. I could take them or leave them, usually after eating the muffin top first. I think it’s because most of the muffins I used to eat were from the supermarket, and were a) HUGE so it was almost impossible to ever finish one without feeling obese and ill, and b) dry and super sweet and kind of…”clammy”. They also contained interesting ingredients like soy beans and monosodium glutamate.

No one wants that kind of muffin experience…no one.

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But everything changed when I had one fateful muffin at Bourke Street Bakery. It was full of raspberries and dark chocolate chunks and so good I shed a little tear of joy. I think I ate one of those muffins after soccer every weekend for about a year, not gonna lie.

But sadly my friends, all good things come to an end. When I was given their cookbook as a present one year I realised why those muffins are so delicious! They’re literally little balls of sugary butter held together with some chocolate. Yuuuum. But also not yum when you’re lactose intolerant like me…

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Enter the muffin baking stage of my life. There have been some pretty exciting creations, including banana chai cupcakes with cinnamon cream and the best carrot muffin recipe I’ve ever tried. This weekend though I wanted fudgy chocolate cake and no messing about.

I decided to try a version of this cocoa banana bread with buckwheat flour instead of normal. A lovely reader let me know that she had great success with buckwheat flour, and I did too! I used only half buckwheat, half normal wholemeal but she used fully buckwheat so if you like the taste, give it a go!

Also add chocolate chips. No excuses xxx Have a great week guys!

One Year Ago: Peanut Butter Granola Clusters 

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Banana Buckwheat Chocolate Muffins:
2 cups mashed overripe banana
1 cup brown sugar (or maple syrup)
2 eggs, lightly beaten (or 2 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 6 tbsp water for vegan)
120ml olive oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

optional: 100g chopped dark chocolate, raspberries or nuts

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Preheat the oven to 160C (320F) and line 12 muffin cups with muffin papers.

Blend together the banana, oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry gently with a spatula, until just combined. Stir in any extras.

Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the muffins bounce back at the touch and are cooked through. Enjoy!

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Passionfruit and Coconut Pound Cake with Yogurt Icing

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 On Thursday something momentous happened. The official biggest cake failure of the year. It was epic, it was bigger than any year before it. Even worse than the time I didn’t let a chocolate cake cool and all the icing melted off. Even worse than when I used seven tins of tomatoes to make a tomato sauce and burnt the whole pot. Even worse, and this is saying something, than the time I got up super early to make crepes for my sister and ended up waking her up with my screaming and yelling and throwing burnt pancake at my dog. 

It was AWESOME. Maybe awesome isn’t the right word, but it was one of those failures that’s so terrible and so complete and utterly unfixable that it becomes kind of funny. I started out with a positive outlook, ready to make an almond and poppyseed lime cake that was gluten free and vegan too. Everything was going fine until I tried to mix in the chia seed gel. The batter was so stiff and hard they just lay on top of it like fish eggs on a bowl of clay. It was so gross…I kept pouring in more almond milk and lime juice and other random things until it became this huge speckled monster dough.

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 I baked it and ominously poured syrup over it in an attempt to make it edible, but alas. The cake was not to be. The entire thing ended up going in the bin which broke my heart because I HATE throwing out cake. And facing the prospect of making the whole cake again when the light was already failing…it just wasn’t going to happen. 

Today when I woke up and realised I was going to make a post today, I almost decided just to stay in bed all day and live in my doona for a while. It was the law cruise last night for my uni and while it was super fun, this morning was super terrible. Too. Much. Free. Champagne. In the end I just wanted something sweet and easy with a very low fail rate. This passionfruit pound cake was perfect. 

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The combination of passionfruit and coconut is so awesome. And I used vanilla sugar as well which made it taste even better, but if you don’t have any I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy some. I love making pound cakes because they’re so simple and old fashioned. They make me think I’m some olden-days hubbard stirring eggs and butter with a wooden spoon. I love how all the ingredients are so simple but you can add almost any flavour and it will still turn out amazing. 

Today was a butter-sugar-eggs cake day. Tomorrow will probably be a raw chocolate slice and banana smoothie day, but sometimes you just want a massive piece of real homemade cake. So that’s what I made 🙂 The icing is probably my favourite part. If you want a dairy-free option coconut yogurt would be the perfect substitute. 

One Year Ago: Oat and Apricot Granola Bars

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Passionfruit and Coconut Pound Cake:

1 1/2 cups white sugar

110g (1 stick) butter (room temp)

3 large eggs (room temp)

1 + 1/4 cups plain white flour

1/4 cup desiccated coconut

1/2 cup coconut milk

juice from about 8-10 passionfruit (100ml)

2 tbsp caster sugar

For the icing:

500g thick full fat plain yogurt, drained in a cheesecloth for at least an hour

3 tbsp icing sugar or honey 

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Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and line a 20cm or 8inch round cake tin with baking paper. 

Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Slowly beat in each egg, allowing each to be absorbed before adding the next. Gently fold in half the flour, then half the coconut milk, then the rest of each. Spoon into the tin and bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is golden and a skewer comes out clean. 

Strain the passionfruit juice and stir in the caster sugar. When the cake is still hot and in its tin, pour over the syrup slowly, allowing it to soak the cake. Allow to cool completely. 

Mix together the yogurt and icing sugar, then spoon over the cake and spread evenly. You can top it with the leftover passionfruit seeds if you want. Best eaten the same day but lasts well in the fridge. 

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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 Happy Mothers Day everybody!! When I asked my mum what kind of cake she wanted today, she requested an upside down pineapple cake. I’d never even heard of an upside down pineapple cake! It sounded kind of…gross. Like something you would eat in the 70s with spray cream on top and a glace cherry. In fact I bet that’s what she used to do, back in the old days

Well, this and her birthday is the one time of the year I’m not going to question her cake choices, so a pineapple cake was made. I didn’t even try to make it healthy! I promise! No wholemeal flour here. 

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I couldn’t resist adding some fresh lime zest and juice. We have an entire box of limes, I’m talking hundreds of limes in our house right now. The lime just perks the pineapple up a little bit. Pineapple can be very sweet so a bit of sour worked really well. 

I kind of liked how the cake came out looking today. When I was making it I wasn’t even going to post about it, because I was picturing a lumpy yellow blob coming out of the oven. (That wasn’t an innuendo…) But it looks kind of ‘rustic’ and old school. I’m lazy so instead of making the caramel I just poured a little pineapple juice from the can and a few dots of butter on to the bottom of the pan, and it worked fine if you want to do it that way!

Happy Mothers Day Mum! You’re the best and I love you 🙂 

One Year Ago: Coconut Muffins with Dark Chocolate Glaze

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 Upside Down Pineapple Cake: Adapted from Ready for Dessert 

1 large can pineapple slices (keep the juice!)

30g butter 

30g sugar

juice and zest of 1 lime

210g (1 + 3/4 cups) plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

110g (3.8 ounces) butter, unsalted

150g white sugar 

2 large eggs, at room temperature

125ml (1/2 cup) milk, at room temperature

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Preheat the oven to 180C (355F) and line a 23cm (9 inch) cake tin with baking paper. In a small saucepan, melt the 30g butter, sugar, 3 tablespoons of the pineapple juice and lime juice, and stir to make a sauce. Pour in the bottom of the tin. Cut slices of pineapple and arrange over the caramel layer so that the whole surface is covered. 

Sift the flour and salt. Beat the 110g butter, lime zest and 150g sugar until creamy, and then slowly beat in each egg. Stir in half the milk and sifted flour, then the other half. Stir just to combine and spoon over the pineapple. Smooth with a spatula and bake for about 3-40 minutes, until the cake is golden and a skewer comes out clean. 

Only leave the cake to cool for about 5 minutes, then carefully flip out on to a plate. Serve warm 🙂 

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Coconut and Easter Chocolate Banana Bread (vegan!)

Vegan and Wholemeal

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 What happens when you have a law assignment + Easter chocolate + overripe bananas + desiccated coconut + free afternoon minus any rational thinking?

= The best banana bread in the world. 

It’s scientific and you can’t fight science. 

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 My house right now is like an Easter wonderland. There are so many eggs! Every kitchen surface is adorned with colourful piles of rabbits and caramel balls and chocolate freckles.  It’s beautiful but it’s so overwhelming! My tongue doesn’t even register sweet anymore: everything just tastes like chocolate. 

I put my fancy chocolate Belle Fleur egg to the perfect use this year, making David Lebovitz’ chocolate sorbet. It was so rich and just wow. I’m going to go have some more as soon as I finish writing this. 

But what to do with all the little Easter Eggs? I don’t want to hurt any Easter Rabbit feelings, but those little cadbury eggs you get buckets of every year aren’t exactly top quality. They’re kind of overly sweet and chewy. They somehow TRANSFORM when you add them to a banana bread. 

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 They melt into little pockets of Easter flavoured sunshine. I threw in all the little eggs on the counter, which included caramel eggs and white chocolate eggs. All of them tasted awesome! For a completely vegan bread, obviously use vegan chocolate. Bittersweet eggs went in there too and were amaaazing. 

I halved the amount of flour the recipe asks for and replaced it with finely desiccated coconut. The bread was softer and denser than normal, and in my opinion much better. The coconut gave the bread a slightly buttery texture? If that’s a thing? Super soft and crumbly and moist. (Mooooist.) 

I really recommend making this with your Easter chocolate, even if you have to freeze it for a week or two until you come out of your chocolate coma. I especially recommend making this right in the middle of the time you have allocated to writing your assignment. Trust me, it will make you feel much better.

One Year Ago: Chocolate Brownie Caramel Sandwich Cookies

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 Chocolate Coconut Banana Bread (Adapted from this recipe

Dry Ingredients- 

1 cup (125g) wholemeal or plain flour

1 cup (80g) desiccated coconut

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

100g chopped up chocolate eggs, or normal chocolate

Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line a loaf pan with baking paper. Whisk together all of your dry ingredients and set aside. 

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 Wet Ingredients:

110g (1/2 cup) brown sugar

110ml (1/2 cup) butter or olive oil, for vegan

2 eggs at room temperature (or 2 tbsp chia mixed with 4 tbsp water)

2 medium bananas, mashed 

80ml (1/3 cup) black coffee

Beat together the oil or butter and sugar until fluffy, Slowly incorporate each egg, until combined. Beat in the banana and coffee, then stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Pour into the tin and bake for 35 minutes (check from this point, it may take longer) until the top is golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. Enjoy!

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Vanilla and Cinnamon Flecked Rhubarb Cake (and a birthday!)

Gluten Free
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 It’s my blog’s birthday! Happy birthday blog 🙂 I’m actually half a week late because I completely forgot what month it was I started, but it’s the thought that counts right? And the cake of course. 

When I started this blog I had no idea what I wanted it to be. I loved baking, and I loved taking photos of what I made. My sister suggested I put up the recipes and photos in a blog, which sounded like a better idea than just hoarding hideous photos on Microsoft. I was so completely intimidated by the beautiful blogs I was reading at the time, I thought my blog would be a clumsy failure full of silly writing and hopeless photos. And guess what, it was! (Example 1: my first post…)

But over time I think (I hope!) I’ve gotten a little better at it. The recipes I put up now reflect the food I love to make and eat, and the photos, although looking nothing like how I dream of being able to photograph one day, are in their own clunky way prettier. It makes me happy knowing that people read what I write and actually try out the recipes. Even though it’s not why I started, and it’s not why I continue to work hard on this space, it’s nice knowing there’s a little audience out there. I’m so thankful that you all exist! All the comments I get and emails bring a smile to my face 🙂

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 I thought for this momentous day I would share a few of the blogs that inspired my to start (most of them you’ve all probably heard of) and also a few of the blogs that inspire me to keep going. Undoubtably the two blogs that sparked a love of photography and baking, and continue to inspire me daily, are Poires au Chocolat and Raspberri Cupcakes. There’s not a doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t have started blogging if not for these two. Even today when people ask me for what blogs I think stand out, with the multitude of professional photographers and chefs setting up their own sites, I first think of these two. 

As my blog has developed it’s own taste and taken a turn for the healthy, 101 Cookbooks, Sprouted Kitchen and of course Smitten Kitchen have become my staple weekly reads, that I check probably more regularly than my university emails, unfortunately. 

And as for the new blogs I’ve discovered, the lovely Josefine at Smoothie Lover, Consuelo’s Honey and Figs, and the beautiful To Her Core, constantly put up amazing recipes that I always, ALWAYS want to eat. Their posts are always so beautiful and healthy I’m so happy to have discovered them. 

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 I had a lot of ideas for what kind of cake to make for this day, but in the end I decided against a big celebratory layer cake or tart. I wanted to make something that represented exactly what my blog would taste like if it was a cake. And I’m pretty sure I got it right! 

This cake is so yummy. It’s so moist and rich. The syrup soaks down and keeps the cake moist for ever, and the topping is crunchy and tangy from the rhubarb and raw sugar. We ate this with ice cream for afternoon tea, but it could work for any special occasion really. And the recipe is inspired by a woman’s weekly recipe, just like that very first plum cake I made on my first post. 

So Happy Birthday Sugar and Cinnamon! And Happy Easter to all of you. If you’re reading this now, just know that if I could I would give you a big slice of cake with a scoop of ice cream on it xxx

One Year Ago: Healthy Date and Walnut Balls

Image Vanilla and Cinnamon Rhubarb Cake Adapted from Women’s Weekly

185g (1.45 cups) butter, softened

150g (2/3 cup) caster sugar

3 eggs, at room temperature

1 tbsp orange zest, from about 2 oranges

1/4 cup (60ml) buttermilk or yogurt

150g  (1 cup) self-raising flour (or 1 cup almond meal for gluten free- will be slightly denser but still great)

80g (1/2 cup) ground almonds or semolina

1/5 tsp cinnamon

200g (1.8 cups) rhubarb, cut into 3cm pieces

1 tbsp raw sugar

For the Syrup:

1 cup (250ml) orange juice

110g (1/2 cup) caster sugar

125ml (1/2 cup) water

11g (1 cup) rhubarb, cut into pieces

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Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and line a 20cm (8 inch) cake pan with baking paper. Beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the orange zest, followed by each egg, beating in one at a time slowly so the mix doesn’t split. Once combined, mix in the flours and cinnamon gently, and the buttermilk until just combined. 

Smooth into the cake tin and top with the rhubarb and raw sugar. Bake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour, until a skewer comes out clean. 

Meanwhile make the syrup. Combine all the ingredients and cook in a small saucepan over a low heat until the rhubarb has dissolved (you can strain it if you want a smoother syrup). Cook for about ten minutes to reduce it, then pour half over the hot cake and reserve the rest for pouring over pieces when you serve it. Eat with ice cream!

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Fresh Peach and Brown Sugar Muffins

Vegan and Wholemeal 

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Guys I’m back! Did you miss me?!?! Europe was so amazing and I had the best two months of my whole life, but! I was very excited to come back and blog again. Mainly because the last few posts have been horrendous! I squeezed them out just before I went away and they’re so horrendous… why! It makes my eyes burn. 

My new years resolutions (of which I made 25…) included using only manual on my camera and spending more time making my photos pretteh. So that started out today! Ok, so I haven’t mastered manual yet, and the peach muffins I made decided to come out as little butt ugly troll muffins, but they’re waay better than I was expecting for my first attempt.

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I have so many recipes that have been building up in my head to make as soon as I got home, but when I got off the plane yesterday after sitting in front of a screaming baby for ten hours, I just couldn’t do anything except make muffins. I just couldn’t face the world!!

Plus as a welcome home present my step-dad bought me a box of peaches. And they’re all ripe RIGHT NOW! So I whipped out the trusty Moosewood Cookbook and made some wholemeal brown sugar muffins, studded with lots of juicy peach slices. And they turned out so so good. I have a very evolved and scientific method of testing my recipes: I take a small bite, and if I don’t want another huge bite in the next two seconds, the recipe isn’t very good. These guys passed the test. I ate the whole thing in about 4 seconds. 

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I didn’t realise until I went away how big muffins are in Australia! I seriously don’t think I saw any the whole time I was away. I ate scones in Ireland and crepes in France and gelato in Italy, but where were the good old muffins hey? I missed these little guys. 

Starting the new year (my new year starts in February, shh) made me think about what this blog is going to be about more. Last year when I started it I had no clue what kind of things I wanted to make and what kind of photos I could of taken. I think most of the recipes from now on are going to be more centred in my everyday diet. Lots of wholemeal, mainly vegan, healthy and colourful recipes with some celebration things as well. I’m so excited! Happy belated New Year! 

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Vegan Fresh Peach and Brown Sugar Muffins

Update: On repeating this recipe they did not turn out well- word of warning, I no longer trust this recipe
125g (1 cup) wholemeal flour

1 tsp baking powder

25g (2 tbsp) brown sugar

1/2 medium banana, mashed

2 tbsp olive oil or grapeseed oil

120g (1/2 cup) soy or coconut yogurt

310g (2 cups, 2 medium peaches) cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) chunks

Preheat the oven to 170C (350F). Line 6 muffin tins with papers. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the mashed banana, oil and yogurt. Stir together well. Stir through the sliced peaches and spoon into the muffin moulds. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tops are golden and the muffins spring back when pressed. Makes 5-6 but the recipe can easily be doubled!

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