Chocolate and Vanilla Flecked Cream Cake

Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free, Sugar Free

IMG_1764_2
Last weekend, my cousin decided to do the 40 hour famine with his school. In a moment of madness, I decided to do it with him. In my memories the 40 hour famine was never very hard. To be honest all I could really remember is the end of the famine, where I would either make and eat an entire pizza, pot of macaroni and cheese or possibly tub of ice cream, much to my shrunken stomach’s regret. Nothing tastes quite as good as homemade macaroni and cheese when you haven’t eaten for forty hours 🙂

So I started at 8pm, and settled in for a night of babysitting. Babies went to bed, I started binge-watching all their recorded movies, things were looking good. And then…I saw they hadn’t eaten their dessert pizza. It wasn’t just any kind of dessert pizza, it was an Elvis Presley pizza. Layers of caramel sauce, nutella, roasted banana and chocolate crumble, covered in sugar. A little voice in my head said ‘no Lil! You’re only forty minutes into your famine!’ But a much louder voice said ‘NOOOOM NUTELLA BANANA ERMAGEEEERD’ and the next thing I knew, half that pizza was chilling in my tummy.

I wasn’t even hungry! I don’t even like dessert pizzas (except this one was pretty good). It just goes to show that deprivation never works. Especially if you haven’t actually raised any money, and therefore have no reason to continue the famine…
IMG_1758_2
That story doesn’t really have much to do with this chocolate cashew cream cake, I just had to alleviate my conscience somewhere. I did warn you all with my rhubarb cinnamon cream cake that there would be many more cashew cream cakes to come now that I’ve discovered how good they are. And to be honest, what with dumpling month going on this past four weeks, there has been a serious lack of chocolate on here.

This cake was inspired by that nutella pizza in a way, because I continued with the hazelnut and chocolate theme, sans banana. If I was Elvis Presley, there would also be caramel and peanut butter involved, and I would have to deep-fry the whole thing as well…when I was eating it I actually imagined how good it would taste with peanut butter, so I’ve made a little recommendation in the recipe if you want to take it down that route!
Screen shot 2014-08-19 at 12.13.55 PM
Sorry this is so late by the way! This post took me a lifetime to actually put up once I’d planned on making it. Normally I post every weekend, by the latest Monday morning. I had grand plans to finish all my uni work and go to bed early on Friday, waltz in to my kitchen on Saturday morning and blend this up in no time, chill it, cover it in ganache, go out and get myself a new job, and photograph this cake on Sunday morning, possibly drinking a green smoothie at the same time.

But…Friday night ended up being Beyonce night and I ended up not getting home on Saturday morning until 5am…I got out of bed at 10am, dragged myself to a job interview, zombie-stumbled home, fell on my bed on the way to the shower, ended up falling asleep for five hours, fell off my bed on to my phone which thankfully alerted me to wake up, washed my face, stumbled to babysitting and died on their couch.

IMG_1799_2

And then it rained for three days and the light was so terrible I had to wait until Tuesday to photograph the cake! That’s why there’s no process shots, the light was literally so dark my camera couldn’t even find a focus point. So anyway! Here it is. It is seriously delicious. I just ate a huge piece instead of going to the gym, and it was perfect. You can keep it in the freezer or the fridge, both are seriously yummy. 

I had cocoa butter in the fridge, which I used to make my own chocolate both for the filling and topping. If you want a short-cut version, buy a good-quality vegan sugar free block of dark chocolate. (But making your own is super easy!) After eating the different layers, I realised you can’t taste the difference strongly enough to warrant the extra mixing bowl! But if you like the look of layers by all means, take out a few scoops of the filling before mixing in the melted chocolate 🙂 Have a great week guys!!

One Year Ago: Banana Chai Cupcakes 

Screen shot 2014-08-19 at 12.16.11 PM
Chocolate and Vanilla Flecked Cream Cake:
For the Base:
1 cup hazelnuts, lightly crushed
1 packed cup pitted dates
1 tbsp coconut oil

For the Middle:
3 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight in cold water
3/4 cup (185ml) coconut oil
1/2 cup raw honey or maple syrup, for pure vegan
Juice from 1 lemon
1/2 vanilla bean, seeded
Optional: 100g smooth peanut butter

50g cocoa butter, melted
50g raw cacao
50g raw honey

For the Topping:
100g cocoa butter, melted
100g raw cacao
100ml raw honey
200ml coconut milk (organic and full-fat is best)

IMG_1819_2

Start by lining a 23cm tin with baking paper. Blend the ingredients for the base until a smooth dough forms. If your blend is crappy like mine, make sure to crush the nuts and cut up the dates first, and blend in batches. Press into the bottom of the tin and keep in the freezer until ready to fill.

Wash your cashews under cold water and drain well. Blend with the coconut oil, honey, lemon and vanilla bean seeds. Either remove a few scoops now to make separate layers, or just make one chocolate layer.For a peanut butter layer, blend the peanut butter with half the mix now and set aside. Mix the 50g cocoa butter, cacao and honey together until smooth and runny. Blend this into the cashew mix and pour into the tin. Smooth over and leave in the freezer until ready to top.

To make the ganache, melt the cocoa butter slowly and stir in the cacao and honey. Stir until smooth. Stir in the coconut milk and pour over the cashew cream filling. Now keep the cake in the fridge for at least 4 hours, until ready to serve. It’s very rich so serve in small slices! Enjoy 🙂
IMG_1775-2

Rhubarb and Cinnamon Cashew Cream Cake (raw and vegan!)

Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free, Sugar Free

IMG_1623_2
Guys, it’s happened. I finally got around to making a raw cashew cream cake! Too long have I ogled at this beautiful creation and this one and tried to eat my screen with little to no success. I finally made the splurge and bought the cashews and coconut butter, and gave my blender a serious pep-talk. Don’t worry, dumpling month is charging on, we’re just having a minor cake break so that I can eat my way through the dumplings in the freezer.

I wanted fancy layers for my cheesecake because layers people. Layers are so much more exciting than non-layers. So the bottom layer is infused with cinnamon (because everything should be infused with cinnamon) and the top layer is mixed with poached rhubarb and vanilla compote. Holy to the yum. The compote itself was so amazing! I deliberately made way more than I needed so that I could eat it all week on my weetbix. I highly recommend this as you don’t need much at all in the actual recipe, but if fruit compote isn’t your thing, make a quarter of the recipe.
IMG_1615
The reason this post took so long to put up was because this whole week I’ve been super sick and just horrendous feeling basically. I went away for a week with my friends to a music festival and while that week was one of the best ever and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it, the following week has been rough. It’s been very rough. It started on the day we packed up and left the camping grounds and I’d completely, 100% lost my voice. I could not make a sound.

That transformed into a bad case of the flu, which today transformed into a stomach bug. I feel so nauseous I haven’t actually been able to try the cake yet….I KNOW! But my whole family and a number of friends have tried and raved, so I am going out on a limb and hoping it tastes as good assembled as it did on the back of a spoon when I was making it 🙂
IMG_1642
My blender honestly did die a bit in the making of this cake, but I have lamented here often that raw desserts can be tricky in my kitchen. Every time I decide it’s finally time to make an upgrade and start researching, there are so many conflicting accounts and opinions I give up and give my blender a hug.

If you don’t have a powerful blender like me, make sure you soak your cashews all night long. It really made the difference! Also give the blender lots of time to rest in between small batches, instead of trying to power through the whole thing in one go. This is definitely a cake to make, regardless of whether your crowd is vegan or raw! It feels so special with the pink layers and it tastes so light and wholesome. So I’ve officially joined the cashew cream cake bandwagon. Look to the future for more!

One Year Ago: Berry and Lychee Vanilla Yogurt Cake
IMG_1636_2

Recipe inspired by My New Roots and This Rawsome Vegan Life
Raw Cashew Cream Cake with Rhubarb and Cinnamon:

3 cups of cashews, covered in cold filtered water and left to soak overnight

1.5 cups walnuts
1.5 cups dates, chopped roughly
1 tbsp coconut oil

6 long stalks of rhubarb, cut into chunks
100g raw sugar
1/2 a vanilla bean
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup (185ml) coconut oil, melted if hard
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup (170g) raw honey or maple syrup for pure vegan
pinch of sea salt
Screen shot 2014-08-04 at 6.07.54 PM
Line a 23cm baking tin with baking paper. Blend the walnuts, dates and tablespoon of coconut oil into a dough and press in to the bottom of the tin with your hands. Chill whilst you make the filling.

In a medium saucepan, very gently stew the rhubarb, sugar and vanilla bean (cut and seeds added to the pot) with a few tablespoons of water until completely soft but not straggly.

Drain the cashews well and put in the blender. Add the lemon juice, honey, coconut oil, salt and cinnamon. Blend until mix is as smooth as possible. Pour half into the cake tin and smooth around. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Blend the remaining half with about 1/3 – 1/2 cup of the rhubarb mix, to the desired colour and consistency (don’t add too much liquid – just the rhubarb pieces!) pour this on top of the cake and refrigerate the whole thing overnight. Serve cold, serves 10 – 12!
IMG_1659

Dulce de Leche and Strawberry Chocolate Meringue

Image

 Don’t say it! I know what you’re thinking. Double cream? Dulce de Leche? MERINGUE?!?!?! What is this unhealthy monstrosity! Well I’ll tell you what it is. It is my friend Sammy’s birthday cake. And if you had heard that hopeful little voice requesting something with chocolate and caramel involved, you would have cracked too! Sometimes I just have to accept that no matter how excited I get about vegan avocado mousse tarts and chocolate fudge orange cupcakes made out of chia and almonds, not everyone feels the same. In the words of one wise friend, not everyone wants that mangy vegan shit. True words. Amen sister.

So this cake was born! Did it fill the criteria? Caramel? Check. In the blessed form of Argentinian boiled condensed milk- Dulce de Leche. (Mmm who is remembering those evil caramel chocolate cookies?) Chocolate? Holy mama. And the chocolate was vegan! So please, I tried. I had so much fun shaving shards off my 2.5 kilogram block! Now that’s a lot of chocolate. I had lots of egg whites languishing in the freezer leftover from a recent vanilla ice cream episode, so meringue was the obvious way to go. The strawberries were a really yummy and colourful addition to what turned out as quite a light and creamy dessert. I made it in just over an hour, including the whole time the meringue was baking and I was dancing aggressively to Celtic rock music. (I have no shame). 

Image

I don’t actually recommend making it in such a short amount of time because as you can see from the equally delicious and equally horrendous photograph below, cream spreads when warm. It seriously knows no bounds. I was running late for the birthday lunch so I whipped the underdone meringue out of the oven, comforting myself that it would be perfectly chewy and marshmellow-centred because of my lack of baking time. I practically threw it on the floor and poured on a pile of cream and caramel. I like to think it was Jackson Pollock inspired. “Controlled chaos”. Once in the car, it started to ooze and meld together into a pool of creamy caramel and melted chocolate. For some reason, no one eating it complained at all!

Meringues and pavlovas were seriously one of my favourite desserts ever when I was growing up. Number one, they were always served with a practical mountain of fresh berries on top. I was OBSESSED with berries from a very young age. Number two, it looks like a marshmellow cloud, and is covered in cream. Number three, for some reason when people serve meringue, the slices are seriously enormous. And there’s nothing better than a plate of dessert that’s bigger than your plate of dinner was.

You can do lots of things with this super simple meringue base! I used the same ratio that Jamie Oliver uses. You can cover it in cream and whatever you really want. Fresh fruit, chocolate mousse and toffee shards, crush it up with ice cream, berries, yogurt and honey, anything! Go insane. And please forgive me for any mishaps in getting this post up or if I’m slow replying to comments, questions etc. I’m away! And sending lots of love from overseas.
IMG_7535
Caramel, Strawberry and Chocolate Meringue: Adapted from here

1 400ml can (13.5 fluid ounces) condensed milk

5 large egg whites, at room temperature
220g caster sugar

1 300ml (1 + 1/4 cup, 1/3 ounce) double cream
150g (5 ounces) chopped dark chocolate
400g (1 pound, 14 ounces) strawberries or mixed berries
IMG_7531

Put your can of condensed milk in a saucepan and fill half-way with water. Boil gently for 2-3 hours, constantly making sure the water is covering the bottom third of the can. Alternatively, pour it into a baking dish and bake for half an hour until golden and thick.

Preheat the oven to 150C (302F). Lay a sheet of baking paper on a tray. In a stand mixer with a very clean bowl, start whisking your egg whites. Speed up to fast and whisk until the egg whites form stiff peaks (not so stiff they are lumpy! You whisk more later). At this point, slow it down and start pouring in your sugar. Whisk on low to combine and then put it back on fast. Whisk for 5-8 minutes, until the meringue is glossy and thick, and when you rub some in between your fingers there are no sugar granules. Spoon the meringue on to the tray and flatten down with a spatula, leaving room on the edges for expansion. Bake for about an hour, until white but still spongy in the centre.

When the meringue is done, leave it to cool. Whip the cream with a teaspoon of vanilla, if you want. Just until slightly thicker and fluffed. Wash and cut your strawberries, and cut your chocolate in shards. Spoon the cream over the meringue, then smooth over a layer of caramel. Dulce de Leche is thick but try and smooth it by using a knife and spoon to create long strands. Just before serving throw on the berries and chocolate and dig in! Serves 8. Once the toppings are on, try and eat it within the hour.
IMG_7542

Vegan Chocolate Cream Tarts (gluten and sugar free)

Vegan, Raw, Gluten free and Sugar free

Image

 So, apparently all the photo files on my blog are enormous. Enormous as in instead of being around 500k to 1 megabite at the absolute largest! They are like, 6 or 7 megabites each. That’s proobably why they took ages to load on most people’s computers and proobably the reason for lots of people, no photos would ever come up at all…

I’m sorry! I never promised to be a computer genius! In fact I’ve often lamented my complete lack of technical skills in many a post. Don’t worry, I’ve started the arduous and horrific process of going back through each post that I deem important and re-uploading smaller sized photos. So hopefully things will start to come up a little faster around here. I was wondering why I’d already used up 10% of my available space in 6 months! 

Image

 I’m super scared of technological challenges, which is kind of annoying seeing as this blog here is one large technological…thing. For example, coding. What is it? I don’t know. How do you use it? I don’t know. All I know is that </p<p> means paragraph. People always talk about the CSS coding of their blog and how they’ve re-coded stuff to personalise it to their personal style…I’m just  like wuuuut. 

I never realised how much cray cray effort went in to even the simplest food blogs. Seriously, even for someone like me who loves to take the easy root, I spend a minimum of an hour cooking the thing, another hour styling/serving/arranging it and then, to be honest, only about twenty minutes to half an hour photographing it.

But then I edit the photos for at least half an hour, and write the post. That takes another half an hour, usually an hour. Then I check the whole draft and the coding and everything else that I could have stuffed up. Then I spend twenty minutes uploading the photos to pinterest and other foodie photo sites. That’s a minimum of three hours a post, and I usually do one or two posts a week. And that’s a lazy food blog! My lightroom editing program isn’t even working at the moment! I can’t even imagine what a professional website must be like to maintain. 

Image

I’ve never thought of giving it up though. I know as soon as I did, I’d make something like these vegan chocolate cream tarts and kick myself for not being able to share them! They’re absolutely delicious, and they’re gluten and sugar free as well. And completely raw! Talk about impressive. It took me quite a long time to perfect this recipe, and a lot of inspiration from some of my favourite blogs. But in the end, this here is what I consider the perfect chocolate tart. 

The crust is the same recipe as these coconut chocolate truffles minus the coconut. The filling is this chocolate mousse minus the chia seeds. I was completely inspired by this delicious chocolate tart from GI 365 and couldn’t stop thinking about it. The first time I tried the mousse the avocado I used wasn’t perfectly ripe, and it came out all stringy and disgusting. A little bit of tweaking later, and I had the smoothest and creamiest chocolate cream I could have wanted. I wrote the recipe in cups even though I’m a grams girl at heart, because with walnuts and dates and bananas etc I find it a bit too fiddly to get out the scales and a bit unnecessary when it’s raw. 

I used the same cute little tart cases that I did for my lavender and lemon tarts, lining the shells with plastic wrap so I could pull them out easily. I was really worried they would stick! These tarts last really well in the fridge and make a great dessert for a BBQ or picnic. You can adapt the recipe to make one big tart if you like as well. The benefits from the avocado, cocoa powder and walnuts are great for your body and there is nothing processed or derived from animals to be seen. The perfect chocolate dessert!

Image

 Chocolate Cream Tarts: Adapted from GI 365

Makes 6 small tarts, can easily be doubled

For the Crust:

1 cup walnuts

1 packed cup medjool dates (if dry and hard, soaked in water for 20 minutes)

1/4 cup cocoa powder

Splash of soy or almond milk

Combine all crust ingredients in a powerful blender and whizz into a smooth paste. If your blender isn’t that strong, grind your nuts in a mortar and pestle first and cut up your dates into small pieces. Take your tart moulds and grease with a little oil or water so that the plastic wrap will stick. Line with plastic wrap. Use your fingers to press in the crust evenly, filling in all the cracks. Store in the freezer until ready to make the crust. This freezing makes them easier to remove and helps them keep their shape. Don’t worry, they won’t freeze completely solid. 

Image

For the filling:

1 medium avocado (it’s ok if the measurements aren’t exact)

1 medium banana

2 heaped tablespoons of raw honey, or more if you want it sweeter

3 tablespoons soy or almond milk

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

Whizz all your mousse ingredients in a blender until completely smooth and combined. Remove your tart moulds from the freezer and carefully pull out from the tins using the plastic as handles. Fill the crust with the chocolate cream and keep stored in the fridge. Not the freezer. Lasts well for 2-4 days. 

Image 

Lemon and Berry Butter Layer Cake

IMG_6098

Eleven years ago, when I was little, me and my family moved suburbs. We changed primary schools to go to the local public school. I really didn’t want to go! I didn’t want to leave all my friends behind. I didn’t want to wear egg yellow shirts and crimson boy shorts, or have our school initials constantly changed to ANUS. But now I realise that move was the best we could have ever made, because it led me to my friend Maddie.

Our families became friends basically straight away, and almost all my childhood memories are interwoven with Maddie’s family. We moved to within a block of each other, bought a puppy in the same week, bought the same car, went to the same high school, went on holidays together and even went to university together. Maddie and her family don’t realise this, but I’m actually involved in an intense lifelong stalking project.

IMG_6106

For her birthday I made her a classic victoria sponge cake, but fruitified. The sponge is infused with lemon zest because she loves lemon. In between the layers is a strawberry and raspberry curd and sliced strawberries as well. And the whole thing is encased in whipped cream, sort of like a giant jam scone.

I know it’s not quite spring yet but it feels so close! Strawberries are super cheap at this time of year and it was actually warm enough not to wear jeans today! This cake has a feeling of spring about it. I think it’s the sugared violets that are actually three years old but I never deemed a cake worthy enough to use them.

The curd for me ended up turning out too thin, I think because I under-cooked it. Don’t worry I’ve adjusted the recipe, but lemme tell you there were some stressful moments trying to build this cake! I ended up thickening it with some icing sugar and ground chia seeds (so yes this is indeed a very healthy cake), and the flavour wasn’t affected. If you like a super sweet cake you might want to add some extra sugar to the curd anyway, depending on how tart your berries are. 

IMG_6068

In other news, the very kind Jessica from Daily Gluttony nominated Sugar and Cinnamon for the Versatile Bloggers Award! I was really excited because I think Jessica’s blog is great, and love reading her recipes and stories. I’m meant to tell everybody seven things about me but my posts are usually full of things about me so I’ll just tell you one little weird thing: I love peanut butter and banana slices on toast. 

I’m not really sure how to nominate my own favourite blogs, but here are some great new blogs that I have read this week, that I think are worthy of a mention: 

Sugary and ButterySinfully SpicyMunchin’ Mel, Tide and Thyme, Half Baked Harvest, Peeps From Abroad, The Baker Chick, Recipes From a Pantry, 350 Sweets, and Cesca

For a longer list of my long-time favourite blogs, check out my library page. Now for the recipe! Feel free to adjust the types of berries you use, and as I said judge the sweetness you think you’ll prefer. You’ll need to start this recipe the day before.  

IMG_6149

Lemon and Berry Butter Cake:
Berry Curd: Adapted from What She’s Having

700g (4 + 1/2 cups) mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, but not blackberries, mulberries or anything too sour)

170g (3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) caster sugar

60ml (4 tbsp) lemon juice

60g (4 tbsp) butter

6 large egg yolks

Cut up all the berries and toss with the lemon juice and sugar. Leave to macerate at least 45 minutes. Blend together and strain into a bowl. It might take some time! Use a spoon to push out the chunks. Pour into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs. Pour a ladle of the berry puree in to the eggs to warm them, then return it all to the pan. Add the chopped butter and stir constantly over a medium-low heat until thickened. Strain into a jug and place plastic wrap directly on the surface to stop a skin forming, refrigerate overnight. If the mixture curdles slightly, either strain out the lumps or blend for a few moments to bring it back together. 

IMG_6060

For the sponge: Adapted from Cook wWith Jamie

225 (1 cup) grams butter, softened

225g (1 2/3 cups) self-raising flour, sifted

225g (1 cup + 2 tbsp) caster sugar

4 large eggs

zest of 1-2 lemons

Either: Make two sponges with this recipe and use a knife to cut them in half once cool, or split the recipe in half and make four sponges, washing your two 20cm pans in between. I find it easier to bake the layers separately but it’s up to you. 

Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease and line 2 or 4 20cm sandwich pans. Cream your soft butter and sugar together until pale. Slowly add each egg, beating well in between additions until smooth and creamy. Sift over the flour and use a spatula to fold it in. Split the mix into two and bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Leave to cool, then take out of the pan.

IMG_6034For the icing and extras:
600ml (2 + 2/3 cups) whipping cream
75g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
250g (1.5 cups) strawberries

Beat the cream in a cold bowl on high until just starting to thicken. Decrease the speed to medium and slowly pour in the sugar. Beat until just thick enough for soft peaks to form.

Assembly:
Cut any domes off the four cake layers. Place one layer on a large plate. Spoon over a thick layer of curd and spread it to one or two centimetres from the edge. Top with sliced strawberries. Repeat with the next two layers. Top with the final layer. To ice, use a large offset spatula to gently spread the cream in waves around the cake. Decorate either with more berries, or sugared violets.
IMG_6119

Banana Spice Cupcakes with Chai Yogurt Cream (gluten and sugar free)

 Gluten, Refined Sugar, and Optional Dairy Free

IMG_5893

I really want to like chai! I don’t drink coffee and this makes it slightly awkward every time someone suggests we get coffee. I feel like saying “well, ok. But I’m probably not going to get a coffee. Or pay 3.50 for a tea bag. So lets just go get ice cream instead?” But that just doesn’t fly in the real world. Chai would be the perfect solution to this! You drink your skim cap, I drink my chai latte. Everyone is happy and we are all being trendy and maybe we should make it soy. 

But when I was little I poured a huge mug of it down my shirt and had to rip it off on a busy street in India. Now the smell of it reminds me of burning skin, green polo shirts and blushing humiliation. There isn’t a particular element that I don’t like. It’s not the cinnamon, ginger, or milk, it’s the actual combination together. It just makes my skin crawl. 

Last week I was at an ice cream shop with friends and one of them ordered a scoop of chai gelato. I had the tiniest bite to see what it was like, and a strange thing happened. It wasn’t that bad. I wouldn’t have eaten the whole scoop but the coldness of the ice cream meant it was different enough from the drink that my brain didn’t go into its usual panic mode of chai? CHAI! RUN!. 

IMG_5880

 I thought maybe if the elements were taken far enough from the original I could actually like it. Thinking about it, each part of chai is actually really awesome. Spices like cinnamon, ginger, I use them all the time in so many things. And steamy and warm too? Yes please. 

So these chai cupcakes were born. The cupcakes themselves are gently spiced banana cupcakes that are gluten and refined sugar free, but so moist and flavoursome! The texture is so soft it’s almost like a steamed pudding, and you get the slightest hint of coconut from the flour. For those that are dairy free these cupcakes are good enough on their own without the icing, especially warmed up for breakfast. 

IMG_5945

But the yogurt cream! Oh my goodness. I’ve been thinking about something like this for ages and finally got around to trying it. Strained yogurt, called labneh, looks like ricotta cheese and tastes like cream cheese, but it’s way better for you. As well as this it is full of probiotics and often the level of lactose is low enough for intolerant people to enjoy as well. Here the labneh is flavoured with honey and chai spices to top the cupcakes. It is so delicious. You could eat it over fruit, as a cream on a sponge, on its own with berries, nuts, granola, anything! It’s rich and smooth and creamy and perfect. The longer you drain it the thicker it will be, but I wouldn’t go much longer than eight hours or it will get very strong in flavour. 

Once iced, it’s best to keep these cupcakes in the fridge because of the yogurt topping. However the texture of the base won’t suffer! They taste great cold too. 

If you want to try some more gluten free or healthy muffins, here are some I’ve been reading recently and getting inspiration from:

Pumpkin Coconut Muffins

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cashew Cream

Oatmeal Muffins

IMG_5887

Banana Cupcakes with Yogurt Cream: Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories 

70g (heaping 1/3 cup) almond flour

65g (1/2 cup) coconut flour

60g (1/2 cup) buckwheat flour

1 tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp baking soda

1.5 tsp cinnamon

1 pinch each ginger, cloves and nutmeg ground

180g (3/4 cup) mashed banana (about 2 to 3 bananas)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

80ml (1/3 cup) olive oil

100ml (1/3 cup) honey or maple syrup

250ml (1 cup) soy, almond or coconut milk

Preheat oven to 180C. Line 12 muffin tins with cases. Sift together the dry ingredients and spices in a bowl. Separately, mix together the wet ingredients in a large bowl. Sift over the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until crunchy on the outside and risen. 

IMG_5834

For the icing:

450g (1.5 cups) natural greek yogurt (reduced fat ok)

80ml (1/4 cup) runny honey

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp each nutmeg, ginger, cloves, star anise ground

optional: pinch of ground black pepper, 2 tsp raw sugar for sprinkling

In a medium sized strainer, place a clean tea towel or cheese cloth and spoon in the yogurt. Tie the tea towel around the yogurt in a bundle with a plastic rubber band. Place in the fridge over a deep bowl and drain for at least six hours, until thick. 

Mix in the other ingredients and chill until ready to use. Ice over the cupcakes evenly and either eat straight away or put back in the fridge. Sprinkle with the sugar just before serving. 

IMG_5932