Super Rich Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan, Wholemeal, Low Sugar 
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Remember when I made those chocolate orange cupcakes and told everyone they were the best healthy chocolate cupcakes ever? Well that proved that none of you can trust me ever again, because it was a lie. These here today are the best. cupcakes. EVER.

They defy science. When I was making them, I felt very apprehensive about the large blobs of chia gel floating on a sea of cold coffee and mashed banana. I had a sinking feeling I would have to throw it all in the bin, and waste my precious stash of frozen bananas. But then, somehow in the oven a miracle occurred. Maybe someone came into my house and replaced them, I don’t really know. But they came out as literally the richest, *moistest* cupcakes of all time.

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We first tried them warm from the oven, when the chocolate chunks were still melted and squishy. They were so amazing I almost decided not to ice them. But they looked so ugly! Literally like little cooked pots of dirt. Also is it a cupcake without icing? Somebody tell me because I really don’t know.

So, I made this avocado mousse and covered them all in that. Holy crap! They became even better. They tasted like little chocolate fondant mousse explosions. I thought I was up to the challenge of eating two, and it was so rich I almost had a hard attack right there. HOW!

I actually don’t understand. The ingredients list reads more like a healthy breakfast than a cake. And somehow it’s richer than the Sarah Lee pudding I may or may not have sampled in the darkest moments of the holidays. What is life.

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Being away so long I’ve gotten quite rusty with the whole photography process, so apologies for the very moody Dracula lighting. I was feeling very dark and existential today. Not really, I just couldn’t find my white backboard and the sunlight disappeared behind a cloud for a good four hours.

Also, when I finally did manage to take a good shot, I excitedly slapped the backboard down onto the table and crushed three of the cupcakes. (Don’t worry, my sister ate them). You don’t have to ice these if you don’t want to. If you don’t, you can warm them up and make the chocolate melt. If you do though, you won’t regret it. They are literally so rich. Have a great week errybody 🙂

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Rich chocolate cupcakes:
3 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 7 tbsp water
3 bananas, mashed
1/3 cup (80ml) brewed coffee or espresso
110ml (1/2 cup) olive or sunflower oil

100g (1/2 cup) raw sugar
120g (1 cup) plain or wholemeal flour
120g (1 cup) raw cacao powder
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
60g chopped dark chocolate
opt: 1 tsp cinnamon

Icing:
1 large ripe avocado
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
4 tbsp raw cacao
1-2 tbsp soy or almond milk

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Preheat the oven to 180C (360F) and line 10 cupcake holes with papers. Mash the bananas well, then blend with the chia gel, coffee and oil. In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients well. Use a spoon to gently fold in the blended wet ingredients until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks Spoon into the muffin tins until 3/4 full and bake for 13-15 minutes, until risen and springy when you touch them. Allow to cool completely.

Blend together the avocado, cacao and honey and add the soy milk until you have a mousse-like consistency. Either use a piping bag, or just a knife to ice each cupcake. Once iced, store the cupcakes in the fridge and eat on the day you make them.

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Banana Cinnamon Cupcakes with Mocha Icing

Optional Vegan and Refined Sugar FreeImage

 It was my beautiful lady-friend Maevie’s birthday yesterday. You may remember her from the Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake of last year. (If you followed that link, please accept sincere apologies for the horrendous photography). Maevie and I have been friends every since year 3, when she became besties with my twin sister. I can’t believe she’s twenty! It seems only yesterday she and my sister were running around the playground playing their weird little games. While me and my friends played horses or card games, Maevie would go around pretending to eat people saying they were KFC chicken tenders. 

I once walked in on her covering my sister in duct-tape telling her she was now a prisoner. Another time I found them playing with little plastic horses and pigs pretending they were Simpson characters. This was in high school!  Such good memories ❤ Maevie, like me, loves cake a lot. So I thought the present she would appreciate most would be something of the baked and covered in chocolate variety. 

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 Maevie’s actually a very skilled photographer herself. She’s given me countless tips on why my photos often come out looking like hideous brown blobs. I didn’t want her cupcakes to consist of only shades of brown, but I didn’t really have time to do any fancy icing either. Cue rose petals! There was a big bunch of pink roses on the table and I stole a couple petals to decorate these. If I had more time I would have made sugared rose petals, or maybe designed them a little like this rose cake

I used David Lebovitz‘ banana cake with mocha frosting and halved it to make these, taking a slightly healthier route with the icing. You can use your favourite vegan chocolate icing, or if you want the original recipe, it just said to melt 140g dark chocolate with 70ml of brewed coffee, then stir in 70g unsalted butter until smooth. The smell of the coffee melting with the chocolate is amaaaaazing. If I ever meet David I swear I might cry from gratitude for all the delicious cakes and ice cream flavours he’s brought into my life. 

I’ve given vegan alternatives, most of which I have tested but I used a chickens egg so I can’t 100% assure the chia seeds will make an adequate alternative. There’s only one egg though so I’m sure it will work fine! Also my sister would like everyone to know these were “the nicest cupcakes she’s ever tasted”. 

One Year Ago: Rich Chocolate and Caramel Brownies

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Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Icing (Adapted from David Lebovitz)

150g (1 + 1/4 cup) plain flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1tsp baking powder

115g/1/2 cup butter (or 115ml/1/2 cup vegan butter or oil) at room temperature

150g (2/3 cup) white sugar (or honey/agave syrup)

1 medium egg OR 1 tbsp chia seeds blended with 3 tbsp water, at room temperature

2 medium sized super ripe bananas, mashed (about 250g or half a pound)

45g (3 tbsp) yogurt (coconut yogurt for vegan)

For the icing: 250g (half a tub) coconut yogurt mixed with 200g (7 ounces) melted dark chocolate and 2 tbsp runny agave syrup

 

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 For the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and line 8 cupcake holders with liners. Mash the banana with the yogurt and set aside. Cream the butter or oil and sugar or syrup until fluffy and well combined. Set to low and slowly blend in the egg. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cinnamon and baking powder well. Stir in half the mashed bananas into the butter, then half the flour. Repeat with the remaining halves and stir just to combine. Spoon into muffin cases and bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden and fluffy. 

Top with chocolate icing of your choice, and a rose petal if you want 🙂 The recipe makes 8 small cupcakes but can easily be increased for more! Enjoy 🙂 

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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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Healthy Chocolate Banana Fudge Cakes

Gluten Free, Vegan, and Sugar Free

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 The other day I was looking after the kids I babysit every week. The youngest boy was playing video games and singing to himself. At first I was just tuning him out and trying to read my book, and then I started listening to what he was singing.

What do you do with an annoying sister

What do you do with an annoying sister

What do you do with an annoying sister

(This is where he turned to me and locked eyes intensely)

Stick a fork up her BUM HOLE. 

Where do kids get stuff like that?!? I blame free TV! No, seriously. Kids amaze me sometimes. Their little brains just work on a completely different, fascinating level. The other day I caught myself debating with them what would happen if people’s faces got transplanted to their bums and their bums transplanted to their faces. It got ugly! I think all this babysitting is turning me into a giant kid.

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If, like me, you find yourself staring at a fruit bowl one day humming to yourself “what do you do with a million bananas, what do you do with a million bananas…” I can now tell you a decent answer. You make these little gluten free, sugar free, optionally vegan heart shaped cakes out of them. It’s just that obvious. On my birthday recently a family friend made us the most amazing flourless chocolate cake. It had raspberries scattered on top and we ate it with vanilla ice cream! Oh mercy. It was beautiful. The nicest cake I have ever had. Today with these little chocolate cakes, I wanted to do something along the chocolate and almond theme. 

But healthified. 

The recipe is the same one from Petite Kitchen that I used in these orange fudge cupcakes. Instead of orange though, I used banana! I was worried that the difference in fruits would make the recipe come out really strange and possibly lumpy…but my fears turned out to be futile. 

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As soon as a had my first peak in the oven I knew good things were happening. They smelled amazing! And the tops looked so crispy and light. I had no idea how long they’d take to cook so there was a bit of oven door opening going on, but I worked out a decent time in the end for you lovely people. But by then some of the hearts had cracked. They looked so sad! 

The cakes came out really moist but light as well. You could put in some chocolate chips to make them more chocolatey, but to be honest they tasted amazing as they were. These cakes are so rich and dark you could make them for dessert. Serve them with some serious vanilla ice cream or custard, or chocolate ice cream if you’re anything like me. They’re also great for any other time of day as well, including breakfast if you know what I’m sayin! 

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Also the REALLY exciting news! I got a new lens for my camera! It’s a 100mm 1.28L IS USM macro lens (I have no idea what I just said…) I think, and it’s the most amazing thing EVERRRR. I’m still learning how to use it. Only half the photos in this post are taken with it because I love me an overhead shot, and I’d seriously need a ladder with this thing to get the whole cake in the frame. It is so close! The detail is just amazing. 

I’ve been watching the CD instruction manual and reading up on the internet and it is actually starting to make sense. I’m so excited to start putting way more effort into each post when I get back from overseas! Making one post a week gives you so much more time to think and plan, rather than three or four posts a week which I’ve been doing recently. (I’m speaking to you from the past if that made no sense…hellooooo!! spookyyy). These little cakes may be simple, but they’re a total winner. I was so happy with how they turned out. So make them! Especially if you have some bananas lying spare.

I have to admit I used eggs instead of chia seeds here because we had a lot of eggs and no chia…but I’ve made this exact recipe with oranges and chia, and it turned out great. Denser, but great. So try what suits your needs and tell me how it goes!

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 Vegan and Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Cakes: Adapted from Petite Kitchen

300g (2 cups) almond flour

35g (5 tablespoons) cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

90ml (6 tablespoons) maple syrup or agave nectar

5 tablespoons chia seeds mixed with ten tablespoons almond milk OR 5 eggs

3-4 bananas, mashed to make one cup

Optional: chopped nuts or chocolate chips

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Preheat the oven to 170C (340F) and grease ten muffin or friand moulds with coconut butter or oil. Mash your bananas well, and mix with the chia seeds and almond milk to form a smooth paste. Blend all the ingredients together thoroughly until combined. Pour until 3/4 full in to each muffin mould. 

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 15 minutes, checking after 12. Makes ten to twelve chocolate cakes. Dust with cocoa powder and serve warm with ice cream for the best chocolate cake experience ever. 

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Wholemeal Cinnamon and Rhubarb Muffins

optional Vegan and Sugar Free

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 I made a chocolate birthday cake for my friend recently, and I was so impressed with myself. It was a fudge layer cake with chocolate ganache and I decorated the top and everything! With little edible sugar flowers and silver drops spelling out HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I took a photo of it and snapchatted basically every single person I knew, claiming I was Lord of the Cakes and they must bow down to me. 

And then I looked at the photo more closely, and realised I’d written HAPPY BIRTHAY. Birthay. Wow. I really set myself up there. The worst part is, it’s not even the first time I’ve spelt birthday wrong on a cake. Last time I forgot the H! But last time, I was smart, and didn’t send a picture of it bragging to everyone on my contacts list. THE SHAME!

ImageI kind of made these muffins to comfort myself that I can, indeed, create something worthy of photographing and sharing with everyone. I wanted to use the last few sticks of rhubarb leftover in the fridge. They were getting quite sad and floppy in there (that’s what she said hehehehe…) and I kept picturing the delicious pairing of cinnamon and poached rhubarb I have on cereal every morning, but in muffin form. 

I looked up a basic muffin ratio on the internet, pre-sugar and add-ins like buttermilk and fruit, and decided I’d adapt it myself. I was nervous because the recipe didn’t have any sweetness in it or fruit measurements yet, and the batter came out looking clumpy and strange. But they turned out absolutely perfectly. 

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You can see from the photos how perfectly they rose and how crunchy the top layer became. I’ve adjusted the recipe I used slightly to give more rhubarb in the centre and a slightly sweeter batter, because I used almost no sweetener at all. The spices in the batter came out really sweetly and perfumed my house while they were baking. Soo good fresh from the oven. 

I talked about that amazing moment you get when you produce the perfect muffin when I made the Best Banana Muffins, and the Chocolate Fudge Vegan Orange Cupcakes. Well these are my favourite fruit filling muffins. You don’t have to fill it with fruit, you could put nutella, a chocolate ball, anything really. The muffin mix is strong enough to hold anything!

There’s no refined sugar or butter in these muffins, and the addition of wholemeal flour makes them a little healthier than the usual muffin affair. They’re still rich and a little bit naughty though! Perfect for weekend mornings 🙂 

ImageRhubarb and Cinnamon Muffins: 

200g (1.5 cups + 1 tbsp) plain flour

130g (1 cup) wholemeal flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla extract

125g (1/3 cup) runny maple syrup or honey

3 eggs (or flax eggs for vegan)

125ml (1/2 cup) olive oil

120ml (1/2 cup) natural or coconut yogurt

450g (1 pound) rhubarb, cut into chunks + 2 tbsp maple syrup

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 Preheat the oven to 165C (330F) and line 10 muffin holes with papers. In a small saucepan, stir the rhubarb and honey together with a splash of water. Cover with a lid and stew until soft for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and add in the oil and yogurt. Combine the wet and dry together, add a splash of milk if the batter is too dry. Spoon half the batter in to the muffin cups. Make a depression in the centre and put in a few pieces of rhubarb. Add the other half of batter and press down to cover the rhubarb completely. 

Bake for 25 minutes, until risen and golden on top. Eat them warm! 

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Banana and Dark Chocolate Chunk Muffins

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 I know! You don’t have to say it. You think I’m obsessed with muffins. You think that’s all I ever do. Make protein packed quinoa carrot muffins one week and posh little banana chai muffins the next. Well it’s not my fault muffins and cupcakes are so damn cute! And I’m not the only person who thinks mini cakes encased in paper are somehow so much more exciting and easy to serve than full-sized cakes. 

This week there were many many bananas. You’re probably imagining six or seven bananas ripening away in a fruit bowl right now, a typical kitchen scene that leads to banana baked cakes. Now take that image and multiply it by thirty! That’s right, I counted. You know that TV show called hoarders? Where they go in to people’s houses and they have newspapers from 1933 and pizza boxes filling their children’s beds? Well I’m one of those people. Although you wouldn’t know it, because it seems the only thing I hoard is overripe bananas (for now….). I deliberately buy a few too many and when the end of the week comes, steal some spotty ones away to the freezer, chuckling to myself like rumplestiltskin.

This week when my banana cube container reached overflowing in the freezer, and there were three ripe bananas still in their skins sitting on top of it, as well as fifteen small overripe bananas on the counter, it was time to take action. It was time for an intervention. So I adapted another Three Blue Ducks recipe, this time their famous banana and fig bread, into these chocolate chunk muffins. And let me just say one thing. These banana muffins put all those dry, powdery, gummy banana muffins out there to shame. TO SHAME.

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 They’re finally just as good as that super gourmet cafe muffin I’ve always wanted to recreate. They are somehow fluffy and dense at the same time. Somehow light yet moist, crunchy yet sticky, fruity yet chocolatey! You get the picture. They’re just that next level of yum. Sometimes you just have those moments in baking where you create something that makes you stop and think, wow. I made that. It happened when I made the vegan chocolate orange cupcakes, which just came out so so delicious and moist. It happened when I made a rhubarb and coconut crumble slice so crunchy and flavoursome no one could stop eating it. And it happened today!

Usually when I make something or follow a recipe, I might use features of that recipe again but it will be very rare that I’ll make it in it’s entirety more than once. These are those kind of recipes that never get improved upon. Everyone has their staple chocolate cookie recipe (I use David Lebovitz’) and their chocolate birthday cake recipe and their best sponge recipe. This is going to be my banana muffin recipe. Statement of the month. 

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 My mum isn’t much of a baker, she’s more of a savoury food fan. But she did used to make banana bread pretty regularly when I was growing up. It was a little bit hippy with a sesame seed crust and a dense, wholesome texture, and a little bit my mum’s baking with a slightly raw middle and little lumps of flour that hadn’t been sifted through. But man, I really loved it. It was always so exciting finding a piece in my lunchbox and eating it in first class even though it was still slightly frozen. 

Banana baked goods are so homely. I always feel worried at first posting them because the Internet is so saturated with them. Plus I’ve made a lot! Caramel Chocolate Muffins, Banana Maple Layer Cake, just to name a few. But then I think it’s not like readers have to go ahead and make everything I post. I know with most of the blogs I read all the time, I just want to eat the photos and the stories with my eyes. It’s not like a weekly update of what I should whip up in the kitchen.

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 Nowadays so many of the recipes I make are vegan or gluten free, sometimes both, and almost always sugar free. It was strangely therapeutic to pull out my old tins of flour and sugar and beat the eggs and vanilla together until fluffy. I didn’t have to worry about lumpy chia seeds or faulty blenders or strange overpowering raw flavours. These muffins may not be as good for your body as many other muffins on this site, but they are still very worthy and a little treat for every now and then.

If you don’t want to use chocolate chips, you could substitute 100g of walnuts (like the original recipe) or other toasted nuts and seeds, or you could throw in some raisins or blueberries, or just leave them plain. This is a simple recipe that you can take in a few different ways. Originally it was made for a banana bread. If you want to do that, substitute plain flour + 1 tsp baking powder for the self-raising, and increase the baking time to about half an hour to 45 minutes. 

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 Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe: Adapted from The Blue Ducks

200g (1 cup + 1.5 tablespoons) self-raising flour

½ tsp bicarb soda

1 tsp cinnamon

2 medium-large eggs (100g)

170g (3/4 cup) sugar

430g (1 pound or 3 large) bananas, mashed well, plus extra for garnish

45ml (3 tblsp) olive oil

40g (3 tblsp) melted butter

100g (2/3 cup roughly) dark chocolate, cut into chunks

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Preheat the oven to 160C (320F). Line 10-12 muffin tins with papers. Blend together the bananas and stir in the butter and oil.

Sift the flour, a pinch of salt, bicarb and cinnamon in a small bowl. Beat the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Add the other wet ingredients and stir together. Gently fold in the chocolate chunks and sift in the flours.

Split in to muffin tins and top with a slice of banana, if you like. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until golden on top and springy to touch. They last for 2-3 days, but best just out of the oven. They freeze well too!

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Fudgy Chocolate Orange Cupcakes (vegan, gluten and sugar free)

Vegan, gluten and refined sugar free

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 People, it’s started. 

Mango season has officially arrived. 

People always wonder what Australia’s national food is. Some say meat pies, which doesn’t really work because meat pies are from England and are just as popular in their football matches and sports weekends. Some say sausages on the barbie, again not a very good fit because according to the interweb Americans are the king of the barbecue! Others even suggest pavlova! Which is controversial because (it was actually New Zealand who invented the pavlova…shhh). So I’m taking it upon myself to announce the new Australian icon. The new national delicacy: mangoes. 

Australian mangoes, in season from late september to mid-February, are the best tasting fruit in the country. During summer we live and breathe mangoes as a dietary staple. For the rest of the year people dreamily talk of summer, sighing “mangoes”! As the pinnacle of Christmas holidays. Every picnic and dining table in the country will probably have a few mango halves cut in the classic hedgehog style come Christmas day. I’ve had mangoes overseas, and they’re ok. Especially in India and Thailand. They were actually really good. But they didn’t have that magic quality and smoothness of Australian mangoes. 

I’m a bit obsessed with mangoes. (If you saw inside my mind right now there would be a little circus monkey clapping symbols yelling mangomangomangomangomango) Last summer I ate so many I got really sick and thought I was dying of a rare disease. The doctor prescribed no more mangoes. I bargained with her three a day. She said no mangoes. I said two a day. She said no more mangoes. I said just one a day…She said no. I said ok. I broke my promises. 

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 This year, in a determined attempt to NOT eat so many mangoes that my stomach hates me, I had to come up with a dessert that was just as sweet and delicious and just as healthy. So these fudgy chocolate marmalade cupcakes were born! I’ve made apple and cinnamon cupcakes for the blog before, but never chocolate ones. So it was about time! The idea started out with an amazing new cookbook I’ve been reading recently, called Three Blue Ducks. If you live in Sydney you would have heard of the cafe, located at Bronte beach and focused on locally sourced, organic and home-grown produce. 

Last weekend I played with their orange marmalade recipe because we had a cheeky three kilograms of leftover oranges that just weren’t going to all be eaten. Such a simple and accessible recipe! I made a cinnamon version and only made eight jars instead of around eleven or twelve, and it turned out perfectly and so delicious. I wanted to pair it with chocolate and also continue the jaffa theme, and that’s where these boiled orange almond cupcakes come in. I’ve made the Claudia Roden famous boiled orange cake before and loved it, and when I saw on Petite Kitchen that she’d made a honey chocolate version, I had to make these cupcakes happen.

Topped with a creamy vegan chocolate icing I found here, that I literally licked out of the bowl, these little cakes are easily the most delicious orange chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever had. 
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I was worried using chia eggs in place of hens eggs would affect the recipe too much, as it originally called for five eggs. However in this small setting, the dense, fudgy texture couldn’t have turned out better. The cakes didn’t rise much so don’t be scared to fill them right up! Also the marmalade in the centre is totally optional. The recipe uses sugar so the title is really referring to the cakes themselves. Other filling ideas could include a small scoop of the icing, a cherry, some raspberries or any berry filling, a macadamia or walnut, or just keep them plain old jane. 

Also, exciting news, from now on I’m going to post all recipes in metric as well as cups and tablespoons, because most of my readers are American anyway! I’m a big advocator for gram and mil measurements because they’re way more reliable and easy to increase or decrease, but I also want to make the recipes easy for everyone to follow. I’ve gone back and added the measurements to the last few posts but it will probably take me a while to do all of them. That’s if I can even be bothered to do any of them 🙂 

I’ve been doing a lot of clean-up work on the blog recently and have been trying to work out a clear direction that I want to take it in. At the moment there’s a big focus on clean eating and gluten free, vegan recipes, but I don’t want to strictly stick to that now and then regret it in a months time when I make a towering chocolate fudge mountain cake built on a foundation of eggs and whipped cream. Ok that’s not really something I plan on doing, but you get what I mean. 

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Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about sustainable eating and farming, and it’s made me decide I can’t really justify eating fish anymore. I haven’t eaten other meat for almost four years now, but the rule was originally that I had to eat fish as long as I lived at home for my studies and convenience with cooking. Reaching the age where I’m more independent now, both in my life and in my cooking, I’ve been making an effort to only eat sustainable fish and avoid canned tuna and other obvious choices. 

It’s a tricky dilemma! Fish is so packed full of vitamins and healthy fats it’s really hard to remove from your diet without feeling the effects of it. Last month I eliminated almost all fish and ate heaps of legumes and tofu as a replacement, and my energy levels weren’t affected. So maybe it is possible. I don’t know. A large population of people go their entire lives living off no fish at all so I’m sure it’s not a human dietary necessity. But I also don’t want to be that person weeping over a side salad every time I go out for dinner. Why can’t salmon grow on trees!

Anyway back to the cupcakes. I keep getting off-topic today. Bake them with your eyes wide open! Because despite all that moisture they can burn quickly because of the lack of oil. Fill them whenever you want, ice them whenever you want because it isn’t going to melt and run everywhere. Eat them fresh, refrigerate them for a truffle-like texture. Enjoy them. 

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Orange and Cinnamon Marmalade: (Reduced but same recipe as Three Blue Ducks)

2 kilograms (4.5 pounds) oranges, rinsed and sliced thinly. 

1 litre of water 

1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of white sugar 

3 cinnamon quills

Put all the ingredients in a very large pot and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hours. Once the mix begins to look like jam, test it by placing a saucer in the freezer for a few minutes, then dolloping some marmalade on to it and putting it back in the freezer. Pull it out after a minute and run your finger through it. If it wrinkles, it’s ready. Repeat until the marmalade is ready.

Pour into sterilised jars (mine made exactly 8 large jars) whilst still hot and keep in the fridge once open. To sterilise jars, was well with soapy water or better in the dishwasher on high, then leave to dry out in the oven for ten minutes on 170C (340f). 

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Chocolate Orange Cupcakes: Recipe barely adapted from Petite Kitchen

2 oranges, rinsed

240g (2 cups) almond meal

1 tsp baking soda

5 tablespoons chia seeds mixed with 10 tablespoons water (or 5 large eggs)

60g (4 heaped tablespoons) raw cocoa powder

100ml (5 tablespoons) raw honey

Optional: 12 Macadamias, cherries, berries, or pieces of date. 

Preheat oven to 160C (320F) and line 12 cupcake tins with papers. Boil the oranges in water for an hour until soft. Blend in a blender until smooth, and add the rest of the ingredients. Blend well. Half fill the cupcake cases with mixture. Either add another topping now with a small teaspoon, making a small indent first, or fill to the brim. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean (avoid the middle).

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For the icing: (Found at 80twenty)

170g (1 cup) dates

120ml (1/2 cup) boiling water

30g (2 tablespoons) cocoa powder

20g (1 heaped tablespoon) almond, peanut or coconut butter

Soak the dates in the boiling water until soft. Blend in a powerful blender, adding the other ingredients. Using a palette knife, spread the icing generously on the cupcakes and serve. Keeps in the fridge for a few days. 

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