Chocolate, Blueberry and Banana Ice Cream Cake (raw and vegan!)

Raw, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free, Gluten Free
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I’ve been eating ice cream cake and listening to this song on repeat all morning. Faded pajama pants, woolly socks, green tea and Thelma and Louise – one of those kind of mornings. It’s a beautiful day outside too. I can see the sunlight literally pouring through my window, catching the dust. I know I should go outside and do something productive, but it’s just one of those days.

One of those ice cream cake and woolly sock days.
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I’m one of those people that likes to be active literally all the time. I like to fill my days with work and nights with fun and fall into bed exhausted at the end of the week, drifting to sleep instantly.

I like to ignore the parts of life that are not so pleasant by distracting myself; by filling my life with “things.”

A few weeks ago something ended with a special someone, and instead of crying with Adele playing and eating ice cream by myself for a week, I just shoved my heart deep down inside and got on with life – more than that, poured myself in to each day so that was barely time to pause and think.
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As a tactic it actually did work quite well, for a while. Until I had one of those woolly sock days. And now I guess I feel a little…lost. Not sad, no. No regrets or anger. Just a little disconnected, drifting. So I’m eating ice cream cake. And listening to Bon Iver. And watching Thelma and Louise, which I personally think is possibly the best movie ever.

I think we all forget that sometimes, you need to eat ice cream and watch movies. It’s good for spiritual health, and for discovering which of your socks are the warmest and which are sneakily not very warm. This ice cream cake is so good, I keep squirrelling away slices to eat at every hour of the day and night. I couldn’t get a complete photo of it because I ate a slice in the middle of the night before it was even frozen!

The bottom is a rich and creamy avocado chocolate cinnamon ice cream, followed by a blueberry and coconut cream layer, followed by vanilla flecked banana. Soooo good! And you can sub in cashew cream for the coconut to make it completely raw and vegan! You can have your cake and eat the whole thing too 🙂

One Year Ago: Black Bean Avocado Fudge Brownies

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Chocolate, Blueberry and Banana Ice Cream Cake:
2 perfectly ripe avocados
4 tbsp raw cacao
4 tbsp maple syrup or soaked dates
2 tbsp almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup either coconut yogurt, cream or cashew cream
2 tbsp maple syrup

2 frozen bananas
1-2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp almond milk

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Line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper, to make it easier to remove later. Blend together well the avocado, syrup or dates and almond milk. Blend in the cinnamon and spoon in to the ice cream tin. Smooth the surface and freeze for at least 20 minutes before pouring on the next layer.

Blend together the blueberries, coconut or cashew cream and maple syrup. Pour over the avocado chocolate layer and freeze for at least two hours.

Blend together the frozen bananas, milk and vanilla until creamy. Pour over the blueberry layer and freeze the whole cake for at least 4 hours before cutting and serving. Serves 8-10.
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Layered Chia Coconut & Fruit Puddings

Vegan, Refined Sugar and Gluten Free

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 The first time I made chia pudding I had a horrific experience. I ate too many chia seeds, my stomach swelled up, I didn’t put any yummy maple syrup in it, it was just miserable. I did kind of like the pudding itself though, even though I was still in my early chia pudding days. The chocolate chia pudding I made next was out of this world good. Creamy from avocados, chocolatey, sweet and peanut buttery. But it wasn’t really breakfast material. It was more dessert territory. I wanted to master the perfect fruit chia pudding. And I finally did it. 

I thought I must be some kind of colour goddess when I thought up this beautiful layered effect. But then I went to the bathroom and realised I had made an exact replica of my bar of soap…it’s exactly the same! I must have been subconsciously inspired whilst I was washing my hands! The bottom layer is mango and coconut milk, the middle layer is strawberry coconut and the topping is blueberry and almond milk. This is complete sacrilege because mango is always my favourite, but this time the blueberry was actually the star of the show. It was so sweet and jammy. It tasted like blueberry cheesecake ice cream, which was my favourite flavour when I was nine. Fun fact I know.

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The key to making good chia pudding is to put in lots of yummy ingredients as the backbone of the recipe. Chia has no flavour. None at all. It’s packed full of iron, antioxidants, vitamins and is a complete protein, but it tastes like nothing at all (That makes me not trust it…what is chia hiding from us?). The coconut milk makes the pudding deliciously creamy and rich, and the high ratio of fruit makes the pudding really sweet and hearty. Add some maple syrup if your fruit isn’t very sweet, and only use perfectly ripe and flavoursome fruit. Don’t use mushy or bitter berries, because they will taste even worse mixed up in a pudding.

Feel free to mix up the flavours and layers as well! Use whatever fruit and milk you prefer. You can use rice, almond, or soy. Just remember the flavour- it will come through! And guess what. You can totally eat these for breakfast. Just layer them in a jar, stick in some chopped fruit, and away you go. 

This post is similar to an old chia pudding recipe I made (even the photos!) but the subtle changes really make it so much yummier! That’s why I’m putting it up again. PS whoever can spot where I edited my reflection off the back of a spoon gets a shout out.

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 Layered Chia Pudding Recipe:

For 4 jars of chia pudding:

8 tablespoons chia seeds 

2 cups of coconut milk, almond milk, soy, rice or dairy

1/2 a medium mango, sliced

1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen) defrosted if frozen

1/2 cup strawberries, cut up in chunks

1-2 tbsp maple syrup, optional Image

Separate the chia into three even sized bowls. Put the mango in a blender with 1/3 of the coconut milk and blend well. Pour into one of the bowls with chia and stir until well combined. Wash out the blender and repeat with the other two fruits, until you have three bowls of pudding beginning to set. Pour in your first layer carefully so it doesn’t splash on the sides. Wait to set (about ten minutes, not much longer) and repeat with your next layer. Add the final layer and refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight, so they’re fully set. 

It’s easiest to fill the jars with the pudding when it’s still slightly runny, otherwise it’s hard to scoop in. You don’t need to use jars- cups look good, or bowls as well. Jars are just handy because you can put a lid on them and take them to work in the morning. Add the maple syrup to any fruits that weren’t very sweet, or as a nice top layer add a little dollop that you can swirl through. And remember, chia is really filling! You don’t need much to feel full at all xx

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Banana Carrot Cake with Ricotta Honey Frosting

Refined Sugar Free, Wholemeal, optional Vegan

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 Carrot cake revealed my baking dark side. Years ago in the era before I became obsessed with baking, my friend and I baked a carrot cake together. It went along fine until she tried to measure a tablespoon of baking powder instead of a teaspoon, and added the entire egg (shell and all!) into the mixing bowl. It ended with me standing on a stool holding a wooden spoon, dictating the recipe to her like a military general. 

I’m not proud of these memories. But I can accept that very occasionally, under stressful situations, I can become a little “tense” in the kitchen. I like to think I’ve improved with age, but I think it’s more just that now when cooking with friends, I don’t lift a finger to help. Lest the evil carrot cake dictator should emerge and take over and the wooden spoon make a second appearance. 

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Making this carrot cake was different to that first carrot cake for lots of reasons. For starters, I made it calmly and methodically with no shouting whatsoever! And the cake itself has had a makeover too. Instead of a traditional sugar filled dessert made with lots of eggs and butter, this cake is made entirely of natural and wholesome ingredients. Sweetened with agave nectar and mashed bananas, it is dense and fruity. Just how I like my carrot cakes! It’s studded with lots of nuts and raisins and bursting with cinnamon and nutmeg. 

But the best part by far is the icing. I made a version of the yogurt icing I topped my gluten free banana chai cupcakes with, substituting half the yogurt with ricotta. The result was a super creamy and light icing that tasted almost like creme fraiche. Scented with honey and dusted with crunchy nuts, this ended up as the best layer cake I think I’ve made so far. And by far the healthiest!

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 The recipe is adapted from this yummy carrot loaf from 101 cookbooks. I’ve been using this recipe for so long I don’t even read the recipe anymore. Over the years I’ve adapted it to be vegan (unless you ice it, obviously) and to suit whatever is on hand. Today I only had two carrots, so I increased the bananas by an extra half. I also stopped putting in the olive oil ever since I made Wholesome Carrot Muffins without it, and didn’t even notice the difference until I found the cup of oil the next day. 

This cake is great for special occasions and birthdays because it looks so festive and it lasts really well in the fridge. Perfect for Christmas season if you know what I’m saying! Start the icing the day before, but if you want to make a vegan version, maybe try a cashew cream or coconut topping. I’m working on a tofu icing to put on my next birthday cake, so keep updated!

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Banana Carrot Cake with Ricotta Frosting: Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1 cup mashed banana (about 3.5)

1.5 cups grated carrot (about 2)

60 ml (1/4 cup) agave nectar or runny honey

110 ml (1/2 cup) almond milk

2 tablespoons chia mixed with 4 tablespoons water to make a gel

45g (1/3 cup) raisins

45g (1/3 cup) chopped nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, pecans) 

365g (2 cups) wholemeal flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, ginger and allspice

 

Topping:

300g ricotta

300g yogurt

45ml (1/4 cup) runny honey

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Put the yogurt and ricotta in a cloth inside a sieve, and tie up the cloth in a bundle. Keep in the fridge for about 2-3 hours, to drain. 

Preheat oven to 170C (340F) and line two 20cm (8 inch) sandwich pans. Mix all the wet ingredients together well and sift in the flour and baking powder and spices. Mix well to combine. Pour into tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden and cooked through. 

Mix the icing with the honey well while the cake is cooling. Chop up the nuts into small chunks, leaving some bigger. Place one piece of cake on a plate and spread half the icing in the middle. Spread to the edges and sprinkle on half the nuts. Place on the top layer, even side down, and spread the rest of the icing on top. Decorate with the nuts. Serves 8-10. 

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Lemon and Berry Butter Layer Cake

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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.

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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. 

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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.  

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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. 

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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.

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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.
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Cinnamon, Dark Chocolate and Berry Ice Cream Cake

Optional vegan

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I bloody loved Neapolitan ice cream when I was little. We always bought tubs when we went on summer holidays to the beach. By the end of the week there’d always be an empty hole in the middle where the chocolate had been, a half depleted strawberry and a barely touched vanilla. 

It’s funny remembering now because I don’t know why we always bought the Neapolitan tub for so many families and so many kids, when the only flavour anybody wanted was chocolate. Every time at the end of the week we’d have to throw out two or three containers of ice cream with only one third eaten. Why not just buy the plain chocolate? Were vanilla and strawberry ice creams somehow better for you?

I made this ice cream for my boyfriend’s birthday. And I just have to tell you, I’m not really bragging, but it’s the most incredibly amazing combination of ice creams in the entire world. My boyfriend is mildly lactose intolerant, but he loves ice cream and sorbet (and frozen yogurt, and milk…and cheese). I didn’t want to make three layers of cream-based ice creams and then have to watch him eat it and get sick, so two of the layers are sorbet! And the third is optionally vegan made with almond milk.

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The base is a rich brownie layer made from a Woman’s Weekly cheesecake brownie base recipe. You can sub in a natural nut and date base for a vegan option too. On top of this is a strawberry, raspberry and vanilla sorbet that is soo fresh and summery. The next layer is the richest dark chocolate sorbet in the world. Do you even have to ask where I got that recipe? Of course it’s David Lebovitz. I have never tasted a more delicious chocolate sorbet, even in a gelato shop, than this recipe. It’s so creamy considering there’s no milk! The real star of the show though, is the top layer. It was a little bit of a guess, informed by some reading here and there, but it was the most delicious ice cream flavour I’ve ever tried.

It’s basically a cinnamon ice, because there’s no custard involved. It sure freezes harder than ice cream but in an ice cream cake that’s a good thing, because by the time you come to cut it it’s soft and creamy. The two whole cinnamon sticks crushed in to the milk are so fragrant and really change this cake, so don’t leave out this flavour! Please!!!! A good tip for making homemade ice cream and using it for a cake, or just for plain eating- if you want it smooth and perfect consistency without the wait, just cut it up with a fork or knife and blend it for 30 seconds, return it to the freezer until ready to eat and enjoy smooth and creamy ice cream.

 Want to see some more great ice cream cake recipes?

If you want to construct a masterpiece from the ground up

For extra brownie layers

If the phrase “candied cocoa nibs” makes you drool

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 Cinnamon, Chocolate and Berry Ice Cream Cake:
Brownie base:Adapted from Women’s Weekly

120g (1 scant cup) dark chocolate, broken into chunks

100g (7 tbsp) butter, cut into chunks

200g (3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) white sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

120g (1 cup) plain flour

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 23cm cake tin with baking paper, right up the sides of the pan. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water, and stir to combine. Stir in the sugar and vanilla over a low heat and leave to cool. Sift the flour well. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs with the vanilla extract. Mix the eggs into the slightly cooled chocolate mixture, and then sift over the flour. Pour into tin and bake for about 10-12 minutes, until crispy on top. Allow to cool completely before adding any ice cream. 

OR: blend 1.5 cups walnuts with 1.5 cups medjool dates and 2 tablespoons cocoa powder for a raw and vegan base.

Strawberry and Raspberry Sorbet: Adapted from David Lebovitz

500g (around 3 cups, 1 pound) cut up strawberries

200g (1 cup) raspberries

150g 3/4 cup) sugar

1 tbs lemon juice

1.5 tsp vanilla paste

Cut up the berries and stir in all the ingredients. Leave to macerate for about an hour until all the sugar is dissolved. Chill for at least 8 hours and than freeze in an ice cream maker according to instructions. Once frozen, spread in an even layer over the brownie base and put back in the freezer. IMG_5741Chocolate Sorbet: From David Lebovitz

170g (1 3/4 cups) dark chocolate

550ml (2 +1/3 cups) water split into 375 ml (1.5 cups) and 125ml (1/2 cup) bowls

200g (3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) sugar

75g (2/3 cup) cocoa powder

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk 375ml (1.5) cups of water with the sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Bring to a boil and whisk frequently. Boil for about 1 minute until completely combined and glossy

Break up the chocolate in a bowl and set aside. Pour over the hot chocolate mixture and leave to melt. Stir together until completely incorporated, then stir in the rest of the water and the vanilla. Cool in the fridge over night then churn in ice cream machine. Spread in an even layer over the strawberry layer. 
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Cinnamon Sherbet:Guided by this recipe

 1 litre (1 + 1/3 quarts) full-fat almond or regular milk

150g (3/4 cup) sugar

2 cinnamon sticks, crushed

Heat the milk with the sugar and cinnamon until boiling. Leave to steep for about an hour. Strain out the cinnamon and chill for at least 8 hours. Freeze in ice cream machine and spread on the top layer. Freeze for at least 8 hours before cutting. 

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