Rhubarb and Coconut Cobbler

Vegan, Refined Sugar Free
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Oh my goodness why have I been so bad at posting lately! I’m so sorry, I actually have no excuses other than me being born a lazy bum. After this week though exams will be over, it will be summer holidays and I very much doubt I will be able to find a job by then (seeing as I’ve been looking for the last six months already with very little luck, mostly due to the fact that every time a place gets back to me I tell them I’m too busy.)

I’m sad. I didn’t even make a Halloween post for you guys. To be real though, there were so many awesome ideas already that I felt my contribution would probably be poorly received. This Halloween me and my sister had a li’l party (sorry Mum and Dad), and I dressed up as a swimmer being eaten by a giant octopus. Which I made out of pink stockings stuffed with all my socks!! I thought it was such a cool costume, until everyone thought I was getting strangled by a giant worm…

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I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with a bunch of rhubarb we got last week, which is strange because I’m obsessed with rhubarb. Probably the nicest cake I’ve ever made was this rhubarb slice, which people are still raving about. But I can’t make that again!!! And I didn’t want to do what I always do, which is just cook it with vanilla and sugar and eat it on yogurt, because I’ve stopped really eating any dairy now. And stewed rhubarb on its own is kind of weird to me…

Thank God for Donna Hay right. I’ve been steadily cooking and eating my way through her cookbook since someone gave it to us for Christmas. The photos of her rhubarb and pomegranate cobbler were so pretty I literally died looking at them! Seriously how are her photographers so talented! I’m almost embarrassed to even show these photos today because they’re so average, but the cobbler was so tasty I really wanted to share it.

It’s completely vegan too! I haven’t experimented with gluten free yet, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to adapt. I added apple too because I didn’t want to use so much sugar. So tasty! I promise to be more on top of posting this week friends 🙂 See you soon!

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Rhubarb and Apple Cobblers: Inspired by Donna Hay

2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
2oog melted coconut butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup raw sugar

750g rhubarb, chopped into 4cm (2inch) pieces
4 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped into chunks
4 tbsp raw sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
juice of 1 orange

3 tbsp desiccated coconut
3 tbsp sliced almonds
icing sugar optional, to dust

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Preheat the oven to 180C. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, coconut butter, vanilla, salt and raw sugar and stir until just doughy. Add more flour if the mix is too wet, or a splash of almond milk if it’s too dry. It should be the consistency of biscuit or scone batter.

Mix the rhubarb, apple, orange juice, cinnamon and sugar together and spoon into an oven-proof baking dish or skillet. Using your hands, grab clumps of the cobbler and press over the fruit roughly to form a lid, with some holes for steam to escape. Top with the coconut and almonds, and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden on top and the fruit is cooked through. Sprinkle with sugar and serve with coconut ice cream or cream.

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

Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free, Sugar Free

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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.
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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 🙂
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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
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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
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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!
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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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Vanilla Bean and Coconut Scones with Rhubarb Compote

Vegan! Dairy and Egg Free

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 I’m doing the 30 day vegan challenge everybody! I’m quite excited. I’ll admit, this morning when I got up and made breakfast I did spend quite a while just standing in front of the fridge debating if yogurt was really, truly not vegan. I mean, it’s already in the fridge right. The cow doesn’t want it back. But NOT YOUR MUM NOT YOUR MILK am I right?!?!

So I made oatmeal with almond milk and figs. Pretty good start hey? If I do say so myself. For the blog I actually make a lot of vegan stuff. The most popular by a mile being Vegan Banana Bread, which somehow tastes better than normal banana bread and is somehow also sugar free and wholemeal (miracle bread). But in real life I eat lactose-free yogurt basically every day and more eggs than is probably necessary or normal. 

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 I’ve been a vegetarian for four years now (another five previously as well) and I have an embarrassing habit of tearing up at stupid vegetarian things like when people talk about fois gras or veal meatballs. I cried in Marley and Me, I can say it. At the beginning. When he had to say goodbye to his little baby brothers and sisters (so, sooo sad). Animals are friends! Not food, so it’s probably time I take that a little more seriously. (Although I can’t see myself stopping eating honey. Bees probably love it when we take their honey). 

This morning to celebrate the beginning of the challenge I made vegan scones! Scones are kind of the best thing ever, especially with jam and cream. But they’re often made with cream, buttermilk, eggs or both! So at first I didn’t really know how to approach making them. And then inspiration struck!

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 Coconut! I followed a regular scone recipe, subbing in coconut butter and coconut cream for the diary versions. I also added the seeds from a vanilla bean because coconut and vanilla are a match made in heaven. I was pretty nervous while they were baking. Would they turn out really crumbly and weird? Who knows! And I forgot to glaze them so I was expecting them to be super ugly as well. But when I ate one, slathered in sweet and tangy vanilla rhubarb compote. Oh my God. 

They were so good! Crunchy on the outside, fluffy and soft on the inside, warm and coconut scented and vanilla flecked deliciousness. Rhubarb and raw sugar with the seedless vanilla beans made the easiest and tastiest compote I’ve ever tried. The scones didn’t even need extra coconut cream, which I had at the ready. That’s how good they were! 

I can’t even express how happy I was with these scones. I even gave them to my mum’s very sceptical non-vegan friend, and she said they were ‘divine’! Do the 30 day challenge with me! And if you can’t be bothered to go the whole 30 days, at least make these scones. You know you want to. 

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 Vegan Coconut and Vanilla Bean Scones: Adapted from Marian Kayes Saved by Cake

265g (1.6 cups) plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

Seeds of 1 vanilla bean, scraped out

65g (1/3 cup) caster sugar

100g (3.5 ounces) coconut butter, cut into cubes

180ml (3/4 cup) coconut cream, stirred well

Almond milk, for brushing
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Preheat the oven to 220C (428F) and line a large baking tray with baking paper. In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt together well. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla seeds. Use a knife to ‘cut’ in the coconut butter to form a sandy, breadcrumb-like texture. Slowly pour in the coconut cream, continuing to cut with the knife until well combined.

Turn onto a floured board and knead very lightly, just enough to combine the ingredients into a dough. Press down to about an inch thick and use a cup or scone cutter to cut into even rounds. Don’t twist the cup to separate the scones, just press straight down or they won’t rise properly. Brush with almond milk and bake for 15 minutes until risen and golden. 

Top with the rhubarb compote: 1 small bunch rhubarb poached in half a cup of water with 100g (1/2 cup) raw sugar and the leftover vanilla bean. Cook on low heat for 10-20 minutes until soft and sticky. Makes 8-12 scones

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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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Rhubarb and Coconut Crumble Slice

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I have one thing to say about this cake. It made me do something I have done never before. Never. Before. I had just taken the first photo, picked up a knife to cut out an artful slice. Before I knew what was happening my camera had been flung to the side, I had grabbed a plate and was eating an enormous piece right there in the morning sunshine. It was glorious. 
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The base is a buttermilk cake that bakes into a deep, golden yellow full of lemon zest and cinnamon. On top of this, fresh rhubarb is chopped up with sweet and crisp apples. This is tossed with sugar and lemon juice so that it bakes into a sweet, jammy, tart centre. What makes this cake perfect though is the coconut and brown sugar topping, that bakes into a deep brown crunchy crumble. I ate it while it was still warm and the fruit juices were just starting to set into a ruby jelly around the edges. I made it to last a few days, and I’m sure it would have tasted lovely the next morning with some tea. Unfortunately everyone that’s walked through the door has taken one look and demanded a slice, and then looked up with exactly the same look of “whaaat is this slice TALKIN ABOUT.” Eight hours later there’s hardly any left.
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I read about this delicious recipe on Smitten Kitchen, and was drawn to it because of the huge bunch of rhubarb we had. Family friends recently gave us a bag full of lemons from their tree. The zest was so fragrant I increased the amount to two teaspoons and added lemon juice to the rhubarb and apple. The coconut in the topping was a little bit of an experiment, but I’m so glad I tried it. It makes the crumble chunky and crispy, and adds a tropical flavour. If you don’t have any rhubarb, stone fruits would work well instead. Apples could be nice except the sugar would have to be reduced, otherwise it might end up too sweet.
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Rhubarb and Coconut Crumble Slice: Adapted from here

500 grams (17.5 ounces, 1 pound) rhubarb, cut into 1cm chunks

2 small apples, peeled and cut into chunks

2 tsp lemon zest and the juice of the whole lemon

150 grams (2/3 cup) sugar + 100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar, separate

2 large eggs

110 grams (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter

165 grams (1 + 1/3 cups) plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

100ml (1/3 cup) buttermilk 

Toss the apple, rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice with 150g of the sugar and set aside. Preheat the oven to 165C and line a 20 by 25cm pan (also works with slightly larger) with baking paper so that the edges are overhanging. Beat the sugar and butter together until fluffy and light and slowly add the eggs one at a time. Whisk the flour, baking powder and cinnamon together and stir half into the mix, than stir in half the buttermilk. Repeat and mix until just combined. Pat into the pan with a spatula and pour the fruit on top evenly. 
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Topping:

50 grams plain flour

85 grams fine desiccated coconut

1 tsp cinnamon

50 grams brown sugar

55 grams butter, melted. 

Stir all the ingredients together until lumpy and toss over the fruit. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the top is golden and the cake is no longer crumby on a skewer. Allow to cool so the fruit is set before removing from the pan and cutting into slices. 

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