Posts in baked desserts
Summer Berry Crumble Bars

I made this oat crumble as a surprise 'bressert' for my boyfriend last weekend. His favourite fruit is rhubarb and I had a few stalks in the garden that I wanted to use up.  I wanted a super healthy breakfast crumble that was indulgent enough for dessert (hence bressert).

I had planned for this to be enough to last us for breakfast ABD dessert late in the day.... but we ate it all for breakfast ;-)

vegan berry oat crumble .jpg

I first made this oat crumble recipe for my 'Not Just For Goldilocks' book, so I won't share it in full right here, BUT I will share with you a great spin-off in the form of these bars. I made the bars in the photos below initially for Real Food Source last year and using the same principle as the crumble I made them again.

These bars are quite soft and cakey with a crisp top, which is how I love them. I used a combination of oats, ground almonds and tiger nut flour for the topping, but other flours in place of tiger nuts and almonds would also work.

They also have a great nutritional boost by way of chia seeds which are also used here to thicken and bind the base and fruit layer.

These are perfect served hot with some vegan for a little indulgence or with a dollop of plain vegan yoghurt for a breakfast option.

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Recipe: Summer Berry Crumble Bars

Makes approx 12 squares

Ingredients:

Crumble:

  • 1 ½ cup oats

  • 1/2 cup ground almonds

  • 1 cup tiger nut flour (or other flour such as wholemeal, spelt or a gluten-free blend)

  • ½ cup coconut oil– melted

  • approx. 2 tbs coconut syrup (to taste)

  • 2 tbs chia seeds and 3 tbs warm water (mixed to gel)

Berry Layer:

  • 1 heaped cup stewed fruit (I used a combination of apple, rhubarb and raspberries)*

  • approx. 1 tbs maple syrup

  • 2 tbs chia seeds

  • ½ cup rough chopped nuts of choice for topping (optional)

*I used approx 2 small/medium apples, 2 medium stalks or rhubarb and a large handful of raspberries (I didn't measure precisely but it equated to a good cup of fruit once cooked down)

Method:

Mix the oats, ground almond and tiger nut flour dried with the melted coconut oil and syrup. Set aside approx. 1/4 of this mixture for the topping (or more for a thicker topping).

To the remaining mix, add the chia ‘gel’ to help bind. Press the crumble mix firmly into an 8” square pan- it should be approx 1cm deep.  Bake for approx 15 minutes at 180C until just golden.

Meahwhile stew the fruit in a saucepan, adding a little syrup to taste as the rhubarb and raspberries are tart. No extra liquid is required as the fruit will release it's own. Add the chia seeds during the last few minutes to help thicken.

Remove the base crumble from the oven and spread the fruit layer evenly over the top. Add the reserved crumble mix, plus extra chunky nuts if desired.

Bake for another 5 minutes or so until the topping is golden and the fruit bubbling.

Serve hot or cool (note: the bars slice better when cool)

 

tiger nut crumble bars 1a.jpg
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Mini Christmas Pudding Porridge... takes just 3 mins all in!!

This was my epic breakfast last weekend. It looks like dessert, to be honest it is totally worthy of 'bressert' status. For dessert use the juice as noted and sprinkle the coconut sugar. Job done!

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You could prepare the mix ahead of time too and just let it sit for an hour or so, possibly overnight, I haven't tried it that way but I don't see why it wouldn't work. 'Overnight Oats Christmas Pudding Porridge', ha ha! The best thing ever to wake up to on Christmas morning... with absolute minimal prep!

It literally takes three mins to make from start to finish! (if you use a microwave- see my notes below).

I make servings like this using a silicone egg poacher - so handy, the perfect size and they are flexible so the contents come out so easily. I highly recommend investing in one for you single serve cakes and such like (not eggs!) ;-)

What will you be making on Christmas day morning?

Are you more sweet or savoury?

I'm such a sweet porridge girl so that's been my go-to to make for my family these last few years. If you haven't already, I highly recommend trying these too- the bakewell pie and the classic festive baked oatmeal that kicked it all off!

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Recipe: Mini Christmas Pudding Porridge!

Serves one

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup porridge oats
  • 2 tbs ground nuts of any kind
  • 1/4 cup apple puree
  • 1/4 cup mixed dried fruit (a mix of some of these: raisins/sultanas/currants/cranberries/gojis)
  • 1/2 tsp spice or more to taste (I used a little of mixed spice & cinnamon)
  • 1 heaped tbs flax
  • 1/4 cup water (or juice for extra sweetness)

Method:

Mix everything together well in a small bowl.

Spoon into a small circular microwaveable domed dish- I use an egg poacher (so great for mini cakes!!) Press firmly and smooth the top.

Microwave for 90 seconds on high power. Carefully loosen and tip out onto serving plate and dress with vegan yoghurt or cream plus any extra fruits and spices, I used gojis, but a cranberry compote or some festive jam would be amazing! If you prefer an even sweeter porridge sprinkle a touch of coconut sugar, it was fine for me without.

*Notes: I rarely use a microwave these days but I didn't want to turn on the oven on for this tiny dish, I also find it crisps/dries up more in the oven and this works best when the moistness is maintained. By all means try the oven but don't overcook- cover loosely in foil and make sure middle is still very moist!

If you try the microwave option but are making multiple puddings- cook one at a time or increase the timing- I have only tried cooking one.

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BEST EVER chocolate brownie round up!

Yesterday, the 8th December was #nationalbrownieday.... waahh, another day I missed. Any chance to celebrate chocolate and cake, right! 

So I am a day late to the party, but who cares. I figured this was a good excuse to share a brownie round-up with all the best brownie recipes I've created over the years. There are quite a few, and all very different too. Plenty to try out and inspire you to put you own twist on things.

This is the description taken from 'National Day Calendar (I can't guarantee how accurate this info is!)

"Brownies were created in the United States at the end of the 19th century.  A cross between a cookie and cake, they soon became very popular across the country. There was a request for a dessert for a group of ladies that would be attending a fair in the late 1800s.  They wanted a small cake-like dessert that could be eaten from a boxed lunch.  A Chicago chef, working at the Palmer House Hotel, created the first brownie for the ladies, which featured an apricot glaze and walnuts.  The Palmer House Hotel still serves their original recipe for brownies on their menu."

Brownies are the perfect platform for veganizing, healthanising, de-gluten-ing and hiding veggies and beans in. I love the fact that brownies are by their nature quite dense and a little gooey - this makes it easy to hide sight 'mistakes' too (a light airy cake is typically much harder to achieve when keeping the above objectives in mind!)

I consider brownies to be the perfect beginner cake when transitioning to alternative baking!

Click the text links below to for the original recipes and have a scroll through my gallery to tickle your fancy. 

One of my all time favourite recipes for ease, flavour and versatility is my award-winning Chocolate Banana Brownie Bread, so I have included a free downloadable recipe card for it below- scroll down and click the pic to download.

Enjoy the round-up and please do tag me on Facebook or Instagram if you make any of the recipes... i'd love to see them! :-)

1) Pumpkin brownies are a great way of packing veg in cakes (sweet potato works well as a swap as does courgette and carrot or even parsnip!)

2) A bit this year late for advent- but these festive advent calendar brownie bites were a very early recipe on my blog! (you could use any recipe and apply the same ideas as brownies freeze so well)

3) The carrot cake brownies follow a similar theme to the pumpkin brownies, served in cake-like wedges!

4) These raw chocolate brownies are packed with nuts for a rich an filling treat! A little goes a long way.

5) Raspberry ripple brownie slices... packed with tofu and black beans for a fat-free brownie variation!

6) For a non-chocolate version, you can try these double banana blondies.

7) This raw black bean fudge brownie is a spin on my 'worlds healthiest fudge' with added chunky nuts and dried fruits for a brownie vibe!

8) Last but not least... the chocolate banana brownie bread (great as a loaf, slice or muffins) scroll down for the recipe card.

There final two pics shown in my gallery were created for other publications/brands beyond this site... but you could replicate the same kind of thing with any of the recipes above.

For the protein brownies, swap in some of your favourite plant-based protein for some of the flour in any brownie recipe. Make the 'deconstructed brownie trifle' but slicing the brownie into small cubes and tossing with berries and yoghurt or coconut cream- makes an amazing super simple dessert!

Download the Choc Banana Brownie bread that was a 2016 PETA 'Bake Off' Finalist below...

 
 

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The healthiest ever... carrot, apricot & ginger cake!

It's been a while since I posted a new recipe... I've been busy working on the blog, but more behind the scenes- trying to sort my recipe index out (slow progress!) and also creating a book based on my mindset posts. I have also been coaching a lot more in recent months too and that hs been a priority.

That said I've missed creating sweet things and photography! Last weekend I was feeling in the mood to bake something... and put a post on my personal Facebook page asking what things people wanted 'healthanizing' ... billionaires shortbread got a mention (I'll try and get onto that before xmas) and so did carrot cake.

carrot ginger apricot cake.jpg

Well, it just so happens that a few weeks ago I did make a fantastic carrot cake, and the comment prompted me to get it up on the blog!  This is a blend of carrot, ginger and apricot for an indulgent twist on the classic.  It's super healthy- packed with fruit and veg, minimal processed ingredients and made with oats, I'm pretty sure it could be made entitely gluten free very easily. 

The carrot cake may not be particularly festive, but it's still great for a party of a gathering or bookmark it for a springtime treat :-)  If you love carrot cake BUT also love chocolate... you should definitely try this chocolate brownie carrot cake!

Final top tip before you go ahead and make it - this cake keeps well for a few days in the fridge, in fact I think it tastes even better the day after it's made- richer and cakier!

carrot ginger apricot cake 3a.jpg

Recipe: Carrot, Apricot & Ginger Cake!!

Ingredients:

  • 2tbs flax and 1/4 cup water- mixed
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil- melted
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 medium apple- cored
  • 1 tps baking soda
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 heaped tsp ginger powder
  • 1 cup finely grated carrot
  • 1 cup fine oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour (you could probably sub a GF flour blend)
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

Method:

Blend the flax mix with the melted coconut oil, non-dairy milk and the apple until fully pureed. In a sperate large bowl mix together the dry ingredients then add all wet ingredients plus any remaining ingredients to it, stir through until well mixed.

Spoon batter into two 8" cake pans- the layers will be fairly thin. Bake for approx 30 mins at 180C, loosely cover with foil if tops are browning too quickly. Allow to fully cool before frosting.

Meanwhile, make the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup non-dairy yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbs mild syrup

Method: Mix together and then allow to thicken in the fridge.

To decorate (optional), make the balls on top:

  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1 tbs ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup almond or cashew butter

Method: Blitz together all ingredients in a food processor and then make into balls. If the mix is a little too wet, allow to chill in fridge to firm up before forming.

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For some festive foodie vibes... I have a few treats planned for the coming weeks, feel free t leave me your ideas too!

In the meantime, I would love to share with you my top five festive recipes last year, I put them together in a mini book you can find here. 

 
 

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Carrot Cake Brownies (in time for Easter!)

This cake is a wicked cross between my all-time favourite courgette brownie cake and a carrot cake… I swapped the courgette for carrot and changed up the spices a little. I figured this would make fabulous Easter treat… Or any time of year (or week) really where you want to celebrate a little! 

Recipe: Carrot Cake Brownies

I have made variations of this cake (remember my PETA shortlisting!) so many times now and I know it works perfectly in a brownie pan, a round cake pan (this recipe is sized for an 8" pan), muffin trays or cupcake trays. You can leave the top plain or frost it. You can even add chopped nuts dried foods mixed through in the batter... so many possibilities!

This type of cake also freezes really well, some say brownies taste better once I've been frozen and defrosted- I'll let you be the decider of that. But I will say this is a great cake to always keep on standby in the freezer to satisfy a little chocolate craving when it strikes or if you have last minute unexpected company!

For other highly recommended easy Easter treats... have a look at these Easter nests I made for Real Food Source and also the Hot Cross cookies are a great non-chocolate option that I also love to make each year. Finally these 'cream eggs' from 4 year ago now (whaaaaat- 4 years!) are a little more fiddly- but fun ;-) 

What have you got planned for Easter treats?

Recipe: Carrot Cake Brownies

Recipe: Carrot Cake Brownies

Makes 1 x 8” round or square cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup packed dates (soaked then drained for easier blending)
  • approx 3 tbs coconut syrup (other other preferred syrup)
  • ½ cup water or non dairy milk
  • 1 cup finely grated carrot
  • 2 tsp cinnamon and/or nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil- melted
  • ¼ cup ground flax seed 
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup oat flour (I ground some regular porridge oats)
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder
  • 1 heaped tsp baking soda

Method:

Blend all the wet ingredients with the flax seed to form a smooth fairly runny paste. Allow to stand for a couple of minutes. Stir through the gated carrot (save a little for the top).

Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and then add the wet. Mix lightly but well to form a thick soft batter. Add a little extra water if necessary. Taste test for sweetness and add a little extra syrup if necessary.

Spoon the batter into a lined/greased muffin pan or round cake tin (you could also make cupcakes) and smooth the top as best you can. Add the remaining sprinkles of grated carrot and press down lightly to reduce chance of burning.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for approx 30 minutes, after 10-15 minutes it is advisable to lightly cover the top of the pan with foil to prevent the top browning before the centre is cooked through.

Allow to cool before slicing.  Store in the fridge for up to 1 week…this cake tastes even better the next day!

Here are my Hot Cross Cookies.... a bit like like a bun but sooooo much easier to make!

Here are my Hot Cross Cookies.... a bit like like a bun but sooooo much easier to make!

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NEW Workbook Launch.... and Sweet Potato Choc Orange Muffins!

Yesterday I finally completed something I have actually been working on for some years now!

As you will gather from the title of this website, and this little story I shared a few weeks ago... quitting refined sugar BUT still eating treats is a huge factor in optimising my own life! It's something of a mission for me to share with the world :-)

In my opinion it is in one of the BEST things you can do for your body and mind equally, regardless of what kind of diet you follow. Vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten free etc ....everyone can benefit hugely from cutting out refined sugar from their diets!

A couple of years ago, after immersing myself in countless books, data, articles etc all about sugar, and even having this article published in the first ever edition of Vegan Life Magazine (huge proud moment!) I wrote the copy for an 8-week course I planned to run through a dedicated Facebook group in the lead up to summer. I created all the graphics and promo too.

It was literally all set to go.... but then 'life' for in the way and I didn't run it at all. All the wonderful content lay dormant on my laptop, even though I knew it had the potential to change so many peoples lives.  I feel a little embarrassed now admitting this to you all.

But I never forgot about it.

A few week ago I saw Star Kechara's passive income challenge to create a interactive workbook. It suddenly clicked.... all that wonderful copy I had written could be remodelled (and added to of course with all my new knowledge) into a workbook that people could fill in and work through at their own pace. A resource for life. It felt such a good fit!

So here it is! Now complete in all it's glory!  PLUS as an added bonus I have written a (pretty incredible) extended version of my 'sugar-free recipe book' as the perfect companion to the 4-week workbook challenge.

AND...I am offering this HUGE bundle (pictured above) for the price of the workbook alone until January 31st 2017!

You can find all the info with a sneak peak of what you'll get in the details here!

Or if you want to check out just the recipe book alone... details are here!


In the mean time I want to share a new recipe a from the recipe book with you... a little gift! This is a direct page grab from the book so you can see exactly how the recipes are laid out. 

These mini muffins are perfect for Christmas but any time of year really.... and it just so happens to be my favourite flavour combo (remember my little story!) True to nature they also pack some veggies in. I used sweet potato but this is a spin on my classic 'crazy courgette cake' so courgette or even carrot would work well here too!

I hope you make them, and enjoy them.... please tag me if you do! It always makes me smile. :-)

chocolate orange muffins
vegan chocolate orange mufffins
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Carrot cake Easter cupcakes...gluten free!

It's April...Easter time is creeping ever closer!  It also means that I want to start creating Easter treat recipes which is pretty tricky due to the candida diet :-(

But I can still drool over pretty Easter pictures on Foodgawker and Pinterest, right?

Often when I create recipes, I like to browse through the 'regular' recipe sections and baking websites to inspire me to create my own 'healthanized' spin-offs. Last weekend I was having exactly one of those days and was browsing through Baking Mad, Easter must have been on my mind as I ended up finding inspiration for some carrot cake themed cupcakes from their Easter recipe section. A few tweaks were needed to make the recipe my own and also to create a gluten free option. Im really pleased with how the recipe turned out, especially since I couldn't taste test as I went along. I enjoyed making them.... my mum enjoyed eating them!

This is one of the simplest gluten free recipes I have yet to create, the ground almonds work superbly to maintain a lovely moist crumb and the pre-blended flour just speeds up the process (I often grind my own).  The toppings are inspired by this magical cream topping (also noted below) and the 'eggs' are a few left over Squares I remoulded plus some chilled nut butter since I have so much of that on hand at the moment.

Have you made any Easter creations yet or are you planning to? I'd love to know what your favourite easter recipes are! 

Recipe: Carrot cake cupcake- gluten free!

Makes approx 8-10 small cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup ground almonds
  • ½ cup GF flour blend of choice (I used Doves pre-mixed plain flour blend)
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ cup grated carrot
  • 3 tbs agave (or other syrup of choice)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon 

Method:

Mix the flour, ground almonds and baking powder. Add the remaining ingredients and stir through to mix evenly.

 Spoon the mixture into mini muffin cups or small cupcake trays. Bake for 15 mins at 180C or until golden and a toothpick poked in comes out clean

For the topping I used this frosting method. Basically I blended vegan yoghurt with fine coconut flour at a 3:1 ratio until thick and 'spreadable'.

The eggs a mixture of chilled vanilla almond butter (home made) and my Wholeplus squares moulded into egg shapes.  You could use any topping you like.

easter cupcakes 2a.jpg
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Battenberg Cake…with a difference

So this month’s Daring Bakers challenge is….Battenberg cake.

Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last minute to present us with the Battenberg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.

Battenburg- the classic chequered sponge cake, sandwiched together with jam and all wrapped up in a marzipan jacket!

Marzipan is a tricky one, the traditional version is full of powdered sugar and although it's generally vegan I still have difficulty in endorsing such a sugary treat here on my blog! I have been trying to suss out a sugar free marzipan for quite some time now, with some degree of success here in my Christmas Stollen and my the toppings for the super-cute Christmas puds.

But when it comes to a rollable marzipan I have not yet had a breakthrough!

However this challenge allowed us to push the boundaries beyond a traditional Battenberg as long as we held true to the chequered sponge concept with a sweet covering whether it be marzipan, fondant or chocolate. So, one idea came to my mind straight away….

….the ‘world’s healthiest chocolate fudge’!

I had tried rolling the fudge dough previously to make these hearts and it worked really well, so I figured it could also work really well as the Battenberg covering.  That then just left the sponge and the flavours to choose. I opted for a plain vanilla sponge alongside a raspberry sponge (although it has taken on more of a brown tinge in the photos), that allowed me to use sugar-free raspberry jam as the sole sweetener in the raspberry sponge.  I opted to try my ‘easiest ever gluten free sponge’ recipe as the basis for this cake as i really wanted to go gluten free for this recipe.

In hindsight I wish I’d gone for a different sponge recipe, as whilst that simple sponge works well as a small super-simple mug cake, it just didn’t really do it for me as larger oven baked sponge. There was nothing drastically wrong with it, I just felt it could have been a lot more delicate with a lighter crumb. I also wish now that I’d rolled the fudge wrap a little thinner before wrapping the sponge slices.

The overall concept was a great success and the chocolate fudge coating worked a treat (particularly if I’d rolled it more finely), however after eating a slice with the sponge, I got the feeling that the sponge was not doing the cake justice. So what did I decide to do?  Peel the fudge off and reform it into fudge balls of course. Mmmm…much better!

Try this frosting…go on give it a go! It is so easy to form and model that you can cut it into rounds, bars, roll it out as an icing layer or even turn it into a soft piped healthy frosting as I did here with thes cupcakes.

I will give the Battenberg another go with an alternative sponge recipe at some point soon. This fudge frosting is so versatile that I want to give it a proper chance to do my Battenberg proud!

This link takes you to the original Daring Bakers Challenge notes with  plenty of alternate recipes for battenberg to try.

Recipe: Healthy Battenberg Cake

Makes 1 approx. 7” long cake

Ingredients: chocolate fudge frosting

  • ½  can black beans- rinsed and drained
  • 1 mashed banana
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (or raw cacoa powder)
  • 1/3 cup dates
  • ¼ cup cranberries
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½  tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp stevia
  • ½ cup ground oats
  • 2 tbs ground flax
  • 2 tbs chia seeds

Method

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until a smooth pliable dough is formed. The dough should be fairly tacky but not sticky and should easy to handle.

Roll out the dough on a sheet of parchment or similar for easily handling. Roll to achieve desired thickness and then, using thr parchment to assist, carefully drape across the jam coated sponge to create the finish Battenberg.

Ingredients: simple vanilla sponge

  • ½ cup buckwheat flour (or other GF grain)
  • 3 tbs ground almonds
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup plain soy yoghurt (or regular)
  • 2 tbs agave (for vanilla version)
  • 2 tbs sugar free raspberry jam (for raspberry version)

Method

Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl and then add wet ingredients (other than agave and jam) and mix together well.  

Divide the mixture between two bowls and then add the agave and jam to a bowl each.  Note: to achieve a deeper red/pink colour you may need to add a few drops of food colouring.

You will now have two different coloured/flavoured mixtures. Spoon each into a 7” square  baking tin divided down the centre with parchment paper and foil to prevent the batters mixing (foil helps make a more ridged central partition).

Bake in  pre-heated oven  at 180C for approx. 15 mins until very lightly golden.

Assembling the Battenberg: 

Cut the slices of sponge into neat squares and arrange in a larger square with each flavour on the diagonal. Paint each edge with slightly runny sugar-free raspberry jam and then firmly wrap the chocolate fudge frosting around the entire cake, ensuring an overlap to seal.

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