Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Carrot tray bake

I do love a good indulgent piece of carrot cake, this is not a recipe for that style of cake. This is a carrot cake for the days when you need your cake to be less sweet, less showy. It's also perfect if you are not a fan of layers of frosting and the accompanying sugar rush.

It's a great cake to have with a cup of tea, as a small snack that will not ruin your appetite for whatever deliciousness you have planned for later on.

We both liked the flavour of this cake, not very sweet which allowed the carrot, cinnamon and raisins to shine. It was a good texture not too crumbly which made for easy eating. The maple syrup icing was a last minute addition, but a welcome one adding just a little interest. I added chia seeds, purely because I love them and am adding them to everything, feel free to use poppy seeds or just leave the seeds out.

Carrot tray bake

200g carrot, finely grated
120ml maple syrup
180ml almond milk (dairy milk is also fine)
75ml groundnut oil, or other flavourless oil
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar 
170g white spelt flour (plain white is also fine)
2tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch salt
2tsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp mixed spice
10g of chia seeds, or poppy seeds or omit the seeds
75g raisins

A little icing sugar and maple syrup for the top (optional)

Preheat the oven to 170C/150CFAN. Line a 8 inch square pan and grease the sides and the parchment with a little oil. I used a pan 7 by 8 inches and did not lime it as it was silcon, it worked just fine.

Mix the wet ingredients including the carrot in a medium bowl. In a large bowl mix all the cry ingredients including the raisins. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients a third at a time and mix, by hand, until just combined. Pour into the prepared tin, level the batter with a pallets knife or spoon then bake in the oven for 45 minutes until golden and springy.

Leave to cool in the tin for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, and if desired, mix maple syrup with icing sugar to form a fairly thick icing that will still drizzle of the end of a spoon and artistically drizzle across the top of the cake.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Lemon and coconut bundt cake

I have a horrible feeling my poor blog will suffer a little whilst writing my PhD thesis, it's only being a week and a bit and I have not managed a post. To be honest after a day of writing the last thing I want to do is do more writing.

Interestingly my thesis writing is definitely going to be fueled by cake, so there will still be lots of baking... Enough chat I have four baked goods not yet posted so I better get on it!

First up is one of the baked goodies I took to work for my birthday last week. I wanted something without nuts and chocolate or dairy to cater to everyone's allergies and/or Lenten promises! This lemon and coconut cake came to the rescue. It attracted my eye as quite often coconut is paired with lime. It was simple to make and although it is vegan it required no tricky to get hold or unusual ingredients.

The cake itself tasted lovely, the lemon contrasted nicely with the coconut. The texture was lovely, no one at work could believe it was vegan. Apologies for lack of pictures, I forget when I take things to work the opportunity to take a photo before its devoured is very very slim.

The coconut theme will be continuing shortly, my mum made an amazing lime and coconut cake when I went home for my birthday, it was amazing, I had to have two slices in one day, just to check it was amazing you understand. I will have to get that recipe...

And about to come out of the oven is yet another coconut cake... This time with orange! My own creation it will appear on the blog soon.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Pitta breads

Ooops I may have ruined pitta breads forever. Homemade ones are soft fluffy and delicious, shop bought are just never going to taste as nice.

These were perfect alongside a platter style spread of homemade edamame hummus, baba ganoush, a large roasted vegetable salad, olives, and some cheeses.

I followed Paul Hollywoods recipe in one of his books but the recipe can also be found here.

I added chia seeds instead of onion seeds, they are my new obsession, I am quite literally adding them to everything! And I did not let them cool,  instead we had them warm... mmmmm.

I urge you to give these a go, they are simple and delicious.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Banana peanut cupcakes with dark chocolate frosting

These cupcakes came about as I found a dairy free chocolate frosting, that did not contain margarine that I wanted to try and while I could eat it from the bowl with a soon this is perhaps not the most elegant solution.

A root round the cupboards yielded a rather ripe banana and a jar of peanut butter. Banana and peanut work well together and chocolate happily marries well with both, thus this cupcake was born.

A moist flavourful cupcake topped with an insanely dark chocolate frosting, what's not to love?

Banana peanut cupcakes with dark chocolate frosting

makes 12

60g butter or dairy free alternative
60g banana40g peanut butter (no added sugar preferably)
125g golden caster sugar
tsp vanilla paste/extract
2 eggs
125g self raising flour
tbsp milk

160ml of coconut cream
75g dark choolate, I used green and black

Begin with the frosting, heat the cream until just below boiling, pour over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool then put in the fridge to firm up.

Line a cupcake/muffin tin with liners and preheat the oven to 180C/160C FAN.

Cream the butter,banana, peanut butter, sugar and vanilla paste together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl in-between and beat for a further couple of minutes.

Add the flour and beat on slow until just combined. Finally add the milk and beat for a further minute. Divide the batter between the liners and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden and springy.

Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool.

Whip the frosting, it will be smooth and shiny and then put back in the fridge for another hour or so. Whip again, the frosting will lose its shine and become fluffier, looking very much like a standard chocolate  frosting.

Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and enjoy.

These cupcakes will keep for a few days in an airtight tin. If it is very hot this frosting could melt, so keep in the fridge and allow to come to room temperature before tucking it. 

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Double chocolate cookies (vegan)

Some days only chocolate will do and my word are these cookies chocolately. These may not be for you if you like super sweet milk chocolate cookies, these are dark and very intense. Of course here is no reason you cannot like both!

These are vegan but I am almost certain you could use an egg in place of the egg replacer. I would not make any other substitutions though, 1) because they taste divine the way they are, and 2) because I have no idea how the wet to dry ratio would be affected.

They are intensely chocolately with a crisp outside and chewy interior, what is not to love?

Please do not let the photos put you off, this is what happens when it is dark and miserable in Scotland. No light at all!

Double chocolate cookies (vegan) 

makes 1 dozen

180g oats
egg replacer, I used Orgran egg replacer (holand and barret) and followed the instructions on the box to replace 1 egg
50g coconut oil (solid not melted)
50g peanut butter
60g golden caster sugar
60g brown sugar (I used dark, its what was in my cupboard)
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
45g cocoa powder
75-100g dark chocolate (vegan friendly, not all are), chopped into small chunks

Preheat the oven to 175C/155C FAN and line a baking sheet with parchment. 

To begin put the oats in a food processor and pulse until a coarse flour is formed, I still like some oaty bits in my cookie. Set these aside.

In a bowl put the egg replacer (or egg), coconut oil, peanut butter, both sugars and the vanilla extract, beat until combined and creamy. Add in the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, sea salt, cocoa powder and processed oats. Beat on slow until thoroughly incorporated. Finally stir in the chocolate chips by hand.

Shape the dough into equal balls, roughly the size of golf balls. Place on the baking sheets well apart they will spread a lot,  I baked in two batches. Flatten the cookies with your hand until only 1cm thick. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes. Remove and allow to cool on the sheet for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.