Friday, December 7, 2012

Raw Food: Cashew and Cacoa Protein Balls

Just to assure you all out there, I am not constantly eating cupcakes and refined sugar! I still do struggle with food intolerances and so for the most part of my eating, I do eat organic and free from gluten, dairy, wheat, and eggs. It's such an easy lifestyle to maintain despite what you may think; and is even in fact enjoyable and tasty. These protein balls are definitely a testament to that and even tempt my friends who don't need to eat "raw" or organic or gluten free. The downside is that the ingredients are expensive, but in my opinion they are worth it. You can find all the listed ingredients in organic or health food stores. I usually eat the balls as a snack when I'm craving something a little more special. No guilt is necessary as they are packed with good fats, protein and balanced with seeds and no sugar

Ingredients
1 cup of pea protein powder
generous 1/2 cup cashews, ground to dust and some parts still chunky
1/2 cup nut paste (eg. cashew or macadamia)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin
1/4 - 1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup raw cacoa powder
1/3 cup warm water (you may need more depending on dough consistency)

Method
Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, add nut paste, maple syrup and water and mix into dough. Mixture should just be wet enough to hold together as balls; however not too wet as balls will become sticky.  Form dough mixture into 3-4cm balls. Store in fridge or freezer. Makes 10-12

Ps. I've been having trobule uploading photos saying something about Picasa Web album and 1G of space? Anyone know why this is happening?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pastel Patchwork Cupcakes

Inspired by the rainbow Harrod's cake I ate in London (see previous post), I've returned home to experiment with making a similar design.  I'm loving pastels at the moment which leads to the creation of these pretty cupcakes..pastel patchwork cupcakes.  I simply put a teaspoon of plain vanilla batter, then a spoonful of dyed light pink, dyed light purple, and dyed light blue batter. The result is fun and of course very yummy when topped with buttercream and colourful smarties!


Ingredients for Vanilla Cupcake
125g butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbornate of soda
1/2 cup milk

Ingredients for Buttercream, to ice 12
250g unsalted butter
3 cups icing sugar

Method
Preheat oven to 150 degrees (fan-forced) and grease and line a round baking tin. Place butter, sugar and vanilla together and combine on low speed until they are just combined. Add all eggs and, on low speed, beat until well combined. Sift powder, soda and flour and add milk over the mixture and on medium speed bring the batter together until completely smooth.  Separate the batter into 4 separate bowls but ensure there is a slightly higher quantity in one bowl as this will remain a non-dyed batter.  In the other 3 bowls, you will need to place some dye (pink, purple or blue) separately to colour the  batter.  Place a teaspoon of plain batter into a patty case, followed by a teaspoon of each pink batter, purple batter and blue batter and top it off with another teaspoon of plain batter.  At this point you can either use a skewer to swirl the mixture (for a swirly effect) or leave it as is for a more patchwork look which is also my preferred. Once all the patty cases are filled and the batter is used, place cases on a tray and bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until golden but by no means golden-brown.  Once cooled, to make icing, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Pipe onto cake generously.  Top with smarties!



Friday, November 2, 2012

Food at Harrods


There is one place that during my stay in London that I found to be a hub of outstanding food. I had been there twice before and only admired the food; but trying the sweet and savouries throughout the extensive Harrods Food Halls was one of the culinary highlights of my 2 month trip!
This photo review sums up my favourites from Harrods that I would highly recommend!



Lola cupcakes at Harrods - make your way to the sweet section where cupcakes and pastries are on display.  Compared to the actual Harrods cakes and cupcakes, the Lola brand cupcakes were incredible. These moist cupcakes were topped with real buttercream and featured interesting flavours like salted popcorn or strawberry and rose custard, as well as the classics such as chocolate, banana, carrot, red velvet and oreo. (2GBP for mini or 3.95GBP for regular)

 Megatruffles at Harrods (Sundae flavour) - even though I had been to Brugge (known for its chocolate) this truffle was one of my favourites! This is "sundae" flavoured; meaning it tastes like a icecream sundae. You must try despite the price! (3-4GBP per truffle)

 Megatruffle at Harrods (Coconut flavour) - if you are going to venture to the chocolate bar and find these mega truffles (which I recommend doing of course), then please, please try the coconut flavour as pictured here. Incredible!


 Asian goodies at Harrods - Amongst the asian delicacies at Harrods, there were my favourite glass noodles with ginger, mushrooms and other veggie goodies. The bonus is these are gluten free and vegetarian! We found this great picnic food as we bought 100g and took it to nearby Hyde Park for a picnic (one tube stop away!)



 "Melt" chocolate bar in the Chocolate section at Harrods - it's true, the chocolates at Harrods are diverse and dazzling; but Melt (a brand of chocolate) was our most favourite. The Harrods branded chocolates are also good, but for someone reason the products at Melt got us drooling each time.  I would recommend the chocolate caramels that strangely taste like a crispy chocolate brownie with fleur du sel, I would equally recommend the Chocolate Mud Pie which is infact a brownie, and also the Wild Pure Dark which are little squares of pure dark chocolate..


 Harrods Rainbow cake - a beautifully presented sponge cake that promises to be light and not too sweet. The slight let down was the icing because I expected buttercream but it was in fact a sort of sweet whipped cream.  Nevertheless, this cake is a fun to eat, its a generous slice and quite moreish (3.95GBP per slice)



Harrods branded chocolates at Harrods - you must try whatever little chocolates in the chocolate bar tempt you; trust me, none will disappoint.  This chocolate pictured here deserves a particularly special mention...it's called crunchy peanut butter chocolate. It will be worth the hunt down! It is in the same chocolate cabinet (to the left of the coffee section) that houses Egyptian Cleopatra looking chocolates and various seashells. Drool.


Prestat chocolate in Harrods - these Prestat chocolates taste as good as they look. I love their beautiful packaging and golden filigree name.  Their favourite chocolate of mine were the champagne truffles!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Paris pastries

Well, it's been harder to update my travelling situation than imagined! I've finally come across a computer so I can now share with you the ton of pastries and desserts I've tried...honestly, a ton would not be an exaggeration.  As soon as I hit Paris, my friend and I made a very solid effort and trying the classics: creme brulee, macarons, eclairs, Sainte Honore, Religieuse, nutella filled crepes, citron tart, and the list continues. What was most exciting about all this sampling was that it was for the first time! I had been to Paris twice before but for some reason never had tasted French macarons or crepes or creme brulee..or really anything classically French.
So, this post is a photo montage of our favourite sweets. Trust me, this is not even half of what we ate. I've included the address and what's noteable about the places we visited. I now have my favourite patisseries and can add something to the debate about Ladurees or Pierre Hermes macarons.. 

Rose and Raspberry Sainte Honore from Laduree
Verdict: Perfect pastry, and presentation is by far the best we came across. However, I prefer the classic Sainte Honore  because the rose creme is very floral, girly and in large amounts is overpowering.

Mystere (meringue and chocolate ganache) from La Parisienne Patisserie on Rue Odessa, 75007.
Verdict: I would highly recommend this patisserie. We tried many of their products throughout our stay and they were always delicious and fresh.

Sainte Honore from Le Grand Epiciere 75007.
Verdict: Best Sainte Honore in Paris! The creme patisserie inside was a lovely surprise and not too sweet. I prefer Sainte Honores that are custard filled like this one here.

Caramel religieuse from Laduree
Verdict: Beautiful presentation, which is typical of Laduree, and there was nothing we could fault with the taste!

Les trois chocolats from La Parisienne on Rue Odessa
Verdict: Beautiful presetation in this local bakery, and this dessert was one of my favourite mousse style desserts that I tried in Paris or even Lyon. 3 layers of light, yummy mousse!

Citron tart from Le Grand Epicerie.
Verdict: This was the best citron tart in all our sampling! The pastry was perfect in lightness and sweetness, and the lemon curd (although on the strong side) was balanced.

Pierre Herme macarons
Verdict: His vanilla is his best by far! The filling is generous at Pierre Herme and so what he lacks in his shops decor, he makes up in taste. That said, Paul's vanilla macaron and its cake-like texture won high marks from me. As another option, Le Grand Epicerie held the best chocolate macaron I tried.


 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Best Vanilla Cupcake Recipe


 
A vanilla cupcake is a happy thing, isn't it? Just seeing them, iced in buttercream or glacage cheers me up immediately.  And hunking into a bite which causes icing to go all around your mouth is equal in parts of happiness and deliciousness.  Whenever cupcakes are topped in buttercream I am instantly transported back to days of childhood parties...where the amount of cupcakes you eat didn't even cross your  mind and sprinkles were always a must! In fact, these cupcakes I made with the help of my gorgeous little friend (whose mother I work for in a Chinese restaurant) and we decided to make it "kids party themed." 



Ingredients for Vanilla Cupcake
125g butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbornate of soda
1/2 cup milk

Ingredients for Buttercream, to ice 12
125g unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Method
Preheat oven to 150 degrees (fan-forced) and grease and line a round baking tin. Place butter, sugar and vanilla together and combine on low speed until they are just combined. Add all eggs and, on low speed, beat until well combined. Sift powder, soda and flour and add milk over the mixture and on medium speed bring the batter together until completely smooth. Pour into prepared tin and bake for around 20 - 30 minutes.  The important thing is that they are not browning, or even golden. They just need be firm to the touch.  This will create a very fluffy cake!  If you don't trust me (because they will look quite pale even though done, test with a skewer to ensure they aren't eggy/runny).
Once cooled, to make icing, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Pipe onto cake generously.




Friday, September 7, 2012

Pistachio Cake Revisited



   Let me push your memory for just a moment. You may remember around a year ago I made a Pistachio Cake for my best friend Natalie? Well a year on, she's still such a good friend and still finds herself on the receiving end of the baked goods that come from my oven.  One of her favourite cakes that I make is this Pistachio Cake.  I never tasted it myself, but this time decided to. And wow, was I blown away. I am not crazy about pistachios normally but in baking these little nuts make such a wonderful addition.  The saltiness of the nuts along the sweet icing, paired with the perfect texture of the cake is pretty darn addictive.  The sides of the cake have an ever so slight crispiness where as the interior is moister with a lovely nutty crumb.  I am so glad I revisited this recipe and tried it myself this time around. Just a note, don't make the mistake of covering the cake in green icing like I did last time (you can witness it by clicking here) and definitely don't make the mistake of bypassing this recipe altogether!


Ingredients for Cake
70g shelled pistachios, salty is fine
170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
170g caster sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
110g self-raising flour

Ingredients for Icing
1 egg white
150g icing sugar, sifted
3/4 tsp lemon juice
extra ground pistachios, salty preferred

Method
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan-forced) and grease and line one round cake tin. Finely grind the pistachio nuts in a food processor, then set aside. Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the ground pistachios, then sift the flour on the top and fold in. Spoon the cake batter into the tin and bake for approximately 40 minutes. Test with a skewer to check. Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely. To make the icing, gradually whisk the icing sugar into the egg white until thick and glossy. Then beat in the lemon juice. Pour icing over cooled cake. Top with ground pistachios, salty ones preferred to get that wonderful sweet and salty contrast.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

2 Versions of Portuguese Egg Tarts


Portuguese egg custard tarts are definitely one of my most favourite pleasures.  I love them best when they are snatched quickly from the hot oven, allowing the crispy pastry to flake away and the warm custard to wobble onto your all to happy palette.  I've had many egg custard tarts, but only in an Asian setting such as Yum Cha oh and all through China with relatives!  So I thought it is due time that I tried making these myself.  Fortunately, they are really quick to make, as evidenced by the fact that these recipes come from Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals cookbook.  From his recipe, I made two versions; both I share with you here.  Firstly, the classic version; and perhaps my favourite.  Secondly, as suggested by Jamie the egg tart with an orange twist and delicious orange sauce to accompany.

Ingredients for Classic Portuguese Egg Tart, makes 12
2 sheets of 20cmx20cm puff pastry, defrosted
125g creme fraiche
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 tbsp caster sugar

Method
Preheat the oven to 200/400F.  Grease generously with spray oil a 12 cup cupcake tray.  Place your 2 sheets of pastry on the bench and using any glass or even tea cup, mark 12 circles onto your pastry by pushing the top of the glass (where you put your lips) into the pastry.  Use a knife to help you cut these circles out and gently push them into the 12 holes of your cupcake tray.  You ideally want the pastry to be flat on the floor of the tin and coming up the side of the hole.  Put the pastry filled tray in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden (top shelf).  Meanwhile, spoon the creme fraiche into a small bowl.  Add the egg, vanilla and sugar; mix well with a whisk or spoon until smooth.  Take the cupcake tray out of the oven and use a teaspoon to press the puffed up pastry back to the sides of the tin to make room for the filling.  Now spoon the creme fraiche into the tart cases and return to the oven (top shelf) for 8 minutes. Tarts should be slightly wobbly when done.



Ingredients for Orange Twist Portuguese Egg Tarts
2 sheets of 20cmx20cm puff pastry, defrosted
cinnamon
125g creme fraiche
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
5tbsp caster sugar
1 orange

Method
Preheat the oven to 200/400F.  Grease generously with spray oil a 12 cup cupcake tray.  Place your 2 sheets of pastry on the bench and using any glass or even tea cup, mark 12 circles onto your pastry by pushing the top of the glass (where you put your lips) into the pastry.  Use a knife to help you cut these circles out and gently push them into the 12 holes of your cupcake tray.  You ideally want the pastry to be flat on the floor of the tin and coming up the side of the hole.  Sprinkle some cinnamon over the pastry before putting the pastry filled tray in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden (top shelf).  Meanwhile, spoon the creme fraiche into a small bowl.  Add the egg, vanilla, zest of orange and just 1 tbsp sugar; mix well with a whisk or spoon until smooth.  Take the cupcake tray out of the oven and use a teaspoon to press the puffed up pastry back to the sides of the tin to make room for the filling.  Now spoon the creme fraiche into the tart cases and return to the oven (top shelf) for 8 minutes. Tarts should be slightly wobbly when done.  This version also has a sauce accompaniment.  To make the sauce, in a saucepan put 4 tbsp sugar and the juice of 1 orange.  Turn heat to high.  Keep a good eye on it, stirring ocassionally, but remember caramel can burn badly so don't touch or taste.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Ultimate Carrot Cake



Finally, finally I have found my favourite carrot cake recipe.  I declare it now my 'go to' carrot cake recipe.. and when I do go to it I know it will provide great satisfaction! I am totally satisfied with the balance of this cake; it is utter perfection whether you're considering the sweetness, texture, or spice.  Seriously, after this cake has been in the fridge for a day the texture is wonderfully perfect; moist yet not heavily so.  I mostly use this cake for special occassions such as mothers day, birthdays, family visits.  You see, this recipe makes quite a large cake that really rises well so you can imagine how majestic it looks once it is topped with flaked almonds, or the slightly less dressy version involves a simple sprinkling of shredded coconut as pictured here.  The combination of looks and taste will definitely earn a smile from your guests or family. That's why I decided to share it with you today, just in time for father's day on Sunday!

Ingredients (Recipe by Anna and Fanny Bergenstrom)
100g walnuts
2-3 carrots
200ml sunflower oil or vegetable oil
250g caster sugar, ideally half brown and half caster
1/2 tsp salt
3 medium eggs, at room temperature
200g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract, optional
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
(feel free to add sultanas, it works well too but it was not included in the original recipe)

Ingredients for Icing
400g cream cheese, at room temperature
100g sifted icing sugar
3-4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
flaked almonds for garnish, or shredded coconut

Method
Line a round springform tin with nonstick baking paper. Lightly grease with spray oil.  Heat oven to 175/345F.  Rougly chop walnuts and peel and grate carrots.  Combine the oil, sugar, optional vanilla and salt in a bowl and then stir in one egg at a time.  Add the walnuts and carrots.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder and bicarb soda.  Fold this into the carrot mixture and pour into tin.  Bake for 50-55 minutes or until cooked through.  Leave to cool in tin  before turning out onto a wire rack.  Meanwhile, combine the cream cheese with icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl to make the icing.  Beat together these ingredients until smooth.  Add more icing sugar if desired.  Spread generously over cake and top with flaked almonds or shredded coconut.  Serve on a tall cake stand, placing in the middle of your table for a truly inviting look.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Quinoa Blueberry Breakfast (Gluten and dairy free)


Today I share with you one of the things I eat daily and it has certainly become one of my favourite meals.  My nutritionist Jessica Cox actually gave me the idea so all credit goes to her.  I love the combination of grated apple, plump blueberries, creamy yoghurt and crunchy seeds.  It's filling, healthy and perfectly balanced. 
Today I'm also introducing you to my new camera! I bought a Olympus OMD to enhance my Euro trip as well as a contribution to my cooking hobby.  Can you tell the difference?

Ingredients
1/4 cup raw quinoa
just under 1 cup of water
handful of blueberries
1 apple, grated
3-4 tbsp sheeps yoghurt
1-2 tbsp sunflower seeds or chia seeds
sprinkle of cinnamon

Method
Boil the cup of water on a saucepan and add quinoa; place lid over saucepan.  Reduce heat; should take 15 minutes for the quinoa to simmer away. You know it's finished once the liquid has been absorbed.  Pour quinoa into bowl and mix in yoghurt, seeds, cinnamon and apple. Top with blueberries.  Enjoy!



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chocolate custard

Bonjour! Is anyone out there still?? I wouldn't blame you if you've forgotten this little blog even exists! I've been completely hopeless with updating, but I have two pieces of exciting news that's going to change all that.

1. My autoimmune disease that has caused me a lot of food allergies has dramatically improved and is currently not active!   I was pretty uninterested in cooking, and hopefully you can understand why; the amount of food allergies I had just really put me off the idea and it was all quite upsetting.  But now I know what food allergies I have, and more importantly, the alternative that are out there.  That means more recipes for those with food allergies are coming your way..including this one - a dairy and gluten free chocolate custard!  You cannot tell this has soy milk in it...no funny aftertaste. In fact, this custard when served warm is so indulgent and rich that you have to remind yourself not to feel guilty!

2. My second update is the most exciting!! I am officially leaving to Europe (France and Paris included of course) in one months time! I will be there until November and it will be my first time to Europe without any parents...just me and my best friend.  Needless to say, I am excited about trying more European and French cuisine, and this has reignited my passion for cooking. Plus, I've taken the semester off uni in order to travel so I now have time to cook as much as my heart desires.

All in all, these bits of news mean I will be back on here more often before I leave to Europe..and while I am in Europe I shall be updating with the food I try, the eclairs I see, and the places we go!


 Ingredients for Chocolate Custard (Dairy Free and Gluten Free)
3 tablespoons gluten free cornflour
2 tablespoon water
1/3 cup caster sugar (or coconut sugar if you have allergies)
1/4 cup gluten free cocoa
pinch of salt
1 cup rice milk (if you don't have, replace with soy or almond milk)
1 cup soy milk
1/3 cup dairy free chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method
Combine the cornflour and water in a small bowl, mix until smooth and then set aside. In a saucepan on medium heat, combine the sugar, cocoa and salt.  Gradually add the milk, 1/4 of a cup at a time.  Stir constantly until smooth. Cook until a thin film develops on top of the liquid and until steam rises from the surface.  Do not let the mixture boil.  Add the chocolate at this point (make sure its chopped well) and stir so that the chocolate melts into the mixture.   Once the chocolate is melted in, add the cornflour mixture.  Continue to stir constantly.  Do not let the mixture boil, but allow to cook until the mixture thickens.  Transfer to a tea cup or bowl and serve whilst hot! Feels like a very indulgent take on hot chocolate.  Otherwise, transfer to a bowl, letting it sit for 30 minutes, and then cool for 2 hours in the fridge.  The custard will thicken more upon cooling. 
As this custard contains no eggs, it will crack easily. Please be careful when transferring to the fridge or picking up and putting down. If you want, cover any cracks with shaved chocolate. But I prefer to serve this hot and slurp it from a tea cup so you don't have to worry about cracks anyhow!



Monday, February 6, 2012

Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free Cookie Slice eaten straight from the pan!

I'm aware that I haven't been consistently blogging lately! I feel terrible that I haven't been looking at your beautiful posts, and commenting them, and I definitely haven't been uploading my own work.  I've been swamped working full time, but this will soon change when university commences in a few weeks time.  I hope to have more time for blogging then.  Nevertheless, I want to still upload some bits now and then of my baking; even if it doesn't garner that much interest or comemnts.  I don't expect it too.  I don't have much to give back at this point anyhow, unfortunately. 

The reason I'm finding time for blogging today (my day off) is because I've been desperately craving baked goods.  Sugar. Chococlate. Nuts. Feed me anything! But as you know, I have to avoid sugar and gluten for my health.  Luckily I created this recipe! It tastes sensational (you'd never know I didn't use sugar) and doesn't leave me feeling sick. I love the texture (which usually is an issue for gluten free sweets) which is so soft, yet moist. Just try not to eat it straight from the pan!

Ingredients
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1/2 cup agave syrup
splash of soy milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar free choc chips (eg. Macro, Raw Foods)

Method
Beat butter in a bowl until soft.  Add egg, agave, milk and vanilla; beat until combined and smooth.  On low, beat in the flour.  Stir through choc chips.  Bake in oven at 180 degrees in a lined pan for 20/25 minutes. Eat from the pan...warm and gooey..

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hummingbird cakes with Coconut Crust

Let me take a minute to catch my breath! Since Christmas I began a full time job at a sandwich and coffee bar which was kept me busy from 9am-5pm everyday.  Sadly, I haven't had time to sit around and just be, let alone consider baking or blogging.  Sure enough, my Dad started to complain for sweets or cakes and I knew it was time that I focused on my own kitchen for a little bit instead of the one at work! I made these hummingbird cakes with a coconut crust, and I think they will satisfy my family for the time being! They report that their favourite part was definitely the sweet and chewy coconut crust.  I added extra mashed banana for a gooey-pudding like texture; but the recipe below should get you a normal cupcake texture.  Enjoy!  I hope to be back soon!

Ingredients
440g can crushed pinneapple in natural juices or syrup (depending on sweet tooth)
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup mashed banana
2 eggs, beaten lightly
3/4 cup vegetable oil

Ingredients for Coconut crust
3 cups shredded coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten lightly

Method
Preheat oven to 160 degrees fanforced.  Prepare muffin pan. Drain pineapple over a bowl and extract as much syrup as possible. Reserve 1/4 cup of the syrup or juice; this is all you will use.  Sift flours, soda, spices and sugar into large bowl.  Stir in drained pinnepaple, 1/4 cup of syrup/juice, coconut, banana, egg and oil.  Spoon mixture into paper cases; bake 10 minutes.  Meanwhile make coconut crust by combining all the ingredients in a bowl and mixing thoroughly. Spoon on top of cakes evenly and return to oven, baking for about 15 minutes.  Serve lightly dusted with icing sugar, if you like.  I added more mashed banana to my recipe to get a more moist-pudding like texture.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Chocolate Icecream Cake - Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free!

Missing out on normal chocolate and other edible Christmas naughtiness wasn't an exciting prospect for me in the lead up to Christmas. I usually love to have Santa chocolates or cashews or plum pudding-icecream, but because of my special diet for my immune system (ugh, see here if you have no idea what I'm harping on about) I had to cut all that out. So, to console myself I attempted to make a buche noel using agave (a sugar alternative) and coconut-milk icecream (dairy free). But we all know that gluten free cakes aren't the most pliable and that means they not so easy to roll.  So my buche noel turned into a bit of a rectangle layer cake. Surprisingly, it was delicious and looked lovely! It definitely brought some edible Christmas cheer back into my Christmas dinner.  In fact, I'll probably make it again for New Years Eve.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with lots of yumminess and fun with your family or friends! I know I did!

Ingredients for Sheet Cake
4 eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup agave syrup
100g gluten free flour, plain or self raising
90-100g gluten free cocoa

Method for Sheet Cake
In a bowl, beat the eggs lightly to disperse the yolk (by hand or with mixer if needed).  Add the agave and continue to whisk/electric mix the egg and sugar until mixture is slightly thicker.  At this stage, gradually fold in the cocoa and flour.  Spread mixture on a tray lined with baking paper.  Bake at 180 degrees (fan-forced) until just firm; perhaps 15 minutes.  The sponge should spring back when cooked properly.  Remove sponge from oven and allow to cool. Then cut the sheet cake into 3 sections.

Ingredients for Filling
Dairy Free, sugar free, icecream such as CocoLuscious Coconut (or Vanilla) Icecream

Method
Allow icecream to sit on bench for a little while until it is slightly softer. Use a knife to spread the icecream evenly (you can see in my photo that mine wasn't spread evenly on each layer) onto each layer of the sheet cake. Stack. Return to freezer for 20 minutes so the icecream sets. Remove from freezer and spread another layer over each 2 layers of icecream so it's quite thick. This will give the cake some height and a nicer, sweeter taste. Return to freezer.

Ingredients for Topping/Icing

100-120g agave-sweetened chocolate, such as Conscious Chocolate
50g copha (made on coconut oil)
2 tsp dairy free margarine, such as Nuttlex

Method
Place a saucepan half filled with water ontop of the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl on top of the saucepan. In this bowl, place the ingredients for the topping in there and wait until they melt. Mix with a metal spoon and pour evenly over the cake.  Return to freezer for 1 hour before serving.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Here's another version of my French snowmen made out of white chocolate profiteroles! I think I actually like this version better...and I've added coconut to make it look like it's snowing! After all this snowman cooking (see here and here), I've realized that I love snowman! Perhaps because I don't actually get to experience a white Christmas or see real snowmen? I just have decided they're adorable and totally festive. Be sure to make your own this year, whether its made out of snow or sugar!

This snowmen involved the same recipe and method as my previous French snowmen (see here) however you need 3 profiteroles and instead of stacking them with a skewer, you simply lay out 3 profiteroles on a plate.  Spread coconut around the plate for a snowfall effect.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gingerbread House Gift Box

As soon as I saw these Christmas gift boxes on Kara's beautiful blog called Butter Hearts Sugar I knew I had to make them myself. They're way too adorable to pass up! I departed ever so slightly from Kara's gift box, by adding a Christmas tree instead of a gingerbread man, and of course using my own colours and glitter cardboard. But whatever you do creatively, these will definitely be a beautiful addition to the presents under your tree.  Fill them up with edible treats, or a little present; and wait for the reciever to be awed!

You will find a detailed tutorial on Kara's blog post here.

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