20 January 2017

Devil's Food Cake with Chocolate Espresso Frosting (Dairy Free)

Time of the month again round these parts folks... and no this is not me over sharing but rather an introduction (or a gentle reminder to those seasoned reader) to the 20th of each month where The Cake Slice Bakers and I pick a recipe from  a choice of 4, from our latest book to bake and share with you all. This month we are still hopping through World Class Cakes by Roger Pizney and I have to say I am loving it.

Dietary restrictions dictated the recipe this month, but what I found was that the Devil's Food Cake (pg 44) I did decide to bake up, lent itself beautifully to a dairy free option. A very good friend of mine has a son with severe dairy allergies and I always want to come up with variations for him.. I figured I would give this a go in his honour and boy, was I delighted with the outcome.

I did not follow the direction for the frosting that accompanied the cake batter recipe. While I have no doubts that the frosting was delicious, I couldn't in good conscience use half a dozen egg yolks in a single frosting. January is always the month we tighten up and start our new year budget.. and the budget didn't stretch to six egg yolks going into ONE frosting. Another time maybe, but not this month I'm afraid.

I adapted an espresso glaze to suit the dairy free conditions of the bake, and bobs your uncle.. these donuts were born. They are also part of my "baking on a budget" notions, with all ingredients bought in Aldi and proof, again, that name brand ingredients can bake a perfectly perfect bake!

Devil's Food Cake- adapted from page 44
Makes 18 donuts or 2 8' round cake layers

35g cocoa powder
65ml boiling water
85ml almond milk
125ml vegetable oil
230g caster sugar
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
225g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 350F, 180C/160C fan, or Gas mark 4. Spray a 12 or 6 cavity donut pan with baking release spray and set to one side.
Mix the cocoa powder with the hot water and leave to cool.
Cream the sugar with the oil and add the eggs followed by the vanilla. Mix together, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go.
Sift the flour, salt and baking soda together.
Slowly add the milk to the cocoa/water  and mix until combined.
Alternating between the flour and the cocoa powder, mix the two into the egg and oil mixture until fully combined.

Transfer the batter to a piping bag and pipe circles into your donut pan, until 2/3 full. Pop in the oven for 10-12 minutes.

Remove from the oven, leave to cool in the pan for a few minutes before popping out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Espresso Glaze- enough for 12 donuts

125g dark 70% chocolate
2 tbsp coconut oil
450g icing sugar
4-5 tbsp strong coffee

In a heat proof bowl melt the chocolate and the coconut oil.
Add the icing sugar and coffee and using an electric mixer, whisk until combined to a shiny glaze.

Once the donuts are cooled, dip in each one to totally glaze over the top of your donut. Leave to dry for a few minutes on a wire rack.

I absolutely adore how these turned out.. I am so delighted that the cake recipe adapted so nicely to suit a dairy allergy and I have another recipe to add to my allergens list! The things you learn with The Cake Slice Bakers!

14 January 2017

Orange and Thyme

A short lived beauty, Blood Oranges are like regular oranges but the flesh is a beautiful pink/red. 

Not wanting to see their season go by without using them in some manner of bake, I adapted a simple vanilla cake to include the zest of the orange rind and reduced some of the juice to syrup.
The cake flavour is quite fresh. The orange cuts through the sugar in the frosting and the thyme from the reduction adds a subtle balance without over powering the citrus pop. An incredibly simple cake to make, using the basics in store cupboard ingredients. It’s a really nice little cake to serve with tea.

The Cake:

·         225g butter (softened)
·         225g caster sugar
·         Zest of one blood orange (regular oranges will suffice)
·         4 large, free range eggs
·         225g self-raising flour
·         1 tsp vanilla

The Syrup:

·         Juice of two blood oranges
·         Couple sprigs of Thyme
·         100g sugar


·         125g soft unsalted butter
·         250g-300g of icing sugar
·         Blood Orange Syrup
·         **optional a tiny drop of pink food colouring

THE CAKE: Preheat your oven to 350F, 180C (160C fan) or Gas mark 4. Line and spray with baking release, three 6 inch cake tins, or two 8 inch tins.
Cream the butter, sugar and orange zest together using an electric mixer until pale. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until fully combined. Fold in the flour using a rubber spatula until the two mixtures have come together. Fold through the vanilla.
Divide the mixture evenly between the two or three cake tins and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. You will know the layers are done when the tops have slightly domed and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clear.

SYRUP: On the hob, put the juice, sugar and sprigs of thyme into a pot, Bring to a low boil, ensuring all the sugar has melted. Set to one side to cool.
When the cake layers come out of the oven, gently ladle a few tablespoons of the syrup over the top of each cake. Do not use all of it, reserve some for the frosting. Let the cake layers sit for a few minutes, before removing to cool fully on a wire rack.

FROSTING: Beat the butter and 250g of icing sugar (and food colouring if using) until fully combined. Add the syrup and use the extra icing sugar if you need to thicken up the frosting.

Once the cakes are cooled, place the first layer, topside down on your serving plate. Fill the cake with a layer of frosting, following with the second (and third) cake layers. Using an offset spatula; scrap the frosting around the sides and top of the cake. Decorate with some thyme leaves. 

04 January 2017

Bird Seed Breakfast Cookie

Happy New Year my lovelies. Is anyone else glad that 2016 ended and the joys of the new and unexplored in 2017 came through? I was so tired by the end of 2016 I had to rest. But I am full of the feelings of new now and while I usually feel apathetic about January, I am looking forward to a good month ahead.

I am not one for resolutions but do firmly believe in positive intentions. I am choosing a word this year and focusing myself therein.

I have chosen "environmental".. and I feel it is an overarching concept.

My idea is to positively and consciously enter 2017 with efforts to protect, supplement and enhance my environment. And as a consequence, the wider environment.  I plan to reduce, reuse and recycle where possible. I plan to de-clutter my home, donating what we no longer use or need and in turn de-clutter my mind and heart. I plan on buying and making consumer choices based on what is good for our environment, our planet and the people that live on it. Shopping local and supporting my community.

I am sure a lot of you do a lot of this kind of thing already, but for me 2017, is going to be the year where I think seriously before I do.

And I guess it's gonna take some energy sooo... (enter seemless seque...)

These bird seed breakfast cookies are perfect for setting you up for the day! Healthy, nutritious and super delicious, almost like I am writing a jingle for them... They are chock full of oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit, all super boost foods. They are vegan, gluten, dairy and refined sugar free and they make a great on the go breakfast, perfect to pop into lunch boxes for work or school or to crumble over your favourite yoghurt.

Taking just a half hour to make, they are super quick and easy to knock out for the week ahead! Give them a go. You can substitute the nuts, berries, seeds for what you like here really just ensure your quantities stay the same!

Bird Seed Breakfast Cookies

190g smooth peanut butter
100ml coconut oil, melted
85ml honey or maple syrup

180g whole grain porridge oats (ensure yours are gluten free)
1 mashed banana (or 1 beaten egg, but then they won’t be vegan)
115g raisins (or other dried fruits you like)
125g seeds of your choice (I used sunflower, ghia and pumpkin seeds)
125g nuts of your choice (I used pecan, pine and flaked almonds)
40g ground flaxseed

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon sea salt (but omit the salt if you use salted nuts above)

Preheat your oven to 150C(fan) 160C, 325F or Gas Mark 3. Line two flat baking trays with parchment and leave to one side.
Combine the peanut butter, coconut oil and honey (or maple syrup) until smooth. Add in the mashed banana (or beaten egg if using) and mix again.
Place all the dry ingredients (oats, nuts, seeds etc) into a large bowl and toss in the cinnamon and sea salt. Mix through the wet mixture until evenly coated and a big sticky mess.

Drop about tablespoon sized scoops of the sticky mixture onto a baking sheet and flatten them down using a piece of parchment to protect your hands. The cookies won’t spread when they are baking so you should fit 8 on a regular baking tray.

Bake for about 12-15 minutes until edges are lightly browned.

Let cookies to cool completely on the baking tray before removing. Keep them for up to a week in an air-tight storage container.

Tell me what your plans for 2017 are? Have you any resolutions made or do you make a positive intention like me?

Here's to new beginnings! 
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