Young Hottie’s Hot Choccie

“In 2016 it is my mission to improve the condition of my skin, nails, hair and creative brain NATURALLY. I have spent a small fortune on all sorts of lotions and potions and never found that ‘magic tonic’. So I’m putting away my wallet and getting out my mixing bowl. Through exploring my love of healthy dessert making, I will be feeding myself beautiful (hopefully). Follow my diary of tailor made desserts, baked snacks and Breakfast recipes for clear skin, glossy hair and hard ass nails. Starting with…” 

IMG_7151

THE FACE – Anti Aging

Young Hottie’s Hot Choccie aka Anti Aging Hot chocolate

Turning hot chocolate into an anti-aging elixir.

There is nothing on earth I find more huggable than a mug of streaming hot chocolate. An elixir of the gods type stuff. On my mission to #feedmebeautiful I am interested in turning my old favourites into natural beauty must haves and looking to share my anti-aging recipes. When thinking of anti-aging recipes about 100 different skin brightening, plumping, skin protecting smoothies come to mind, but when returning home at the end of a long day, out of the dark and the cold I want comfort. I want chocolate!

IMG_7152

 With this anti-aging food mission in mind I have whipped you up a super thick, velvety, indulgent, anti-aging Hot chocolate to warm your cockles, super charge those feel good endorphins and de-stress you after a long hard day (all of which is clinically proven, hazzar)!

IMG_7150

This recipe was inspired by Jamie Oliver’s – Ultimate Hot Chocolate – a blend of dark chocolate, icing sugar, corn flour and Horlicks ( which sounds rather amazing actually, but not a an anti-ager I’m reckoning).  As you may well know Jamie Oliver is on a Superfoods, no refined sugar mission of his own and I like to think this is a recipe he would approve of!

IMG_7149

*Chocolate is a bit of a press floozy. In the news its seems we are constantly changing our minds about whether its good for us or not. The answer is simple – Cocoa is full of all good things we want in our lives, but the added sugar and fat is not, BOO! BOO!

In this recipe I have enlisted the help of dark chocolate (Cacao), Coconut cream, Cayenne pepper, Ginger and Cinnamon (to name but a few) all of which will help kick some serious wrinkle butt!

*In this recipe we will be using Cacao or if you don’t have it 100% Best Quality Dark Cocoa will do just fine. I like Green & Blacks.

* If you’re not a fan of coconut don’t worry you actually can’t taste it but you get all it’s anti-aging beauty benefits.

IMG_7133

It’s entirely possible I may have gone a little over the top with all the toppings!

IMG_7135

To justify my toppings = Sunday afternoon. Icy cold. After lunch in Borough Market we had these hot chocolates as dessert.

Feed me beautiful facts  – What’s it good for?

Cacao – Hydrates the skin to keep it youthful. Protects the skin from bad UV rays. BISH!

Coconut Cream – Helps smooth skin for a radiant appearance.  Helps improve skin sagging,wrinkles and age spots. BASH!

Cinnomon – Anti-inflammatory. Protects the body against skin damage. BOSH!

Cayenne pepper –  Rich in Vitamin E as well as Vitamins A and C which help fight preventing the breakdown of collagen apparently! DOUBLE BOSH!

Ginger – Stimulates circulation. MAKE THAT TRIPLE BOSH!

IMG_7135

Perfectly paired with my healthy Chocolate Cake fingers.

 Young Hottie’s Hot Choccie

This recipes for one

Ingredients

2-3 tsp Cacao or best quality dark Chocolate drinking powder.

 4 tsp Coconut cream (I get mine from Waitrose as they do little tins)

200ml Unsweetened Almond milk ( or whichever you prefer)

2 tsp Maple syrup

half tsp Ground Cinnamon

half tsp Ground Ginger

 Big pinch Cayenne Pepper

IMG_7131

Method –

-In a small saucepan simmer your Milk of choice.

-In a small bowl or cup add the cacao, ginger, cayenne pepper, cinnamon.

-When your milk has just reached warm add just a little of the warm milk  to your little dry ingredients bowl and mix with a teaspoon rapidly to dissolve the dry mixture so there are no lumps in your hot chocolate. It will make a pourable paste (we want it like a smooth chocolate sauce consistency)

Pour your chocolate sauce into your simmering milk as well as adding the Coconut cream and Maple syrup

– Next Pour the velvety Hot Chocolate into your favourite mug and pimp up as you wish. I went a little over the top and grated Dark chocolate, Marsh mallows, Coconut, Cinnamon  and Rose petals (it was a special day).

IMG_7132

IMG_7138

I had a great time photographing this, drinking it, dipping healthy chocolate sponge fingers in it and making a total mess!!

 

IMG_7137

Messy Puppy!!!

 

Enjoy your Hot Chocolate with total abandon as I did and feel EUPHORIC about it’s anti-aging, disease fighting, stress reliving qualities.

I would love to see your Young Hottie’s Hot Chocolate creations – tag me or #feedmebeautiful on instagram.

Instagram – @thecakediariesofficial

Twitter – @thecakediaries1

Treat yourself well,

The Cake Diaries

xoxo

 

Summer Party Desserts

Processed with Moldiv

My go to party sweets

 

My party piece round up

No, I’m not talking about my ability to blow Malteasers into the air or to do the splits whilst balancing a plate on my face or my running man on the dance floor. I’m talking about the kind of treats perfect for a party.

IMG_5409

Mini Vanilla Doughnuts with dark and white chocolate

IMG_5322

It’s summer, you’ve invited friends round and it’s inevitably going to turn into a bit of a party. Forget the plates of cake balancing act. The awkward hand swapping dance, glass, plate, fork, napkin malarkey.

IMG_5336

Double Chocolate Cake pops

IMG_5337

For my events this summer I have been making treats which are pretty, fun, quick to eat and can easily be eaten while holding a glass of wine in your hand. TOP TIP! Make it small or put a stick in it and it becomes the perfect party dessert which equals less lip stick smudging! All of these desserts bar the Banana Popsicles (because they will melt) can be stored easily to take out and about or to a summer festival.

Here’s my party treats instagram round up!

Quick Banana Popsicles

IMG_5343

Frozen Banana, Chocolate Popsicles

IMG_5344

This is the perfect sweet treat for a BBQ.

Ingredients/What you need – Banana’s, 85% Dark chocolate, Walnuts and Vanilla pods, pop cake sticks or wooden skewers and baking paper.

Method – Cut ripe banana’s in half. Insert pop cake sticks or wooden skewers into the base of the banana’s about half way up so they feel secure. Store banana’s in a plastic sandwich bag sealed well and freeze over night.

Crush a handful of Walnuts. In a pan toast them over a medium. Keep an eye on the them and stir regularly to stop them from catching.

On a board with a small sharp knife slit a Vanilla pod down the middle of it’s length. Scrap out the vanilla paste out of it’s insides and add to the toasted nut. Sprinkle Cinnamon into your nutty vanilla mix and stir in.

Melt Chocolate in the microwave or in a glass bowl over a pan of boiled water. Keep stirring until all chocolate has melted. As soon as the chocolate has melted turn of the heat or it will burn and turn lumpy.

Dip the frozen banana’s in the chocolate and sprinkle the nutty mix over the top. Lay your decorated banana’s on a board covered with a sheet of baking parchment and stick these back in the freezer until set (about 5-10 minutes). When it’s party time  – enjoy!

IMG_5027

Healthy Caramel and Black bean Brownies

IMG_5031

If you have a little more time and friends with dietary requirements these are a great indulgent treat that look  impressive but very simple to do. Healthy, Vegan, wheat and gluten free. If you would like to make these you can find my recipe here –

http://thecakediaries.com/2015/05/14/caramel-and-chocolate-black-bean-stacks/

Enjoy your summer and pimp it up  a party with some of these festive summer treats. If you haven’t got the time and need your treats a-sap you can order from me at the Cake Diaries thecakediariesofficial@gmail.com

Treat yourself well,

Yours Truly,

THE CAKE DIARIES…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caramel and Chocolate Black bean Stacks

IMG_5027

What’s better than ultra soft and chewy brownie? Or gooey sticky caramel? The sound and feel of dark chocolate cracking between your teeth as you bite and the crunch of candied nuts dusted with shredded Coconut? Well…? I’m waiting! Exactly as I thought. Nothing! Four of the best things in the world all stacked up on top of one another. Heaven!

IMG_5031

I love these little stacks and I like to take them everywhere with me. They are more robust than cake, so sticking them in a plastic tupperware and going out and about with them is fine. If you have kids they could probably run around with these without wondering what that gooey brown blob stuck to the top of their Lunch box lid use to be! You open up the box and they always look like “What? I woke up like this” kind of treats. These are a fabulous alternative to a Twix or Snickers bar. Don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t like a Snickers every now and again? But what the hell is in there? What are all of those mysterious names in the ingredients list? I don’t know about you but I refer to know what is about to travel though my body. What ends up in my tummy? What’s being absorbed into my blood stream and what do I get out of it in the end? (Queue toilet Humour!!) But seriously, is one of those many mystery names something that aggravates cells which will one day be bad for my health if eaten time and again? That’s why I’m a do it yourself kind of girl when it comes to the sweet stuff. Whether I’m making a cake full of butter, Sugar, and cream or a gluten free, sugar free treat. I know when I take a bite what’s about to go into this temple!!  Not to come across all sanctimonious but your body really is a Temple…Castle, Palace, cottage by the sea, whatever you want to call it.  You’re not renting it. It’s yours. You’ve got the keys. You are a property owner gorgeous, congratulations! I always feel that it’s the only thing in life I am truly in charge of and it is my decision how I want to treat it. Sure, there have been times when it felt and looked more like a run down, out dated semi detached. But I prefer it mostly Temple. In fact I’ve come to like it here. So with all that in mind I am sharing with you an old favourite. My Raw Caramel and Black bean Stacks!

FYI

In my ingredients list you will see a Refined Sugar alternative called Natvia. Natvia is not an artificial sweetener but a mixture of 2 different leaves from a plant which has a sweet taste. The reason I use a little of it here is that unlike most sugars it does not effect your blood sugar levels. It has no calories and comes up zero on the Glycaemic Index. You can use Maple Syrup in place of Natvia if you prefer in the recipe.

Also in this list is Almond butter. You can either make your own (recipe for Almond butter in last blog post below this one) or use I suggest Meridian. As it has nothing but nuts and a little salt in it.

Ingredients -Makes 6 Stacks

Black bean Brownie base

6 tbsp Black beans

2 tbsp Raw Cacoa Powder

3 Majool dates

6 tbsp Ground Almonds

6 tbsp Gluten Free Oats

Carmel

6 Majool dates

3 tbsp Almond Butter

1 tsp Almond milk (or whatever you prefer)

Chocolate Top

Either melt a bar of your favourite Dark chocolate, 75% and higher in a bowl over a pan of boiled water

Or

if you are keeping your desserts refined sugar free have a go at this –

3 tbsp Coconut oil

1 tsp of Natvia

3 tbsp Cacoa Powder

Crunchy nut clusters

5 tbsp of Cashews and Almonds. I crushed half of the nuts and left the other half whole.

1 tsp Natvia

3 tsp Coconut oil

IMG_5025

Method –

All about that base

–  First you want to soften the dates a little. This will help you when it comes to mixing. Chop your Majool dates and put them in a small frying pan over a low heat. It takes very little time for them to soften so keep an eye on them.

– Drain your black beans thoroughly, especially if they are from a can. The likely hood is that they have been kept in salted water or some kind of brine.

– Add your softened dates, sieved the Cocoa powder, then throw in the Almond flour  and oats in to the bowl. Get a hand blender and a hand  whizz together until smooth. If you don’t have a hand blender or food processor get your elbow grease on and with a wooden spoon push the mixture up against the side and spread over and over until smooth.

–  If you are use to eating Snickers and twix bars etc..You may find that this brownie is not quite sweet enough for you. Add 1 tsp Natvia (Sugar Alternative) or 2 tsp Mable syrup.

– I put my mixture into fairy cake moulds. 1 tbsp and a half to each mould and pack down flat. Otherwise you can also line a small rectangular tin and cut into bars later. Put the raw black bean brownies into the fridge while you make your Caramel.

IMG_5034

Caramel

– In your small frying pan add your dates to soften (over a low heat) for a minute. Then add your Almond butter and combine with a wooden spoon.

If you find the mixture a little stiff add a tsp of milk.

– Now add  1 tbsp of the caramel mixture to the top of your brownies. Then put back into the fridge.

Chocolate top

– Time to get that Saucepan out again lovelies! Give it a good scrub down then over a low heat add your coconut oil. Then the Natvia, Stevia or chosen Syrup. Let it melt down to liquid.

– Now add your Cocoa  1 tsp at a time stirring with a wooden spoon.

-Take the Brownie/Caramel treats out of the fridge and with a teaspoon drizzle on a loaded teaspoon of the chocolate.

Crunchy nut top top

– Ok, Don’t hate me! But you’ve got to get that pan out again. Put a tiny bit of the coconut oil in the pan and toss in the nuts. Half crushed and half whole. Toast the nuts (we are looking for a golden colour) then throw in the shredded coconut and mix together.

– Sprinkle the nuts and coconut on the top of the melted chocolate mixture.

-Put in the fridge again to set for 30 mins.

Now enjoy, indulge and feel good!

IMG_5026

Thank you for reading and I hope you make some fabulous stacks! I would love to see your creations. You can find me on Instagram – @thecakediariesofficial or on twitter @thecakediaries1Treat yourselves well!

Yours truly,

The Cake Diaries

 

How to make Nut butter

Quick and easy, no fear nut butters.

IMG_4558

I love a good nut butter. They have the power to perk up any meal either sweet or savoury and I will try and add it to anything I can and I do.

Nuts provide us with lots of goodies like protein, healthy fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals and when added to say…breakfast will help you to become a little power house of energy.

Homemade verses shop bought.

I like to get creative with my nut butters with flavours that are not available in the shops but also I like to know what’s in my butters. Along with all the health benefits of nut butters most shop bought butters come with added sugars, salts and hydrogenated oils (which are trans fats and not good for us).

You can make nut butter out of most nuts and seeds.

Peanuts, walnuts, pecan, cashew, almond, pistachio, hazelnut, macadamia, brazil, sunflower seed, sesame seed or pumpkin seed.

IMG_4548

Here are a few of my favourite combinations that I make regularly.

Cashew and Chocolate

Almond and Vanilla

Pecan and Cinnamon

Here are your basics to making nut butter. Then you can add whatever you like to pimp up your butter or keep it plain as nature intended.

Now making butter can be very quick about 35 mins. Or much longer, taking upto a whole day. I will show you both options here –

1a – To soak or not to Soak? I am impatient a lot of the time so don’t soak them and just chuck them in the food processor but when I am forward thinking I will soak the nuts. This will help with a creamy texture and more intense flavour. By soaking the nuts you will wash away any toxins/chemicals which will help you to digest more of the goodness in the nut.

In a bowl cover the nuts in water (filtered where possible).Cashews 2 hours, Almonds 8 hours, Peanut 8 hours, Hazelnut 8 hours and 5 hours for your Pecan nuts. Leave in a cool place.

1b – If you haven’t soaked your nuts you can just chuck them in the blender and get going or you can toast your nuts for a lovely roastie, smokie flavour. Oven at 175.c for around 12 mins and just keep an eye on them as I never trust ovens. They don’t want you to get to know them!! When you finally think you and your oven are getting on and they’ve let you in on their secret they suddenly change the rules!

If you have soaked your nuts. Now it’s time to dry them out and roast them by dehydrating them – Oven, 150.c on an oven tray for 12 hours.

IMG_4556

2- Take your desired nut and put in a blender. Blitz on full speed, 2 mins at a time, stopping to scrap down the sides. Keep going like this until you get a smooth paste. If you like it crunchy like I do add some more nuts nearer to the end of the blitzing so you have some nice chunky pieces giving great bite and texture.

2 – You can now decide on your chosen texture i.e stiff or creamy. For some reason I like my Cashew and cocoa stiff so you have to spade it on the toast and watch it slowly melt into the hot bread.

3 – I like my Almond and Vanilla smooth. So now I would add almond milk a tsp at a time for a smooth creamy texture. For a more velvety and luxurious butter go for a healthy oil like walnut oil or my favourite coconut oil. Add slowly, a bit at a time to get the texture you desire.

3 – Now add your flavour if wanted – i.e salt, Tahini (great with cashews), maple syrup, honey, cinnamon, coconut, mixed spice, vanilla essence or chia spice  etc…

Cashew and Cocoa – Add 1 heaped tablespoon of Coco/Raw cocoa and 2 heaped tsp of natural honey. Now give it a quick whizz.

Almond and Vanilla – Add 2 tsp of good quality Vanilla extract. Now give it a quick whizz.

Pecan and Cinnamon – I love cinnamon so it’s likely I will always add more. Add 1 level tbsp of cinnamon and 2 tsp of maple syrup. Now give it a quick whizz.

With all these added extras its personal taste if you would like to add more of each to the recipe.IMG_4544

Enjoy and go wild with your nut butter. Spread it on celery, apples, hot toast, oat cakes, rice cakes, with banana sandwiches on porridge, drag it through yogurt, add it to stir fry’s, dollop on ice cream and eat it with a spoon!

This morning in celebration of Easter and Good Friday I’m enjoying my Almond and Vanilla with a toasted chocolate chip Hot cross bun!

IMG_4558

Happy Bank holiday Weekend everyone.

Treat yourself well.

Yours Truly,

The Cake Diaries xoxo

 

Butternut Squash and Roasted Pecan Brownies.

IMG_4333

Brick lane, London

Judging by all the Valentine hearts that were pasted on shop windows, men in the high street carrying huge paper Michael Kos shopping bags, the ‘make your own card’ commercials on repeat all over the T.V and all the lovely Instagrams and Facebook photo’s, we gave a lot of love away this Val’s day. But this next recipe I have developed and am going to share today is about taking the LOVE IN! It’s all about us.

IMG_4316

The Hoxton Hotel, London

So let’s put the good stuff in and let the good vibes out. Happy, healthy treats that make you feel naughty but then…’oh, it was completely nutritious! Nourishing mind, body and soul and perfectly balanced for a healthy life style. Better eat two then to take full advantage of the goodness’.

If you regularly read my blog then you know I’m a big fan of ‘afternoon tea’. My mission is to bring afternoon tea back to 4pm! To all my friends in Europe and those State side who are wondering what on earth I’m going on about – it’s an old British tradition of coming together and eating cakes and sandwiches at a certain time of day (the afternoon). For a more detailed description of its origins scroll back to my Sweet can be healthy blog with a recipe I have developed for Sugar free, fat free Scones. In fact everyone go and have a look back at this blog post right now (bossy pants alert!) as it’s such a lovely recipe. Spiced with cinnamon and sweetened with shredded apple and dates. It also contains my secret ingredient, avocado! Ok, miss bossy boots is leaving the building. She’s gone. In fact I see her sloping off through the door rather sheepishly. The fire exit, as she is a bit embarrised. Apologies about her. How rude!

Afternoon tea is and was a big part of my life and I try and have it every day, so that between lunch and dinner I am energised all afternoon and stay productive right until I put down my spatula or shut the lap top in the evening. You may feel a little dip at about 4pm, feel fatigued, watching the clock as it ticks slowly up to home time, totally unfocused and lack lustre.

Energise that brain with a healthy, happy, body loving treat. These Butternut squash brownies are soft, melt in the mouth, feel good food. The texture is so chewable and dreamy, it makes the brownie. Texture is half the pleasure of a good brownie and the squash makes it…well squashy. Sorry, I literally can’t describe it any better. You will fully understand when you sink your teeth into one of these bad boys. These may be wheat free, butter free, contain very little sugar and made using a vegetable, but I do not compromise on taste here. This recipe was developed after thinking of the dietary requirements of a friend and thoughts and needs from other friends and family members.

IMG_4321

Butternut squash and roasted Pecan Brownies. Are they healthy? Yes. Clean eating? Yes. Dairy free? Yes. Are they fat/oil free? Yes.  Wheatfree? Yes in deedie. So what’s in them?? This recipe uses butternut squash as an alternative to butter, oats and buck wheat as alternative to wheat and raw cocoa powder, cinnamon, dried fruit and a touch of Carob maple Syrup for sweetness (you can use any naturally occurring sugar you like. This is just my preference)

Why are these so good?

My dreams are made of butternut squash brownies! If I’m not eating them, Im sharing them or thinking of them. Seriously I think I may need professional help. “Doctor, doctor I think I’m turning into a butternut squash and roasted pecan brownie.  I’m turning orange and I gotta gooey centre”.

I’ve got it bad.

I’m in love!

This is a ‘no fear’ recipe that’s simple and quick to make with absolutely no bother. It all goes in the bowl at pretty much the same time. It’s the perfect fix to a 4pm slump or sweet tooth craving. You will need to cook your squash first. You can do this just before you make the recipe or the night before. Roasted Pecans and buckwheat gives this a real smoky taste and the cinnamon is added to compliment these two. Let’s not forget the chocolate. I use unsweetened cocoa powder and a table spoon of 85% dark chocolate for extra depth.

Let’s get started! As I am gonna have a craving in exactly 45mins time.

NOTE – Naturally occurring sugars? Carob syrup, Maple syrup or Date Syrup. You could also use pure honey.

Butternut Squash and Roasted Pecan Brownies – makes 6, bake 25 mins.

IMG_4254

Ingredients

40g Oats

50g Buckwheat (if you are not a fan use Wholemeal Spelt or wholemeal flour)

25g Raisins

30g dates

300g  butternut squash

3 tbsp Cocoa powder

2 tbsp Maple or Carob Syrup

1 heaped tbsp 85% Dark Chocolate (melted)

50g Baked or pan fried Pecans ( no need for oil to pan roast).

MethodPre heat on to 180.c/350.f

IMG_4319

1 – Boil or steam your Butternut squash until mash-ably soft.

IMG_4317

2 – In a large bowl add the mashed Squash and sift in the Buckwheat flour and cocoa powder,

3 – In a food processor add the oats, raisins, dates and Maple Syrup (or whatever naturally occurring sugar you prefer)

4 – Add the blitzed ingredients to the butternut squash ingredients and mix well.

5 – For the nuts you can grab yourself a small frying pan and after breaking up a big handful of pecans toast them over the heat and toss them every so often. As soon as they have started to brown, your done. Or you can grab a baking tray, add baking paper and add the pecans and toast in the oven, regularly tossing and checking or checking and tossing!

6 – After you have added the nuts to your mixture put your dark chocolate in a microwavable bowl and (depending on your microwave) melt for 30 secs or keep checking until the chocolate has just melted.

TOP TIP – regularly check your chocolate and stir. Only melt the chocolate until JUST melted any longer then the chocolate will turn lumpy and gritty. It’s burnt!

7 – Mix in the melted chocolate to your big bowl of deliciousness and do a taste test to make sure your batter has enough chocolate flavour for you.

IMG_4320

8- Add the mixture to a prepared baking tray or dish lined with baking paper and greased. I use coconut oil to grease mine.

IMG_4318

9 – Add the dish to the middle of the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

10 – After 25 mins test with a tooth pick and if it comes out clean we’ve won!!

IMG_4268

Allow to cool if you can bear it and then attack attack!!

IMG_4323I love the way the orange colour of the squash still comes through the deep chocolate. These have great brownie texture which feels like eating velvet. In perfect contrast you get the crunch of the pecan. In the words of Jamie Oliver and Dell Boy ‘Lovely jubbly!’

Lets have a look in close up of this Butternut Squash and roasted Pecan Brownie.

IMG_4322

Butternut squash – Vitamins – A, B, E and K. Minerals – magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and zinc. It’s also high in fibre.

Looking for more healthy treat inspiration ? – Check out my Wheat-free, Sugar free Scone recipe, on my Sweet can be healthy blog post that I spoke about earlier.

IMG_3800

My Apple, Date & Avocado Scones

If you are like me and fly out of the house first thing in the morning these might be a perfect breakfast on the go or just a great feel good treat for you. Have a quick look at my Good morning sunshine bars blog.

IMG_3417

Bursting with seeds, nuts and fruit.

It would be great to meet you all. You can find me on Instagram @thecakediariesofficial or Tweet me @thecakediaries1

Stay happy and healthy and know that spring is on his way! He told me.

Yours truly

The Cake Diaries xoxo

Desserts both naughty and nice.

Woah! January where did you go? Last thing I remember was being sat in front of a burning fire place in the deep depths of the countryside with a blanket over my knees whilst balancing a lap top and cup of hot coco, writing my edible Christmas gifts blog!

So… no blog in January. I know, disgraceful! But I promise I have not been resting on my laurels. I had quite a month and I am rather caked out. But my love holds strong!

IMG_4150

January left me feeling a bit like this!

So the purpose of my first February blog is to share with you recipes from my January adventures. Wonderful recipes both naughty and nice – borrowed, adapted or developed by myself. I Love finding new recipes and featuring them on the blog. I own a lot of recipe books written by famous bakers but I think it’s important to support other baking bloggers and there wonderful recipes. I also develop recipes myself and in the strangest of places. My favourite place to write new recipes is on the night bus home!!

January!

The Cake Diaries started the New Year with a wonderful photo shoot and lots of time writing press releases and the like. We had a great time on set eating a lot of cake and generally messing around. But oh, how I missed the safe place of my kitchen that week.

IMG_4143

IMG_4151

IMG_4147

…but I had no reason to worry as the week after I was at London Men’s Fashion week developing new recipes for John Galliano at the Mansion Magiela show.

The order was short notice and needed new desserts designed for a Macrobiotic diet. Macrobiotics is a diet revolving around the eating of grains, supplemented with certain fruit and vegetables. No processed or refined foods.No unnaturally occurring sugar and free of most animal products. Most recipes were developed on the top deck of a night bus, as usual.  It was a crazy rush and had me locked in the kitchen for 2 nights in a row, but great fun and a great success. Here is one of the treats I made for Galliano personally.

Please excuse this rather badly lit photo it was about 11pm at night and I was exhausted. But believe me when I say how comforting this desert was. Beautifully spiced, hearty and healthy. I ate it warm (10 minutes out of the oven) at about 11.30pm with a big glass of milk. I slept so well that night.

IMG_4166

Date and Raisin Tarts – Dairy free, wheat and gluten free, refined sugar FREE!

This will yield 6 tarts. Go for a tart dish similar in size to your own palm. This recipe is a perfect, quick and tasty recipe to fix a sweet tooth.

Ingredients

180g Oats

480ml Almond Milk

150g Pecans

400g mix Dates and Raisins

150g chopped Almonds

2 tbsp Maple Syrup

2 tsp Ground Ginger

1 tsp Nutmeg

1 tsp Cinnomon

1 tsp Baking powder

Method Pre heat your oven 180.c/350.f

1 – Grab your food processor and throw in the almond milk, dates, raisins, maple syrup and all nuts. Blend into a rough ‘spread’ like consistency.

2- In a separate bowl add the oats, all spices and baking powder.

3 – Add the food processed ingredients to your bowl and bring together.

4 – Grease tart dishes with coconut oil or olive oil.

5 – Pack the mixture into the tart dishes and add some pecans to decorate the tart for gorgeousness.

6 -Bake in the middle of the oven at 180.c/350.f for 20 – 25 mins depending on your oven.
Week 3  -The Cake Diaries was picked as one of the lucky few to feature at the Rainsborough Square Artisan food market.

“showcasing a select group of exceptional British and international produce from independent producers to celebrate Fulham’s rich foodie history” – Rainsborough Market.

IMG_4180

IMG_4192

I spent the next week running around London gathering ingredients, designing my stall and branding all sorts of things ready for my first ever stall! (Stressed? Me? Yes, totally!!) Mostly, I ran around in a circle going ‘I don’t think I know what I’m doing’. But enjoying myself immensely. I rewarded myself with practise baking and tasting new recipes like Greek orange yogurt and olive oil cake or pretzel choc chip cookie bars!

IMG_4222

IMG_4223

IMG_4219
It was a great surprise to be asked and I was delighted to be involved. It was a terrific day full of cake, friends and meeting lovely new clients. It was the first really cold day of the year here in London, so forgive me if you came to the stall and found me blue lipped and shaky handed!

Here is one of the recipes I featured on the stall.

Salted Caramel Peanut butter Blondies

These are gooey centred and buttery crusted naughtiness. They were one of the most popular deserts on the stall. It was helpful to have a fantastic coffee stall next to us as these Blondies went perfectly with The Colombian Coffee Companies full bodied, bright and buttery coffee.

Peanut Butter Salted Blondies? I am a nut butter nut. So much so I now make my own as I get the jitters if there isn’t a full jar in house. I love cashew nut, almond butter and hazelnut but especially peanut butter. It will ever have a special place in my heart and stomach! I regularly use it in my baking so when deciding on making Salted Caramel Blondies I just had to get some of my beloved peanut butter in there. Boy does this work! Usually, I would go for the crunchy kind rather than the smooth but the smooth just works so well for a really velvety, luxurious feel to the Blondie. Texture is king here…or Queen.

IMG_4224

Lets get started!

First, lets make the salted caramel sauce. Here I am featuring the recipe from Sally of Sally’s baking Addiction. There are lots of different recipes for this heavenly sauce (Jamie Oliver also makes a nice one) but Sally’s is my favourite. She has a joyful website full of colourful naughtiness.

Find her recipe here. http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/homemade-salted-caramel-recipe/

WARNING! Please be warned, when you add the butter to the melted sugar it spits like crazy so protect your hands with a tea towel and stir like crazy!!

Salted Caramel Sauce Ingredients

(Here I have developed my own Blondie recipe from a base recipe by Girl on a Mission. I am virtually high fiving her now).

200g Light Brown Sugar (you can use Granulated Sugar but I prefer to use unbleached Sugars where I can)

90g Salted Butter

1 tsp Salt

120ml Double cream

Salted Caramel Peanut butter Blondies

250g flour

2 eggs

250g Unsalted butter

200g Light Brown Muscavardo Sugar (packed)

1 tsp Vanilla Essence

2 pinches Salt

1 tsp baking Powder

250g Smooth Peanut butter (I use Whole earth as it’s organic and free from Sugars)

IMG_4273

Method – makes 12

Pre heat oven to 180.c, Line a 13inch x 8inch tin with baking paper

1 – Melt butter in a sauce pan over a moderate heat SECRET BAKING TIP ALERT FOR FUDGY CENTRES (when making something like a Blondie or American style cookie there are a couple of ways to make them ‘Fudgy’. One is to take them out of the oven a few minutes before the recipe describes so they are slightly rawer in the middle or to melt your butter. Due to the water content in the butter when melted it becomes more glutinous when mixed with dry ingredients. Creating  lovely fudgy centre).

2-  Allow sugar to cool off a little. A couple of minutes will do. In a mixing bowl whisk eggs and Vanilla essence together, then add sugar and slowly add your butter while stir gently with your other hand.

3 – Now, the best bit. Add your smooth peanut butter to the wet ingredients and bring together that luxurious velvety consistency I was talking about earlier.

4 – Add your flour, baking powder and salt.

5 -In your lined tin spread out a 1 and a half cm layer of the mixture. Then with a spoon blob on your Salted Caramel Mixture. How generous you are is obviously up to you but to get that caramel flavour really coming through go big.Transforming your Blondie from delicious to true decadence.

Best enjoyed at 4pm in the late afternoon energy dip with coffee or after dinner curled up in front of a gripping drama on the telly box. I recommend Broadchurch (who doesn’t)!

Next Week I will be sharing a new recipe I have developed that I can’t seem to get enough of. I take them everywhere.

Butternut squash and roasted pecan brownies

Dairy free (vegan), wheat free and oil free. Using a small amount of naturally occurring sugar.

These are not to be missed!

Healthy, clean eating, feel good food.

IMG_4268

If you have any questions regarding recipes don’t hesitate to get in touch. I would love to hear from you.

I look forward to seeing you again next time.

Yours truly,

The Cake Diaries xoxo

Sweet can be Healthy! Afternoon Tea with a twist.

I love, love afternoon tea! I always have. Call me old fashioned but I still try to uphold it everyday.

To those unsure of what ‘tea time’ is, it’s a small pause in the day, it’s around 4 – 5pm. It’s not lunch and it’s not dinner, it’s that hungry time of day when nothing but a cuppa will do and you fancy a treat. According to Afternoontea.co.uk (and I quote straight from their website) Tea time became popular around the early nineteenth century when the 7th Duchess of Bedford is said to have complained of ‘that sinking feeling’, during the late afternoon.

Amen sister!! We hear you!

(But I’m not talking about High tea and champers darling. Delicate morsels and genteel conversation, no that is a whole new blog for another time).

I’m talking good old fashioned British afternoon tea. I’m talking crumpets, toasted English muffins Eccles cakes, hot buttered toast oozing butter and marmalade, rock cakes and…..wait for it…. Scones! My all time favourite. Tea time has a lot of memories for me as it was the one sure time of day I would have my mother all to myself. It was the same thing most afternoons and it went a bit like this –
Slam front door.
Shout ‘Mum, I’m hooooommme’.
Thud upstairs as loud as an elephant.
Throw School uniform in all directions around the room.
Dress in ‘cool’ teenager clothes ( this usually meant gluing glittery stars to the side of my face, lots of bangles and large hoop earing) cringe, oh the 90’s!!
Be brought down the stairs by dreamy smell of baking coming from the kitchen.
Throw self on couch.
Search for TV remote always expertly hidden from sibling down back of sofa.
Door opens.
Heavenly mother enters with a tray laden with home made jams, a pot of tea with tea cosy!! And fresh from the oven something light, fluffy and Doughy, preferably with currents or chocolate chips. Then my mother would try her best to prize information from me about my day as I grunted teenage replies and got stuck in. Ahhhh, bliss!

Sadly, my mother is no longer with us and I am quite sure that is the reason that tea time is so special to me. It helps me to remember her and the happiness and warmth that always surrounded her. She was a real peach my mother and the sweetest kind. Though as a teenager I never told her, it really was the happiest part of my day and I wouldn’t have shared it with anyone else.

Now, eating tea time treats everyday may seem like a rather unhealthy pass time, but no!! It’s not and I won’t hear you say ‘I’d love to, but I really shouldn’t’ as you stare longingly at my chocolate brownies, strawberry tart or my beloved scones! You are not getting away with it I tell you and you shall have scones and feel damn good about it afterwards. There is nothing that pains me most than to see someone eat something they truly love, which gives them so much pleasure for all of 3 minutes then to see them end in complete misery and guilt about it. In my mind treat means special. Something to be taken time over, feel indulged by. So I’m flying the flag for ‘sweet can be healthy’.
What interests me most about baking is how versatile it can be. It’s not all about the sugar and butter and I’m not all about the sugar and butter either (see my Good morning Sunshine bars for more inspiration). So here is another recipe to feel truly good about.

IMG_3797

I am making my wheat-free, sugar-free, virtually fat free scones……. again for the 3rd time in 2 weeks.
I am tweaking the recipe as I go and have recorded with photo’s. I say virtually fat free as my first experiment with them was to make them totally fat free (no butter/Margarine) though in the back of my mind I knew that they would need a little fat to keep them as fluffy as possible and keep them ‘Scone like’. With no fat they are rather dry and tough. So in this recipe I use only 25g organic (vegan) margarine and the other 25g I make up with mashed avocado. There it is again my third blog recipe with avocado. My very own super food. Hopefully if you have never baked with avocado before and tried baking my Chocolate and Avocado cookies last week, this idea will be less scary.

IMG_3798

These Scones are my favourites right now as they are so quick and easy. A perfectly healthy and nutritious treat for mum’s looking for a healthy after school snack for the kids, an easy Vegan recipe for those eating clean and a sure fire way for a Polly like myself to get her girlfriends to stay for afternoon Tea!

You can have them steaming on a plate in 30mins flat. Using dried dates, and grated Apple for sweetness, keeping it wheat-free with wholemeal spelt flour for fibre and putting some really good natural fats into the mix with avocado. I will also tell you how I serve them best for a filling and nutritious meal.

Ingredients –

225g Wholemeal Spelt ( I use Doves Farm)

25g Avocado

1 Apple

50g dates

25g Organic Vegan Margarine

1tsp Cinnamon

1 & a half tsp baking powder

100m Almond milk

Pinch Salt

Almond milk (or Skimmed/semi skimmed milk).
Method –

0 – Pre-heat oven to 220.c / Gas mark 7/ 425.f

1 – Mix together the Flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

2 – Mash the Avocado. Add the Avocado and Organic Margarine and rub into the flour.

3 – Grate 1 apple and stir into the mixture and add your dates.

4- Gradually pour in the Almond milk until you reach a nice soft dough.

IMG_3799

5 – Kneed a little and with a rolling pin roll to about 1 inch – 1 inch & a half thick.

IMG_3800

6 – Using a round cookie cutter of 5cm or 6cm cut about 10 Scones.

IMG_3801

7 – Grease a baking tray and place the scones in the middle of the Oven and bake for around 12 Minutes.

8- As you wait with baited breath for them to rise, bake and the timer to ping I do the washing up to stop my complete frustration at having to wait 12 whole minutes for then to be ready!!

IMG_3802

Washing Up!

9 – My mother always use to tell me that after taking anything baked out of the oven you should wait until they cool. Sorry Mum! this is just not a possibility. Time waits for no scone!

IMG_3803

10 – Eat it hot and eat it now. I love slicing a scone open and watching a little steam rise from it’s belly and burning my finger tips a little as I prize it open. This is my scone ritual.

How I ate them (keeping it clean)  –

For afternoon Tea I had them fresh out of the oven with Greek yogurt and honey . Also perfect first thing in the morning sprinkled with Chia seeds.

The next day I warmed them up a little and had them for lunch topped with cream cheese and smoked, flaked salmon and salad. The Apple and date sweetness goes so well with the creamy cheese and smoked salmon fillets ( serve the salmon cold). So delicious.

They are a healthy alternative to the traditional teatime scone (depending on what you choose to put on them of course) I felt no guilt after eating 3 in a row!

So take a pause each day, linger over the wonderful tastes and textures and raise your china tea cups to cheers all the mum’s for this late afternoon treat. Up hold British tea time, stay healthy and love every mouthful, because baking is an adventure!!

Yours Truly,

The Cake Diaries…

 

 

Good morning Sunshine bars – Vegan, Wheat-free, sugar-free, butter-free and delicious (promise)!!

Good morning Sunshine bars – Vegan, Wheat-free, sugar-free, butter-free and delicious (promise)!!

Breakfast on a week day and brunch at the weekend are my favorite meals of the day! There is no end to the amount of different baked goods that can be consumed in the morning. But I am tiring of … Continue reading