2.7.15

Honey Almond Pear Cake

Pears are so underrated. I won't lie and pretend I'm not guilty. I too, often overlook the power and punch that a simple (or not) pear can punch. They're almost always available (like bananas and apples) and are at their peak during fall. Yet, they're one of the last fruits I tend to pick up at the grocery store.

I don't necessarily love eating them as is, but in baked treats, they are so good. Depending on the method, they get all caramelized and crispy, gooey and sweet or tart and crunchy. They're always my fallback if we don't have much fruit at home and unripe bananas off the shelves just won't cut it. MY favorite variety of pears to use is English conference pears, as they're generally ripe straight from the pack and it means I can bake when I want (and need) to!

Moving on to this cake - the first time I made it, it was slightly dry and could have definitely used more sweetness, so I tweaked the recipe and it's definitely much more to my taste now! I wouldn't recommend decreasing the coconut oil, but depending on how sweet or not you like your treats, I would increase or decrease the honey content. Feel free to sub with maple syrup or agave, but remember the flavor will defer slightly depending on which sweetener you choose.

No matter what you do, however, this cake will turn out luscious. Crusty on the bottom, moist inside and best of all, crusty-nutty-gooey on top (where the pears and almond slices are!).

Ingredients
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 tsp ground cardamom (or cinnamon or nutmeg)
pinch of salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 tsp almond extract
1/3 cup coconut oil
2/3 cup yogurt
1 1/2 pears, sliced
sliced blanched almonds, for topping

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease and flour a round cake pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and salt.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the vanilla until pale and frothy. Add the coconut oil, honey, yogurt, vanilla and almond extracts and beat again.

Add the dry mix to the wet mixture and stir until just combined.

Pour the batter into the cake pan, arrange pear slices on top and sprinkle with the sliced almonds.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out with a few tiny crumbs sticking on. It will continue to cook slightly as it cools, and you definitely don't want dry cake!

Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve warm, drizzled with some thick honey (if you're feeling indulgent!). Enjoy!

21.6.15

Banana Bread Marble Cake

It seems like you all loved my last banana bread mash up recipe! So I created another one. And this one has CHOCOLATE in it. That's right - chocolate! It's double the trouble, double the fun and double the deliciousness.
Banana bread with swirls of chocolate batter and topped with chocolate chips - what could be better? It's pretty darn hard to beat.

It's moist thanks to the coconut oil, buttermilk and mashed banana. I've always loved when my treats have a bit of a heartiness to them, so I added in some baby rolled oats, but feel free to substitute them for more wholewheat/plain flour if you prefer a smooth, lighter texture. I must admit that I totally forgot the vanilla when making this, and while the effect was almost unnoticeable, it lends a beautiful aroma and subtle sweetness to any baked good, so I left it on the ingredient list and will definitely remember to add it the next time I make this!
Perfect for breakfast, toasted with a pat of butter (or peanut butter? Mmmm!), perfect in large slices served with coffee/tea and even perfect for a post-dinner dessert with some chocolate sauce drizzle and a scoop of ice cream, if you're feeling indulgent!

Ingredients
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup wholewheat flour
1/2 cup baby rolled oats
3/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
2/3 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (approx. 3 medium)
2 eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g dark chocolate, melted
chocolate chips, for decorating

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 170 C. Line a loaf tin with baking paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together all purpose flour, wholewheat flour, oats, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, beak sugar and oil until well combined. Add banana, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla and beat again. 

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet and mix gently until just combined.

Scoop out 1/3 of the batter into a separate bowl and mix the melted chocolate into this portion of batter.

Spoon batter into the prepared loaf tin, alternating between plain and chocolate banana batters. Use a knife to create the swirly pattern. Sprinkle the top with chocolate chips, as many or as few as you like!

Place in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Delicious served warm or cold. Enjoy!

5.6.15

Chewy Almond Chocolate Chip Blondies

It is with great sadness that I bring to you the last recipe before June. Do keep reading, because this is a GREAT one! Or so I had hoped. I had begun drafting this recipe before I left for my last term of second year of university, but never got around to finishing it (major oops on my part!). Well anyways, that means good luck for you!

Also, exams are done, and the sun is shining, so it's officially SUMMER! Let's get back to the food now, shall we?

These gooey, fudgy, chocolate-y blondies taste nothing but decadent, AND they're good for you and that summer bikini bod, so there's no need to worry! These blondies are actually a spin off Momofuku's Perfect 10 Kookies, but healthier, chewier and in bar form!

I think the picture above did all the talking, but trust me when I say these were fab-u-lous! I mean look at those almond shards and did you see that melty chocolate? I know you did - just trying to rub it in here.


You'll definitely want to have a napkin or two on hand when eating these, as they are quite crumbly and you may need one to dab off the smears of chocolate surrounding your lips one you've scarfed these down!

But the messiness is worth it. What are you waiting for?

Ingredients
1 1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup plain flour
1 1/2 cup oats
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 170 C and line a brownie tray with baking paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (not the chocolate chips yet).

Add in the wet ingredients and mix with a large spoon until just combined.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Press the mixture into the prepared tray and place in the oven for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown on top.

While still warm from the oven, make cuts so that it is easier to break into bars once the blondies have fully set.

Try to let them cool for a bit (yes I know, it's hard to resist!) and enjoy!

14.4.15

Orange Coconut Cake

Temperatures crossed 20 C yesterday. I think that calls for another bright, fruity treat, following this creamy and zingy lemon & grapefruit cake. Orange and coconut is just the right combination. Close your eyes, take a bite of this cake, and get transported to a tropical haven.

I'm sitting here, writing this post, and wondering how five weeks has just flown by. This week I'm back to uni for a hectic and study-filled exam term up ahead. Let's not forget the fact that the weather is amazing, which calls for studying on the grass, picnics with friends and Pimms (once exams are done!). It's going to be a tough month and a half or so, but I know I can make it through!

Anyways, back to what matters - this cake. The shreds of coconut add a subtle sweetness, some really great texture and of course, a punch of tropical flavor. The orange zest brings this cake to life, and the almond flour keeps it utterly moist. No one wants a dry cake now, do they?

I was going back and forth between whether this needed frosting, a light glaze or nothing at all. As you can hopefully tell, I went with the third option and I'm so glad I did. For one, if eating this for breakfast or an afternoon snack, added sugar is completely unnecessary. We're always going for healthy and delicious here, remember? Plus, this way, the wonderful flavors in the cake are left to shine for themselves and could otherwise get hidden under and sugary topping.

This cake ends up baking really nice and high and forms a gorgeous golden brown crust as it does. Not sure why I haven't done this yet, but I bet it would be really nice to take a lovely thick slice, toast it and smear it with just a dab of butter. Oooh, I can just see the butter melting into the cake. Butter or not, this cake has an extremely high yum factor. Get baking!

Ingredients
1 1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup dessicated coconut, unsweetened
1 1/2 cup flour plain flour
1/2 cup almond flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, room temperature
3/4 cup unrefined sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 tbsp freshly grated orange zest

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 180 C and line a loaf baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the milk and coconut and let them sit while you get on with the next few steps.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate, large bowl, beat together the coconut oil and sugar until sugar is well blended in. Add in the eggs and vanilla and beat again until light and fluffy.

Into the egg mixture, add in half the milk/coconut mixture and half the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Add the remaining of both the mixtures and stir just until batter is smooth. Finally, add the orange zest and stir in gently.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 60 minutes or until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out just about clean (a few crumbs hanging are perfect!).

Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!