28.8.16

Chocolate Orange Swirl Bundt

Chocolate and orange is just one of those things - in general, you either love it or hate it. I went from the latter to the former (and am now almost mildly obsessed!).
There's just something about the brightness of orange combined with the richness of chocolate that makes the combination, well, impeccable, really. Yeah, okay, this is my twenty-year-old self talking. Fifteen-year-old Tanvi would tell you otherwise. But trust me.

Let's just look at how pretty this cake is. Swirls just have a soft spot in my heart. And do you see how nicely swirled the swirl is? #swirlfreakhere. I'll teach you a tip (#1): the way to get the swirls all stripey and perfect is to use a technique used to make "zebra swirls". Here's the low down. Once you have the two different batters - chocolate and orange - use an ice cream scoop or large spoon to pour two spoonfuls of orange mixture into the bundt pan. Next alternate and pour one spoonful of chocolate mixture on top of the orange mixture. Continue to alternate between orange and chocolate layers until bundt pan is filled, pouring each next layer directly on top of the previous and letting the batter spread in the pan itself.

The cake is moist, soft and has the perfect amount of crumb. It looks gorgeous both because of the swirls and the bundt shape. Tip #2 of this post: bundt pans are your secret to making any cake dessert- and crowd-worthy. They don't require frosting, a streusel topping or anything fancy. A simple dusting of powdered sugar will do the trick.

Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 cup unrefined sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil, softened
3/4 cup plain yogurt
5 tsp orange juice
4 tsp freshly grated orange zest
5 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk, divided

Instructions
Lightly grease and flour a bundt pan and set aside. Preheat your oven to 175°C.
Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat coconut oil and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat well after each addition.

Add the half the mixed dry ingredients and half the yogurt to the beaten butter mixture and use a large spoon to mix until just combined. Repeat again, using the remainder of the dry mixture and the yogurt. 

Divide the mixture into a 60:40 split.

Mix the cocoa powder into the milk and pour this mixture into the 40% split part. Gently mix until just combined.

Fold the orange rind and orange juice into the other split (60% one).

Pour the batter into the prepared bundt tin using the zebra swirl method described above. Alternatively, spoon the orange and chocolate batters alternately into the pan and use the normal swirling method of running the back of a spoon or knife to through the batter.

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until nicely risen and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then run a knife gently around the edges and tip the cake over into a plate.

Enjoy!

7.8.16

Raw Chocolate Brownies

The weather is stunning today in London. Bright sunshine, clear blue skies and a vibrancy that this city has that's impossible to miss. It's 3 pm on Saturday afternoon and the weekend has definitely gotten off to a great start. It began with a quick 30 min walk in the park (was pretty exhausted after a long week of work to do a proper run), which was followed by breakfast at a nearby bakery - my picks for today were a dark chocolate muffin and fresh orange juice.
Yeah, the dark chocolate muffin was pretty much like eating full on cake for breakfast. It was super rich (but not in a heavy sense), uber chocolatey, filled to the brim with lots of chocolate chunk and had the perfect, and I mean perfect, crusty/chewy muffin top. I'm all about the eating well, but mostly because it makes me feel good. And, sometimes, cake for breakfast does just the trick. Long story short: had a bomb.com chocolate muffin (more like cake) for breakfast and no regrets.
Right, let's get back to happenings of the day. The sweet morning was followed by a few hours out with one of my best gal pals. We made the most of the gorgeous weather and walked along the Thames River from London Bridge to Big Ben. We talked, took some pics and had a great time.

I made it home just in time for a much-needed wholesome meal (after lots of eating out during the week because I barely make it home in time for dinner!). A long-overdue Skype call with one of my childhood friends followed. Which brings me to now - I'm currently snacking on some blueberries, a sliced banana and some peanut butter (i.e. my happy place!). I'm soon heading off to BBQ and then going for dinner with the sis to a place that specializes in 20 inch pizzas - yup, 20 inches, you read right. PS. That's massive if you haven't already got the point. In essence, it's turning out to be a pretty splendid Saturday. And I can only hope that Sunday is just as good!
These raw brownies are some of the densest, fudgiest, bestest (see they're even throwing my language skills off whack!) things that have ever entered my mouth. No, they're not a direct substitute for warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven chewy brownies that you can top with a scoop of ice cream and hot fudge. But YES, oh yes, they are a wonderful dessert that you can eat anytime to curb your sugar cravings and chocolate cravings. And... well... I have been eating them anytime (and everytime).

They're good. Trust me.  

Ingredients
For the brownie:
1 1/2 cups mixed nuts (I used walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts and pistachios)
20 medjool dates, pitted
1//3 cup raw cacao powder
pinch of salt
For the frosting:
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
2 tbsp pure maple syrup

Instructions
Line a 8x8 brownie pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Pulse the mixed nuts together until crumbly. You don't want them to turn into a powder and definitely not nut butter, so don't over-pulse!

In the same food processor or blender (no cleaning required!), blend the dates until they form a sticky paste. Pour back in the pulsed nuts, add the cacao powder and salt and mix until well combined.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press down evenly.

Whisk together the coconut oil, cacao powder and maple syrup for frosting. Pour and spread on top of date nut brownie layer.

Place in the freezer to set for a couple of hours and slice into squares.

These can be stored in the fridge or freezer (I prefer the latter!). 

Enjoy!!

31.7.16

Carrot Chocolate Chunk Bread

Carrot cake is such a timeless classic. It's homely and comforting, spicy and sweet, naughty yet nice. It's great when wrapped in a gorgeous cream cheese frosting (best saved for those indulgent occasions!), drizzled in a simple glaze or even just studded with toasted nuts, dried fruit or chocolate chips.
Let's start with the backstory. As usual, the weekend comes around and I'm ever ready to bake something. As usual, in wondering what I should make next and as usual (see the trend here?) I'm planning to turn to the fam for some suggestions/inspirations if they haven't already hit yet. Because, let's be honest, what's the good in baking if no one's going to eat it?

But...

My sister preempted this by asking for carrot cake. This was rather rare, as although she's usually one of the first takers of my baked goods, she's usually the last to actually request something be made. There was no further thinking - carrot cake it would be! And the addition of chocolate? Well, that simply goes without saying.

The combination is unbeatable. Sweet, moist, warm carrot cake with small chunks of dark chocolate chunks with a whole lotta personality.

I may have (I did) eaten this for breakfast, as a mid-afternoon snack and even late at night when the midnight munchies hit. I've spent the past five weeks (and will be doing so for the next five!) interning and often get home pretty late at night. It's been a couple of hours since I've had dinner and my body and mind are craving a small sweet treat before bed that'll satisfy the sugar needs, yet not make me feel too sluggish or heavy to go to bed. And this definitely fits the bill (as do these chocolate peanut butter fudge slices and some raw brownies that are coming to the blog soon!). Basically this carrot cake is so good and versatile it's hard not to like it. Both die-hard dessert fans (depending on how hardcore) and people who like an ever-so-slightly sweet treat here and there will love this. What are you waiting for?

Ingredients
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup self-raising flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup baby oats
4 tbsp coconut oil
2 eggs
2/3 cup unrefined sugar
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate (chocolate chips or chocolate chunks would work too)
Optional: chopped toasted walnuts, raisins

Instructions
Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with baking paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flours,  baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in the baby oats and sugar.

In a separate, smaller bowl, beat together the coconut oil and eggs. Add the milk and vanilla and beat again.

Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in the wet and stir until just combined. Fold in the grated carrot. Finally, gently fold in the chocolate chips (and nuts and raisins, if using).

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cut into thick slices and serve. Grab your favorite book (or movie), a cup of coffee or tea (or iced coffee if you're me) and enjoy!

23.7.16

Raspberry Blueberry Oatbake

Berries are just freakishly beautiful. They take any slice of cake, bowl of oatmeal, stack of pancakes, fruit salad, you name it (within reason!) to the next level. As a rule of thumb, if you can add berries, add them. Profound, huh? They pack a punch of nutrients, freshness, color and of course, flavor!
This creation was yet again inspired by something I ate for breakfast in a cafe recently - a very rustic, no frills cafe to be exact. And that's exactly how the delicious goodies on offer were too - rustic, no frills, no fancy ingredients and not overly sweet. And to be honest, that's exactly what I want at breakfast. Too often, I find myself eating a muffin or the like that almost feels too sugary by the end of it so early on in the day. Problem is (or not?), my body needs the sugar kick in the morning so eggs don't usually cut it. Eggs for lunch, though? I'm a fan. As for breakfast, I'm a muesli, overnight oats, peanut butter toast, granola, smoothie bowl or baked goods kinda gal. 
This berry oatbake is extremely easy to throw together and totally adaptable to your preference of berries. I went with raspberries and blueberries as this is what I had in the cafe and loved the combo. I can imagine blackberries, cherries, sliced strawberries or even plums and peaches would work well too!

It's great at breakfast, tea-time, or even as a beautiful summer dessert! And guess what? It's definitely pretty enough (and yummy enough!) to serve to guests or bring to a party. 

Ingredients
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup hot milk
3 tbsp coconut oil, at room temperature
4 tbsp unrefined sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup fresh raspberries
3/4 cup fresh blueberries

Instructions
Start by pouring the hot milk over the oats and letting them soak for a while to absorb the milk and cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 175 C. 

Beat the coconut oil and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the honey and vanilla extract and beat again. Add the egg, and beat well. 

Sift the baking powder and flour into the wet ingredients and fold to combine. 

Pour out any remaining milk from the soaked oat mixture, then fold the soaked oats into the batter.

Lightly brush a square baking tin with coconut oil, then pour in the prepared batter. Sprinkle the blueberries and raspberries on top.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until nicely golden brown, some berries have burst and until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the oatbake cool in the tin for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool further.

For extra fanciness, dust with powdered sugar before serving (but totally unnecessary and better avoided because the extra sugar is really unnecessary!). I'm more than sure you will, but... Enjoy!