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!

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

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.



Oat Shortbread Cookies with Dark Chocolate Drizzle

Oat flour is magical. No, seriously. I've just had the best luck when using it. I've started incorporating it into my recipes more and more lately, and each one has been such a success!
These cookies are no exception. Let me explain. On Saturday, I made fifteen cookies. On Sunday evening, we had two left. And by we, I just mean the four of us - mom, dad, sister and me! That makes four people, thirteen (large) cookies and two days. 
I can see you thinking, they must be good cookies. Well, you're most definitely on the ball. Does it surprise you that they're good for you too? 
Oh, by the way, if you're drooling by now, I don't blame you!

Full of oats that lend an amazing texture, hints of nutmeg to add that extra kick and most importantly, a generous drizzle of dark chocolate to amplify the richness, these cookies are perfect for dunking, snacking and nibbling!

1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup plain flour
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup coconut oil, room temperature
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp unrefined sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
40 grams dark chocolate, for drizzle

In a food processor, spice grinder or blender, pulse to oats till a coarse flour forms. I like leave small bits of oats so that the final product has a bit of a bite to it, but if you're not a big fan of texture, pulse away until a fine flour forms!

In a small bowl, mix together the oat flour, plain flour, salt and nutmeg.

In a larger bowl, beat together the coconut oil and sugar until creamy. Add the vanilla and egg and beat again.

Gently stir in the dry ingredients until just combined.

Dump the batter/dough on a clean surface and roll in a log. Wrap with cling film and refrigerate for an hour or freeze for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 175 C. Line a large cookie sheet with baking paper.

Remove the cookie dough from the fridge/freezer and slice into 1 cm thick disks. Place on the baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and just about crisp to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate. When cookies are completely cool, drizzle the chocolate over each cookie. Let the chocolate set for about half an hour before serving.



Lemon & Grapefruit Almond Cake

Despite the moody British weather, I'm taking the liberty to claim that spring is in full swing. And what better than citrus to celebrate spring?
I'm bringing you this incredibly moist, zing-y, melt-in-your-mouth lemon and grapefruit almond cake. The almond flour lends a moistness factor of infinity, meaning this cake only needs a little bit of coconut oil to give it that little extra tenderness. The almond extract adds a sweet undertone, one that if asked, you most definitely wouldn't be able to place your finger on. And the citrus flavors? Well, they're what really make this cake shine!

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. The grapefruit happened by accident. I was zesting a lemon, and then panicked when I realized it was my last one. We were out of oranges as well... And then I spotted it: a single grapefruit at the back of my fridge. Grapefruit to the rescue! And now, I wouldn't make this cake any other way. Combining the two zests adds a real depth of flavor and richness that is extraordinary. That said, just lemon would be oh-so-good too!

The final touch, the lemon glaze, is extremely simple, so don't miss it. It adds a final burst of tang, an envelope of sweetness and a sugary crustiness that completes this cake. It's time for you to now enjoy spring with a burst of zing! Make this. Now.

Oh, and Happy Easter!

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup almond flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp grapefruit zest
1/4 cup coconut oil, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

For the glaze and topping:
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp lemon zest
water, to thin
2 tbsp sliced toasted almonds, for topping

Preheat the oven to 175 C and line a loaf baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix in the almond flour and lemon and grapefruit zests.

In a separate, larger bowl, beat together the coconut oil and sugar. Add in the eggs and beat again. Finally, add the ricotta, lemon juice, vanilla and almond extracts and beat once again until thickened and fluffy.

Pour in the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.

Place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes until top is slightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Be sure to make sure the cake is completely cool before glazing!

Once cake is completely cool, make the glaze.

Whisk together all the ingredients for the glaze, except water (and sliced almonds, of course!). If the glaze seems too thick, add water until a desired consistency is reach. If it's too thin, add some more powdered sugar. There's no perfect consistency and it's really up to you. Sometimes I'm in the mood for a really thick layer, other times I just want a thin coating.

Ensuring cake is completely cooled, drizzle the glaze over top and sprinkle on the sliced almonds. Let the glaze set for around 20 minutes before serving.

Slice, serve and enjoy!