Monday, May 26, 2014

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake (Secret Recipe Club)

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Gluten Free Dairy Free ©

Secret Recipe Club time!

This month I was assigned The More than Occasional Baker by Ros and let me say it was an absolute pleasure spending some time on her blog. Baking has always been my first love but I'm not doing much of it these days because of time and dietary restrictions. I must have looked at/drooled over nearly every recipe on her blog and found so many things I would have loved to make (and eat). The Peanut Butter Toblerone Cheesecake and Neapolitan Rose Cake really caught my eye!

In the end I settled on this Chocolate Olive Oil Cake, not only because I had all the ingredients but because it sounded insanely good. It didn't disappoint! This is a Nigella Lawson recipe after all and they are always pretty reliable and delicious.

I made a few minor substitutions, replacing some of the regular olive oil with extra virgin, using dextrose instead of sugar and blitzing up some raw ABC nuts (almond, brazil and cashew) instead of the almond meal because that's what I happened to have. The resulting ground nuts weren't quite as fine as what you can buy but I think that added to the charm of this cake.

In case you can't tell, we LOVED this cake. Special enough for a dinner party but easily enough to make any time, this recipe is a winner. Thanks Ros!

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson via The More Than Occasional Baker

75 ml regular olive oil (plus more for greasing)
75 ml extra virgin olive oil
50 g good-quality cocoa powder
140 ml boiling water
2 teaspoons best vanilla extract
150 g ground almonds (or 125 g plain flour)
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 pinch of salt
144 g dextrose
3 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 160°C, fan-forced. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with a little oil and line the base and sides with baking paper.

Place the cocoa powder into a small bowl or jug and whisk in the boiling water and vanilla extract until you have a smooth but still runny paste. Set aside to cool a little. In another small bowl, stir together the ground almonds (or flour) with the bicarbonate of soda and pinch of salt.

Place the dextrose, olive oils and eggs into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer at high speed for about 3 minutes or until the mixture is pale, thick and aerated.

Pour in the cocoa mixture, beating until well incorporated then fold through the ground almond (or flour) mixture with a spatula until only just combined. The batter will be very liquid.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes (mine took 50 minutes and was still very wobbly but a skewer came out clean). The sides should be set and a cake tester should come out almost clean.

Allow to cool in the tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes before carefully removing the tin. Can be eaten warm or cool, either way it will blow your mind! It is pretty rich though so this would easily serve 12, especially if served warm with ice cream. I served it to my boys with a dollop of sweet and creamy greek yoghurt as pictured.

NB. The cake appeared very light, spongy and wobbly at the 50 minute mark but I trusted the skewer coming out clean to tell me it was cooked. It collapsed considerably upon cooling but that is typical of cakes like this and it was incredibly moist and perfectly cooked. So keep an eye on it and don't over-bake!

Secret Recipe Club

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

No Bake Lactation Cookies (Bliss Ball Slice)

no bake lactation cookies aka bliss ball slice from

 If you have no interest in breastfeeding this may not be the post for you!

As any new parent will tell you, the first few months with a baby revolve around feeds, sleeps and nappy changes. While I have happily breastfed all 3 of my boys it has not always been easy. In fact at some points it has been excruciatingly painful and downright stressful.

With each baby though I have learnt new strategies and this time around one thing I committed to doing was increasing/maintaining my supply through my diet.

I found some really good recipes for lactation cookies online and made a couple of batches a few weeks before my due date to stash in the freezer. I snacked on a few in the days before Noah was born and took a bagful to the hospital with me as well.

I found the midwives to be really interested and supportive of the choices we made during labour (things like having a doula and choosing drug-free methods of pain relief) and they were keen to find out about what I was doing in the days after Noah was born as well. I snacked on my lactation cookies immediately after labour and at all hours of the day and night in those first few sleepless days and I can say with certainty that my milk came in almost a full day earlier than was expected or had experienced before. Was it the cookies? Who knows, but they certainly didn't do any harm!

My research showed that the key active ingredients in lactation cookies are oats, flaxseed and brewers yeast so every batch I made was based around those.

Some of the sites I found suggested that you could see better results if you just ate the dough rather than bake them. Even after pregnancy I am a little leery of raw eggs (even though that isn't too much of an issue here in Australia) so I always baked mine. That is until I came up with the idea to combine the active ingredients of a lactation cookie with the energy packed ingredients of a bliss ball!

I found it really easy to make up a big batch of my lactation bliss balls and store them in the freezer to grab as an easy snack during the day or a pick-me-up during Noah's nighttime feeds. Those bliss balls really got me through those first few exhausting months!

Lately I can't be bothered to roll the mixture into balls so I simply line a large baking dish with paper and press the mixture in well. Once it has chilled in the fridge I slice it into squares and throw in the freezer. Easy. Both my big boys love them as well so they sometimes get some of 'mummy's special slice' as a treat too.

No Bake Lactation Cookies (Bliss Ball Slice)
Recipe by me

2 cups traditional rolled oats
2 cups raw ABC nuts (almond, brazil and cashew nuts)
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup raw cacao
2 tbs brewers yeast
2 tbs coconut oil
1 tbs cinnamon
1/2 ts sea salt
1/2 cup rice malt syrup
1-2 tbs rice milk

Line a lamington tray with baking paper and set aside.

Place the oats and nuts into a food processor and blitz to a fine crumb. Add in remaining dry ingredients and process until well combined. Add the rice malt syrup and coconut oil and process until the mixture becomes sticky and starts to clump together. Only add the milk if needed, a little at a time.

(Make sure you taste the mixture at this stage. Brewers yeast has quite a strong flavour so you can add more syrup or other spices (ginger works well) or even some dried fruit. I find the cinnamon and rice malt syrup to be sweet enough for me and the salt creates a yummy and really balanced taste.)

Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and press down well before placing in the fridge to chill for 1 hour.

Remove from the fridge and tip the slice out onto a large cutting board. Using a large sharp knife slice into small squares (I get at least 40 from this amount). Place in an airtight container and store in the freezer.

I found snacking on a few of these every afternoon really helped to boost my supply for Noah's evening feeds, which was always when he was hungriest and wanted to cluster-feed. They also make a great breakfast on the run which is perfect if you have older children and can't sit down to eat properly in the mornings.

* This post does not constitute medical advice, it is for your information only. If you are having issues with breastfeeding please consult a GP, lactation consultant or child health nurse.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Blueberry Muffins - Wheat, Dairy and Sugar Free

Blueberry Muffins Wheat free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free ©
It's been a while since I posted anything in my Sunday Baking series but these fit the bill perfectly! I've been making tons of muffins lately as they are the perfect portable snack for my husband to take to work, for me to grab on the run and to give my kids for afternoon tea.

I think I have finally perfected a go-to muffin recipe and I have made endless variations of these recently and they are always delicious. You can make them with any fruit or spice you like and they thaw beautifully so they are great to bake and freeze ahead of time.


Blueberry Muffins
Recipe by me

2 cups wholemeal spelt flour
3/4 cup dextrose
1 tbs baking powder
2 ts cinnamon
1 cup frozen blueberries
125ml coconut oil
3/4 cup non-dairy milk of your choice (slightly warmed so it doesn't solidify the coconut oil)
3 eggs (at room temperature)

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl then add the blueberries and toss to combine. In a separate bowl beat together the oil, eggs and milk and pour into the dry ingredients. Mix together with a large metal spoon until only just combined.

Spoon mixture into a well greased 12-cup muffin tray. Bake in a preheated 170 degree oven for approx 20-25 minutes or until the top springs back when touched.

Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before carefully turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 12
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