Thursday, October 30, 2014

Banana Layer Cake with Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting

So Noah was lucky enough to have 2 cakes for his first birthday - his smash cake on the weekend and then another cake on his actual birthday. I love the combination of banana and chocolate and knew as soon as I saw this cake on Whipped that it would be perfect for my little birthday boy. I made only minor changes to the cake recipe and smothered it in a gorgeous dairy free chocolate ganache.

The cake was a big hit with everyone but I unfortunately didn't get any great pictures of it. Noah may not look too happy in this shot but believe me the cake disappeared in record time. This cake eating is serious business!

Banana Layer Cake (Dairy Free)
Adapted from Whipped

2 cups plain flour
1 ts baking powder
3/4 teaspoon bicarb soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dextrose*
1/3 cup olive oil
2 ts vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe banana (around 3 medium bananas)
1/2 cup coconut yoghurt (or regular yoghurt if not dairy free)

Preheat oven to 180°. Grease and line 2 x 8 inch round cake pans and set aside.

Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl, stirring together with a whisk.

In a stand mixer or food processor, combine the dextrose, oil, vanilla, mashed banana and eggs and beat at medium speed until well combined. Add in the flour mixture and yogurt alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake at 180° for 30-35 minutes (mine were done at 25 minutes so check early and often) or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing from the pans and cooling completely on wire racks.

*If you want to use regular sugar you will need to check the original recipe as I made a few minor changes to compensate for the dextrose.

Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting

For the frosting I adapted Quirky Cooking's dairy free chocolate ganache which I have previously used as a tart filling here. I chilled it for a few hours then whipped it in the thermomix with the butterfly attachment for 20 seconds or so until it was thick and fluffy. I popped it back in the fridge for 10 minutes before icing the cake.

To assemble the cake:

Level the tops of the cakes if needed (I only level the bottom layer), then smooth about 1/3 of the frosting on top of one cake layer. Gently place the second layer on top and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with sprinkles. The cake will keep covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Monday, October 27, 2014

5 Ingredient Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies (Secret Recipe Club)

5 Ingredient Gluten Free Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies ©

It's Secret Recipe Club time! Each month SRC members are assigned another member's blog in secret to peruse and choose a recipe to make, photograph and blog about. Reveal day is seriously one of my favourite days!

This month I was assigned Shockingly Delicious by Dorothy and let me tell you I spent many happy hours perusing her blog (when I should have been studying!). Dorothy has 25 years of food writing and recipe development experience and it really shows. Her blog is full of scrumptious 'scary good' food and is beautifully written. I thought I had a lot of cookbooks but Dorothy has more than 400!

There were quite a few recipes which caught my eye. I will definitely be surprising my kids with her Strawberry-Citrus Frappe after school one day soon, and I can't wait to try the Breakfast Banana Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Leftover Panettone after Christmas (it might take me until then to perfect a dairy-free version of that one!).

But after all that I really couldn't go past these peanut butter cookies. I already have 2 recipes for peanut butter cookies here but neither of them are as simple as this one, and that's exactly what I'm after these days. With only 5 ingredients and no flour or dairy these fit the bill perfectly. I've made 2 batches this month, one with peanut butter and one with almond butter and both were gobbled up in record time.

I used natural peanut butter so added 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the batter.

5 Ingredient Gluten Free Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from Shockingly Delicious

1 egg
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar (I used dextrose)
1 ts vanilla extract
1/2 ts bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

In a food processor or large bowl with electric beater, beat all ingredients together until smooth, about 1 minute.Scoop out teaspoons of mixture, roll into balls and place on prepared trays. Flatten with a a fork.

Bake for 10-11 minutes. They will be just golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the trays for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Try to stop at just one. 

Dorothy got 32 from this recipe but I got just 22.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Noah's 1st Birthday Smash!


A big happy birthday to my beautiful Noah!! He turned 1 on Tuesday and is the sweetest little boy. Sigh. Why do children have to grow up so quickly?!

I've made a concerted effort this year to do some special things for Noah, partly just because I wanted to and partly because I didn't want him to look back at photos and feel like he missed out! He is the third of 3 boys after all.

So for the past year I have been taking a photo of him every week in the same spot and lying on the same little blue striped blanket. It got harder and harder as the year went on to keep him on that blanket but we now have 52 lovely little photos that show his progression from teeny tiny baby to big, solid 1 year old.

I also decided to do a cake smash for him (something I never did for the other 2). The only thing was his dairy intolerance (or allergy, we're not sure which yet), which made choosing a cake and icing recipe quite tricky. Luckily a grain and dairy free smash cake popped up in my facebook feed one day. Perfect!

I thought I had planned well but we still had a few hiccups such as my camera dying after only a few photos despite being fully charged, the sun shining under the fence more than expected so we had to hunt around for something to block it and then then the actual smash being far less messy than anticipated! Seriously he didn't even need a bath just a good wipe down. Without a real buttercream there just wasn't as much to smear around.

Still, he had an absolute ball! Lots of cake eaten and squished in chubby fists and sat on. So, so cute and lots of fun for all of us to watch.

Bottom line even if your little one has allergies a smash cake is still possible!

Grain and dairy free smash cake 1st birthday boy  ©

Coconut Flour Smash Cake
Slightly adapted from Urban Poser
(Makes a 2 layer 4 inch smash cake)

1/2 cup (60g) coconut flour, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
5 large eggs
1/2 cup (112g) coconut oil
1/2 cup (175 ml) rice malt syrup (or honey to be grain free)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line 2 x 4 inch cake pans with parchment paper (mine were spring form pans which made for very easy removal of the cakes).

In a small bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together and set aside. Then separate 2 of the eggs (yolks from the whites), setting the whites aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the 3 whole eggs, two egg yolks, coconut oil, honey, vanilla and lemon juice until they are well combined. Then whisk in the flour mixture till completely smooth, with no lumps.

In another bowl beat the egg whites till soft peaks form (looks like softly whipped cream). Gently fold the egg-whites into the batter till theres is only a few streaks of whites visible.

Pour half the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake 20-25 minutes or until the tops springs back when lightly pressed (mine took 30 minutes and one was ready before the other, perhaps had slightly more mixture in that pan). Allow the cake to cool for 5-10 minutes, then carefully remove from the pan and cool completely.


 I used a few tablespoons of my homemade roasted strawberry chia seed jam.

Coconut Butter Frosting (Thermomix)

Recipe adapted from Clever Cook

200g coconut butter (I made my own, see recipe below)
2 tbs dextrose
3 cubes of ice
juice of one lemon
dash of cold water if required
a few drops of natural food colouring

Place the first 4 ingredients into the mixing bowl and process on speed 9 for 20 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and repeat. If the coconut butter is not soft and fluffy, add a dash of water and continue (I needed 4 tablespoons of water to get the right consistency). Add the food colouring little and little, processing in between until you get the desired colour. Use immediately.

Store the covered cake in the fridge but remove it at least 1 hour before serving to allow it to soften.

Coconut Butter (Thermomix)
Recipe from Super Kitchen Machine

400g dessicated coconut

Place into the mixing bowl and process 3 minutes / 37 degrees / speed 8.  That's it!

Pour into a jar and store at room temperature. It will be liquid but will harden as it cools.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Magic Bean Chocolate Cake with Cashew Cream Frosting

Magic Bean Chocolate Cake ©

There have always been lots of chocolate cake recipes with secret ingredients - like beetroot, beer and even mayonnaise. The latest thing seems to be beans and it's had me intrigued for months. I mean, you really can't taste them? Not even a little bit? Well I finally made my own 'magic bean' cake and it's true, if you didn't know they were there you would have no idea there is an entire large can of kidney beans in this cake.

What you get is an amazingly moist, almost fudgy chocolate cake with absolutely no hint of beans whatsoever. It was a huge hit with my kids who have been pleading for more magic bean cake ever since!

I made the recipe exactly as written using the remnants of a bag of brown sugar I found hiding up the back of the pantry. My sugar-free palate found it too sweet so next time I will be using sugar alternatives, but the rest of the family had no such reservations.

Rather than make a regular icing I decided to cross another item off my to-do list and make a cashew cream icing instead. It was delicious! Much thicker than I was expecting so we opted to smear each individual slice with the cashew cream instead of decorating the whole cake.

Both of these recipes are for the Thermomix and in fact the cake recipe, as created by Sarah of Clever Cook, won recipe of the year for 2012 on the Thermomix Recipe Community!

You can of course make this cake using a high powered blender or food processor, anything that will get both the beans and the cashews blended into a very smooth paste. I actually didn't let my cashews get smooth enough as you can see from the picture but that's one of the hazards of baking with kids, things sometimes get rushed or missed!

I will be making both of these again and will update this post with my tweaks.

Magic Bean Chocolate Cake with Cashew Cream Frosting ©

Magic Bean Chocolate Cake (Thermomix)
Recipe from Clever Cook

450g canned kidney beans – drained and rinsed
1 tbs water or coffee
1 tbs vanilla extract
70g cocoa powder
1 ts baking powder
1/2 ts baking soda
1/4 ts salt
125g softened butter or oil
180g brown sugar (I would suggest cutting this back by at least 1/3)
5 eggs

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius fan-forced. Grease a ring or bundt pan very well and set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar together on speed 5 for 45 seconds.

Add the beans, water/coffee, I egg and vanilla and beat again until smooth on speed 7.

Add the remaining eggs and beat for 20 seconds on speed 4.

Add the cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and blend on speed 4 for 10 seconds.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes (mine took 45) or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

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

Cashew Cream Frosting (Thermomix)
Adapted from Clever Cook

130g raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours
3 tbs rice malt syrup
1 tbs cacao
2 ts vanilla extract
1/4 ts salt
70g water
90g coconut oil

Put the first 5 ingredients into the thermomix and grind on speed 9 for 1 minute. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl and add the water and coconut oil. Blend for a further 3 minutes, stopping and scraping down the bowl a few times. It will eventually become smooth. Check for sweetness and add more syrup if needed. If it is too thick add a little more water, a few teaspoons as a time. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate for a few hours. Whip again before using if has set hard.

Both the cake and frosting are packed with protein and very nutrient dense, so a small piece goes a long way!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Orange and Almond Toasted Muesli

Orange and Almond Toasted Muesli ©
Doesn't that look like a big bowl of sunshine??

When I first had to give up dairy breakfast was the meal I was most worried about. I mean without milk for cereal, yoghurt, cheese or even butter, what on earth was I going to eat?! But I needn't have worried. While I do miss yoghurt, there are good substitutions for everything else and it just takes a little creative thinking.

I've been experimenting with different mueslis for breakfast for months now. I make a killer chocolate and chia muesli (recipe to come) but I wanted something a little lighter and fresher this time around, esecially now that the weather is starting to warm up.

Orange and almond is one of those flavour combinations that just works, and there are lots of recipes for dairy and gluten free orange and almond cakes. I've made a great one myself (although it disappeared too quickly for me to get a photo!).

The flavours work just as well as a muesli and when served with some sliced fresh fruit and a little cashew milk it makes a delicious, nutritious and really filling breakfast.

Orange and Almond Toasted Muesli
Makes - a lot!

1kg rolled oats
2 cups coconut flakes
2 cups raw almonds, chopped as finely as you like
1 tbs cinnamon
125g rice malt syrup
125g coconut oil
juice and zest of 1 large orange
1/2 ts sea salt

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius. Grease 2 large baking dishes and set aside.

In a vary large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, cinnamon and salt.

Place the rice malt syrup, coconut oil, orange juice and orange zest in a small pan over medium heat and bring just to the boil. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir well to combine.

Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 trays and bake for approx 45 minutes, stirring at least 3 times and rotating the trays so it browns evenly. I like mine quite toasty brown but keep an eye on it and remove it when it is as dark as you like. It will smell toasty and citrus-y but will still seem a bit damp - it will dry out as it cools.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. It will stay fresh for a couple of weeks, or you can freeze it in batches and just bring out what you need for a few days.


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