Vegan Gooey Mocha Brownie Pudding

 

IMG_6241When the days are growing darker and the sun seems to be retreating behind the clouds more everyday day, this is what I crave. I know for a lot of you summer is still in full swing. I mean, its August. But here in the UK however, it feels like October most of the days. The rain showers for hours on end although we still have those occasional summery moments but they are few and far between.

Who am I kidding anyway, it could be 30 degrees outside and I’d still want this. Its part of my DNA. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t reach for some chocolate. Lets be real.

So I bring you something that I loved to eat before becoming vegan and as always, anything can be made just as tasty vegan! I went a little crazy and added dark and white chocolate for added indulgence. I also popped in a hit of my favourite organic coffee because coffee always brings out the flavour in chocolate and seems to make it taste richer.

I love that all these ingredients are already in my cupboards and its so quick to make. Perfect when you’re in need of a quick chocolate fix. Just please don’t overbake this loveliness. Keep that centre gooey and a little underbaked. Keep that sponge dense and rich. Keep your belly, mind and taste buds chipper.

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Lemon & Blueberry Drizzle Cake with Summer Berries

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I made this cake about a month ago. I know, I should’ve shared it sooner. Especially since it was such a crowd pleaser with my family. However, work and life got in the way and before I knew it a month had passed. So has the beautiful summer weather it seems. If anyone feels like reminding England that its July and supposed to be sunny, that would be great.

As much as I love this cake; its simplicity, its humble inviting nature and its glorious taste. It didn’t come without its trial and tribulations. This photoed (and thankfully last) cake was actually attempt number three. After two attempts the previous day (my heart breaks at the amount of wasted lemons) I decided to give it one last shot on the morning of my sisters birthday meet up. THANK GOD it worked or I would’ve probably begun to question my ability as a pastry chef.

I have a big weak spot for a simple slice of cake. Add some fresh seasonal fruit and honestly, I’m yours. There’s something about a simple fresh sponge that just makes my heart sing. This beautiful loaf is light but packed with lemon flavour (three lemons worth!) In every slice you’ll find beautiful blueberry jewels, a generous amount of lemon syrup and sticky lemon icing.

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Raw Peanut Butter & Banana ‘Cheesecake’ (Raw/Vegan/GlutenFree)

IMG_6122I love the idea of raw food. The idea that I’m eating my food closest to its natural form as possible and taking in those nutrients with minimal processing. I have done a lot of blending here but I’d much rather eat bananas, peanuts, dates and coffee in ‘cheesecake’ form rather than eating them on their own. This is much more appealing.

I love eating raw but right now, it’s not an option for me to do full-time. I love my hot food too much. England being generally chilly most of the year, hot food is a comfort and warmth I crave and need. If I lived in a hotter climate with an abundance of ripe, seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables, I think it would be a bigger possibility.

So I’ll stick with a few raw dishes here and there for now.

This recipe comes adapted from a book my mum gifted to me recently. Its called ‘Raw Cake’ by The Hardihood. It’s a great book full of smoothie/juice recipes, raw cheesecakes, tarts and desserts. A really interesting read in terms of ingredients, some I’ve never even heard of. Collagen powder? Camu Camu powder? This does put me off a few recipes as the ingredients would take more effort to source, but if I really like the look of something I’ll go searching for it.

I chose this recipe because, first of all, I’m obsessed with peanut butter and bananas. Second, it was one of the more simple recipes in the book and included ingredients I already have. As I was tinkering away in the kitchen I decided to add coffee into the base (because one can never have enough coffee) and played around with the liquid consistency in both the base and filling. The filling seemed quite stodgy so I added a good helping of nut milk to thin it out a little as well as adding in a layer of thick sliced banana to give a banoffee pie vibe. Because… BANANAS!

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Rich Chocolate Cake, Raspberry Chia Seed Jam with Chocolate Orange Ganache

IMG_5988As much as I love a good, healthy, raw, vegan dessert; sometimes I just want a NORMAL cake. Full of chocolate, sugar and all things bad for me.

So much of being vegan or plant-based means that you don’t necessarily enjoy what you used to, or you have to settle with an ok version made with a crazy amount of nuts. Yes, I do adore these foods when you find THE recipe, but so much of the time it’s too good to be true and you’re left with a flavourless meal (that you really thought might taste like real cheese this time.)

Some vegans really don’t mind these knock-off versions of dairy-laden dishes, as do I sometimes. But I still love and crave dairy. I love the taste of meat, but I love animals more. So here I am, blasting through the world of dairy and meat substitutes.

One thing I can sure make is a vegan chocolate cake. This thing is what I’ve been waiting for! A cake with ingredients I recognise. Ingredients that I have in my cupboard. A cake crumb that’s moist and fudgey. AND IT DOESNT TASTE LIKE COCONUT! (You all know the wonders of coconut, but practically all sweet animal friendly foods taste like coconut, and I’m so sick of it.)

I honestly think this cake is just as good as a ‘normal’ sponge cake using butter and eggs. Everyone needs this recipe in their back pocket, armed for cake emergencies.

As the saying goes; a balanced diet is a chocolate bar in both hands. A slice of chocolate cake in each hand counts too right?

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Blood Orange and Ginger Almond Cake

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I havent seemed to be around here at all since the new year. I’ve been spending my days wrapped up in home yoga, enjoying a more savoury side of cooking and trying to cram in as much time with family and friends as I can. As much as I’ve missed my blogging internet self, It was some much-needed time to re-ground myself and remember whats important to me in preparation for a great year to follow.

I havent set any fancy new years resolutions this year, just one. To welcome the coming year with an open heart and open mind (and also looking after my self as a number one priority, but this should just be a given!)

Yes ok, cake isn’t exactly nourishing food but it is nourishment for the soul. Life would be pure hell without the little pleasures.

Blood oranges are a charming fruit to grab while they’re still around. I love how unsuspecting they look from the outside. As soon as you cut through that ordinary peel, you’re hit with a citrus sweet fragrance and an eyeful of juicy burnt orange flesh. Every time I cut into one I’m amazed at the colour.

I decided to make this cake using mostly ground almonds as it gives a great texture contrast to the squidgey orange pieces. Adding in a dash of ground ginger really brings the blood oranges and the sponge together. We’re finally coming out of the depths of winter and gearing up for all of the gleaming fruits and vegetables to come this spring. Cooking delicious food becomes an easy task when nature does all the work for you.

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A rich dark and gooey Chocolate Cake for Autumnal nights

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It’s approaching that time of year when the sun retreats into the sky earlier and earlier, leaving us in dusky overcast light before we’ve even sat down for dinner. It’s the time when all you want it to do is hide under your covers every morning and leave the responsibilities shut outside where they can’t get you. Its the time when food becomes more than fuel for your body, it fuels your soul. You yearn for those familiar flavours, smells, comforts that somehow got forgotten over the past summer of raw salads.

I’ve been searching for a cake like this for a long time. A cake that you can throw together without much effort. A cake that has that envious gooey, shiny interior that we all thrive for in a chocolate cake. But most importantly for me, that deep rich dark colour. Nothing makes me ache more for a sweet snack than an intense dark brown crumb.

I can wholeheartedly admit to you that all I want after pounding the harsh concrete pavements of London and slugging through the rain is this. This isn’t a pretty cake. It’s not about that. This loaf cake is about cutting out the manners and getting straight to what you came for.

Although however raw, unrefined or informal a cake like this is; there’s still something ever so charming about it. It’s not a slice of cake that’s ‘too beautiful to eat.’ It practically screams at you to devour it. That said, unashamed, that’s what we shall do.

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Simple Peach Upside Down Cake

IMG_5428After last weeks failed attempt at getting back in the blogging game, (lets just leave it at a humiliated pastry chef forgetting to add sugar into a carrot cake), I decided to return to the ever comforting and humble side of home baking.

6 months have flown by since I last baked at home; it was a strange nostalgic feeling spending time in my own kitchen again. I’m so used to the pressure and robotic nature that often occurs during work that I forget how serene my own calm kitchen can feel. 90% of my time at work is spent time managing myself and how long it takes me to knock out that batch of mousse I’ve made countless times. That, along with an endless mental repetition of what order I’m going to carry out my mise en place for the rest of the day. The other 10% is spent brainstorming and recipe testing which is a lot more intriguing, creative and fuelled by passionate pastry chefs.

My kitchen though, thats a whole different therapy in itself. Its just me and my space. No bravado, no judgement and most importantly of all, I’m surrounded by a sense of undisturbed tranquil. I adore the thirty minutes I get to sit with a coffee, a book and my music waiting for my little bake to finish transforming in the oven.

For this upside down cake, you really want to try and get some beautiful ripe juicy peaches. All the flavour in this cake comes from those sun burnt fruits. This cake is simple, so you need to make a killer sponge and use good quality ingredients.

Sometimes on my day off I just want a slice of cake and this definitely didn’t disappoint.

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Mocha Birthday Cake: Chocolate Chip Coffee Sponge, Dark Chocolate Ganache and Coffee Mascarpone Icing

IMG_3664I really believe that you should make the most of your birthday. Whether you’re 1 or 101, it should be a real celebration. I no longer do these one day birthdays, I need to eek it out for as long as possible. Preferably spanning a week; book a holiday, plan meals, research the birthday cake you’re going to bake for yourself months in advance…

It’s a day to eat whatever the hell you want, wear whatever the hell you want and say whatever you want because its your birthday.

Besides, you’ll only turn 22 once. This day only comes once a year so why not milk it for all its worth? You’ve waited 365 days for this.

I hope you’ve caught on by now and have realised, it was MY birthday. My celebrations consisted of a takeaway in my pyjamas, a massage, meals, a trip to the cinema and a four-day adventure to Iceland (more about that soon.)

It was only a week ago and I miss this cake already. I miss Iceland already. I spent a really long time debating what kind of route I wanted to take. I was torn between a simple apple cake or a really indulgent five layered chocolate cake. After what felt like days and days on Pinterest, I finally settled on this Mocha inspired number.

By putting chocolate chunks into a coffee sponge, I didn’t need to decide between a chocolate sponge or a vanilla one. I got the best of both worlds. A mascarpone icing is a great alternative to butter icing as it keeps the sweetness down. Layering the sponge with rich, silky, chocolate ganache was a no brainer and just needed to happen.

A voila! A twenty-two year old coffee addicts dream birthday cake.

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