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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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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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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Stem Ginger Sticky Toffee Pudding with Brandy Butterscotch Sauce

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I’m sat at my desk right now, devouring a hot toasted cheese doused in worcestershire sauce. As I ran into the kitchen five minutes ago (having completely forgotten my dinner was in the oven) there was my housemate, preparing a large bowl of apple pie and custard. More like a couple of mini apple pies floating in a large pool of yellow custard. As much as I found it hilarious when he took his bowl down to his room using oven mitts, all be it with a little shame on his face, I found our mutual food habits more endearing.

This cold weather seems to force me to reach for comfort food, as it does so many like my housemate. Hot dishes laden with butter, cheese, cream or anything to put a bit more warmth in my bones.

After Christmas, I vowed I’d jump straight back onto the health and fitness train but it was much easier said than done. Do you know what? I have no regrets over the endless amounts of doughnuts, pastries and chocolate I’ve eaten. Every mouthful has filled me with joy and comforted me when I’m freezing my ass off in the kitchen at work everyday.

On a side note; nobody told me how hard it would be to run home from work at 8pm, in January when its wet, cold and dark all the time. When I could easily just hop on the tube and be home in 10 minutes and well… warm.

Nothing would make me yearn for home and the comfort of my bed, my duvet and my television more than this sticky toffee pudding. Sticky toffee pudding is amazing on its own, but when you add in stem ginger and brandy butterscotch sauce it creates an even more welcoming bowl. The stem ginger is a lovely hit of flavour against the sweet caramel sponge along with the brandy sauce warming your throat.

Straight after I made this, I couldn’t wait to share it with you all. It’s easy, doesn’t require any fancy equipment and is one of my favourite dishes.

I was lucky enough to be asked to post this for Wayfair, a company which sells a vast array of homewares. Find the recipe over at Wayfair.co.uk

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Soft Cinnamon Rolls with a Coffee Cream Cheese Glaze

IMG_5257IMG_5245I know what you’re thinking right now, because I’m thinking it too. I went way overboard with that glaze. Theres enough glaze there for three times the amount of Cinnamon Rolls I’ve baked.

I read on the internet somewhere that smothering your cinnamon buns in glorious glossy glaze while still hot from the oven, made them irresistibly moist as it settled into the cracks. I obviously took this literally and smothered until my heart was content. Trust me, I’m definitely content.

I have to admit though, that glaze really makes these rolls enticing. Just look at that shine! Its captivating buttery smell and glistening top lures you into the kitchen like a kid looking for the leftover cake batter spoon.

Sometimes when I bake something, I have no idea what its going to turn out like. Other times I know its going to be a disaster from the outset. And on the rare occasion everything goes so perfectly, I know whats going to emerge from my oven is going to be great. Just the smell of these as they were baking away in my kitchen made a smile play on my lips.

One thing that made these so perfect was that I made them solely for me. I didn’t spend days thinking of what I could bake for the blog to make it more diverse, interesting or unique. I had a craving for cinnamon buns and I made them. Just the way I like them. Just for me. Rustic, simple and humble. No fancy presentation, just the cinnamon bun. So ordinary but so charming too.IMG_5171IMG_5177IMG_5209IMG_5262IMG_5198IMG_5268

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A trip to the healthy side: Raw Brownie’s (Vegan/GF)

IMG_4856If someone had told me a year or two ago that I’d be someone that ordered a salad regularly in a restaurant, I’d run away and hide all the goodies I could get my hands on thinking they were about to go extinct. It’s true, I whole heartedly adore baking. I revel in the warm fuzzy feeling it gives me, especially when theres Frank Sinatra and a glass of something involved.

It’s 100% my favourite thing to do and I can’t imagine not being a kitchen person. However, I feel like I’ve grown up from being the person who’d buy a metre long slush puppy from the cinema and eat four cream cakes in five minutes (I admit this does occasionally still happen.) I still love my sweets and conjuring up my next indulgence. But most of the time, I’m pretty good with eating well.

Its fairly obvious that I have a raging sweet tooth. So eating well and avoiding cake at work on a regular basis is hard. The struggle is real! So recently I’ve been dabbling in the world of raw food and healthier food in general. I’ve become really interested in super foods and packing my meals with all sorts of grains, seeds, vitamins and more. (I’ve even been making my own Almond Milk guys, like… wow.) I no longer look at food and wonder how many calories is in it, I look and think about how nutritionally dense it is. I have no idea how long this will last but its been about 6 months now and I’m still feeling it.

I’ve been scouring pinterest for interesting energy bar type recipes to power me through the day and keep my cravings at bay. And I think I’ve found it. I want to send a big virtual hug to Sarah at My New Roots for this recipe.

I know that these little snacks are called ‘brownies’ but I want to tell you now, as you can see… these aren’t brownies. At all. But I can imagine that for someone living a raw lifestyle, these would be like heaven on a plate. Nothing can compare to a gooey warm brownie for me, but these babies definitely do the job when it comes to sweet chocolatey satisfaction with none of the guilt.

These are so easy to make and are a delicious snack throughout the day. They keep me full without bloating me and give me bags of energy. These are defiantly going to become a staple in my kitchen. What about yours?

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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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Blackberry, Orange and Chocolate Bread Pudding for one

IMG_3340One thing that really bothers me about living on my own, is buying food for one. I hate leftovers and, more than anything, I hate wasting food. I admit that some leftover meals are crazy delicious, like christmas leftover sandwiches or bubble and squeak, and they do have their place when it comes to time-saving. But eating a three-day old soggy lasagne just doesn’t do it for me.

One of my favourite things to buy is a crusty fresh loaf of bread from a local shop. I can’t think of many things more satisfying than the smell of a freshly baked loaf. Accompany some pungent ripe cheese with that and I’m yours. However, 9 times out of 10, I won’t eat all of it before it becomes stale beyond any saving. And this is with me eating it at every opportunity, trying to avoid this. Life seems to get in the way and this happens with a fair amount of food in my house.

I honestly think someone should create a supermarket for singles. Everything should come in single sized portions. I really don’t like eating the same meal over and over again, so buying a pack of six sausages means I have to eat sausages for three days in a row. All of the dishes I bake in on a day-to-day basis are single sized or two portion maximum, for this reason exactly.

So here I am, saving all you fellow single gals and guys out there from leftovers and throwing away old food; because you really can’t face the thought of another lacklustre pasta dish hanging around your fridge for days again.

Bread pudding uses up leftover milk, berries, croissants and anything else you feel like throwing in there. Make this what you want. It’s all about taking out what I’ve put in and changing it for what tickles your fancy. Nothing screams Autumn like a steaming dish of hot, creamy bread pudding just for you.

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