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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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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Peach & Apricot Almond Cake with Streusel topping

IMG_2374IMG_2400The warm weather is making me lethargic.

It’s making me lay out in the park for hours on end. It’s luring me onto the grass. I lie there, unmoving, with no thoughts or worries apart from the occasional whisper of what I should concoct for dinner later. I become thirsty and, after a few hours, need some shade. Although the little energy I have used already makes me even more mellow. So I remain in my spot until I reluctantly stand. I’m usually dazed at the feeling of being on my feet again. I miss my mashed down patch of grass already.

Every year, when summer rolls around the corner, I seem to forget what its like to spend the majority of your day outside. After a few abrupt meetings with butterflies and bumblebee’s flying directly at me, I begin to fall in love with nature again. The feeling of soft stringy grass tickling in-between your toes and the sweet morning kiss of the sun on your skin as you eat your alfresco breakfast. Continue reading “Peach & Apricot Almond Cake with Streusel topping”

Salted Caramel Brioche Doughnuts

IMG_1900Unbeknown to me, it was national doughnut day a few weeks ago. As soon as my WordPress, Instagram and Facebook feeds filled up with photo after photo of puffed, golden, chocolate covered doughnuts; I was mad that I had no idea this day even existed and more so that I’d missed it.

I hadn’t made doughnuts in a really long time. For me, they’re the ultimate sweet treat. So many people think of them as the ultimate guilt trigger too. The way I see it is that life’s too short not to eat delicious food. If you can’t eat it now then when are you ever going to eat it?

Lots of you have probably visited Borough Market in central London. The first time I went I was on my own; a scared London newbie with no idea where anything was. I walked around the market, strolling past the same stalls about fives times (only now do I realise I missed half the market.) It was a ridiculously busy saturday lunchtime and I was still overcoming the notion that I had to push to the front of the crowd to get served. Along with an abundance of bread, cheese, sweet treats and fresh vegetables, I came away with a morsel that would force me back to the market a whole lot more in the future. Continue reading “Salted Caramel Brioche Doughnuts”

Mini Pavlovas with Cherry and Blueberry Compote (GF)

IMG_1797I’m just going to be completely honest. I’m slumped over my computer right now, craving a burger. It’s 1am.

I’m approaching day 5 at work and still have 5 more to go. I’m dying at the prospect. I’ve been putting off doing my washing for a week, I have no food in the house and I keep falling asleep fully clothed.

Basically, I’m being a stereotypical 20-something who really doesn’t have her life together right now. Continue reading “Mini Pavlovas with Cherry and Blueberry Compote (GF)”