Chocolate and Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Coconut Frosting

25 Jan

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Ok first of all I have to say a huge apology for not posting anything in months! Being at school is even more hectic then I could have imagined and I rarely have time to just sit and take a deep breath let alone cook something delicious, photograph it and write up a whole post. But it was my birthday on Wednesday and I made an amazing cake (Yes, I made my own birthday cake… Some may call this sad others may see it as a fabulous afternoon of eating cake batter!). Nevertheless, here is the recipe and I would love to say, I’ll be posting more recipes soon but it all depends on the amount of time I may be able to muster together, again my apologies!

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So one of my favorite flavor combinations ever is chocolate and coconut. It is just a glorious marriage of rich and creamy delight that I don’t see how anybody can reject it. I researched a bucket load of recipes and yes, wasted many hours drooling over Pinterests vast array of coconuty delights but finally chose this beauty of a cake and and invented a sumptuous frosting of my own.

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The cake is not too sweet I would even admit that you could jack up the quantity to 3/4 cup if you have quite a sweet tooth but I personally adored it as is. The cake is light yet incredibly moist and the tangy cream cheese coconut frosting is out of this world, no universe! This amount of frosting is enough to sandwich in between the layers and to put a nice layer on top but I think it would be even more delicious with a snuggly layer around the sides as well!

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Chocolate and Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Coconut Frosting (Serves 4)

3/4 cup plain flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1tsp baking soda

1/2tsp baking powder

1/4tsp salt

1/2cup coconut milk

1/4cup coconut or vegetable oil

1 egg

1tsp vanilla extract

1/2cup coffee, made with 1tsp instant coffee

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting:

200g cream cheese, room temp

50g butter, softened

icing sugar

1/2 cup desiccated coconut, or to taste

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºc/350ºf and grease and flour a 7inch round springform tin. You can also line the bottom with baking parchment if you want.
  • Sieve the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, coconut oil, egg and vanilla.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.
  • Add the hot coffee and again whisk until combined, it will be quite runny.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 mins until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out with sticky crumbs on it.
  • Let cool for 15mins in the tin then remove and let cool completely.
  • Meanwhile whip up the frosting. Beat the butter and cream cheese in a bowl until smooth, add enough icing sugar to reach the desired consistency and taste (This requires a bit of frosting taste testing but I’m sure that won’t be a problem!). Add the desiccated coconut and stir through.
  • Slice the cake in have horizontally with a sharp knife (and a steady hand!) then spread half the frosting on one layer, place the other layer over it and spread the remaining frosting over the top.
  • Decorate with extra desiccated coconut and flaked chocolate.

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Salted M&M and Pretzel Cookies

17 Nov

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Chocolate chip cookies in any form have to be one of my favorite foods on this earth. Raw, cooked, in other desserts, as a dip…. It just always tastes crazy delicious. Then I went and added pretzels and m&m’s to the mix and it blew my mind! The saltiness of the pretzels balanced the cookie making it slightly less sickly… This leads to the ability to eat even more cookies! Bonus!

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The m&m’s add color and crunch to the cookie and makes them just look generally adorable. Like most chocolate chip cookie recipes, these are pretty basic to throw together and will have you sneaking spoonfuls of the raw dough in no time… I’m afraid I’m extremely guilty of this! So once you can restrain yourself from devouring the dough, the hard part is over and you’ll have perfect cookies in no time :)

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Salted M&M and Pretzel Cookies (Approx. 16)

115g butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup caster sugar

1 egg

2tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1/2tsp baking powder

1/2tsp baking soda

Salt

1 cup m&m’s, preferably mini

1/4 cup pretzel sticks, roughly broken

  • Preheat the oven to 180°c/350°f and grease and line two baking sheets with parchment.
  •  Cream the butter and two sugars together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg along with the vanilla.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and a pinch of salt and mix to combine then stir in the m&m’s and pretzel bits.
  • Roll into about 16 balls and place well spread out on the two trays.
  • Press down lightly on each cookie to flatten the top slightly.
  • Chill in the fridge for 20mins then bake for 8-10mins until golden brown.
  • While still hot sprinkle lightly with salt then allow to cool on the sheets until firm. Transfer to a cookie rack.

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White Chocolate Halloween Bark

10 Nov
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Bark is such a versatile treat. It can be any flavor, any color and have anything stuck to it. Simple as a,b,c and after all that “hard” work you end up with a sumptuous treat that is completely addicting (Just a warning!). The measurements for the toppings of this recipe are quite rough and you can of course leave things out or add things in. I try to go for a range of colors when deciding on toppings but it’s completely up to you.
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400g white chocolate

5-6 oreos, roughly chopped

1/4 cup pistachios, shelled and roughly chopped

1/3 cup yellow, orange and brown m&m’s or reeses pieces

1-2tbsp mini chocolate chips

1/3 cup pretzel sticks, roughly broken

  • Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30sec bursts, mixing between each burst until melted and smooth. You could also use a double boiler if you prefer.
  • Spread the chocolate out on the lined baking sheet. The thickness is also up to you, I generally make it fairly thing so I can fit as many toppings on as possible.
  • Scatter the toppings over making sure each one has contact with the chocolate so it will stick. Try not to overload the chocolate.
  • Leave to one side and allow to set, about 2-3hrs.
  •  Break into pieces and dive in! :)

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Healthy ‘Apple Crumble’ Baked Oatmeal

5 Nov

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This baked oatmeal is so unbelievably good that words can’t even justify it! It tastes like a cross between the most heart warming apple crumble and a hot, gooey cinnabon. It’s like eating dessert at seven in the morning and knowing that every bit of it is oh so healthy for you. Also a huge bonus in my opinion is that it doesn’t call for an egg. I don’t know about you guys but having to add an egg or especially an egg white (What did the poor yolk do wrong?!) to my baked oatmeal is just a big nuisance. I’m always running out of eggs and to be honest I much prefer it without the egg. I don’t actually add any sweetener what so ever to this oatmeal because I don’t have a big sweet tooth for breakfast and the raisins and apple add enough sweetness for me but feel free to add a sweetener or your choice. I would recommend dark brown sugar.

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Healthy ‘Apple Crumble’ Baked Oatmeal (Serves 1)

1/3 cup rolled oats

12-1tsp cinnamon

1/2tsp baking powder

1tbsp flaked almonds

sweetener of choice, to taste (E.g. brown sugar, honey, agave nectar)

1/3 cup skimmed milk

1/2tsp vanilla extract

1/2 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and diced

2tbsp raisins or sultanas

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºc/350ºf.
  • In a bowl mix together the oats, cinnamon, baking powder, flaked almonds and sweetener if its dry such as sugar.
  • In another bowl mix together the milk, vanilla, diced apple, raisins and sweetener if wet such as honey.
  • I do step 1 and 2 the night before and then mix both together in the morning. This allows the raisins to plump up in the milk but it is fine if you prepare it in the morning.
  • Mix the dry ingredients into the wet and transfer mixture to an oven proof ramekin/dish. You can add up to a tbsp more milk if it looks a bit dry.
  • Bake in the oven for 20mins and enjoy, but don’t burn yourself!

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Lemon Poppyseed Drizzle Squares

4 Nov
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This cake is just wow and it literally is the easiest cake I have ever made, like ever! As anyone with taste buds knows, lemon and poppyseed is a taste sensation between the zesty sweet lemon and the crunchy texture of the poppyseeds. Usually the glaze for a lemon cake is made out of icing sugar but here I made it out of caster sugar, heated to make a basic syrup with the lemon juice. This makes it thick and glossy giving the cake a delicious moist top layer.
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Lemon cake is a great dessert or tea time treat if your looking for something light and refreshing. I do love chocolate but sometimes a zesty treat is more appropriate and equally delicious. I haven’t attempted it but you could also probably bake this in two small round tins and sandwich them together with some lemon curd and softly whipped cream. You get a decadent, homemade dessert for minimal effort! Always a bonus :)
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Lemon Poppyseed Drizzle Squares 

255g self raising flour

1tsp baking powder

A pinch of salt

225g caster sugar

2tsp vanilla extract

225g butter, softened

4 eggs, lightly beaten

4tbsp milk

Zest of 2 lemons

20g poppyseeds

For the lemon syrup glaze:

175g caster sugar

Juice of 2 lemons

  • Preheat the oven to 180c/350f and grease and line a 9 x 13inch baking tray with baking parchment.
  • Sieve the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar into a large bowl.
  • Add in the vanilla, butter, eggs, milk, lemon zest and poppyseeds. (Yes you really are just supposed to put everything in one bowl!)
  • With an electric mixer beat everything together until smooth and fully combined, about 2mins.
  • Transfer to the baking tray and bake for 30-40mins until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Let cook for 5-10mins. Meanwhile make the lemon syrup.
  • Place the lemon juice and caster sugar in a small saucepan and heat over a medium heat and whisk continuously until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Prick holes all over the cake with a skewer and slowly pour over half the syrup. Leave for 2-3mins to allow that to soak in then pour the rest of the syrup over. Making more holes with the skewer if the syrup is pooling.
  • Allow to fully soak in them remove from the tray and cut into squares. Enjoy!

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Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 Nov

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First of all I’m so sorry I haven’t posted anything in so long, I have been extremely busy. Also Happy belated Halloween! I hope everyone had a suitably frightening and indulgent night, while I was tucking into these heavenly muffins. These muffins are insane! Nutella isn’t really my thing but baked into a muffin and I could eat it all day. These muffins are light and moist from the yogurt and once you reach the chocolaty centre, your brain will just explode from the awesomeness!

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Make sure you don’t leave out the coarse sugar sprinkled on top as this adds an amazing crunchy texture to contrast the delicate muffin.These muffins rise really well and create a perfect dome shape making them really impressive looking. They are robust enough to be good when traveling as a lunch dessert or just whenever, you really don’t need an excuse to make these other then to experience their crazy deliciousness! I really can’t put the superbness  of these muffins into words so I’ll leave you guys with this simple advise… Go, run and make these muffins as fast as possible! :)

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Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 small jar of nutella, approximately

3 cups plain flour

1tbsp baking powder

1/2tsp baking soda

a pinch of salt

145g butter, softened

1 1/4cup caster sugar

2eggs

1tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2cups vanilla yogurt

1 cup white and milk chocolate chips

2-3tbsp mini chocolate chips, for sprinkling

2tbsp coarse brown sugar

  • Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and drop roughly 16 spoonfuls of the nutella onto the tray. Pop in the freezer until the nutella is frozen solid, about 2-3hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°c/350°f and line about 16 muffin cups with paper liners.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • In a separate large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time followed by the vanilla and vanilla yogurt.
  • Mix in the dry mixture and chocolate chips alternately in batches until fully combined.
  • Divide the mixture between the muffin cups leaving about 4tbsp for the top.
  • Push the frozen nutella discs into the muffin mixture and top with the remaining batter to cover where the nutella went in. sprinkle each one with mini chocolate chips and coarse sugar. Bake in the oven for 20-25mins until golden brown.
  • These are best when served slightly warm but really they’re just delicious all round! Enjoy :)

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Roast Butternut Squash, Spinach and Feta Lasagna Roll Ups

16 Oct

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This has to be one of the most exciting yet simple dishes I have whipped up in a long time. It uses basic ingredients in a clever way that will just dazzle your taste buds to leave you wanting more. Now I will be the first to admit that butternut squash is not my favorite vegetable because most often it is too sweet and sickly for my liking but in this recipe it is the absolute star of the show.

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Its overly sweet flavor is balanced by a couple of things in this recipe, the spinach, the passata and the feta. The passata works particularly well as its acidic flavor counteracts the squash to perfection. This is a fantastic recipe for vegetarians who are looking for new and exciting recipes or just for anyone who likes getting their socks knocked off by amazing food!

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I use dried lasagna sheets that have to be pre-cooked in this dish but I’m sure fresh lasagna would also work perfectly. The thought of having to roll up lasagna sheets may seem daunting but don’t be put off. It is super easy after the first two or so, everyone is allowed a few disasters! So what are you waiting for, go make it!

Roast Butternut Squash, Spinach and Feta Lasagna Roll Ups (Serves 2 generously)

1 medium butternut squash

5 lasagna sheets

2tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

3-4 thyme sprigs, stalks removed

250g frozen spinach

4 garlic cloves, finely sliced

350ml passata

salt and pepper

whole nutmeg

30g feta

15g grated parmesan

  • Preheat the oven to 180°c/350ºf and roast the whole butternut squash on the bottom shelf of the oven for 1 1/2hrs.
  • When there is about 30mins left on the squash you can start getting everything else ready. Cook the lasagna sheets according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion and thyme and fry over a medium heat for 2-3mins until soft add the frozen spinach and cook for a further 10-15mins over a medium/low heat with a lid until the spinach has broken down and excess liquid has evaporated.
  • Heat the remaining 1tbsp olive oil in a small frying pan and add the sliced garlic. Fry for 2-3mins until lightly golden. Add the passata and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3-4mins.
  • Cut the squash in half and scoop out the soft flesh from one half. You don’t need the other half for this recipe but it makes an unbelievably delicious soup! Mash the flesh and season with salt, pepper and a generous grating of nutmeg.
  • Also season the spinach with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  • To assemble,place the lasagna sheets vertically in front of you. Divide the mashed squash between the 5 cooked lasagna sheets spreading it out evenly. Then layer on the spinach and crumble the feta on top.
  • Roll the lasagna sheets away from you into fairly tight cylinders and slice in half or even thirds if you want. Place the lasagna roll ups, standing up, in the frying pan with the passata.
  • Sprinkle with parmesan and bake in the oven for 20mins until golden and beginning to crisp.
  • Serve with a fresh green salad and extra parmesan if desired.

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