LEMON CHOCOLATE and STRAWBERRY mini cakes 

This isn’t my recipe but I wanted to try it out for ages.  It’s super easy and quick to make. I’ve made couple of changes like substituting One Earth blend chocolate mix with regular cocoa powder and freeze dried dragon fruit powder with fresh strawberries. It’s a remake of Panacea’s Pantry’s Lemon and chocolate slices. http://instagram.com/panaceas_pantry

Here’s the original shot

Panacea’s pantry lemon and chocolate slices

Chocolate dream base

 1 cup almond meal

4tbsp cocoa powder instead of One Earth blends chocolate mix

¼ cup maple syrup

¼ cup desiccated coconut

Method:

  1. Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir until well combined
  2. Press well into a tin. I’ve used a very small rectangular bread tin and cut the cakes out with a round cookie cutter.

Lemon and strawberry layer

1 cup of soaked cashews.

1/4 cup of cacao butter melted and rested for 5min to cool down.

1/4 cup of coconut milk or cream.

1/4 cup maple syrup

10 drops of lemon essence

Lemon juice of ½ lemon

Method:

  1. add all ingredients into high speed blender and process until smooth creamy consistency achieved.
  2. Pour over chocolate base and even out

Strawberry compote

Put 100g fresh strawberries with 1/4 cup of coconut oil into a high-power blender and whizz up for about 20 seconds.

Method:

1.Pour the mixture over the lemon layer and gently fold into the lemon filling. Use wooden skewer to help.

2. Freeze for about 3-4hr. Cut desired shapes with cookie cutter and decorate to taste.

Enjoy

L x

 

                                                                   

 

WHITE CHOCOLATE, ROSE and PISTACHIO

blog-cake-7 I found an inspiration for this recipe on Pinterest, whilst searching for “The most beautiful cakes”. It captured my attention immediately with its beautiful pastel colours of pinks, greens and whites. I knew then it would only be a matter of time before I make my own version. The cake I’m talking about was created by the http://www.constellationinspiration.com/2015/03/white-chocolate-spiced-cake-with.html and I’m attaching the original shot below. It was love from first sight. Colour is usually the first thing I pay attention to, second is the flavour palate. And it being White chocolate rose and pistachio it was a win-win situation.

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Photo by constellationinspiration.com

 

As usual this is my RAW VEGAN GLUTEN-FREE DAIRY-FREE REFINE SUGAR-FREE version of the cake.

And my first ever attempt at making a sponge cake.

Its super easy to make, as you don’t  need a food processor to make the sponge, just a very large mixing bowl. And a blender for the cream. Layer it over twice and you are pretty much done. Simple. A smaller size cake tin may be used, if you want your cake to be higher.

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blog-cake-4Why do I give so much leverage with the measurements? Because I believe all recipes should be adjusted to individual taste. I don’t like coconut flavour in my cakes, though I’m addicted to fresh coconuts and coconut water. But some of you might. The thing you need to know about coconut flour- it sucks up the moisture, A LOT!

 Spiced sponge consistency: Start with as little as ¼ cup of Maple syrup and add more if the sponge is not sweet enough for you. Most likely you would need ½ cup like I did. If your sponge is too crumbly (not sticky) add almond milk in small amounts. You are looking for sticky consistency, not runny. A crumble that sticks together well when you press it with your fingers. But still a crumble.

Rose cream: 500g of dry cashews when soaked overnight make about 600g of soaked cashews. Most likely you need to divide your cashews into 2 or 3 batches dependant on the strength of your blender. If you are making your cream in 2 batches then divide your ingredients into 2.

Example of Ingredients per batch: Cashews soaked 300g , beetroot juice ¼ cup, rosewater 1-2tbsp, maple syrup ¼ cup, Coconut oil ¼ cup. It’s exactly half of total ingredients used.

White chocolate: If you don’t have access to white chocolate, you can make your own very quickly. Please note that to make chocolate in general only dry ingredients should be used. Our cake is sugar-free, so we are using maple syrup instead in this recipe. I’ll make a separate blog post on how to make proper chocolate. You’ll need about 100g of cacao butter, melted. Add a drop of vanilla essence and maple syrup to taste. Using hand blender, blitz all together until even consistency achieved. There should be no maple syrup/vanilla drops visible in cacao butter. All three should become one. Otherwise keep blitzing. Once the right consistency achieved, pour into any form and pop in the fridge to set. Cut into small chunks when solid. Ingredients: cacao butter, vanilla, and maple syrup. It’s the simplest recipe.

I think that all for the notes, if you have any questions please drop me a msg on IG I’ll answer asap.

Please note, this is NOT A COMMERCIAL RECIPE!

I’d like to say Big Thank you to my friend, photographer Tania Jay for all the pictures.

Here’s her IG account if you’d like to see more https://www.instagram.com/t_a_n_i_a_j_a_y/?hl=en

Enjoy.

L x

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Equipment: 8-9” cake tin, large mixing bowl, blender, spatula, palette knife, knife, baking paper.

Spiced Sponge:

Almond meal 360g

Coconut flour ¼- ½   cup or about 65-130g

Coconut sugar   1tbsp (its more for the crunchy texture and colour)

Maple syrup      ¼- ½ cup or 65-130ml

Vanilla               1tsp

Nutmeg            ¼-1 tsp (adjust accordingly)

Cinnamon          1-2 tsp (adjust according to taste)

Instruction: Combine all your dry ingredients together first in a large mixing bowl. Then add maple syrup. Mix well. Pour in almond milk if needed. How much almond milk you need will depend on how much coconut flour you’ve used and its quality. Not all coconut flours are the same. Once satisfied with the consistency, divide in half. First half would be your crust, second half is the layer between cream. Start your cake by pressing first half of the sponge into the lined cake tin.

White chocolate  use your favourite brand of Vegan white chocolate, but this may not be sugar-free. Or make your own. See Notes.

Instruction: Break down the chocolate into squares and cut each square into small chunks. Sprinkle over the crust.

Rose Cream:

Cashews                  600g soaked cashews (read notes on Rose cream)

Beetroot juice        ½ cup or 130ml

Rosewater               2-4 tbsp. (individual preference)

Maple                       ½ cup or 130ml

Coconut oil             ½ cup or 130ml

Instruction:   Divide all ingredients into 2 even batches. Blitz each batch individually until smooth creamy consistency achieved. Pour first pink batch over the crust and even out slightly. Now add remaining sponge, gently crumbling it over the cream. Press the crumble slightly into the cream, this will give you lovely looking uneven layer when cutting. Use all the remaining sponge. Once finished pour over second batch of whipped rose cream. There’ s no need for freezing the layers in between.

Cake structure: 4 layers: 2 sponge and 2 cream layers.

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Lemon and blueberry cheesecake with mango puree

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VEGAN, RAW, GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, REFINED SUGAR-FREE.

It’s Monday. Sun is out. Finally, it feels like spring. After a very busy weekend of making cakes and photo shoots, I’m settling into the usual rhythm of my working week. A friend of mine who happened to be the photographer behind some of the beautiful pictures on the site and the blog, has casually asked me on Saturday “How’s your blog writing going?” …Long pause. “Oh, dear! I do have a blog!”. I’ve realised it’s been a while since my last post and the new one is well overdue. The recipe was created and all the photos taken ages ago, so really there was no real reason from stopping me sharing  them with you. And today looks like the perfect day for LEMON AND BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE.

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This classic flavour combination’s been on my mind for a long time. I’ve added a little “touch” making the recipe slightly more interesting. It’s not as sturdy as my commercial cheesecakes are, but without compromising its flavour.

Base: I usually use dates in my bases as they bind the nuts together well. The base of this cheesecake doesn’t have dates. I’ve justified their absence by desire to create rather simple crust. The sweetness of dates sometimes can sabotage the tangy lemon. Instead I wanted for the blueberries and mango to add that fruity sweetness. Another thing I must tell you about the crust: I used macadamia and cashew nuts as they are not too rich in flavour and make up a perfect base for a  rich flavour cheesecake. Blueberries, lemon and mango have very distinctive taste and this base combination will not overpower it. I think the lemon and the blueberries should take the centre stage as its a Lemon and Blueberry cheesecake after all.

Some of you may already know that dried Macadamia nuts can have a slightly powdery taste and are quite oily. So, I would recommend using less of this nut in macadamia/cashew ratio. (quarter to ¾ or half / half at the very most). It’s harder to achieve fine meal like consistency with macadamia nuts because of the oil content. Oil simply starts to stick the crust together without giving all other ingredients an opportunity to break down. Another reason why the base is so simple. It’s a good idea to process macadamia and cashews separately joining them together once both have been processed thoroughly. But  it’s a much messier and takes longer to prep the cake.

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Mango puree: I used a touch of agar agar to make the puree a little more set, so it didn’t all come out during my photo shoot when the cake was fully defrosted. You don’t have to do that. You can get away without it. In fact, I like when the puree or jam drips down the sides of the cake, making you want to catch it with your fingers, licking them afterwards. But if you are planning on having your cake out on display for some time then it’s a good idea to use agar agar. More! You can make mango jelly if you prefer, the recipe will be the same. The difference will be in preparation of agar agar. So, dripping finger licking puree- no agar agar; Slightly set puree- agar agar added to boiling water and then mixed with the puree ingredients. It’s still raw. If you’d like mango jelly instead you must heat up all the ingredients together for a few minutes. The mango jelly will not be raw. It’s your choice.

Lemon cheesecake: Its better if cashews are soaked longer, well over 8hr. In lemon cheesecake, I found this way works better because cashews loose quiet a lot of oil during soaking and they become curd like consistency when lemon juice is added. You won’t hear me saying that often, but over soak your cashews.

I think that’s all with the tips. I hope you like the recipe.

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Lemon and Blueberry cheesecake with mango puree  

Makes 8-9” cake

Ingredients

Base:

Macadamia nuts 100g

Cashew nuts        100g

Coconut oil           liquefied 1tsp or less.

Maple syrup         1tsp or less.

Cream:

Cashews soaked 600g

Lemon juice         1 cup or about 6 lemons (you may need less as it depends on the size of your lemons and how  much juice they extract)

Maple  syrup         ½ cup

Coconut oil             ½ cup

Sea salt                   ¼ tsp

Turmeric                 ¼ tbsp. (depends on the colour you’d like your lemon filling to be)

Mango puree:

1 medium size mango

Lemon juice ½ lemon

Agar agar     1 tsp not heaped (or use instructions of your agar agar, as agar agar flakes are different)

Less than ¼ cup boiling water

200g blueberries. (1 punnet)

Instructions:

  1. Pop your nuts into a food processor and process until fine meal like consistency achieved. (See notes for more tips) add a little bit of maple syrup  just to slightly sweeten up the base. Add liquefied coconut oil if needed to stick the nuts together. If not, leave the oil out.
  2. Put the mixture on the bottom of lined cake form. Spread evenly and press it down.
  3. Split all cheesecake ingredients into two if using high power blender, into 3 or 4 equal amounts if using regular blender. Blitz each part until smooth creamy consistency achieved. Make sure you are happy with the flavour and colour, add extra maple, lemon juice or turmeric if needed. Pour all cheesecake mixture into one large bowl. As we’ll be creating layers after mango puree is done.
  4. Use flesh of one medium sized ripe mango, pop all the ingredients in your blender and whizz up for a few seconds to make sure there’s no lumps and mixture is even. You can mash it all up if you prefer slightly chunkier consistency. Add agar agar (see notes) if needed.
  5. Pour all of mango puree into another bowl.
  6. Pop some blueberries on to the base. You can press some lightly. Don’t worry about a little juice that will come out.
  7. Now scoop out third of lemon cheesecake filling into cake form. Even it out. Pour over half of mango puree. Spread it evenly. Pop in some more blueberries, pressing them gently into the puree. You can pop this in the freezer for 5-10min if you are not confident enough with your layering. This will allow the puree to set a little, so you can add second part of the lemon filling. If you are confident, then gently add more lemon filling and the last of mango puree. Add more blueberries. Put in the freezer for another 10min to set slightly. Scrape in the rest of the lemon cheesecake. Even it out and freeze for at least 4hr.
  8. Decorate to taste.

Enjoy your cake…

Photos are taken by Tania Jay

Tania Jay photography

Raw Cake like a Pro

Article written for ” Vegan Food and Living” magazine , March 2017 issue

The Raw dessert making trend has taken the world by storm, with millions of recipes available online and in print. An overwhelming amount of beautiful pictures promise a paragon, tempting you to try it out, only to fail for the hundredth time this year. And you just can’t get it right, no matter how simple the recipe seems.

What is it that’s holding you back from creating your own masterpiece that can be proudly presented at a dinner table? More than the recipe itself, an understanding of what makes a perfect cheesecake is your guarantee to making raw cakes like a pro.

You don’t need expensive equipment to make delicious cake, just to be inventive and super patient.

Three things define a great looking and tasting cheesecake: base (the crust), consistency and texture.

Basic cheesecake consists of only two layers, crust that is dry and sturdy base and the soft creamy filling.

Base: You can use any nuts you like to make the crust. Almonds and cashews are the most versatile due to their subtle flavour. Nuts like walnuts and pecans have a  distinctive taste and can be overpowering. (TIP: Choose walnuts or pecans to complement chocolate and coffee flavours or to enhance a bland cake). Dates bind the crust together. I don’t advise to soak dates. (Soaked dates can make the crust too wet and unmanageable. The nuts stick together before your dates get the chance to break down resulting in a chunky mixture. Wet and sticky crust is difficult to press). Good quality dates are moist enough to “glue” the base. Although as little as tsp of water is needed to bring your mixture together.

Texture: I love using cashews for the cheesecake filling. Tofu is also a great ingredient. (Once soaked, cashews lose their flavour, becoming perfect to fill a cheesecake when soaked over night in cold water. Cashews are like a sponge that expands in water. Cold water keeps the oils in, making for a creamy texture. Over-soaking  makes the filling texture too crumbly. Not soaking enough or in hot water makes the cheesecake too oily and thick. (TIP: soak the cashew at 3-6pm the day before, by the time its 9-10am next day, cashews are at their best.) You can taste to tell if they are ready to be whipped up. Generally, any crunch at all means it’s too early to use them. if they have a slight sour taste, they are over-soaked and no good.

Consistency: The last but not least. Consistency is an important component of perfect cheesecake. It depends on the amount of fluid that goes into your blender with cashews. Fluids are: maple syrup, coconut oil, water or nut milks, any natural extracts, fruit juices, etc. Those together should not exceed cashew level or it will make a floppy cheesecake. I would say total fluid level should be 2-3cm lower than your cashew level (very technical!) if you use powders as flavourings. Total level of fluid should be half way down of your cashew level if you are using soft fruit like raspberries, blueberries, apples and other naturally high in water fruit as flavouring. TIP: ¼ cup of Coconut oil to be used for every 400 g of soaked cashews, less makes the cheesecake collapse.

If you understand these three principles, you can easily make any flavour cheesecake yourself, which will be perfect every time.

Sturdy base and smooth texture that holds well together is what makes  a perfect cheesecake. Everything else is up to you: the sweetness, the colour, the flavour.

And here is  my recipe for a decadent  chocolate cake for your family recipe book: makes 9” cake. It’s simple and inexpensive.

Equipment required: round 9″cake tin, blender, food processor, scales, ¼ cup measuring cup, spatula, large bowl to liquefy coconut oil.

Crust

Almonds 200g

2 tbsp cocoa powder or ¼ cup Cocoa nibs

Dates 200 g

Put your nuts in a food processor and process to fine “meal” like consistency. Add Cocoa nibs or powder through the shoot than dates one by one. Process till your mixture stops jumping inside the food processor and starts to run smooth. Add teaspoon of water through the shoot to stick the mixture together. If required add more water in teaspoon measures. How much water you need depends on moisture level of the dates you are using. TIP: adding dates one by one has a massive advantage. Your crust will be even without any lumps.Press into the form.

Chocolate ribbon

Coconut oil liquefied 40 ml

Maple syrup 20 ml

3-4 tbsp cocoa powder

Combine all together in a small cup until smooth, pour over crust, spreading evenly with a brush, freeze  for 5 min.

Cheesecake

It’s better to divide cheesecake ingredients into 2 (more powerful blender) or 3 (blender with lesser power) even batches. Blenders with less power will take longer to process. TIP: Be patient, give your blender a rest every 1-2 minutes so it doesn’t burn out. While its resting, gently stir the filling. Patience is the key when working with low power blenders. It can take as long as 30min  to whip up your cheesecake (without rest times). Result will be worth the wait though.

Cashews 600 g

Cocoa powder 6-8 level tbsp. Amount of cocoa powder depends on how strong you want the flavour and rich the colour to be.

Dates 200 g

Coconut oil liquefied 150 ml (1/2 cup)

Maple syrup 150 ml (1/2 cup)

Almond milk 150 ml (1/2 cup) or water

Natural vanilla extract 2 tbsp

Sea salt ¼ tsp

Blend all filling ingredients together in small batches, splitting up ingredients evenly and  once satisfied with the texture, pour it  into the tin. Even out. Freeze for at least 4 hr before decorating and serving. Decorate to taste.

Enjoy! X

CREDITS: I would like to say  BIG thank you to my  wonderful friend and a very talented person , Anya who styled and took these beautiful photos. IG @sweetinstafit

https://www.instagram.com/sweetinstafit/?hl=en