Thursday, 12 March 2015

Castle Birthday Cake + Other Party Food!

I have to be careful what I pin on Pinterest these days because Sylvia now knows how to find and scroll through my "kid's stuff" board. She selects whatever takes her fancy and "orders" it (her terminology). Luckily, the castle birthday cake she chose from there for her 5th birthday was within my capabilities!

This cake took a while to make and decorate, but it was not difficult. It was a lot of fun and definitely worth it. Sylvia and I did the cake decoration together. It was simple enough that she could do a lot of it herself and she loved it. Sylvia was very happy with the result. She told me that it looked even better than the picture we copied it from. In my sleep-deprived pre-party delirious state, I almost burst into tears of relief and joy! My only goal was that she love it.

I copied the cake from this picture. I made three square tins of vanilla cake (same cake I made for the Easy Car Cake) and two round chocolate cakes (recipe from the Oh She Glows Cookbook).

For the bottom, I placed two of the square vanilla cakes on top of one another and cut the other square vanilla in half and placed the halves on top of each other to make a rectangle base (I didn't have appropriate rectangular trays, but obviously this would be easier!). Then the two round chocolate cakes went on top sandwiched together. The filling between the vanilla cakes was vanilla pastry cream (same I as I used for my trifle) and the filling for the chocolate cakes was chocolate pastry cream (just 2 tablespoons of cocoa added to a batch of vanilla pastry cream). These fillings were brilliant! All of the cake was then covered with a lot of vanilla buttercream icing with a bit of red colouring in it to make pink.

Pre-decoration - note Sylvia in the background!
For the decoration, we used Oreos, lollypops (instead of the marshmallows in the original photo), ice cream cones, ice cream wafers and lifesavers for the drawbridge put onto skewers.

Here is some of the other food we had, all selected by Sylvia!

Sandwich snake
Fairy bread spirals
Choc chip pikelets with chocolate spread
The fairy bread spirals and sandwich snake are ideas from a Woolworths magazine. We also had jelly shots (I managed to find vegan jelly!) but I forgot to take a photo.

Here is some of the other food geared more towards the adults. Not pictured are the usual and unbeatable sausage rolls, my mum's amazing vine leaves and fruit.

Banana muffins
Spinach dip

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Raw Brazil Nut Fudge

Poor brazil nuts are so underrated. After all, they are the universally discarded nuts from mixed nuts packets - am I wrong?!

I love brazil nuts, so I decided to create a raw sweet to honour them.

This fudge is so luscious and rich. It melts in your mouth. The chocolate topping just completes the swoon!

Raw Brazil Nut Fudge

1.5 cups brazil nuts
2/3 cups rolled oats
3 tbsp melted coconut oil
3 tbsp liquid sweetener (I used maple syrup)
dash of salt and vanilla

Chocolate topping
2 tbsp each of melted coconut oil, maple syrup and cocoa/cacao

To make the fudge, grind the brazil nuts and oats together until they form a fine powder. Add the coconut oil, sweetener, salt and vanilla. Press (or pour - the mixture is actually soft and a bit runny, but don't worry it does set!) into a loaf tin lined with baking paper and pop it in the freezer.

Make the chocolate topping by whisking the oil, cocoa and maple syrup together.

Spread this over the top of the fudge.

Freeze until set!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Raw Tahini Shortbread with Coffee Icing

I'm so excited to share this recipe!

I'll admit that there was a fair bit of luck involved in the creation of this raw dessert. It involved throwing around quite a few random ingredients in my feverish need for something sweet and I was so pleasantly surprised at the result. There was a lot of exclaiming going on as I sampled it directly from the freezer, beckoning other people in the household to come and try it!

The shortbread base is biscuit-y and crisp, which is really delicious with the soft and smooth coffee icing. This comes together in a flash too, with ingredients I always have on hand.

Raw Tahini Shortbread with Coffee Icing

Shortbread base
1/2 coconut flour
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup liquid sweetener
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
dash of salt

Coffee icing
1/3 cup cashews
1/3 cup soft medjool dates
4 tbsp brewed coffee
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
dash of vanilla

To make the base, mix the ingredients together and press into a small container or dish lined with baking paper.

To make the icing, blend all ingredients together until smooth. Spread over the shortbread and freeze until set, about 2 hours.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Raw Raspberry Cheesecake

I have figured out that as much as I love it when I have an opportunity to buy raw desserts ready made, it leaves me feeling a bit sad that I haven't been able to make it myself! I enjoy the process of "raw baking" and seeing the heaps of healthy ingredients that transform magically into rich and gorgeous desserts.

I made up this simple recipe to satisfy a craving for a basic creamy raspberry cheesecake. I was a bit short on time and flustered (which is always when I seem to crave these desserts) so I couldn't be bothered searching for a recipe.

I really like the hazelnut and oat crust, which is quite thick. This isn't a tangy cheesecake - it's more creamy, fruity and sweet. I sold it as "ice cream" cake to the kids, and they liked it!

Raw Raspberry Cheesecake

1 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup oats
1 cup soft medjool dates
pinch of salt

2 cups cashews (preferably soaked)
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup agave
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup raspberries (thawed if using frozen)

To make the crust, grind the hazelnuts and oats to a coarse powder in a blender. Pop into the food processor and add the dates and salt and process until it starts sticking together. Press into a cake tin.

To make the filling, blend all the ingredients until smooth. This took me quite a few minutes. Pour onto  the crust and freeze for a few hours or until set.

Healthy Mini Choc Chip Cookies + Other Lunch Box Ideas

Sylvia has started preschool for her second year! I'm quite excited about experimenting with different foods for her lunch box. Really, it's just an excuse for me to make amounts of food that far surpass the needs of this household, but she needs something in her lunch box right?

These little beauties were very popular with both Sylvia and Lexie. They are so cakey and cute! And they can be made in ten minutes from start to finish! I've adapted them only slightly from our favourite wholesome chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Healthy Mini Choc Chip Cookies (makes about 18 mini cookies) (adapted from Live.Love.Learn.Eat )

1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup sunflower oil
dash of vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour (half plain, half wholemeal)
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup vegan choc chips 

Whisk together the maple syrup, oil and vanilla. Add the flour, salt, baking soda and choc chips. Combine, roll into balls and slightly flatten. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 180C.

Here are a few other things I've tried with success.

This seasoned sushi rice stuffed into cucumbers was adored by Sylvia. I got this idea from Play.Love.Vegan.  

This malteser slice from Like a Vegan is very addictive. It contains malt extract syrup and vegan white chocolate to hold the slice together. It's great for lunch boxes because it holds together when when not refrigerated. 

These pizza bread sticks were something different - pizza dough made with semolina, spread with nutritional yeast mixture and twisted. This recipe is from Vegan Lunch Box

Any other lunch box ideas are welcome!

Related: Baking for preschool lunches
Vegan lunch boxes for preschool

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Rich Chocolate Chia Mousse + Other Healthy Chocolate Adventures

I've changed a lot from the days when I used to come home from uni or work feeling a little flat and consume a whole block of dairy chocolate. 

Or have I?  

I went to see a movie on my own a few weeks ago (total bliss), and I ate almost a whole block of chocolate. Yes, it was organic and raw, but I guess the tendency is still there!

These days I mostly gravitate towards more wholesome and raw chocolate sweets. 

It all started with my raw chocolate cupcakes

Then I made these raw cakey brownies from Feasting with Fruit. They're made with only cocoa, oats and dates but are so delicious! I ran out of dates so improvised a yummy raw icing out of blended banana, cocoa, coconut oil and maple syrup. So decadent!

Then my partner's sister very kindly made me this: 

The BEST chocolate mousse I've ever had! It's a Jamie Oliver recipe, made with avocado, coconut cream, melted chocolate, cocoa, maple syrup and vanilla. I'll definitely be making this myself. I love it when non-vegan friends introduce me to new vegan recipes!

On a chocolate roll, I made up this rich chocolate chia mousse to use up some thickened coconut cream (I use Alpine) I had lying around in the fridge. It's probably more of a dessert, but I had it for breakfast. It's very creamy and thick after being in the fridge overnight. I loved this one a lot!

Rich Chocolate Chia Mousse

1/2 cup thickened coconut cream (coconut yoghurt would probably work)
1/2 cup soy milk
2 tbsp cocoa
2 tbsp chia seeds 
2 tbsp maple syrup/agave or to taste
dash of vanilla

Combine all ingredients and pop in the fridge overnight. Toppings as desired!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Raw Chocolate Cupcakes

So, my raw dessert obsession has reached new heights since my visit to Sadhana Kitchen!

These little gems came together the other day when I felt like something chocolatey. They are indulgent, nutty and rich. A great bite sized snack or dessert to have on hand in the freezer!

Raw Chocolate Cupcakes (makes about 12 mini cupcakes)

1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup soft medjool dates

1/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 tbsp cocoa
dash of vanilla
pinch of salt

2 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp agave/maple syrup
3 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 tbsp cocoa

Blend the cashews, walnuts and coconut together until a coarse powder. Transfer to food processor and process with the dates, peanut butter, cocoa, vanilla and salt until the dough starts to stick together. Press the mixture into a mini muffin tray (it makes about 12). 

Blend the icing ingredients together and spread on top of the cupcakes. Place in the freezer until set. Store in the freezer.