Epic Chocolate Birthday Cake – Gluten, Wheat & Dairy Free

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PLEASE READ INSTRUCTIONS ON THIS ONE OTHERWISE IT WON’T MAKE SENSE

Here it is–Braxton’s EPIC (if I do say so myself) chocolate birthday cake. So, this is the same recipes as Grandma’s Birthday cake, except I made 3 of them so I could tier it, and I forgot to sprinkle cacao over the top. But also, I decided not to use the avocado mousse topping like I used in the other one because I didn’t think it would hold out of the fridge for the day, which this cake needed to be able to do. I did want it to be super decadent so I used 70% dark chocolate, so the frosting does have sugar in it. The cake bases themselves don’t have any refined sugar, and I used an organic, fair-trade, 70% dark chocolate.

OK so it has a bit of sugar (which we NEVER have at home), but it was a one off and it was actually so worth it because it was amazing. No one could believe that it was dairy and gluten free.

I made the same cake in a smaller version for Braxton’s cake-smash cake.

INSTRUCTIONS: Now, I wasn’t sure it would be a perfect mixture if I just tripled the mixture from my original recipe, so–and yes this does make it more time consuming so totally up to you if you want to give it a go tripling it!–I made the mixture 3 separate times. So when reading the ingredients below, you have to do those measurements 3 separate times. 

For the frosting you only need the measurements I give you as is.

Right, here it is!

Ingredients – remember, do the measurements below, 3 times

Cake bases:
150ml extra-virgin olive oil
50g raw cacao powder
125ml boiling water
2 tsp vanilla extract
150g ground almonds
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch Himalayan salt
150g Natvia or coconut palm sugar
3 free-range organic eggs

Chocolate Ganache:
500g dark chocolate
The cream from the top of 4 cans of coconut milk (full fat), room temperature
2 tbsp Natvia icing sugar (if using standard Natvia, grind it in a coffee or spice grinder)
The cream from the top of 2 cans of coconut milk, chilled

Method

Preheat oven to 170° and grease 3 25cm springform cake tins. Line bases with baking paper and grease with coconut oil.

Sift the cacao into a bowl and whisk in the boiling water with a fork until you have a smooth, chocolatey, still runny paste. If you have a Kitchenaid or electric whisk with its own bowl, do it in this; it will make it extra creamy. Whisk in the vanilla, then set aside to cool.

In another bowl combine the ground almonds with bicarbonate of soda,  baking powder and salt.

Put the sugar and olive oil into a bowl and beat together with the electric whisk for about 3 minutes, then add the eggs one at a time, with a slow speed so it aerates. After the 3 minutes, add the ground almond mix, and mix until incorporated.

Finally, add the chocolate mix slowly until combined and pour into the prepared tin.

You can do all of this with a handheld whisk, a fork and spoon if you don’t have a Kitchenaid but using one will just make the mixture a bit creamier. I have done it with and without and was nice both times – just a bit fluffier with!

Bake for about 30 mins. The sides should be set but not burnt and the top centre should still look very slightly damp.

Repeat this two more times with the other cake tins. I also put them in the oven separately so I could make sure they didn’t under-cook, but you can try and put them in all together if you want.

Remove the cake from the oven. Leave to cool for 30 mins before removing from the tin.

While in the oven make the ganache:

Heat the coconut cream in a saucepan over a medium heat. Remove from the heat just as it comes to the boil. Put the chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl, pour the coconut cream over and stir gently with a wooden spoon until the chocolate has melted and you have a smooth, thick ganache. (If some of the chocolate still hasn’t melted, add boiling water to the used pan and put the bowl on top until it melts).

Whisk in the Natvia icing sugar. Transfer 8 tablespoons of ganache to a separate, smaller bowl. Put both bowls in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Remove the smaller bowl of ganache from the fridge. Add the chilled coconut cream (discard any remaining watery liquid) and whisk with an electric mixer until it is a pale, milk chocolate shade and mousse-like in texture, with the consistency of double cream. Hold back one large spoonful of this and add it to the ganache in the fridge. Leave in the fridge.

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Go back to the pale mixture and now spread over the tops of two of the cakes, leaving a 1cm gap around the edge of the cake. Place the two cakes with the ganache, one on top of the other, then add the third one on top.

Remove the remaining ganache from the fridge and gently mix so the paler one is incorporated into the darker one spread over the cake, and using a palette knife, spread over the sides and smooth down until the whole cake is covered. The cake should now be completely covered with ganache, with no sponge visible.

Dust with raw cacao powder and decorate with strawberries if desired.

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Love & health,
Lauren

 

Thank you to Dairy-Free Delicious for the ganache recipe.

 

 

Golden Linseed Oat Cookies – Full of Omega-3 and Great for Baby Led Weaning

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As you all know by now, I usually make sure to make a batch of something sweet but healthy once a week (ish!) so that I don’t have to give Braxton anything processed or filled with sugar. I don’t give him sweet things every day (apart from fruit), but I do like to give him things like this every few days now he’s nearly 1. It keeps him quiet for 5 minutes, that’s for sure! 🙂 But the main point is that I like to make sure I fill any snacks I make with superfoods.

Making cookies like these is a great way to be able to add things like linseeds, which are a great vegetarian source of the Omega 3 essential fatty acid, Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA). Our bodies can’t make ALA, so it is ‘essential’ that we get them from our diet. These essential fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory properties, so aside from making sure he gets essential fatty acids in his diet, I’m also giving him anti-inflammatory properties which, in our situation, is imperative.

Suffice to say these were very well received! Soft on the inside, slightly crisp on the outside and easy for Brax to chew. Sweet but not too sweet and of course, free of gluten, wheat, dairy, refined sugar or eggs.

Ingredients (makes 12 cookies)

1 cup ground almonds
1 ½ cups organic rolled oats
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch Himalayan salt
5 tbsp coconut oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
4 tbsp almond butter
¼ cup almond milk
1 tbsp golden linseeds

Method

Preheat the oven to 180c and line 2 baking trays with baking paper and grease with coconut oil.

Mix all the dry ingredients, except for the linseeds, in a bowl.

Add all the wet ingredients to the blender and blend until combined.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the linseeds and mix.

Form into balls with your hands and press down on them on the prepared baking trays and bake for 10 minutes.

Put the baking sheets with the cookies on them on a wire rack or on top of some towels on the work surface (the surface they cool on shouldn’t be cold) to cool away from the heat of the baking trays so they don’t crisp up too much. Once cool put in an airtight container.

Love & health,
Lauren

Raw Vegan Bounty Bites

raw-vegan-bounty-bites

My favourite EVER chocolate was Bounty – I’m obsessed with anything coconut so this really is an indulgence for me. I made these a few years ago before starting the blog but never photographed them or wrote down the recipe so thought I’d try to perfect them now so you can all share in their splendor! They are simply mouth-watering; so delicious but also kind of light and fluffy so they don’t make you feel sick. Everyone here loved them, hope you do too.

Ingredients

2 cups desiccated coconut
¼ cup ground almonds
½ cup coconut oil
The cream from the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk
¼ cup maple
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate coating:
3 tbsp cacao powder
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tbsp cashew butter
¼ cup coconut oil (add more if it is too thick)

Method

Melt the coconut oil then mix all the ingredients except the chocolate in a bowl.

Line a plate or baking tray with baking paper then roll the mixture into small balls and put them on the prepared plate and put it in the freezer for an hour. (the baking paper will stop them sticking to the plate)

Make the chocolate sauce while it’s in the freezer. Take it off the heat once ready, take the balls out the freezer and immerse them, one by one, into the saucepan and coat them with the chocolate then put back on the plate. They will be best if you coat them twice, so once you’ve done them all once, re-immerse them.

Put them in the fridge to chill and store them in an airtight container in the fridge.

Love & health,
Lauren

 

Vanilla Berry Ice Lollies

Vanilla Fruit Ice Lollies

If there is one thing I miss about dairy, it’s ice cream! Especially during hot summer days; there’s nothing better. So I decided to make my own. I’ve made smoothie lollies before and fruit lollies but I wanted something creamier, like good old-fashioned ice creams and I came up with this idea. It literally couldn’t be easier, you just need to buy yourself some ice lolly moulds in preparation. I bought BPA free ones from Amazon.

I added some edible flowers in here just to make them look more colourful, but you don’t have to do that.

Braxton loved these so much I have to make some more! They are dairy free, refined-sugar free and therefore, totally fine to give babies. They kind of taste a bit like Mini Milks, remember those?? 🙂

If you like it sweeter add the Natvia (click on this page to read more about Natvia sugar substitute and why it’s so awesome and great for diabetics).

Ingredients (makes 2 large lollies)

1 tub Rebel’s Kitchen vanilla coconut yoghurt (or plain coconut yoghurt with 1 vanilla pod scraped in)
Half cup almond milk
About 8 blueberries, squished
2 strawberries, cut in thin slices
Half tsp Natvia for added sweetness

Method

Mix the yoghurt, almond milk and Natvia in a bowl then pour the mixture into the lolly moulds and put them in the freezer for 15 minutes without adding the lolly stick.

They should have firmed up just a little bit and now push the fruit down into them and space them out.

Add the lolly sticks and put back into the freezer for 4 hours.

Remove and enjoy!

Love & health,
Lauren

Mint Chocolate Energy Balls & Some Info On Essential Oils

Mint Chocolate Energy Snack Balls

I’m loving my essential oils at the moment – I’ve really been getting into EOs since finding that Frankincense helped my postpartum arthritis flare as it’s such a great anti-inflammatory. I made a Frankincense oil rub for my joints by mixing it with coconut oil (this is called using a carrier oil to dilute the EO a little) which I rub on twice a day. I add it to my diffuser so that it lets out the steam into the room and I take it internally. You can’t ingest all EOs, only high-grade ones. The Frankincense I use is from a company called Free Your Senses but another great company where you can buy a box of 10 EOs of your choice is doTERRA. You can really do so much with them: you can use them as perfume instead of putting the highly toxic perfumes on your body, you can use them in cooking, make creams, lotions, bath wash, deodorant and oils, you can diffuse them, and I even use the doTERRA lavender oil with coconut oil on Braxton’s feet each night before bed to calm him, especially if he is teething.

In this recipe I used doTERRA peppermint oil.

This is a great post-workout snack as it’s so high in plant-based protein. It’s also a great snack generally for the whole family as a ‘treat’ with no nasties.

Ingredients

1 cup almonds
1 cup dates
2 drops doTERRA peppermint oil
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
2 tbsp maple syrup
Pinch of Himalayan salt
Quarter cup pistachios (to roll in)

Method

First, as always, soak your almonds overnight. This is very important. Also, soak the dates for about 2-3 hours to soften them. All soaked in purified water.

Drain the almonds and pat them dry with a bit of kitchen roll and put them in the blender. At this time, drain the dates and leave them draining in the sink while you blend the almonds.

Turn the blender up and blend until the dates form a meal, and start becoming a bit buttery. Spoon it away from the edges and the blade, then add the dates and blend until totally incorporated.

Now add the peppermint oil, cacao, maple and salt and blend again. Tip into a large bowl, mix with your hands if you need to to get the last bits incorporated.

Get a plate ready and now start rolling them into small balls and place them on the plate. Once you have finished the mixture and all the balls are rolled, ground your pistachios in a pestle and mortar. They shouldn’t be ground too finely as you still want decent size chunks.

Roll each ball into the pistachio mix so it is completely covered and return to the plate.

Once they are all covered with the pistachios, put the plate in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving. You can keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and you can also keep them in the freezer and defrost in the fridge an hour before you want to eat them.

Love & health,
Lauren

Grandma’s Healthy Chocolate Birthday Cake (and a new sugar substitute)

Chocolate Olive Oil Bday Cake 1

It was my husband’s grandma’s 89th birthday on Friday and I adore her so it was only right to spoil her with chocolate cake! But of course it had to be healthy so I got inspiration for this one from Nigella’s chocolate olive oil cake, I just changed the ingredients around to make it healthier and added a chocolate mousse topping. Suffice it to say, grandma (and everyone else) loved it!

I’ve started using Natvia natural sweetener instead of coconut palm sugar. It is a really excellent natural sweetener that is a great alternative to sugar. It’s very low GI which makes it great for diabetics but also generally everyone, as sugar makes our bodies a breeding ground for caner, it’s GMO free, 100% certified organic and tastes amazing. I bought it on Amazon but I am hearing that it is now available in Tesco so that’s great news! I’m going to double this up to make a double layer cake with the mousse in the middle and on top for Braxton’s 1st birthday.

Chocolate Olive Oil Bday Cake 2

Ingredients

150ml extra-virgin olive oil (and a little extra for greasing) – my favourite is Cinque Foglie by Danilo Manco in Puglia, Italy
50g raw cacao powder
125ml boiling water
2 tsp vanilla extract
150g ground almonds
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch Himalayan salt
150g Natvia or coconut palm sugar
3 free-range organic eggs

Chocolate mousse topping:
1 ripe avocado
2 ripe bananas
6 dates
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp cacao powder
Pinch Himalayan salt

Method

Preheat oven to 170° and grease a springform cake tin, line base with baking paper and grease with olive oil.

Sift the cacao into a bowl and whisk in the boiling water with a fork until you have a smooth, chocolatey, still runny paste. If you have a Kitchenaid or electric whisk with its own bowl, do it in this; it will make it extra creamy. Whisk in the vanilla, then set aside to cool.

In another bowl combine the ground almonds with bicarbonate of soda,  baking powder and salt.

Put the sugar and olive oil into a bowl and beat together with the electric whisk for about 3 minutes, then add the eggs one at a time, with a slow speed so it aerates. After the 3 minutes, add the ground almond mix, and mix until incorporated.

Finally, add the chocolate mix slowly until combined and pour into the prepared tin.

You can do all of this with a handheld whisk, a fork and spoon if you don’t have a Kitchenaid but using one will just make the mixture a bit creamier. I have done it with and without and was nice both times – just a bit fluffier with!

Bake for about 30 mins. The sides should be set but not burn tand the top centre should still look very slightly damp.

Remove the cake from the oven. Leave to cool for 30 mins before removing from the tin.

While in the oven make the mousse layer by mixing all the ingredients in the blender, put it in a bowl and leave in the fridge until later.

 

Once it is completely cool add the mousse layer on top and put in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours.

Sprinkle with some raw cacao on top to serve.

Enjoy!

Love & health,
Lauren

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

These need very little introduction! They are by far the best cookies I’ve ever made and I honestly just threw the ingredients together as I was in such a rush so it was hard for me to remember the exact measurements! They are egg, soya, gluten, dairy and sugar free (depending on what chocolate chips you use) and are just too yummy!

Ingredients

1 cup ground almonds
1 ½ cups organic rolled oats
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch Himalayan salt
5 tbsp coconut oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
4 tbsp almond butter
¼ cup almond milk
Handful vegan chocolate chips

Method

Preheat the oven to 180c and line 2 baking trays with baking paper and grease with coconut oil.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Add all the wet ingredients to the blender and blend until combined.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well. Add chocolate chips and mix.

 

Form into balls with your hands and press down on them on the prepared baking trays and bake for 10 minutes.

Put the baking sheets with the cookies on them on a wire rack or on top of some tea towels on the work surface (the surface they cool on shouldn’t be cold) to cool away from the heat of the baking trays so they don’t crisp up too much. Once cool put in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

Love,
Lauren