- New podcast obsession. Food science and history nerds rejoice!
- More cookbooks to put on my ‘must buy list’ (shh…don’t tell Chris)
- Fascinating epigenetics research.
- Butter in salad: why I heart Dessert for Two.
- Late summer figs celebrated in style in this Honey Earl Grey Fig Cake.
- Because I was Savage Garden obsessed (and maybe I still am…)
- These sprinkled finger buns were my childhood favourite too.
- Cheesecake disguised as pancakes makes it a legitimate breakfast food.
- My Dad is going to love these Nutella and Jersey Caramel Brownies!
- ‘Thing Explainer‘ sounds like exactly the kind of book we love in our house – gotta feed curious minds!
- After I make these Toasted Coconut Curry Peanuts I’m trusting y’all to stage an intervention…
- Mascara doesn’t come in gender shades, and nor should it – can one of these dudes please explain to me how to use eyeliner?
Carrot cake lovers rejoice! Now you can eat your favourite sweet treat for breakfast in a healthy, gluten free form. Grab those carrots and let’s get baking!Carrot cake is high on my list of favourite cakes. It’s right up there with coffee and walnut (my absolute favourite), funfetti, and orange and poppy seed. But, alas, I cannot eat cake for breakfast anymore and so, these muffins came into existence. I wanted the classic flavour of carrot cake but packed into a portable, and healthy, breakfast item. When it comes to carrot cake there are a few points of importance that must be achieved:
- Moist crumb
- Spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg
- Sweet, but not too sweet
- Studded with tasty bits and pieces
These four important points provided my guide posts for the perfect healthier version of carrot cake in muffin form.A moist crumb isn’t always easy to achieve when you are trying to create a healthier version of a baked good, but we have four ingredients working to ensure our healthy muffins aren’t hockey pucks: apple puree, oil, Greek yoghurt, and a touch of brown sugar. These four ingredients work together to weave a magically moist but still healthy muffin. Moist crumb: check!
My healthier muffin is spiced with my favourite warm and welcoming spices: cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. These are the holy trinity for carrot cakes in my opinion, and each brings a little something special without overpowering the others.Keeping baked goods healthy but still tasty requires smart use of sweeteners and natural sugars to back them up. These muffins are still sweetened lightly with some brown sugar and maple syrup, and the apple puree provides a background of natural sweetness too. I don’t like my breakfast baked goods too sweet, so these are lightly sweetened. If you want a special treat, serve them warm and spread them with honey for extra sweetness. Or perhaps a little cream cheese for that true carrot cake touch.
Now, I understand that the inclusion of, and variety of nuts included, in a carrot cake is a controversial issue (or is that just my circle of friends?). Are you a walnut person? A pecan person? A no-nut person? There is room for all in this healthy carrot cake muffin recipe. If you like pecans, simply substitute them for the walnuts. If you don’t do nuts in your perfect carrot cake, then leave them out. Simples. Similarly the issue of dried fruit. My Mama is not a fan of the sultana, and it is not welcome in her baked goods. Because I filled her freezer with these muffins so that she has quick, healthy snacks when she gets back from holidays, I left out the sultanas. But I would totally add them in if I was making them for myself…
I made these on a Sunday morning before heading out for a big walk under a cloudy grey sky. When I returned they made the perfect morning snack with a big cup of sweet tea. They are fluffy and light. No dense, dry, or gluey gluten free muffins here. These rise up tall and proud and beckon you back for ‘just one more’ every time you think you’ve eaten your fill. I hope there are some left by the time Mum and Dad come home…
Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins
Gluten Free | Makes approximately 20 muffins | Best eaten on the day of making. Freeze leftovers well-wrapped in plastic wrap for up to two months
Note: If you do not need these to be gluten free you can replace the first four ingredients with 250 grams plain flour.
- 60 grams brown rice flour
- 60 grams white rice flour
- 50 grams buckwheat flour
- 80 grams sorghum flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 cup apple puree
- 3 tablespoons rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
- 1/4 cup Greek/natural yoghurt
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups grated carrot (2 medium carrots)
- 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped, reserve 2 tablespoons for topping muffins if desired.
- Preheat your oven to 200C (400F) and spray 2 x 12 hole muffin tins with cooking spray. Make sure you coat them very well to prevent sticking.
- In a large bowl whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
- In a medium size bowl whisk together brown sugar, maple syrup, apple puree, rice brain oil, yoghurt and eggs.
- Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined.
- Add carrots and walnuts to the batter and stir until distributed.
- Divide batter between muffin cups. Fill to about 3/4 of the way. This will ensure nice tall muffins.
- Baked for 15-20 minutes, rotating trays halfway through cooking time. Bake until tops are slightly golden and bounce back when lightly touched.
- Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes in the tin before removing and cooling to room temperature.
We are halfway through our stay-cation/house-dog-cat-sitting for Mum and Dad, and there is something about this house that will always be home, no matter how long Chris and I live in our own home. I’ve been enjoying my morning walks with Molly, cuddles with Toby on the couch, and being three minutes away from my sister. I will be happy to get back to our own home next week because this feeling of home, true relaxation and shelter, is what Chris and I are creating for ourselves in our new home. Here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Thirty-Four:
Monday: Today I headed home to Mum and Dad’s place to house sit for them for two weeks. When I went in to put my clothes away I found that Mum and Dad had left Chris and I a little gift pack on the bed: fresh towels, beautiful soap, and our respective favourite chocolate treats. It was such a sweet thought. I’m grateful that I am able to do something little to help Mum and Dad while they enjoy their holiday in Singapore. I will never be able to repay the debt of gratitude I have for all they have done for me.Tuesday: Today was a super active day! Molly and I went for a walk in the morning, I stopped past the gym for a run on the way home, and then Jess and I went to a Konga class and sweated it out to the music together while making complete fools of ourselves. It was so much fun! I was grateful to spend a night with my little sister dancing and squatting and crunching and lunging and laughing all the while.Wednesday: Tonight Molly and Toby and I had a night hanging out alone while Chris stayed at our home. We watched Murder She Wrote, lounged about on the couch, and just had a relaxing evening. I was grateful for a Wednesday evening relaxation session.
Thursday: Tonight Chris and I had a Deadliest Catch marathon. We love this show! Although neither of us harbours any fantasies about running off to the Bering Sea to catch shellfish, we do love watching the adventures of these fishermen and we’d both love to visit Alaska someday! I was grateful for virtual adventures with Chris – talking about faraway places just makes me more excited about our upcoming holiday!Friday: Tonight on my way home I stopped for a run. I really didn’t feel like running tonight so I bribed myself to just get through 5km. I stopped at 8km because Chris called and asked if I was ever coming home! Sometimes you just have to get started on something to remind yourself that you are capable, and that you love doing it. I was grateful for the reminder from my body tonight. Saturday: Today was a golden day from beginning to end! This morning I walked Molly and then headed over to have a walk with Jess (sister this time) before we went out for a sisterly movie/shopping/lunch day together! We bought ourselves a few new things (watch out NYC fashion police here I come!), had a great sushi lunch, saw Trainwreck (recommended), and laughed and talked and just completely relaxed. It was nice to take a day our where I just let myself enjoy every second of life. I came back on Saturday night feeling drop dead tired (what is it about shopping that is so exhausting?) but completely refreshed. I’m so grateful that my sister is my best friend too, and that we had such a wonderful day together free from stress.Sunday: Today Molly had a walking date with our neighbour and they both came back sweaty and smiling so it was a success. I got to lie in bed a while longer, make carrot cake muffins, and curl up with a New York guidebook and ease myself into the day. I went for a long walk around my old streets, baked so many cupcakes I made myself sick on buttercream ‘testing’, and spent some time planning our time in New York (six weeks and definitely counting). I am grateful that we are going on this trip and preparing ourselves for an adventure!
Also this week:
- Whiskey? Check. Salted caramel? Check. Now in milkshake form – hand me a straw!
- I was always a Jane girl myself. I need to read this soon.
- Expressing gratitude can shift your outlook on life. Another on my must read list.
- Frozen Hot Chocolate – the best of both worlds!
- Tacos that combine two of my favourite food cultures? Yes please!
- I’m for brownies. And these brownies are just the cherry on top.
- Food is culture, and we need to save some of the tastes of the past so we don’t lose important touchstones.
- The perfect peak-of-summer cake with so many delicate flavours working in harmony.
- Chris and I love watching ‘The Strain’ (I spend most of my time with my face hidden, but it’s a good show) so I was fascinated by this exploration of the science behind Del Toros vampires.
- We’re counting down the weeks until we leave for the USA and looking for restaurant recommendations for the places we are visiting – thanks to Sweetest Menu we’ve got Washington D.C. covered!
- We’ve loved learning about Uranium in this fascinating 3-part documentary: Twisting the Dragon’s Tail.
- One of my favourite authors (she spins original fairytale/historical fiction tales) has just released her newest book – this is my plane-read pick!
That’s it for me! What have you found entrancing on the web lately dear readers?
Moist, darkly sweet banana bread studded with chewy, sweet dates and toasted almonds. This is a classic banana bread recipe with a healthy twist.Most Sunday mornings I am up and about just after sunrise. I start the day with a run, usually a smoothie or a yoghurt and fruit bowl, and some time alone with a book as the day begins. But some Sundays, my body just craves a later, slower start. This past Sunday I ignored my alarm clock, rose at about 9 and pottered around in my pyjamas eating banana bread and lazing around reading until lunchtime. Slower Sunday mornings are important for nourishing the soul.I cut this banana bread into thick, decadent slices, and gobbled two of them down with cups of sweet green tea. I have made quite a few loaves of banana bread in my time, but I think this might be one of my best – and it’s mostly healthy too! There is no added fat in this loaf, instead it is kept moist by Greek yoghurt, eggs, and almond milk. Most of the sweetness in this loaf comes from the natural sugars in the banana, and rich, dark, local honey. I love the way honey and banana are natural partners in baked goods, and in this bread they mingle to create a sweetness similar to the dates that stud each slice. Honey and banana are joined by their good friend brown sugar, which increases the moistness of the banana bread. No fat? No problem in this flavoursome bread!I used a combination of my favourite wholemeal gluten free flours to create this loaf: buckwheat, brown rice, white rice, and sorghum flour. These flours are high in fibre, iron, and rich in antioxidants and in combination they create the perfect moist crumb. Each bite of this banana bread is moist and decadent, and between mouthfuls of sweet cinnamon and banana flavoured dough, there are bits of crunchy toasted almonds and chewy dried dates. This is a classic banana bread with a healthy twist, and lots of add-ins to keep things interesting.
I loved each bite of this banana bread, and it was hard not to eat the whole loaf in one sitting! Luckily I’ve stashed most of it in the freezer for my next lazy Sunday morning, or my next farmer’s market breakfast.
Banana, Date, and Almond Bread
Gluten Free | Serves 8 | Leftovers can be frozen, well-wrapped, for up to two months
- 2 large ripe bananas (~1 1/4 cups mashed)
- 6 tablespoons (75mL) Greek yoghurt
- 1/4 cup honey (local is best)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
- 1/4 cup almond milk (or your choice of milk)
- 2 large eggs
- 55 grams brown rice flour
- 55 grams white rice flour + 1 teaspoon extra
- 55 grams buckwheat flour
- 55 grams sorghum flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2/3 cup toasted almonds, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped dates
- Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a 9 x 5 inch loaf tin with baking paper.
- Mash your bananas in a large mixing bowl. Add the Greek yoghurt, honey, brown sugar, vanilla essence, almond milk, and eggs. Whisk until very well combined.
- In a separate medium mixing bowl whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.
- In the empty dry ingredients bowl mix together toasted almonds, chopped dates, and extra 1 teaspoon white rice flour until dates and almonds are coated. This will stop the mix-ins from sinking to the bottom.
- Add dates and almonds to the batter and mix until distributed.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
- Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out and cool completely before slicing thickly and serving.
I think we should have four day work weeks every week. I could do with a little break on Wednesday, it certainly left me motivated for Thursday and Friday this week. Daydreams aside, this week was really wonderful. I feel like we hit our stride at home and everything just worked. There was a lot to be grateful for in this week’s Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Thirty-Three:Monday: Today I went for a run in the morning and then stopped in to see my specialist on the way home. Unfortunately I need to go back in for some more iron therapy, but I am grateful that I have healthcare providers who take such good care of me and make sure I get what I need.
Tuesday: Tonight I received the following message from my sweetheart nerd: ‘My brethren have given me access to the portal where the might shall beg for mercy. In the world where ability with a mouse and keyboard is mightier than any muscle. It is the chosen land where I thrive…Onward to the internet!!!!’. Yes. We finally have the internet at home again. I am grateful that my sweet man can enjoy the land of his people once again and that I can finally blog from the comfort of our new lounge!Wednesday: Today was People’s Day at the EKKA and our Brisbane Show Holiday! I made good use of my midweek weekend and started the day with a run, made and shot three recipes for a new magazine article, and then went to the movies to see ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ with Mum, Jess, and Chris. We had such a great time and I was grateful to end the day feeling like I had made the most of the whole day. It’s a true blessing when you love every minute of the day from beginning to end. Also, Chris took some new profile pictures for me and I was so grateful and surprised to discover his hidden talent behind the camera! I’m grateful that he supports me, and my passion for the blog, and will help me whenever I ask.Thursday: We had a pretty quiet office today with a lot of people out or on training, and I really enjoyed the camaraderie between my colleagues and I as we got our work done with plenty of laughter and jokes sprinkled in for good measure. I was grateful tonight too for an interesting documentary on the Amish. I am fascinated by their way of life.
Friday: Tonight Chris and I got down to some serious planning for our holiday – it’s coming up so soon! And yes, I am totally counting down the weeks! I am grateful that we have the opportunity to go on an adventure together and I can’t wait for all the exciting moments that await us!Saturday: This morning Mum and I had breakfast at the local cafe (the best chai latte I’ve ever had) and then went for a girl’s morning shopping trip! We had fun trying on some new clothes and gathering the last things Mum needed before she and Dad head off to Singapore (tomorrow morning!). I even managed to find some new things. While we were saving up for the house I didn’t buy any new clothes so it felt good to treat myself a little. After my great morning with Mum I went for a run and then spent the afternoon doing the last bit of unpacking and organising and made Chris a big roast chicken dinner. I was grateful for an absolutely wonderful Saturday spent with two of my favourite people.
Sunday: I had a big sleep in this morning and then spent the morning hours pottering around making Chris cupcakes for work. I was grateful for a slow, sun-soaked start to the morning – and for surprising myself with a 9.5km run this afternoon!
Also this week:
Bright sweet strawberries contrast salty pan-fried haloumi, crunchy peppery rocket, and creamy pistachios in this hearty but light vegetarian, gluten free salad.Yesterday was People’s Day and the Brisbane EKKA Show Holiday (for non-Aussies, that’s the agricultural show that comes to our city – we get a day off!) and I was happy to fill my day with bright shiny things that did not include battling crowds to buy showbags, stare longingly at the famous strawberry ice creams, and feel exhausted by humanity at the end of the day after finally finding my car again. Instead, I started off with a run, made and photographed three new recipes, saw ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ with Mum, Jess and Chris, updated my profile photos, and watched an interesting documentary. Now that’s my kind of day off. As we lay in bed last night, drifting off to sleep, I felt like we had distilled the weekend into a perfect 24 hours. I think I could get used to a midweek-weekend every week of the year!This luscious power house salad was one of the recipes I worked on yesterday. I was so tempted to eat the whole bowl as soon as I had photographed it – and it wasn’t even 10am yet! Every part of this salad is a talented and tasty ingredient on its own. Together they are showstopping.Sweet, plump winter strawberries are the first starring ingredient. I am enchanted by our strawberries at the moment. We are at the height of winter berry season and the strawberries are sweet deep rubies on sale in large quantities wherever you turn. I’ve never put strawberries into a savoury application before, but I loved these cherries in my salad earlier in the year, and after cramming a few kilos straight into my mouth I wanted to celebrate these strawberries in their very own salad. Sweet strawberries are complemented by salty grilled haloumi in the best way possible. Every sweet bite is met by a partnering step of salty, umami in a dance that dazzles tastebuds – it’s this combination that had me running back to the kitchen for seconds last night! Peppery rocket is a great background and quinoa keeps this salad hearty. The finishing touch: sweet and creamy pistachios, which provide the perfect occasional crunch and surprisingly hold their own against the bold strawberries and haloumi. To tie all of these together I’ve tweaked one of my favourite vinagrettes: based on balsamic vinegar and sweetened with just a touch of strawberry jam! Trust me, it works deliciously!I’m not going to wait for our next public holiday to make another big batch of this moreish salad! I might not be able to have a four day week every week, but I can conjure up my own sunshine by filling my lunchbox with delicious Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad.
Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad
Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Serves 3 as a light meal | Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to three days.
Note: I used white quinoa, but you can use whatever colour you have on hand.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes
- 1 punnet of strawberries (250 grams)
- 3/4 cup quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
- 180 grams haloumi
- 6 cups baby rocket leaves
- 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon strawberry jam
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Pinch salt and black pepper
- Place quinoa and vegetable stock in a medium size saucepan. Cover and bring to the boil. Allow quinoa to boil for 5 minutes, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain thoroughly, and allow to cool to room temperature.
- While quinoa is cooling, dice haloumi into small cubes. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Fry haloumi until golden. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature while you make the dressing.
- To make dressing: whisk together balsamic vinegar, strawberry jam, olive oil, salt and pepper until smooth.
- Place rocket leaves in a large bowl. Add quinoa, strawberries, pistachios, and fried haloumi. Pour dressing over and toss gently but thoroughly until all ingredients are mixed and coated with dressing.
- Serve at room temperature.
A simple bright salad that will add a burst of flavour to your meal whatever you are serving up! Take a big dish of this on your next summer picnic, or serve it next to your roasted veggies in the middle of winter. Whatever the occasion this Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean, and Feta Salad is the perfect side dish.I love complex, multi-layered salads that are meals unto themselves, but sometimes a simple but powerfully flavourful side salad is exactly what you need. When you are using only a few ingredients you want to make sure that you choose the best quality produce and let each ingredient shine by highlighting its best incarnation. For capsicum, that means roasting them until they are soft, slippery sweet pieces. I love roasted capsicum, and golden capsicums are especially sweet after their time blistering in the oven. You could just as easily use red capsicum here if yellow is unavailable, but I wouldn’t substitute green as they are too young and grassy.Sweet roasted capsicums find their perfect pairing with salty Greek feta, peppery rocket, and a simple balsamic vinaigrette. Butter beans are a mild but toothsome protein source and soak up the vinaigrette nicely. This salad is deceptively simple in ingredients, but the flavour is far from meek and mild. This is one stand out side dish. As someone with special dietary needs I often find myself making meals out of the side dishes available, so I take a little extra care when creating side dishes to serve to my friends because I don’t want them to be merely expected offerings, but tasty morsels in their own right. That doesn’t mean slaving over side dishes for hours – you just need to consider a few elements to create the perfect side salad.
My side salad tips:
- Choose the freshest greens available – try a mix of leaves if you want to boost the flavour even more. This mix here included both baby spinach and baby rocket.
- Have one super star ingredient and make it shine – roasted yellow capsicums in abundance anyone? Yes please!
- Sprinkle on something salty – feta, parmesan cheese, toasted nut or seeds – make it interesting and choose a few!
- Add some protein to keep it hearty – butter beans, chickpeas, quinoa, maybe a few halved boiled eggs? Make your sides simple but substantial.
Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad
Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 3-4 as a side
- 3 small yellow capsicums (substitute red if yellow are unavailable)
- 400 gram can of butter beans, drained and rinsed well
- 4 cups (4 large handfuls) baby rocket leaves
- 75 grams Greek Feta
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and place an oven shelf as close to the top broiler as possible. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and set aside.
- Cut capsicum into large pieces around the core and place skin side up on the baking sheet.
- Place sheet under the broiler until the skin is blackened and blistering. This should take about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place capsicum into a container with the lid only loosely on. Allow capsicum to cool.
- Once capsicum is cooled peel blackened skin off and cut into capsicum flesh into large strips.
- In a large salad bowl toss together butter beans, rocket, and capsicum strips.
- Crumble feta over the salad.
- Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour vinaigrette over the salad and serve.
Can you believe that we’ve already lived through the first week of August my friends? This year is passing far too quickly for my liking, but I’m sure that’s what happens when you are busy living life. This week had its ups (getting some finishing touches crossed off our list) and its downs (me having a major stomach bug and not eating for two whole days) but there was plenty to be grateful for. Here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 Week Thirty-Two.
Monday: I mentioned in my Gratitude List last week that my Mum and Jess and I had enjoyed high tea at Newstead House but the caterer was rather rude to us. She actually was very forcefully rude about my need for a gluten free high tea and told me that ‘people like you shouldn’t be at high tea’. My sister went to bat for me and took the lady to task, both privately and in the media as the caterer had advertised the availability of a gluten free high tea and more than happily took my money. I am grateful that I have a sister who will stand up for me and unashamedly make a fuss when she feels that someone has been treated unfairly. She is my hero and I am grateful for her.
Tuesday: Today I was not feeling well at all when I went to work. I thought I could shake it off, but I made it through a grand total of 45 minutes at my desk before fleeing home and wrapping myself in blankets and monotonous daytime television for the remainder of the day. I am grateful for Chris taking care of me and making sure that I didn’t do anything but sleep and try to drink some water between bouts of being sick.Wednesday: No way on earth was I moving from my bed today and I was grateful to just lie back and let my body heal itself. I was also very grateful for all the lovely messages from my family and my online friends telling me to get better. Thanks lovelies!
Thursday: Lazarus has risen! Today I was back on board at work and back in the real world. Today I was grateful to get out for a little drive at lunchtime and have a big chat to my work friend Jess – I missed her while I was at home watching re-runs of Ellen.Friday: Tonight after work Chris and I headed to my Mum and Dad’s to have a visit (and also steal some internet…) and to give Molly lots of snuggles! I was grateful to catch up with Mum and Dad after a busy week and to eat Mum out of peanut m&ms. Hey! I was recovering…
Saturday: This morning started off slowly with a run and then Chris and I had Dad’s help putting up our curtains, a mirror, and doing some other finishing touches to the house. I am so grateful that my Dad was happy to help us and that our house is looking more and more like our home every day. After our house work Chris and I headed out for a lunch and movie date. We saw Fantastic 4. Verdict: B+. It tried hard and had all the ‘action points’ covered but there wasn’t much character development. I was still grateful to get out of the house and enjoy a date with my darling. In the early evening I went for a leg stretching (and popcorn burning) walk around our neighbourhood and watched a gorgeous sunset as the lights came twinkling on all around me.Sunday: Sundays always start with sweat and I enjoyed my slow run this morning before Chris and I went for morning tea and car washing at Mum and Dad’s place. I really enjoy washing my car and taking care of it so I was grateful that Dad and I could tool around with the car and enjoy some morning tea with the whole family. In the afternoon we had a visit to our new house from Chris’s Mum and Dad and we enjoyed afternoon tea with them while showing them around our new home.
Also this week:
- I made peanut butter chocolate chip blondies, and you should make them too.
- This over-the-top cake eliminates that tough choice between cake and cookies – and you can have your frosting too!
- The latest issue of Yum. Gluten Free Magazine is out and there are 3 Thoroughly Nourished Life cake recipes inside, including one completely new chocolate confection!
Can’t decide between cake and cookies? No need to choose, my Snickerdoodle Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is decorated with Snickerdoodle Cookies! You get the best of both worlds in this tall, fluffy, gluten free, spiced cake!I shared this cake in the latest issue of Yum. Gluten Free Magazine and I couldn’t keep it to myself! You all deserve some more snickerdoodle-y goodness in your lives! The cake layers are spiced with snickerdoodle-like quantities of cinnamon and brown sugar and studded with chocolate pieces (because obviously the only thing that makes a snickerdoodle better is some chocolate…). These layers are stacked and coated with sharp and cool cream cheese frosting and then decorated with actual snickerdoodle cookies!
As with my other gluten free cakes, this fluffy, moist-crumbed creation doesn’t rely on strange gums or additives for its bounce, just the right combination of flours, and Greek yoghurt. I seriously suggest looking for the flours I have listed in the ingredients. I found mine in my local grocery store and they are even cheaper at some health food stores. Delicious science!(side note: if anyone wants to start a drinking game with the amount of times I use the word snickerdoodle in this post, I feel okay about that.)This cake is pure, brown sugar and cinnamon celebration. You start by making a very simple cake with a hint of brown sugar and cinnamon in the batter (pro-tip: lick the spatula after you’ve finished). Then make a batch of super simple snickerdoodles that start from a base of butter and cream cheese, which adds some extra softness to these cookies (for more snickerdoodle science see Lynn’s informative post). Once the cake and cookies are both cooled you whip up a batch of my easy, by oh so moreish cream cheese frosting and unite the divide. Cookies lovers and cake lovers, no longer do you have to war – there’s something here for everyone!
Snickerdoodle Chocolate Chip Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Cookies
Makes one two-layer 8-inch round cake | Serves 10-12 | Gluten Free
Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 40 minutes (not including time for cakes to cool)
Note: If you don’t need this gluten free you can swap out the flours for 280 grams of plain flour.
I would recommend making the cookie dough first as it needs to chill for an hour. While the dough is chilling you can make and bake the cake layers.
- 100 grams brown rice flour
- 100 grams sorghum flour
- 80 grams white rice flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 125 grams (1/2 cup) butter, softened
- 175 grams caster sugar
- 50 grams brown sugar
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 egg white (from large egg) at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup plain Greek/natural yoghurt
- 100 grams chopped dark chocolate (or chocolate chips)
- 250 grams cream cheese, softened
- 4 cups icing sugar (ensure this is gluten free)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoons pouring cream (or milk)
- Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and grease two 8-inch round cake tins with extra butter. Line the bottoms with circles of baking paper. Set aside until required.
- In a medium bowl whisk together brown rice flour, sorghum flour, white rice flour, ground cinnamon, baking powder, and salt until well mixed.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl) cream butter and sugars on a medium-high speed until it reaches a light and creamy consistency, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add eggs and egg white one at a time and beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as required.
- Beat in almond extract.
- Turn mixer speed to low and beat in a flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the yoghurt. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as required. After the last addition, beat until smooth.
- Divide mixture equally between the two prepared tins. Level tops and then bake for 30-40 minutes. Switch the position of the pans every ten minutes. Cakes are done when the tops are slightly golden and they bounce back when lightly pressed. Check the cakes at 30 minutes, and then decide if they need the extra ten minutes.
- Remove cakes from the oven. Cool in tins for 10 minutes. Then remove from tins and allow to cool completely before frosting.
- To make frosting. Beat cream cheese briefly to loosen it up, about two minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients and beat until completely smooth and fluffy, about three minutes.
- To assemble cake. Place one layer on a plate or serving dish and frost with 1/3 of the frosting.
- Place second layer on top and cover top and sides with remaining frosting. Use a large flat-bladed knife or a frosting palette knife to make this easy.
- Decorate with cookies (recipe below). Store in fridge, covered for up to three days. Sit at room temperature for fifteen minutes before serving.
Makes about 15 cookies
- 45 grams butter, softened
- 30 grams cream cheese, softened
- 100 grams caster sugar and 2 tablespoons extra
- 1 large egg
- 35 grams sorghum flour
- 35 grams white rice flour
- 35 grams brown rice flour
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line two baking sheets with baking paper.
- In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat together butter, cream cheese and caster sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add egg and beat well until incorporated.
- In a small bowl whisk together sorghum flour, white rice flour, brown rice flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
- With mixer on a low speed add flour mix and beat until combined.
- Combine remaining two tablespoons caster sugar and ground cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Chill dough for an hour.
- Take rounded tablespoonfuls of dough and roll into small bowls. Roll in cinnamon sugar mixture and place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Leave about 5cm between dough balls for spreading.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are just firm. Remove and allow to cool completely before using them to decorate the cake.