Healthy Carrot Cake

I get my love of carrot cake from Scott and one of the reasons I adore it is because it’s so moist. This favourite bake of mine has been tweaked in various ways to make it a little healthier.

I’ve opted for wholegrain flour instead of white flour and instead of sugar I used naturally sweet mashed banana and pure maple syrup, and I’m using coconut oil to lock that moistness in.

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I refuse to have carrot cake without a cream cheese forsting and for this healthier verision I’m adding coconut milk and maple syrup. You’ll be amazed at the cloud-like forsting it makes.

You’ll need… 

For the cake:

  • 200ml coconut oil
  • 1 large rip banana (mashed)
  • 125ml maple syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 225g wholegrain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 275g grated carrots
  • 40g shredded coconut

For the frosting:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (chilled overnight)
  • 150g cream cheese
  • 1 lime (zest only)
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup

 

Prep Time: 30 minutes (not including time to cool)

Cook Time: 1 hour

Preheat the oven to 160°c and line a 8 inch round cake tin with baking parchment.

In a large bowl, mix the oil, banana, maple syrup and eggs until totally combined. Then mix in all the remaining cake ingredients and spoon into the prepared tin. Bake for 1 hour or until springy when pressed lightly. Leave the cake to cool for 10 minute before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Now to make the frosting… Scoop the thick white layer of the chilled coconut milk into a mixing bowl, leaving the liquid behind. Whisk with an electric mixer until it becomes thick and creamy (liked whipped cream).

Then add the cream cheese, lime zest and maple syrup and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes whilst you’re waiting for the cake to cool.

When the cake is cool spread the frosting over the top and then serve!

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Peanut Butter Protein Bars

These protein packed granola bars taste great, and only contains 6 ingredients – most of which you should stash in your kitchen already! These bars are wholesome and clean, and are incredibly easy to make and an inexpensive option to the shop-brought brands.

If you’re buying granola bars from the shop they’re most likely full of refined sugar and these bars are made with 100% pure maple syrup instead.

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This is a base recipe I use for all my protein bars and I love adding a cup of fresh raspberries to the mix.

You’ll need…

  • 1 cup unsalted almonds
  • 1 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1/4 cup unflavoured protein powder
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Chill Time: 10 minutes

Start by toasting your oats and almonds at 180°c for 10 minutes, or until slightly golden brown.

Put your dates into a food processor until only small bits remain. Then combine with your oats, almonds and protein powder.

Warm the maple syrup and peanut butter in a small saucepan over a low heat. Stir and add the oat mixture making sure the dates are disperse throughout.

Once thoroughly mixed, transfer into a square baking dish lined with baking paper and press down until flattened. Cover with more baking paper and let it firm up in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Remove the bars from the pan and chop up in bars and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

I’ve decorated mine by simply melting 2 squares of 80% dark chocolate and drizzling over the top.

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Milk and Cookies

Earlier this week a milk and cookies pop-up bar opened in Old Street Station near Shoreditch. The two girls behind Blondies Kitchen will be serving up freshly baked cookies – flavours include classic milk choc chip, double chocolate tahini, Oreo-stuffed Nutella, and more!

If you want more than just a cookie, they’ll also be offering cookie sandwiches where your chosen cookies will be sandwiched around a honeycomb mousse.

As for the milk, you’re got your pick of almond milk, Coco Pops cereal milk, or good old-fashioned cow’s milk – Ideal for dunking.

As I work around the corner I couldn’t resist grabbing myself the Oero-stuffed Nutella and Kinder Bueno cookie. They were chewy and soft, the perfect Friday treat.

It’s only here for two weeks, so you better be quick!

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Velvet Lattes at Palm Vaults

When I first spotted Palm Vaults over on Instagram, they jumped straight up to the top of my ‘places to visit’ list. It’s a picture-perfect independent coffee shop and although the place only opened recently, it’s already bustling. I look the mini pilgrimage to Hackney with my friend Serena to check out what the all the fuss is about.

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It’s a house plant heaven, with pink velvet seats, pink marble tables, with touches of gold – a barbie’s paradise. It’s a beacon of pink against the mundane Hackney highstreet, and as you step inside you’re thrown back to Miami in the 1970s. I thought I’d find it quite kitsch, but I completely love it.

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I opted for their most instagramed drink, the velvet latte, along with a side of avocado toast. It’s made with beetroot and if you love matcha, you’re going to relish this. They’re also known for their eclectic menu of smoothies and juices – which are incredibility refreshing.

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We were also tempted by their variety of cakes and naughty treats, and Serena went for their avocado chocolate cake, whereas I went for the salted caramel banana cake (after all, I couldn’t resist). Their cakes were SO good, plus the portions were huge! I’m gutted to say I wasn’t able to finish it all.

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Palm Vaults, 411 Mare St, London E8 1HY

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Healthy-ish Chocolate Torte with a Toasted Hazelnut Crust

This recipe is part taken from Angela Liddon’s, The Oh She Glows Cookbook, part my own invention. I’m a big fan of clean eating, but I won’t be becoming vegan or removing sugar from my diet any time soon.

I use a hazelnut crust and there’s no butter in this recipe – this is what I deem as the healthy bit. But there’s chocolate and sugar in it and life’s too short not to enjoy dessert.  The hazelnut crust is the perfect complement to the rich and creamy chocolate filling – you’ll have people going back for seconds despite their best intentions.

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You’ll need… 

For the crust:

  • 75g hazelnuts
  • 100ml coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 150g oats

For the filling:

  • 475ml skimmed milk
  • 150g sugar
  • 75g coco powder
  • 3 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 egg
  • 60g dark chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Freeze Time: 4-6 hours, but preferably overnight

Firstly, we’ll need to make the hazelnut crust. Preheat your oven to 180°C and lightly grease a pie dish with coconut oil.

In a food processor, blitz the hazelnuts into a fine crumb. In a bowl  combine the hazelnuts, oil, maple syrup, and oats. The dough should stick together but it shouldn’t be super-sticky either. If it’s too dry try adding a bit of water.

Put the dough into the pie dish, and with your fingers spread it out starting from the middle, moving outward and update along the side of the pie dish.

Bake the crust, uncovered, for 10 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside on a rack for 15-20 minutes.

Now for the filing.. once you’re removed the crust from the oven combie a 1/4 of the milk, with the sugar, coco powder, corn flour, and the egg – stir this all together with a whisk.

Gently heat the rest of the milk in a saucepan until tiny bubbles start to form around the edge – do not boil the milk. Add sugar mixture to the hot milk with the chocolate and vanilla and cook over a medium heat until it’s thick and bubbly, stirring constantly.

Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and place in the freezer for a couple of hours.

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Healthy Banana Bread

Ever looked in the fruit bowl and seen overripe, spotty bananas? Then ever looked in your fridge and saw you had no eggs… That was the dilemma I was faced with earlier. Thankfully I had some egg whites leftover from the weekend – I guess I have my mum to thank for never letting me throw any food any. I dare you to leave the high-calorie, high-fat ingredients of the traditional banana bread behind and try this alternative.

My banana bread recipe uses 100% whole wheat flour, is naturally sweetened and has a light crumb – plus it hardly uses any equipment so there’s not a lot of washing up!

You’ll need… 

  • 2 eggs (or 2 egg whites)
  • ⅓ cup melted coconut oil
  • ½ cup honey or maple syrup
  • 2 large bananas
  • ¼ cup milk (I used skimmed cow’s milk)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 25g of vanilla protein power
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more to swirl on top
  • 1¾ cups whole wheat flour
  • Totally optional: ½ cup mix-ins like chopped walnuts or pecans, chocolate chips, raisins, chopped dried fruit, fresh banana slices…

Preheat oven to 165 degrees and grease a load pan with some coconut oil.

If you’re using just egg whites whisk then until they are light and fluffy, and if you’re using normal eggs just beat them with a fork.

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Add the melted coconut oil and honey to the eggs and whisk.

Mash the bananas and also add them to the mix.

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Then add your milk, baking soda, vanilla protein power, salt and cinnamon, and stir.

Carefully fold in the flour with a metal spoon.

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Pour your batter into the loaf tin and sprinkle with cinnamon.

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Bake for about an hour, or until  a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Let the bread cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before slicing.

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How do you like your banana bread? For some extra protein, I like to top it with peanut butter. If I’m feeling indulgent, a dollop or honey or a large slab of butter.

Freakshakes at Molly Bakes

You’ve been living under a rock if you haven’t heard of Freakshakes. They’re indulgent milkshakes topped with ice cream and baked goods. Molly Bakes has recently opened a cafe in Dalston. As far as I’m aware they’re the only place in London serving them so Scott and I just had to try them out this weekend.

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We huddled around a small table and ordered ourselves two cups of coffee, a chocolate freakshake for me, and a peanut butter one for him. The milkshakes are served in mason jars, topped with whipped cream, icecream, baked goods and a toasted marshmallow, and are well worth the £7 price tag. They come in four favours – chocolate, caramel, peanut butter and raspberry. If these sound like too much to handle they also have a range of cakes, cookies and brownies to choose from.

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The rim of mine was covered with chocolate spread with mini chocolate balls stuck to it. It was then filled with chocolate milkshake and then icecream and whipped cream was piled on the top. Next came a chocolate brownie and the toasted marshmallow, and then it was drizzled with chocolate sauce. Scott’s was topped with a peanut butter cookie icecream sandwich instead of a brownie, and they were both amazing.

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I’m really glad the bitterness of the chocolate came through with mine as I haven’t got the biggest sweet tooth – Scott had to finish mine off as it was way to big for me. If you’re going to have a cheat meal this is definitely the place to come to, just be prepared for a massive sugar rush.

Molly Bakes, 450 Kingsland Rd, E8 4AE