Quinoa Chocolate Cake with Avocado Frosting

I know what you are thinking….quinoa and avocado have no place in a chocolate cake, but having tasted this moist gluten free chocolate cake on a shoot last year, I’m now a convert. I was lucky enough to tag along for a day during the shooting of Donal Skehan’s latest book Eat. Live. Go. and this was one of the many lovely recipes that day. It’s got a big chocolate hit without so much sugar. Although, I couldn’t find coconut sugar locally and didn’t have time to order it online so subbed in 180g light brown sugar instead.

quinoa chocolate cake gluten free

Quinoa Chocolate Cake with Avocado Frosting

  • Servings: 8
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Ingredients
150g cooked quinoa
4 large free-range eggs
50ml milk
150g butter, cubed
1tsp vanilla extract
200g coconut sugar (available in good supermarkets)
100g cocoa powder
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the chocolate avocado frosting:
2 ripe avocados, stoned and flesh scooped out
75g cocoa powder
1tsp espresso powder
75g maple syrup
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2tsp sea salt

Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) and grease and line a 20cm spring-form cake tin with parchment paper.

Place the quinoa, eggs, milk, butter and vanilla extract in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Add the coconut sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and blitz again to combine.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin and setting on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting, place the avocados, cocoa powder, espresso powder, maple syrup, vanilla extract and sea salt in a food processor and blitz until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Use a spatula to spread over the top of the cooled cake and dig in.

quinoa chocolate cake gluten free

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Bread and Butter Pudding

I have been rubbish these last few months and well and truly lost my mojo so haven’t been shooting much worth blogging. It hadn’t happened to me for ages and it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I realised my mojo had gone on holiday without me. I would love to hear how people get themselves out of creative black holes!

Bread and butter pudding and custard is one of my favourite desserts from childhood. It always amazes me what is created out of such simple store cupboard ingredients. I replaced some of the milk with double cream to elevate this dish slightly but it tastes great with just milk too.

Bread and butter pudding

Bread and Butter Pudding

  • Servings: 6
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Ingredients
butter, for greasing and buttering the bread
8-10 slices white medium sliced loaf, crusts removed
freshly grated nutmeg
75g sultanas
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g caster sugar
4 free-range eggs
400ml milk
300ml double cream
1–2 tbsp Demerara sugar

Butter a large shallow ovenproof pie dish Approx 1.75 lt capacity. Butter the bread slices and cut 4 slices in half on the diagonal. Arrange a layer of whole and half slices, butter side up, in the dish.

Sprinkle over a good grating of nutmeg and sultanas. Top with the remaining bread slices, then arrange the remaining sultanas over the bread, tucking a few in between the slices as well as leaving a few on top.

Whisk the caster sugar with the eggs, then add the milk, double cream and vanilla extract. Make sure everything is well combined, strain through a sieve and then pour this mixture over the bread and sultanas.

Leave the pudding to stand for around half an hour to allow the bread to soak up the custard. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Dot the pudding with a few knobs of butter, then sprinkle over the demerara sugar.

Bake in the oven for 35–45 minutes, or until well set, golden-brown and lightly toasted in places. Eat hot or cold.

Can be reheated in the oven to retain its crispy bits. Set the oven to 160c. Cover with foil for 15 minutes and then cook uncovered for another 5-10 minutes

Bread and butter pudding

Healthier Chocolate Brownies

I had whipped up these lower fat brownies as needed something sweet one afternoon without intending to blog them but they came out looking bloggable so here they – and my new slate tile – are in all their glory.

Taken from Cook Yourself Thin: Quick and Easy these fudgy brownies weigh in at 102 calories per brownie when cut into 16 squares and I also added a sprinkle of peanut butter chips as they need using up.

Lower fat Chocolate brownies
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Cherry and Almond Cake

This cherry and almond cake is another one from my  River Cottage Handbook No 8 – Cakes. The original recipe had a streusel topping but I didn’t have enough ground almonds so just sprinkled flaked almonds over the top which happened to visually look better  than the original recipe as the cherries aren’t hidden. I also didn’t have fresh cherries but had a jar of morello cherries loitering at the back of the cupboard so drained and utilised these instead. Despite the cupboard raiding restraints and alterations it was a lovely moist cake and these are two of my favourite flavours. You could also use plums instead of cherries.

I have finally found some reasonably priced tile samples so should have some new background surfaces coming onto the blog as I play with different tiles.This is my faux marble one which isn’t bad but could do with a bit more veining maybe.

Cherry and almond cake

Cherry and Almond Cake

  • Servings: 10
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Ingredients
125g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
75g self-raising white or wholemeal flour
75g ground almonds (ready-ground or whizzed in a food processor)
1 tsp almond extract (optional but lovely if you like that extra almondy, frangipane taste)
300g fresh cherries, stoned and halved

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Start by base lining and greasing a 20cm/8″ spring form cake tin.

For the cake, in a mixing bowl, using either a wooden spoon or hand-held electric whisk, beat the butter to a cream. Add the caster sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating 1 tbsp of the flour with each, and beating until thoroughly combined before adding the next. Stir in the ground almonds and almond extract, if using. Sift in the remaining flour and fold in gently, using a large metal spoon.

Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin, smoothing it out evenly and gently with the back of the spoon. Lay the cherries over the top of the mixture. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the cherries and then scatter the slivered almonds all over the top.

Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until the almonds are lightly browned and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave for 10 minutes before releasing the tin and moving the cake to a wire rack to cool. This cake is delicious warm or cold, with custard (if serving warm) or clotted cream or Greek yoghurt. It will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight tin.

Cherry and almond cake

Fruit Tartlets

Apologies for not being around as often as I’d like. These fruit tartlets taken from the July issue of Waitrose Food magazine were made and shot some weeks ago but life seems so easily to get in the way of blogging these days. My weekends are peppered with DIY  and littered with chores so the baking and shooting doesn’t always happen when I’d like it to. These tarts were delicious even if they did take me most of the day to make.

Waitrose fruit tartlets Continue reading

Courgette, Ricotta and Mint Parcels

I had a small glut of home grown courgettes recently so happened upon this Georgina Fuggle recipe for courgette, ricotta & mint parcels when googling recipes to use up vegetables. They were so quick and easy to make for my barbecue at the weekend they may well replace my standard quiche as a vegetarian side. The flavours were quite mild but nice and refreshing with the hint of mint. Hopefully my dozens of green tomatoes will ripen soon and I will be bringing you tomato recipes then!

courgette ricotta & mint parcels Continue reading