Chocolate Fudge Cake (serves 8-10)

Chocolate Fudge Cake by The Fat Foodie

This recipe for chocolate fudge cake kind of came about by accident because I was on autopilot making a coffee and walnut cake the other day and as I was pouring my cake batter into my two cake tins I realised that I’d added cocoa powder into the mix without even realising. I clearly enjoy chocolate cake far too much! However, this turned out to be a fortunate mistake because after I’d baked the chocolate cakes I realised that I could turn them into a rich chocolate fudge cake instead.

A lot of chocolate fudge cakes tend to be very dense and are often very heavily laced with cream, but because this one is gluten-free it remains light while also being rich in flavour. I added instant coffee to my cake mix because although you can’t taste the coffee in the finished cake, it adds a depth of flavour and enhances the taste of the cocoa, resulting in a very satisfying indulgent bake.

This chocolate fudge cake is rich, chocolatey and very, very decadent. It has the perfect blend of moist, cocoa-heavy cake sponge that’s lavishly slathered in melt-in-the-mouth chocolate fudge icing. It’s the ultimate death by chocolate experience and I make no apologies for it.

Ingredients for the sponge:

3 heaped tsps instant coffee dissolved in 50ml boiling water

180g butter (or a non-dairy version)

20g vegetable oil

2 eggs

200g brown sugar

170g gluten-free plain flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F flour because it’s made with low FODMAP ingredients whereas many other gluten-free flours are made with high FODMAP options.)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

2 tsps vanilla extract

Ingredients for the fudge icing:

90g soft unsalted butter (or a non-dairy version)

180g icing sugar

3 tbsps cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

16 walnut halves to decorate (optional)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas Mark 6.

Prepare two 8” cake tins by lining them with greaseproof paper or do what I do and use ready made cake tin liners.

Put all of your wet ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk thoroughly and then add the dry ingredients and mix well.

Divide your cake batter between the two cake tins and bake for 40-45 mins or until a skewer pushed into the middle of one of the cakes comes out relatively clean. (It’s okay if there’s still a little bit of mixture on the skewer because it is supposed to be a very moist fudge cake anyway.)

Leave the cakes to cool on a cooling rack.

To make the chocolate icing put your icing ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk together until it’s all combined. (If you feel it’s not loose enough add a tsp of milk or rice milk at a time until it’s the right consistency for you.)

Once your cakes are cool, remove them from their tins and greaseproof paper and spread half of the fudge icing onto one of the cakes.

Put the other cake on top, slather the top of it with the rest of the icing and decorate with walnuts if you fancy. Enjoy!

Chocolate Fudge Cake by The Fat Foodie

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Iron-rich Flapjacks (makes 20)

Iron-Rich Flapjacks by The Fat Foodie

I often have low iron levels and so I like to try to have snacks at hand which are packed full of natural sources of iron, such as these iron-rich flapjacks. As much as I enjoy eating meat on occasion, it can get a bit tedious (and expensive) to frequently eat a lot of meat, but thankfully, there are lots of great ways you can incorporate iron into your diet without always having to resort to eating meat all the time.

The natural world provides us with a whole host of plants and seeds which pack a serious iron-rich wallop and the beauty of eating plant-based sources is that they tend to be really, really cheap to buy, especially in bulk. Oats, for instance, are a brilliant source of iron and they’re also highly rich in nutrients, such as protein, soluble fibre and B-vitamins, while pumpkin and sunflower seeds have also got loads of iron in them along with a list as long as your arm of vitamins and essential minerals.

I made a big batch of these iron-rich flapjacks and they were demolished by myself and my family in no time at all. They’ve got a great texture and are filled with delicious fruity flavours. I topped mine with a dark chocolate drizzle, but if you’d like to keep the iron-rich flapjacks healthy you could leave the chocolate off them. Although, bear in mind that cocoa powder and good quality dark chocolate are great sources of iron in themselves and they’re also rich in antioxidants, so in my humble opinion that sounds like an excellent reason to go ahead and use the chocolate.

Ingredients:

300g gluten-free oats

3 tbsp chia seeds

100g sunflower seeds

100g pumpkin seeds

100g raisins

4 tbsps cocoa powder

1 tbsp dried ginger

160g coconut oil or butter (melted)

140g golden syrup

1 large firm banana (mashed)

100g dark chocolate (for decorating)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas Mark 6 and line a deep-sided traybake tin with greaseproof paper.

Mix the chia seeds with 7 tbps of hot water and leave them for 5-10 mins to gel.

Melt the coconut oil with the golden syrup and put it in a large mixing bowl.

Add all of the dry ingredients and the mashed banana into the bowl and mix very well until it’s all coated.

Pour the mixture into the lined traybake tin and bake for 30-40 mins.

Remove from the oven and cut into bars, but leave them in the traybake tin to cool and solidify. Once cold, remove from the traybake tin and drizzle with melted chocolate.

Iron-Rich Flapjacks by The Fat Foodie

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Chocolate Soufflés (makes 4-6)

Chocolate Soufflés by The Fat Foodie

I’m a big fan of Masterchef, particularly the professional series, so I really enjoyed settling down to watch it the other evening with a cup of tea and a Tunnock’s teacake. One of my favourite parts of the show is the skills test, which sees Marcus Wareing or Monica Galetti set the chefs a test which challenges their skills set and knowledge base. One of these tasks was for the chefs to attempt to make a soufflé and as I was watching I realised two things. One, that soufflés are a great idea for a low FODMAP dessert option. And two, that I’ve never attempted to make a soufflé myself before, so I resolved to try making one the next day.

I figured that chocolate soufflés would be really tasty and would probably be the easiest type to make because it wouldn’t involve me having to make a fruit curd or anything in advance. Now, I should warn you that these soufflés are really rich. I made four soufflés, one for each of us, but I wish I’d stretched the soufflé mixture out into six pots because, although they’re utterly delicious, they’re very rich and filling.

I don’t have any ramekins so I just made my soufflés in small oven-proof cups I had in the cupboard and they worked just fine. I should also point out that you can’t make the soufflés in advance because they’ll sink as they cool down, so you’re better to make them just after you’ve eaten dinner so you can serve them straight from the oven.

These chocolate soufflés are really easy to make and are very rewarding in the taste department. Their firm surface hides an incredibly delicate, soft and airy interior that is enriched with the decadent flavour of good quality melted dark chocolate. You could serve them with a drizzle of cream or even a scoop of soft ice-cream, but as far as I’m concerned a light dusting of icing sugar and a spoon does the job quite nicely too.

Ingredients:

2 tbsps butter or non-dairy version (for preparing the ramekins)

2 tbsp caster sugar (for preparing the ramekins)

5 egg whites

50g caster sugar

200g dark chocolate

5 egg yolks

40g coconut oil

Icing sugar (to decorate)

Method:

Set 4 or 6 ramekins (or small oven-proof cups) to one side and preheat your oven to 200C/Fan 200C/Gas Mark 7 and place a baking tray inside.

Brush each of the ramekins thoroughly and generously with butter and dust the insides with caster sugar before placing them in the fridge.

In a large bowl, melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil together and then leave it to cool. (I used the microwave, but I kept my eye on it all the time and stirred it very frequently so the chocolate didn’t burn.)

In another large bowl, use an electric whisk to whisk the egg whites until firm and then whisk in the caster sugar a teaspoon at a time until it is all combined.

Once the chocolate is cool mix in the egg yolks.

Delicately fold a little of the whipped eggs into the chocolate mixture and then steadily add the rest of the egg whites in, gently folding all the while.

Once the mixture is combined, fill your ramekins with soufflé mixture to the top, level them off and run your finger around the inner rim to leave a slight depression around the inside.

Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 mins or until they have risen and have a very slight wobble when you move the baking tray. (Don’t open the door during the cooking process otherwise they’ll sink!)

Once they’ve risen and you’re satisfied they’re cooked, take them out of the oven, quickly dust them with icing sugar and serve.

Chocolate Soufflés by The Fat Foodie

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Meringue Wreath (serves 6-8)

Meringue Wreath by The Fat Foodie

It’s Christmas Eve and I think that because it’s an evening that’s inherently filled with a sense of magic and wonder it’s a perfect evening for gathering around the dinner table and sharing a relaxing, warming meal with our loved ones. However, as much as I love making a good dinner on Christmas Eve I also think that it’s always nice to make something really special for dessert, such as this festive meringue wreath.

I’m really pleased with how this meringue wreath turned out. I’m not a fan of dry, crumbly old-fashioned meringue that just shatters into shards in your mouth and has nothing particularly interesting going for it. I much prefer my meringue to be crisp on the outside, but lovely and stickily chewy on the inside. I think this type of meringue has a lot more flavour to it, producing a caramel-flavoured note that dry meringue cannot. I chose to decorate mine with dark chocolate and pomegranate seeds, but you could use white chocolate if you prefer (although it won’t be dairy-free) and you could opt for blueberries or raspberries as your decorative fruit too.

This meringue wreath is really easy to make, but there are just a few things to remember to get the best results:

1.) Don’t get any fat (i.e egg yolk) in the egg whites because they will not fluff up properly if there is any fat in them. Also, make sure your bowl and electric whisk beaters are spotlessly clean of any residual fats.

2.) Use room temperature eggs as they will produce much more volume than fridge-cold ones.

3.) Use caster sugar because the egg white bubbles are so delicate that they’ll break more easily if they’re in contact with granulated sugar.

4.) Add a little cornflour to stabilise the beaten egg whites and to create a chewy texture to your meringue.

This meringue wreath is made of crisp, but chewy, sweet meringue that’s drizzled all over with melted dark chocolate, scattered with toasted flaked almonds and topped with freshly popped pomegranate seeds. It’s a real showpiece that just so happens to deliver on the taste front too. Just what you need in your recipe arsenal as we roll into Christmas in earnest.

Ingredients:

3 egg whites

180g caster sugar

1 tsp cornflour

For the decoration:

100g dark chocolate

40g flaked almonds

1 pomegranate (seeds only)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas mark 4.

Put greaseproof paper on a large baking sheet and get a piping bag to hand. (I like using disposable piping bags because they’re so much easier!)

Separate the 3 eggs and put the egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until firm and then gently whisk in the cornflour and caster sugar.

Put your meringue mixture into a piping bag and pipe big dollops of meringue mixture in a circle onto the baking sheet.

Put the meringue wreath in the oven and then turn the oven down to 150C/130C Fan/300F/ Gas mark 2. Bake for 1 hour and then leave the meringue to cool.

While the meringue is cooling, toast the flaked almonds in a frying pan until they are golden brown and leave to one side.

Once the meringue is cold and ready to decorate, melt the dark chocolate and drizzle it all over the meringue wreath. Scatter the flaked almonds on top and add the pomegranate seeds before serving.

Meringue Wreath by The Fat Foodie

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Rice Crispy Cakes (makes 18)

Rice Crispy Cakes by The Fat Foodie

Rice crispy cakes always remind me of being a kid because it was one of the first ‘bakes’ I learned how to make myself. I probably made them for a jumble sale that we were having at Brownies or a festive event at primary school, but regardless of the occasion you could be guaranteed that they would sell out.

If you are very sensitive to gluten you’ll need to buy plain crispy rice as opposed to branded Rice Krispies because they have gluten in them in the form of barley malt. Also, if you want to make these rice crispy cakes completely vegan you can easily use coconut oil instead of butter and use gelatin-free marshmallows.

Although these rice crispy cakes are delicious as they are, I decided to decorate mine with some mini marshmallows that I had in my baking cupboard and I drizzled them with some melted dark chocolate. I must admit, the dark chocolate does add a lovely contrast to the overall sweetness of the marshmallow, but it’s not necessary to decorate them.

This might seem like quite a basic recipe to share, but rice crispy cakes are a great low FODMAP treat option for kids and adults and they’re really easy to make. There’s just something about the flavour combination of the crisp, toasted rice mixed with the soft, sugary, sticky vanilla-scented marshmallow that makes them the perfect little afternoon or evening treat. It’s no wonder they remain so popular at bake sales!

Ingredients:

200g crispy rice

300g marshmallows (use gelatin-free ones if vegan)

50g butter (or coconut oil)

Method:

Grease a rectangular traybake tin (approximately 32cm by 23cm) and set it to one side.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat and then add the marshmallows and, stirring all the while, cook until everything is melted and combined.

Add the crispy rice and mix it all together until the rice is fully coated.

Pour the coated rice into the traybake tin and using a greased spoon or spatula press the mix down until it’s flat.

Add any decorative toppings you fancy (I used mini marshmallows and melted dark chocolate) and then leave it to set in the fridge until firm before removing it from the tin and cutting it into squares or bars.

Rice Crispy Cakes by The Fat Foodie

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